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Post by Daniel » December 10th, 2006, 10:03 pm

Haha, What's the fun in that :P

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Post by James » December 10th, 2006, 10:17 pm

ShyViolet wrote:Also, maybe you guys could do that thing where a potential member has to type in a letter/number code of distorted letters that are displayed--that's what a lot of websites do now as a spambot is unable to do this.
We added this over a year ago. Unfortunately it does not help. The program we use to run the forum (phpBB2) is a very popular - and open - program. Everyone has access to the source code. Therefore spammers have been able to write very specific spambots that bypass the registration process completely and just create user accounts at will.

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Post by James » December 14th, 2006, 7:57 pm

We've had over 100 spambot registrations in the week since I did the purge. That's about 15 per day.

At 7:45pm EST today I installed a mod that is supposed to help stop them. At that time "HelloDolly" was the last registered spambot (not counting those I deleted today for inappropriate names). It should be obvious very soon if this is working...

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Post by ShyViolet » December 14th, 2006, 8:43 pm

Wow, it's like...an infestation! :shock: :? :roll:

Hopefully the 'bots will be "exterminated"! :)
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Post by Daniel » December 15th, 2006, 3:02 am

Some of the screenames are very 'creative', got to give um that ;)

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Post by Ben » December 15th, 2006, 4:56 am

Who comes up with those screenames if they're not real people? Or are they from a random listing that gets picked by the bots?

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Post by James » December 15th, 2006, 8:05 am

12 hours in and no new bots! I think that is a record!

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Post by Daniel » December 15th, 2006, 2:46 pm

Huzzah! :D

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Post by disneyaholic » December 15th, 2006, 8:44 pm

James wrote:We've had over 100 spambot registrations in the week since I did the purge. That's about 15 per day.

At 7:45pm EST today I installed a mod that is supposed to help stop them. At that time "HelloDolly" was the last registered spambot (not counting those I deleted today for inappropriate names). It should be obvious very soon if this is working...
I am glad to hear that the mod is working. If you don't mind, but what is the name of the mod? I ask because I had a forum using on my site also using phpBB but I go so overrun with these spambot registrations I gave up on it. If the mod actually works I have have to try the mod out.

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Post by PixarVixen » December 18th, 2006, 11:09 am

You guys certainly have a different take on members here. Dash (Brandon) over at Pixar Planet doesn't mind the non-posting members as long as they aren't bots. He calls them "lurkers". They don't post but rather visit occasionally for updates. About 25% of our members are non-posters, and I'd say about a tenth of our members are daily posters.

We also have a few spammers who don't appear to understand my explanations that they are spammers. As a mod, I can only do so much, but I wish I could do more. :| I mean, our biggest spammer has made half as many posts as Ben has made here, but he has only been with us for 5 months. And they're not very lengthy posts, if you get me. Dash says he has improved a lot, but I strongly disagree. I'm very curious as to how you guys handle spamming here.

Our bot infestation didn't hit us until we acquired our 100th member. It's like reaching 100 unlocked the gate somehow.

We've made discoveries that help us identify bots much quicker. The "creative" usernames (as Daniel Jake put it) are a dead giveaway, but we've also noticed that every single bot, nasty or otherwise, has the same birthday...March 28, 1983. And our latest bot had the name "lpfdmknfp". This is a common pattern for bot usernames, but 3 of our real members have jumbled-letter names like that, so I have to check each one, which I do anyway.

So anyway, that's our situation.

And James, Dash told me we have the same forum setup, so if you wanna send us the fix you've been using, that would rock. ;)

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Post by James » December 18th, 2006, 11:50 am

We don't mind non-posting members either. But the problem is the bots made up over 90% of our non-posting members! Go look at our member list and sort it DESCENDING. Every name on that first page registered after I purged the membership. How many of those 50 are actually real people? Three of four is my guess! So all the rest are bots that registered in the seven day time frame between the purge and me installing the new spambot repellent! Due that is just too much to deal with so we came up with the purge system. But now that the spambot repellent seems to be working, we may not have to worry about purging anymore!

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Post by PixarVixen » December 18th, 2006, 11:54 am

I see. But what do you do about spamming members?

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Post by James » December 18th, 2006, 11:55 am

Here is the modification I made to our forums that seems to be stopping the spambots.
http://www.phpbb.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=435702

To see it in action log out, click register, and note that there is a new field that requires you to enter a code of my choosing before your registration is processed. Since this is not part of the default phpBB2 installation the spambots don't know about it and their registrations fail.

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Post by James » December 18th, 2006, 11:57 am

PixarVixen wrote:I see. But what do you do about spamming members?

~~=oP
Warn them and then ban them! We've been lucky in that that has not been a big issue here. We've only had to do that maybe two or three times in the past few years. The spambots have been our main foe!

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Post by PixarVixen » December 18th, 2006, 12:24 pm

Thanks for the link, James. :)

*sighs* Unfortunately, Dash and I aren't in the same boat when it comes to spammers. He doesn't believe in banning them because, and I think this is the reason, they're young. Ages aside, there are 6 members that I would've banned a looooong time ago. Our age requirement is 13+, but they don't act like it.

Forums are for discussion, not just commenting that something is cool. Well, that's my opinion.

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