Vegard Skjefstad

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Tag: Internet (page 1 of 13)

How To Stop WordPress SPAM

Is your WordPress website being flooded with SPAM? Here how to stop WordPress SPAM.

WordPress now powers a third of the web, so if you’re running a website, there’s a good chance your using WordPress. Since it’s such a popular platform, it’s also a huge bulls eye for spammers looking to promote their bullshit.

There are two types of WordPress SPAM; automated and manual. Automated SPAM is created by computer programs, or bots, that try to post SPAM to every WordPress site they can find. Manual SPAM is created by people who enter SPAM manually on WordPress sites.

CAPTCHA

A common way to stop automated SPAM bots is to use CAPTCHA. This is a type of challenge-response test used to determine whether or not a user is human. The first CAPTCHA implementations were very basic. You just had to recognize a few numbers and letters in a picture, and enter them in a form to prove you were not a pesky SPAM bot. This was a trivial task for humans, but very hard for computers.

But the spammers soon caught up with the early CAPTCHA technology, and taught their bots to solve the simple CAPTCHAs. In the inevitable game of cat-and-mouse, the CAPTCHAs then had to become more advanced to stop the bots. The result was that, more often than not, a CAPTCHA was too hard for humans to solve as well. This made the technology a less desirable way to stop SPAM since they also stopped legitimate users.

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Is WebAuthn the Key to Passwordless Authentication?

Can WebAuthn succeed where Universal 2nd Factor failed?

Back in October, 2015, I wrote about the FIDO Alliance, their U2F standard, and the YubiKey implementation by Yubico. The goal of U2F is was to describe a method for universal two factor authentication (2FA). Today, 2FA is usually done either by text messages, or by using a mobile application that provides one-time codes. U2F is aimed more at physical tokens, with the YubiKey the most well-known implementation.

I thought the idea of a physical token was brilliant so I shelled out for a YubiKey Neo. Since 2015, I’ve used it for anything practical exactly zero (0) times1.

While using a physical token like the YubiKey for 2FA is a killer concept, U2F support was only implemented in Chrome, and only supported by a tiny handful of sites. Because of this, U2F never saw any wide spread adaption, and the YubiKey on my key chain continues to be dead weight. It’s not terribly heavy, but dead weight nonetheless.

Now, a new authentication standard, WebAuthn, is seeing the light of day. And it might succeed where U2F failed.

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Find Free Photos Firefox Extension

I made a Firefox extension that makes it easy as pie to find high quality, free photos online straight from the Firefox address bar. Awesome!

Earlier this year, I discovered that the internet overflowed with free, high quality photos. The revelation was documented in a post appropriately titled Find Free High Quality Photos Online. Ever since, I’ve used the sites I discovered to find great photos to use to freshen up the posts I publish on this site.

But searching each site manually is very inconvenient. What if there was an easier way? Now there is!

Presenting: The Find Free Photos Firefox Extension!

By installing my brand new Find Free Photos Firefox Extension, you can quickly search Pexels, Unsplash, Pixabay, and Kaboompics straight from the Firefox address bar.

Just open a new browser window or tab, and enter ffp YOUR KEYWORDS, for example ffp mountain range. This will open a few new tabs, and search for your keywords on the photo sites. Easy as pie. Please note that the extension is dumb as a rock, so it won’t reuse the same tabs the if you do a new search. Instead, new tabs will be opened.

The source code is available over at GitHub; https://github.com/vskjefst/find-free-photos-ff-extension. Pull requests are always welcome.

Delete Your Facebook Account Today

So you’re still on Facebook? Here are three good reasons why you should delete Facebook today.

It’s been a rough year for Facebook. First, it was the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Whistleblowers revealed that personal information from over 87 million Facebook users was sold to Cambridge Analytica, a political data analysis firm that had worked for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Then it turned out Facebook had been scraping call and text message data with its Android apps for years. Everything was stored in Facebook’s databases.

And now, The New York Times has revealed internal Facebook documents that show the social network gave Microsoft, Amazon, Spotify and others far greater access to people’s data than it has disclosed. In some cases, companies were allowed to read, write and delete users’ private messages, and to see all participants in a message thread.

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ArchiveTeam Warrior

You’d think that everything on the internet lasts forever. But it doesn’t.

Through Jason Scott’s escapades on Twitter, and his podcast, I have in many ways re-discovered the Internet Archive. It’s the modern day reincarnation of the Great Library of Alexandria, and contains a significant part of the internet as it was. The Archive is also crammed with all kinds of files, from books to recordings of live music performances.

But is the internet, and everything on it, really something that has to be preserved? Yes, it is. Even though it’s mostly cat pictures, porn, and incoherent ramblings, it’s is an important part of our cultural heritage. The internet is a unique gateway into life in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, and will be important when future generations try to figure out what went wrong.

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