/_vti_bin/shtml.exe/_vti_rpc --why was someone looking for this on my website?

So I was looking at my website stats. There’s a section for failed requests, and usually I see a try or two for “robots.txt” and “favico”-something or other. But today I saw 4 requests for /_vti_inf.html , two for /_vti_bin/shtml.exe/_vti_rpc , one for /oneofmypages.html/_vti_bin/shtml.exe/_vti_rpc and one for /oneofmydirectories/_vti_bin/shtml.exe/_vti_rpc

What gives? I wouldn’t have wondered much about the first two, since I don’t exactly know what robots.txt is, either, but the others were tagged on to the url’s of an existing page, and a completely different existing directory, which looked to me as though someone typed them in–but why? What are these files, and what do they do, and what was the person trying to do who was looking for them on my site?

What type of page is it? Just personal? Or does it have to do with any type of bussiness that someone could be looking for mailing lists, Credit Cards, email addresses etc…

I believe those are related to remote development using Microsoft Frontpage - something to do with Frontpage extensions. In other words, someone is trying to develop against your website using Frontpage !

By the way, ROBOTS.TXT is a file a web site operator can save to their site so that “spiders” that scour the web for information can know that you prefer they NOT index your site.
Of course, some “spiders” may not care as to your wishes.
Oh, and if I saw requests like that which I didn’t recognize in my logs, I would assume someone was trying to break in to my server.

BTW, I saw on Google Groups (search for _vti_inf) that some of the popular “script kiddie” hacker tools look for these Frontpage files to find vulnerabilities on your website - so beware.

robots.txt is a standard text file accessed by search engine spiders -you can put lines in it for example to direct search engines not to index certain pages on your site. Here’s an explanation.

Not necessarily.

They are looking for Microsoft-based web software (yes, FrontPage) so they can exploit known loopholes to spread computer virues, tojans, among other things.

You should have a robots.txt file on your site.

As for the favicon, that’s up to you. It’s IE-specific and not web standard. IMHO, overhype with no real gain for a site.

Either some ankle-biter wants to deface your website - which I doubt, or wants to take over your computer to launch DDoS, which is a lot more probable.

What is all that _vti stuff FrontPage insists on making, anyway? Can I just delete it? My web page is pretty basic, doesn’t use many whizzbang features or nothin.

No idea. What you can do is to run your webpages through another editor to get rid all the FrontPage crap, then test these without the _vti stuff.

The _vti stuff is there so the application (Front Page) can keep an eye on what you are doing. It keeps track of included pages, shared borders, stuff like that. It also uses it to keep a track of what has been updated so when you next publish it can decide ahead of time what to check for on your server.
You can delete them, but next time you open FP it will create them again.
If you’re not usnig FP, then delete happily.

(Anything that you do based on my suggestion is at your own risk).

Yes, I was sort of suspicious about that, and that’s why I asked.

So, having read the responses so far, it seems like someone was trying to get in and do something bad using something that Front Page does. As it happens, I use Front Page as an html editor, but the server I’m on doesn’t support FrontPage, which I gather means I get those files on my site, among other things. I can request they move me to a FrontPage enabled server, but I’ve never done that, because I never saw any need for it. So I guess they couldn’t do whatever it was they were trying to do.

The site is personal–there’s nothing sensitive there, just a few book reviews and some fanfic, and images and such that I use on message boards that allow such things. I don’t really care if I’m indexed by robots or not, is there some specific reason that I ought to have a robot.txt file? I read the faq on your link, Duckster, it was helpful, but is there some reason one ought to have one if being indexed isn’t a problem?

Bren: If you want robots to index all of your site, not having a robots.txt file is acceptable. But if you do decide to add content that should not be mechanically read (php scripts, other cgi, large images, really, anything that would strain your machine unduly if it were randomly accessed by machine), it’s good to know there’s an empty robots.txt file in your root directory you can add to.

I just wanted to wander in and point out that favicon is not IE specifc. All web browsers that I know of, including Netscape/Mozilla, will download and display the icon that you select.

Just to pick a nit: favicons used to be IE only but Mozilla (and by extention Netscape) and konquerer (a Unix browser) decided to add support for them after teh fact. I think they’re kind of neat but not everyone likes them