Tag Archives: plugin

I see you baby, purging that spam!

all we are saying, is give ham a chance!While Akismet does a good job at flagging comments as spam, it by default only purges spam (from the comments and comments_meta tables) after 15 days.

So it’s a good thing Akismet now has a filter to change the amount of days after which spam is removed. Below code (in a small plugin or in a child theme’s functions.php) should do the trick.

/** tell akismet to purge spam sooner */

function change_akismet_interval($in) {
     return 5;

Happy purging!

Dude, where’s my WordPress session?

WordPress is a favourite hackers target. Some say that is because it is inherently insecure, but in reality WordPress is mainly a target because of its popularity, because of people not keeping their installations up to date or using easy to guess usernames and passwords and because of vulnerabilities in plugins rather then WordPress itself.

There is, however, one security-related shortcoming in WordPress from a design point of view: sessions are not stored server-side. If someone logs in, a cookie is set in the browser containing username, a session expiration timestamp and a hash. With every new request to WordPress that cookie (and specifically the hash) is checked to validate the session, but there is no check to see if there indeed was such a session.

This can be considered mainly a theoretical shortcoming, not an immediately exploitable vulnerability, because;

  1. session-cookies are set with the HTTPOnly-flag so XSS should not be an issue
  2. in an ideal world all traffic, once logged in, would be over HTTPS, securing against network sniffing.

But there are other (albeit less obvious) ways to steal cookies or even create create new ones to gain unauthorized access, as demonstrated in this very detailed blogpost. As explained in that article, there is no way to block “fake” session-cookies from gaining access (your OTP plugin won’t protect you either) and there is no functionality to monitor and if needed delete sessions.

So … I wrote a small proof-of-concept plugin that gets triggered upon login, logout and upon session verification (i.e. each request) and which stores sessions server-side, automatically logging out unknown sessions. With that in place, lots of other optional features could easily be added;

  • display a list of all known current sessions
  • allow one or more sessions to be removed
  • compare IP address at session verification against the one at session creation and notify or logout if no match
  • compare User Agent (and optionally some HTTP accept-headers) at session verification against the one at session creation and notify or logout if no match
  • create an audit log

But … I don’t want to do this on my own. I have 3 plugins already, 2 of which are semi-popular and for which I try to do regular releases and provide great support (and I have a daytime-job and a wife and daughter with whom I love to spend quality time as well). Moreover I really don’t want the plugin to “just” be open source, but I want it to be developed in an open source, collaborative manner as well.

So if you’re a WordPress coder, a security consultant or just an innocent passer-by and you are willing to code, review code, translate or document, then do drop me a line. Fame (but not fortune) will be yours!

WP YouTube Lyte; support for playlists (almost) included

Work on the next version of WP YouTube Lyte is almost finished. The main new features you can expect in version 0.8.0 are:

  • support for playlists
  • support for HD video (if size of the embedded player is big enough)
  • updated UI elements & player sizes to match new, dark YouTube player style
  • removed support for legacy YouTube embed code

Embedding a playlist will be as simple as adding


The result will look like this documentary about Arcade Fire (4 video’s in one playlist):

Watch this playlist on YouTube

Now off to testing this blogpost with an embedded playlist in all browsers I can get my hands on. Your feedback (off course) is always welcome as well! If all goes as planned I’ll push 0.8.0 to the wordpress svn later this week.

WP YouTu.be Lyte: a minor release & some meandering thoughts

Yesterday I pushed WP YouTube Lyte 0.7.3 out the gates. The main trigger for that new release was a bug report about the plugin not behaving as expected when using the youtu.be-links that you get when clicking the “share”-button on YouTube.  Being from that TLD mysself I could not but fix this; the new version recognizes and parses both httpv://youtube.com/watch?v=videoid and httpv://youtu.be/videoid links in posts, pages and widgets. Other features: Slovenian translation (thanks Mitja Mihelič @arnes.si) and a small change to the donottrack-inclusion to make it work over https (hat tip; Chris @ campino2k.de).

Speaking of donottrack: I’ve finally started rewriting that privacy-enhancing plugin. It might … No, it WILL take some time, but expect a whitelist-based approach where you’ll be able to get a report of all inclusions of external content (images, css, javascript, …) in your site and where you can just tick a checkbox per domain you want to allow. All other current and future domains that rogue plugins try to smuggle in after you configured, will be stopped. Next to document.write’s I hope to be able to catch innerHTML and DOM methods like insertBefore and appendChild. If you’re a javascript DOM magician, I could sure use your help on those!

