I have been running a custom app on my server for a little over 3 years now that I wrote to help me auto-ban IP addresses from known email spammers, blog spammers, bots, anonymous proxies, and IP’s that have been the source of attacks against my server. If you happened to visit my site with a web browser from one of these IP’s then you are directed to a special page which records your IP and does some other things to keep track of your system on return visits to prevent attacks, etc. You will know you have been there – its a black and white page with my favorite picture of Johnny Cash giving you the finger. Unfortunately the direct URL to this page got posted to a blog entry by Aral Balkan on his site this morning when his IP got caught in the system – and thus everyone who visited that entry and tried the link he posted also got auto-banned. Aral had no idea of knowing the effect of posting that URL, so no biggie, I put up some comments on his entry to help folks out. Looks like approx. 150-160 people got banned according to my logs. What I have also done is to temporarily turn the system off, and it will be off for the next 24 hours to allow things to calm down.
The funny thing is I have been running this system for over 3 years now, and never had a problem until today when the direct URL got posted which unfortunately auto-bans you. A funny side effect was that earlier this year the large image of Johnny Cash on my site got ranked as the #1 google result for the search “Johnny Cash Finger” and became so popular as an avatar on PHPBB forums, and other forums where people were hot linking to the image for their avatar, that I had to devise a system to prevent that from happening as I was serving up close to 500+ megs of Johnny Cash every 12 hours. Needless to say that sucked – so I fixed that up pretty quick by serving an “alternate” image if you hotlinked directly to it – and lets just say that this image WAS NOT Johnny Cash. 🙂
OK, so hope things will settle down, and tomorrow I’ll turn the system back on and we will see what happens. Apologies to those of you who clicked on the link in Arals post an got temporarily banned.