Internet Blocking of Entire Countries

Connecting the Dots has been around since 2004 and I have hundreds upon hundreds of posts linked to from all over the ‘net. As such this blog has always been slammed by script kiddies, crackers and hackers who have tried to login, insert malware (and once they were successful) and much worse.

But it wasn’t until I tried Wordfence on this blog (and immediately I upgraded to Pro it was so useful) did I begin to deeply and intuitively understand where these attacks were coming from, exactly which posts they were trying to infiltrate and how, and the frequency with which the attacks came. It was quite eye-opening and, I must admit, I had several “Oh shit!” moments over the last few weeks as I realized how some security measure I’d put in place had luckily barricaded my blog from a particular attack. 

Unfortunately this tool also became a bit of a problem since I would often login and block individual IP addresses from the most egregious of the attackers. Sometimes I’d do this for an hour or more while watching a movie with my wife and it quickly became like a game of whac-a-mole and pretty tiresome.

Many of us on the Wordfence forum pleaded for one feature to appear in the next release: country blocking. Since using Wordfence made it easy to see that China, Russian Federation, Ukraine, Spain, Netherlands and a handful of other countries were particularly virulent in their relentless attacks — and rarely did anyone come from them who were actual “readers” of content — when co-founder Mark Maunder said they were going to implement “country blocking” I was ecstatic.

3.1.2 just came out and lo-and-behold it has country blocking! In one day I’ve seen a marked decrease in resources being consumed from my primary web hosting account (a VPS) so now I can hopefully stop spending so much money on memory and also invest less time optimizing my caching strategies to deal with this bombardment of attacks.

The sad thing? Any legitimate user from a blocked country will see my “show me the hand” page if they come to this blog from one of the blocked countries. It makes me think of what will happen in the future when more and more of us deploy tools like this to block nefarious and resource-consuming scumbags hammering on our websites and blogs.

Will there be collateral damage to legitimate internet users? I fear the answer is “yes”. Will this make the internet work less well for the world overall? Quite possibly…but I hope not. What do you think?

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Connecting the Dots Podcast

Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.