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OpenServo Forum and Spammers

 
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mpthompson



Joined: 02 Jan 2006
Posts: 650
Location: San Carlos, CA

PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 7:16 am    Post subject: OpenServo Forum and Spammers Reply with quote

As regulars may have noticed, the OpenServo Forums have not been immune to spammers attempting to subvert this site to their own purposes. Barry Carter has led a valiant effort clean up the messes they make and to put up barriers to the spammers. Hopefully these efforts will make this forum more pleasant for everyone to visit and easier for us eliminate the spammers who do make it past the safeguards.

For those interested, Barry pointed me to this article that talks about why spammers spam phpBB based forums and efforts that can be taken to reduce (but not completely eliminate) their impact. It's a fairly quick read.

For other people familiar with securing phpBB forums from spammers we would certainly be interested in your experiences with what worked and didn't work for you to chase these low-lifes away.

-Mike
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linuxguy



Joined: 16 Oct 2006
Posts: 120
Location: Beaverton, OR

PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 3:02 pm    Post subject: Re: OpenServo Forum and Spammers Reply with quote

mpthompson wrote:
For other people familiar with securing phpBB forums from spammers we would certainly be interested in your experiences with what worked and didn't work for you to chase these low-lifes away.

You should contact Beth (webmaster@lynxmotion.com) over at Lynxmotion as they have made some changes which seem to have reduced the level of spam significantly. They are very busy over there right now, so you may not get a reply right away. I and another member over there also watch for spammers, report them as we see them, and delete spam posts and threads.

I try to help Barry out as much as I can, by finding and reporting spammers to him, but it takes a lot of time to get through the entire user list, while more spammers keep joining.

8-Dale
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ginge
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jan 2006
Posts: 1031
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Dale,

Thanks for the info. I am sure Mike is in the process of firing an email over to them right now.

I would like to publicly thank you for your time and effort in locating these pesky spammers for me to remove. It does take time to look through and isolate the spam users, and that is time I been able to use to focus on OpenServo related goodies.

We have something in place that makes it a million times easier to locate and delete these users in one easy click. Hopefully this will take the burden from you so you may invest your time in more entertaining things.

Barry
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linuxguy



Joined: 16 Oct 2006
Posts: 120
Location: Beaverton, OR

PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ginge wrote:
I would like to publicly thank you for your time and effort in locating these pesky spammers for me to remove. It does take time to look through and isolate the spam users, and that is time I been able to use to focus on OpenServo related goodies.

Awww, shucks, Barry, no need for thanks, but appreciated. Very Happy I am frequently up at odd hours, unable to sleep, so I take frustrations out on the spammers. Wink I have lots of time, so am glad to help out when and where I can.

8-Dale
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peteh



Joined: 07 Apr 2007
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

I run a small forum using phpBB. It has just over 100 members and we get 2 or 3 spurious registration attempts per day. Left alone there would probably be several hundred 'members' now.

I have done a couple of things to deter the bots:

First: Users must be logged-in to see the member list. This will, to
some extent reduce the exposure of user's email addresses. The link spammers now get nothing as spiders cannot see the memberlist and so there is nothing to be gained by placing a web site there. Not that the bots care.

Second: We set it up so that all user accounts must be approved. This was, for a while, tedious but... I added a mod called user_shield
(http://www.phpbb.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=399863&)
this allows us to go to the memberlist (when logged in as an admin) and
use the drop-down box at the top of the list to see only inactive
accounts. Once the list is shown, it is possible to check each one and
activate or delete it.

Also, when you are logged in, the user status at the foot of the page
has a link to display just inactive accounts for further processing.
Ordinary users see none of this. It only takes a couple of minutes to approve/reject applicatnts and nobody has complained at having to wait while the account gets activated. It is pretty easy to spot the spammers. Pretty well all of them inset an ICQ address so they are almost automatically deleted. There should be no need to respond to the activation emails. I suggest you just delete them and simply use them as a way to know when new users are awaiting activation.


I like your 'are you a person' question. Where did that come from?

It crossed my mind to simply rename the script that does registrations. No bot should even find it then.

Pete
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ginge
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jan 2006
Posts: 1031
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, and thanks for the advice.

The plugin for "are you a person" is called "the humanizer" module
http://www.phpbbhacks.com/download/6432

I don't think we want to go down the route of admin activation, so we are working to install mods to minimise the spam.

Barry
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lalist



Joined: 28 Sep 2009
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Admin activation is not a good idea. I run couple of phpbb based forums, and tried it. Admin never has time to do activation on regular basis, and new users get bored (or even offended) by waiting, so often they never come back.
Also, now-days there is so much spam in mailboxes, and spam filters is so aggressive, that activation mail can be lost easily.
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