How Nyan Cat Saved My Web Servers from Evil Chinese Hackers

Screen shot 2012-03-10 at 12.55.32 PMMy websites were under constant and never ending probing from overseas.   All day and all night, my site was being hammered with requests for software I didn’t even have installed.

As an aside, if you are thinking about outsourcing the setup of your webserver, I’d want to make sure the person with whom you are contracting knows what they are doing.  Many of the scripted attempts center around looking for PHPMyAdmin and other web based administration packages that may be poorly configured or installed.  I’ve decided never to use those packages, and if I did, I’d sure as heck install it somewhere other than the default path.

Screen shot 2012-03-10 at 1.11.01 PMIn any event, I was getting probed like crazy and my error logs were littered with requests or various packages for lazy administrators and 4-hour work week outsource-your-life types.

At first, I started writing a script when someone tried to access one of the paths, which would add a dynamic rule to the firewall to block them at the IP level, or better yet simply block Chinese IP address blocks en mass.   Then I thought there might be a better low tech way to handle the problem.

I decided to add a simple page redirecting the user to a YouTube video of Nyan Cat.  Nyan Cat is an 8 bit animation with a loop of music.

Then something amazing happened.  The probing has almost stopped and now my error log only contains broken links that I need to fix (or new packages that have security vulnerabilities) and weird SEO reverse link spam.  Further more, the Nyan Cat video now has over 67,073,617 views.

Thank you Nyan Cat.

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