Not sure where I’ll be going with WP YouTube Lyte, it feels pretty complete to me. Stuff that might be added at a later stage;

Do comment below or contact me if you have other feature requests though! And thanks for all the downloads (36.000 and counting)!!

And as is traditional of WP YouTube Lyte announcements, here’s a small video to celebrate the new release; Intergalactic Lovers, a Belgian band, playing “Delay” live.

Intergalactic Lovers – Delay – 23-05-2011

Watch this video on YouTube.

Coding for the New Year

Just a quickie before diving into 2011;

And this is how I feel about 2011:

Jon Hopkins – Light Through The Veins (Full 9 Minute HQ Version)

Watch this video on YouTube.

Have a great New Year!

The state of WP YouTube Lyte (now with fresh Pomplamoose)

Although it has been a few months since I last wrote about my baby WordPress plugin, time did not stand still between version 0.3.0 and 0.5.2; the player size can now be changed in the options-screen, I’ve replaced my newTube html5-hack with Google’s official (yet experimental) new html5-compatible embed code and I started migrating the CSS from the mess that had become the JavaScript-file. And I almost forgot what may be the most important change; I started searching for blogs that use WP-YouTube-Lyte to see how it behaves in the wild. Some of the bugs I discovered that way;

But with all those changes you might start to wonder if WP-YouTube-Lyte still reduces download size & rendering time substantially, no? So I ran a couple of new tests for this page on my blog (it has 3 embedded YouTube’s) on webpagetest.org (settings: 5 runs on IE7 via Amsterdam, excluding requests to stats.wordpress.com). The difference is … well, judge for yourself (or see below the tables for the summary)

With normal Flash-based embeds (full results here):

Document CompleteFully Loaded
Load TimeFirst ByteStart RenderTimeRequestsBytes InTimeRequestsBytes In
First View1.850s0.634s1.330s1.850s15343 KB5.350s22524 KB
Repeat View1.142s0.346s0.497s1.142s517 KB2.455s517 KB

And with WP YouTube Lyte (full results here):

Document CompleteFully Loaded
Load TimeFirst ByteStart RenderTimeRequestsBytes InTimeRequestsBytes In
First View1.201s0.355s0.974s1.201s1055 KB2.065s20103 KB
Repeat View0.605s0.352s0.473s0.605s212 KB1.447s514 KB

Did you see that? Less requests, less data and faster rendering for first and repeat views. Hurray for WP-YouTube-Lyte! But enough with that ego-tripping already, I’ve got an Opera-bug to look into! Or wait, I’ll watch this great new Pomplamoose+Ben Folds+Nick Hornby  videosong first:

Ben Folds, Nick Hornby, & Pomplamoose VideoSong!!!!

Watch this video on YouTube.

Protecting wp-contact-form from spam

Ever since I installed WordPress on my (virtual) server, I’ve been using the WP Contact Form plugin to provide me with simple contact form. The plugin isn’t exactly under active development (Last Updated: 2009-8-28), but it got the job done and I was quite happy with it. Until spammers found the page and started abusing it, that is. There’s a bunch of other Contactform-plugins in the wordpress.org plugins repository, but most of them were either too feature-packed or development for them seemed to have stopped.

I considered adding ReCaptcha at first, but why would I want to put my visitors through such an ordeal; the captcha’s seem to have gotten very difficult to decipher.  Next possibility; implement Akismet (Mollom would have been a great choice as well)? There’s a great Akismet PHP5-class, you just provide your API-key and off you go. But it seemed kind of inefficient to have to do all that with the official Akismet-plugin already in place?

But wait a minute, why not just piggyback on the Akismet-plugin, as the Clean-contact plugin and wp-contactform-akismet did? Keep it simple stupid and so I just copy/pasted the clean_contact_akismet-function from Clean Contact’s code into my wp-content/plugins/wp-contact-form/wp-contactform.php and on line 142 I changed:

mail($recipient, $subject, $fullmsg, $headers);
$results = '<div style="font-weight: bold;">' . $success_msg . '</div>';
echo $results;


if (!$akismet) {
mail($recipient, $subject, $fullmsg, $headers);
$results = $success_msg;
} else {
$results = 'If it looks like spam and smells like spam, it must be spam. Leave (or rephrase)!';
echo '<div style="font-weight: bold;">'.$results.'</div>';

That was all it took to add Akismet spam-filtering to that KISS-y wp-contact-form plugin. I wonder why this isn’t in the plugin already?