The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


sunset“Danny are you awake?”
“Sort of.”
“There’s just a blank screen when I try and log onto the site. I can still get in through the backdoor but there are hundreds of spam comments waiting in moderation.”

A lifesaver at heart D was at his computer within seconds. Someone had hacked into the site and switched off the spam filter and managed to damage the theme too. So this is why there was just a white screen for nine hours last night.

We have an excellent spam filter that generally stops an average of a hundred plus spam comments a day. Sometimes valid comments are caught in the filter too, so the spam comments have to be checked.

The spam check is a nasty run – porn, pharmaceuticals that claim miraculous results and at lot of pretty rotten suggestions. They still shock me, after two years I haven’t developed a thicker skin.

In fact this morning Danny volunteered to deal with the spam. So this evening I didn’t return to the jungle for the first time in months.

We are planning to upgrade the software this weekend and install some verification software to tackle the legions of spam comments (over 50,000 to date). So if you see a blank screen or worse, we are just beavering away in the background trying to make the site more secure. 

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  1. Hi, I avidly read your blog and saw this post. I know you use WordPress for the blog and it is great software, but you are using a REALLY old version (2.0.11) – you can tell by just looking at the source code.

    I really suggest you upgrade to the latest version (2.7) as there are some known exploits in older versions of WordPress – which may explain how your site was hacked and altered.

    Also, I suggest you try the Tan Tan Noodles spam filter.. It is very simple and works on a list of preset words. If a comment matches a word it is automatically blocked and you never get notified and it never appears in the comment list for approval. You can also add to the preset list of words if some comments are missing the spam trap

    Hope that helps somewhat….

  2. samantha winter

    Hi Fi

    I’ve been getting loads of spam from strange cooking sites today!!
    I hope you are back on the roads soon.
    Take care

  3. Lindsay

    Did you mean spam comments on your blog or just emails? Luckily, for some reason, I get not a single spam email except for fraudsters trying to entice me to give away bank account details.

  4. Hi Fiona
    Although I probably have less daily readers than you do I get a few comments each day. So far (and touch would this continues) I have never received a spam comment. I use Blogger. Maybe it has better ‘spam proofing’ ? or maybe I have just been lucky.
    Take care
    ps read this about spam to cheer yourself up!

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