Protect your WordPress blog

WordPress security

I have a new post up at Weblog Tools Collection that covers several extremely useful plugins for securing your WordPress blog. WordPress is pretty secure, if you keep it updated, but these plugins provide some serious added security with little to no trade-off. Oh, and they’re all free.

Somewhat related: Politically Motivated Attacks Could Force Enterprises To Reshape Defenses (via Ethan Zuckerman).

For the most part, most blackhats are apolitical criminals – they’re interested in spamming and stealing credit card numbers, not taking down states or harassing journalists. But I could see that changing quick, so if you’re posting anything controversial (right or left) or criticizing the government of any state, you’d do well to spend some time installing some security plugins.

(If you need help with this, contact me at klint at mediapunk dot net)

Web 3.0 Now: 5 “Next Generation” Plugins For WordPress

Yes, “Web 3.0” smacks of buzzwordism, and is ill defined at this point. But if the web is transitioning to a new era, here are a few plugins to help ye ole WordPress keep up to snuff.

Distributed Identity

One of the various facets “Web 3.0” is “distributed identity,” possibly the most popular of which is OpenID.

  • There’s a dead simple OpenID plug-in for WordPress. Unfortunately, it won’t work on my host (HostGator) so I can’t use it here.
  • Update: I just found this Google FriendConnect plugin that allows users to use Google, Yahoo!, OpenID and other systems to leave comments. Seems to work fine. Doesn’t work on this site. *sigh* (neither does the official one from Google)

    Cloud Agents

    Perhaps no other IT concept is being more hyped right now than cloud computing. The term’s used a few different ways, but in this case we’re talking very broadly about data on the “the cloud” (aka “the Internet”).

    Chris Arkenberg coined the term cloud agent, tiny apps that “help us sort and search the massive volumes of data we interact with regularly,” last year. Since that time it seems to be a slow moving space. Yet there are some WordPress plugins that I think qualify as cloud agents.

  • TweetBacks is similar to trackbacks, but pulls in all mentions of a post on Twitter. (There’s a more complex plugin called TweetSuite but I can’t get it to work.)
  • Stumble Reviews displays all reviews of a post from StumbleUpon on your page. Works better than TweetBacks, but I suppose is easier to implement.
  • These two plugins take distributed conversation about a particular piece of web content and fold it back into the original location, leaving users free to converse in the social media environment of their choosing while contributing to a larger, easily trackable conversation.

    Semantic Web

    The “semantic web” is one of the longest anticipated components of “Web 3.0” and is in some cases considered synonymous with “Web 3.0”. WordPress has been using the microformat XFN for quite some time, and there are several microformat plugins for WordPress. But microformats seem mostly designed to format data to be machine readable for some future purpose, rather than providing some benefit now.

    Here are a two practical semantic web plugins for WordPress that are available now:

  • OpenCalais Archive Tagger goes through your archives and automatically adds tags. I ran this through the thousands of posts here and got many many more tags. The downside is that not all of them are relevant, and I’m slowly working my way through the archives deleting unnecessary tags. But if you’ve got a large number of posts and haven’t been using tags, this could be quite useful for you.
  • Tagaroo – suggests tags and Flickr images for a post. I don’t use this, but it sounds useful.
  • If you like this article feel free to give it a thumbs up on stumbleupon.

    Back online at last

    We’re back up and now running with Grey Matter. It’s a nifty little program that should speed up the process of things around here. Look for a new site design to follow.

    Update: Since this post was published, we’ve migrated to Movable Type and then to WordPress. I remember Grey Matter, created by Noah Grey fondly. It inspired WordPress.

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