Archive for 20th December 2012

Zombies banging at the WordPress door

Zombies are impossible to avoid in this day and age, even (maybe especially) online. Anyone who maintains a publicly accessible server and pays even passing attention to their security logs can attest to the repeated brute force login attempts for everything from SSH to WordPress admin panels. Having a strong SSH password, disabling root logins, and changing the default port works wonders, but doesn't help with my WordPress installation, which is where I most often get hit these days.

In the past, these naive attacks were fairly easy to block using tools like fail2ban or using plugins like Limit Login Attempts, which put IP addresses on a blacklist for too many failed login attempts. Unfortunately, of late it seems like the crackers have caught on, and are now bringing the full force of the zombie hordes to bear: each zombie computer only tries logging in to a particular website once, preventing an IP blacklist from having any effect.

Thus, I've had to resort to more drastic action: IP whitelists by placing the following code in the .htaccess file of my WordPress directory:

<Files wp-login.php>
order deny,allow
deny from all
allow from
</Files> should obviously be replaced with your IP address unless you only access WordPress Admin from the server itself (either directly or through a proxy like Socks5). I have a dynamic IP address, but now use a Socks5 SSH tunnel for working on WordPress. Anyone else trying to login will now get a 403 forbidden page, not only adding to my peace of mind, but also saving me the processing time and bandwidth of serving up the login page to would-be crackers. 😀