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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 08:06 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Spammers

Good morning everyone.

I've seen a lot of comments regarding the recent increase in spam bots appearing on this site. We're doing everything we can to prevent them from signing up, but it's just a losing battle.

Trust me, I don't like seeing them on here as much as you do. There's no reasoning with them, there's no coaxing them to stop, there's no person behind the posts, and there's no way to ever completely stop them.

The posts come from India, China, Russia, you name it. The IPs are banned immediately with them, but there's no end to it because there's no end to the amount of IPs one can hide behind. If I were an admin, there may be a way to block an entire range of IPs, but I don't know how vBulletin works or if a site admin could do this for us.

@taylerdo, @GhostlyShdow, @6Y MAZDA and everyone else, I can't thank you enough for letting me know whenever you spot crap like this and I try to respond to it as fast as possible.

While reporting the post is always the first course of action, mentioning me is certainly the best way to get my attention. When you mention me, I immediately get an email and I will always look into it at least through that. If it seems urgent through the email, I'll respond on here as soon as I can.

This goes for anyone causing an issue on the forum as well. As soon as things get out of hand (I.E. Torsional Stiffness), mention me, or any of the other mods and we'll come as soon as possible.


Again, thank you for your concerns, and we're doing everything we can to prevent these lousy bots from defiling our site.

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Last edited by Byakuya; 12-11-2014 at 08:08 AM.
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 10:26 AM
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This is a fairly serious problem with most forum software and unfortunately many of the commercial packages do either a poor or very poor job of interdicting it automatically. Nearly all of the spam is coming from automated 'bots, not people.

There are some things you can do to improve spam resistance (by a lot) but they require coding; if you're interested drop me a PM with a way to chat with you offline. I've run a forum that operates on my own code in one form or another going back into the 1980s (really!) and the current software base I use has a near-zero spam penetration rate, although there are certainly plenty of attempts!
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 11:12 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tickerguy View Post
This is a fairly serious problem with most forum software and unfortunately many of the commercial packages do either a poor or very poor job of interdicting it automatically. Nearly all of the spam is coming from automated 'bots, not people.

There are some things you can do to improve spam resistance (by a lot) but they require coding; if you're interested drop me a PM with a way to chat with you offline. I've run a forum that operates on my own code in one form or another going back into the 1980s (really!) and the current software base I use has a near-zero spam penetration rate, although there are certainly plenty of attempts!
Thanks sir. I'm a Systems Administrator, avid programmer and I built and maintain the NEM6 website. I know too well the troubles of spammers.

Unfortunately this site is run by AutoGuide and running on an old version of vBulletin. I don't know the intricacies of vBulletin but I can imagine they have plenty of preventative measures against spammers.

The greatest preventative measure I've found on my forum is to ask a couple random questions and to frequently alter those questions so a human cannot figure them out once and program the bot to memorize them.

I had recently got the old 6Club locked down tight until a bot solved the simple questions. Each time a bot infiltrates the site, it's recommended to change those questions but the Administrators weren't responsive to my requests.

Then the forum update happened and the security went back down to a captcha. I'll do my best to get the security level back up, but for the time being we'll have to idly watch the bots post their nonsense.

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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 11:20 AM
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Playing whack-a-mole doesn't work as the amount of work required is too high.

A few years ago I got really tired of this game and started looking at the problem from a different angle -- specifically, whether it was possible to detect a robot on the site without presenting CAPTCHA-style challenges.

The answer turned out to be "yes" and thus my forum code's auto-defensive system was born; if it detects a potential spambot it instantly IP-level bans the source address and since a forum requires at least two accesses to post something (first to register the account and then to post) this is extremely effective in cutting the amount of machine-generated spam that gets through to zero.
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 11:37 AM
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As a moderator on a fairly huge forum surrounding online trading it's easy to see how spam bots really are a nuisance. On there one of the technical admins has made it so specific phrases lead to automatic bans thus reducing the amount of spam greatly. Unfortunately spam bots are run off servers so blocking ips are only a temporary fix.
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 11:54 AM
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Entrr View Post
As a moderator on a fairly huge forum surrounding online trading it's easy to see how spam bots really are a nuisance. On there one of the technical admins has made it so specific phrases lead to automatic bans thus reducing the amount of spam greatly. Unfortunately spam bots are run off servers so blocking ips are only a temporary fix.
Manually blocking IPs, yes.

The robot writers have missed a particular fact, however (indeed unless a given robot is directed SPECIFICALLY at your site the robot code almost HAS TO make this mistake) and that's detectable.

Quote:
syslog(LOG_ERR, "ROBOT REGISTRATION DENIED: [%s]", getcgi("email"));
execute_honeypot("Robot Reg. Source");
error_redirect("error/robot", NULL);
If you understand how to modify the code in your forum software (or you wrote it) PM me with a way to get ahold of you and I'll explain what I'm looking at and thus how to put a stop to this crap.

It works.
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byakuya View Post
Good morning everyone.

I've seen a lot of comments regarding the recent increase in spam bots appearing on this site. We're doing everything we can to prevent them from signing up, but it's just a losing battle
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 08:45 PM
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Spammers

@Byakuya, we all appreciate the work you and the other mods do in keeping this place clean of as much of the spam as you can. Plus taking care of any flame wars that break out between members makes this a more inviting place. So thanks for all your hard work.


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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 08:05 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the feedback guys, it's appreciated.

Ticker, I would love to help you out, but not even Mz6GreyGhost can mess with the code. It's all hidden on the Autoguide servers and we're not allowed to see it, let alone mess around with it.

Blocking specific email address-types is an effective way to prohibit many of the spammers, since the vast majority of them come from a few well-known sources, but there's just too many people from all over the world who come to this site with varying email addresses.

Banning an entire section of IPs is also off the table since again, we have a global presence here.

I'd love to fiddle with the underlying code but that's not my place here. Perhaps I'll create my own bot that skims the forum looking for spam on my behalf, and does the banning for me.


Besides - It's quite simple to ban spammers on here, it really doesn't bother me much. It's simply 3 clicks of my mouse and they're IP banned forever.
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