Design Oahu

Web design blog from the middle of the pacific.

WordPress Plugin – Obfuscate

What does obfuscate mean?

According to dictionary.com:

ob•fus•cate

  1. to confuse, bewilder, or stupefy.
  2. to make obscure or unclear: to obfuscate a problem with extraneous information.

What is it used for?

Obfuscate is a WordPress Plugin that obfuscates email addresses in your posts and pages reducing the chance of your email address getting picked up by an evil web crawler or bot and used as a spam target.

What will the email address look like?

Readers of your WordPress blog will not notice that anything has been changed. If the email is a link, it will still open up your reader’s mail client.

How does it work?

Each character in the email address is converted to its ASCII equivalent. For example the letter ‘j’ is converted into ‘j ‘. If you take a look at the source of this page in your browser you will see the difference which looks quite normal on the screen, but is in fact much different in the source.

Is this 100% effective?

No. Obfuscation as the definition states, just makes it more confusing. If an evil spammer was willing to invest the energy into checking all ASCII characters for an email address, then they would be able to get the one you added. However, with the ease of collecting the non-obfuscated email addresses, the vast majority of spam bots will likely not bother. To put everything into perspective, think of the obfuscate plugin as a condom, perhaps not 100% effective against the spread of STDs and unplanned pregnancy, but much safer than unprotected sex.

How do I install Obfuscate?

Download the Obfuscate Version 1.2 ZIP file, unzip it, then upload the obfuscate folder into you wp-content/plugins directory. Now login to your blog and Select Plugins, find Obfuscate and click Activate. WordPress makes it pretty simple.

What if I still have questions?

If you have any question send me an email at jeremy@designoahu.com or just add a comment below.

Update:
Obfuscate Version 1.2 is now available. If you are using an older version, please upgrade. Upgrading is simple, just unzip and overwrite the obfuscate.php file.

Change Log:
Version 1.2 created a str_split function for compatibility with PHP4.
Version 1.1 has added a higher priority which should solve some compatibility issues when using obfuscate with other plugins. Obfuscate Version 1.1 now obfuscates email address in the content, excerpt, comments, and rss feeds.

Web of Trust (WoT)

WoT Notary Seal
I am honored to become the first Web of Trust (WoT) Notary in Hawaii that earned the ability to notarize through other Hawaii WoT members. I am now available in Honolulu to make an assertion for you. Thawte offers free personal email certificates that allow you to digitally sign and encrypt your email messages. The free certificate works perfectly, however the only caveat is that the name appearing on the certificate says “Thawte Freemail Member”. It is a small price to pay (nothing) for what you actually get in return (encryption).

If it is important to you (as it was me) to have your name appear on the certificate then you will need to get notarized by a Web of Trust (WoT) Notary. Basically, any WoT notary is able to give you between 10 and 35 points. In order to get your name on the certificate you must have 50 points. The amount of points that a notary is able to distribute is based on the amount of assertions the notary has made, so a notary that regularly notarizes others is able to give more points. In order to become a notary you must collect 100 points.

I think that the Web of Trust is a great idea to have a community of people helping other people. My hope is that we can grow the WoT on Hawaii and make it really easy for others on the islands to get certified. If you wish to be certified please send me an email with your availability. Thawte gives notaries the option of charging for your services, however I will not be charging, as that defeats the purpose of a “Free” certificate.

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