Subscribe to your own Feed

You’re probably wondering why. It’s not to increase your feed reader numbers (is 1 going to make that much difference?!), and yes it’s already a good idea anyway to check that your posts are coming through correctly and without display problems. However to me now, the main reason is because of this spate of hacking and injecting hidden links into posts. By subscribing to your feed in something like Google Reader, which displays the feed with little additional formatting, you can see these additional links instantly. It’s a WordPress vulnerability that’s affected users of older versions (2.5 and possible 2.3.3 are okay as far as I’m aware) but of course these hackers will continue to try and find a way to exploit the latest version too.

A friend of mine was recently hit, I only noticed when I read his latest post and saw a long list of links to spam and adult sites. On checking his site they weren’t visible, but they were still there. I upgraded his blog to 2.5 for him and had a look through the last 5 posts he’d made. The last post, which was just 24 hours old, already had one injection of links. Older posts had 4-5 different injections, which contain about 50-100 links each. That’s a lot of links. Clearly different injections coming in from different people.

I’m sure some of these injections can go unnoticed in a feed as well, and of course there are other areas of your site that could be vulnerable if you’re not running a currently secure version, so a brief check of your source code every so often will be a good idea too, but this is just one additional step that’s easy to do. So go subscribe now 😉

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7 Responses

  1. Adam Dempsey says:

    Subscribing to the feed is one of the first things I do when i setup a new blog, useful for keeping an eye on the site etc, especially when you have scheduled posts, which I have now started using on a site to try and keep my posting frequency a bit more stabalised.

  2. rutty says:

    I didn’t know about that at all. Thanks for the tip

  3. Sarah says:

    Adam, good point on the scheduled posting too.

    No problem rutty, it just helps to keep an eye on things 🙂

  4. Like Adam, it’s the first thing I do with any blogs I manage. I also do it just to make sure the feed is updating, for whatever possible reason that could prevent it. Definitely an excellent tip 🙂

  5. Sarah says:

    Hi Mike, cheers for the comment 🙂

  6. Rob O. says:

    Other great reasons aside, I initially subscribed to my own feed just so I could see when it goes live. Sometimes there’s a slight lag between when an entry is published and the RSS readers scrape it up.

  7. Sarah says:

    Hey Rob, another good point (maybe I should start listing all of these!). I’ve noticed a serious lag at times, other times I publish the post, notice a mistake and go to fix it however feedburner has already been and picked up the first post!