[wp-hackers] new: WordPress Validator plug-in [s]

John Ha [c] mailing-lists at netspace.net.au
Mon Nov 21 03:41:02 GMT 2005

I found myself going "Hmmmm"...
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: ifelse 
  To: wp-hackers at lists.automattic.com 
  Sent: Sunday, November 20, 2005 10:21 AM
  Subject: Re: [wp-hackers] new: WordPress Validator plug-in

  Anyone else feel that this mail feels a bit spammy itself?

  Besides, isn't the premise behind this plugin "Trackback URLs that point to pages that don't link back to your blog are bogus" technically incorrect even if it is pragmatic in eliminating spam?

  On 11/19/05, Paul Gerecht <gerecht at rice.edu> wrote:
    Dear weblog administrators,

    Have you ever wondered why you are being targeted by blog spammers?  Having worked with Trackback spam before, we have often felt that it was unclear as to the exact mechanism by which Trackback spammers find their victims.  There has some evidence that some web spiders exist which look for Movable Type Trackback URLs at conventional locations.  Presumably, there also exist more sophisticated web spiders that examine webpages for a piece of RDF XML that identifies the correct Trackback location—here, obfuscating your URL will not prevent you from receiving a helping of blog spam in such cases.  But how do the spiders target you, their victim weblogs?

    This problem has been under investigation by computer scientists at Rice University.  We have developed a free Trackback plug-in called Trackback Validator ( http://freepastry.rice.edu/~dsandler/trackback/) to provide you with security against these attackers; this plug-in has been beta tested by a small set of weblogs—now it is ready for general use.  Beyond the protection it provides, it will help us study how spammers locate sites like your own!  

    It is likely that these spiders follow links from other weblogs that they know about to yours.  If so, this would help explain the power-law distribution in spam:  the more popular your site, the more inbound links and hence the more visible your site is to attackers.  The data collected on identified spam postings will help us deduce some patterns in and sources of weblog spamming plaguing your sites.  Hence, with the use of the Validator plug-in, not only will you receive great protection from spam, but you will also help us collect information about spammers targeting your site and help us improve upcoming versions of our software for you!

    Thank you very much and enjoy the world of spam-free blogging!


    The developers of Trackback Validator

    Brown School of Engineering

    Rice University

    To download, please visit:  http://freepastry.rice.edu/~dsandler/trackback/

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