How to block Fusker

This is actually simpler than some people may think, as the entire process of being ‘fuskered’ has always seemed incredibly technical to many webmasters who see their images being hotlinked and literally gigs of bandwidth being burned away in front of them. It should be warned that there are many clones of Fusker (the original .com of which has now been taken down and was last seen being sold on industry messageboards for a price tag of around $600,000) which can hotlink you just as much as Fusker did, some of which even have more users and pose a greater risk to your bandwidth limit and overage fees. The first step you can take towards blocking the process of Fusker and protecting your content from being hotlinked is to create a .htaccess file on your server, and include the following lines.

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://DOMAIN.com/.*$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://www.DOMAIN.com/.*$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://BLAHDOMAIN.com/.*$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://www.BLAHDOMAIN.com/.*$ [NC]
RewriteRule .*\.([gG][iI][fF]|[jJ][pP][gG])$ – [F]

and then continue on with the next piece of code…

order allow,deny
deny from fusker.com
allow from all

If you get linked by a Fusker clone, use the lower code to block their domain as well, an example would be the currently popular TrouserStew.com fusker script which has thousands of users and easily can put you out of comission within a few hours of you appearing on their webpage. For a more in depth view on hotlinking as a whole, and ways of indentifying misuse of content that is on your server, view this article which goes in depth into the topic and ways in which you can try to prevent it.

One of the main reasons you will want to block fusker is that not only does it burn your bandwidth, it also supplies you with users who are pretty much impossible to convert and often once you have been fuskered once you will be a target for those who use your copyrighted materials in order to gain themselves either traffic or profit. It is well known that Fusker will remove any banners or text links that you have advertising another site or yours when it displays you, which means that you will see no monetary gain from the use of your images and should disable it as soon as possible. Some webmasters have started using hotlink protection in order to save on bandwdith, and some have even gone as far as to sue those who are hotlinking them (usually unsuccessfully), but taking the first step is the most important and many do not protect their servers from the images being hotlinked.

Many webmasters also complain that if they are fuskered they could end up on the same pages as illegal content which may associate them with it in some way, however many of the popular fuskers have reporting methods which remove that type of material as soon as possible which is one positive step in their favour. It is unknown whether Fusker will continue to grow as it has done in the last few years, but it is likely unless wembasters decide to start protecting themselves against it.


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