TAC Results For Black Bible Free WP Theme
Before I get started, I feel it’s important to point out that not all themes where encryption code is found (even if it is to hide malware, etc) means it came from a dishonest developer or that they even placed it there. I have found base64 code in themes before where the person had been downloading free themes from other sites and then embedded code because they either wanted to permanently keep a link back in the footer, or they claimed they would remove it only after the user purchased a ‘license’ (this, for a theme that wasn’t even theirs in the first place). Then again, there is also the malware and other scripts to make your site do bad things.
Now, on to the encrypted code that TAC found in the footer of the free WP theme Black Bible:
After clicking on the “Details” button (in blue), the following information was revealed, which told me that there is base64 in the footer.php. I clicked on the [Edit] link which opened the editor to the footer.php file. There are times I get a message something like “file not found”, etc. In that case, you will need to go directly to the file your self.
There is something else I would like to point out here, and that is the absence of ANYTHING visible in the footer when looking at this blog. That should be your second red flag. A developer who only wants to make sure that the link back to their site giving them credit remains in the theme’s footer, is also going to want your visitors to see it. Below is what this footer actually looks like:
Now that I’ve clicked on the [Edit] link, the footer.php opens up in the editor and this is how it looked:
So, after manually decoding the base64 (this one was fairly easy, see how I did it here), I found that there was a linkback to a website selling Email Marketing Software that was in Russian. Ironically, the text notes in the code were written in German and translated to ‘please be fair and reward the designer for his work with the link’.
Just to be sure, I found a developer name and website in the theme’s style file and went there (incidentally, this does not mean it is the original developer, this too can be changed). The only reference I could find to the theme was a blog post from 2008 and there were questions about the linkback in the footer. The theme (or any other themes for that matter) could not be found and the website appeared to be more of a gift shop and not design related at all.
Still, even that one page stated that there was no charge for the theme (apparently when it was there) but that the small linkback TO THEM in the footer must remain.
I will ALWAYS support a developer by leaving the linkback to THEM in the footer of a free theme, they deserve the credit. It’s another thing entirely to mislead me with a link to something else. Deal breaker.
I hope this helps a few, leave a comment if you have questions!
(please remember to share! :)