Preventing SPAM - Bots and Humans [*Read the First Post!*]

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ric323
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Re: Preventing SPAM - Bots and Humans [*Read the First Post!*]

Post by ric323 » Sun Feb 03, 2008 9:36 pm

surekha wrote:in which category my site will go
lots of porn and pharmacy bots and users scubscribing, i have made registration to
Enable account activation > Admin
Enable Visual Confirmation > Yes
Allow automatic logins> Yes
but still lots of users registering daily. forum is newly started and spam coming, please see the list

< Link removed - not required for responce : ChrisRLG>
<Edit - woops - Just seen ric's post - I must read the whole topic next time : ChrisRLG : Sorry did not save the link>

i am manually removing their details but bored of doing this daily.

1. users remain in the database even if i dont accept them as registered users when i receive mail
2. no option to delete the user
3. is it possible to deny user request as i receive mail for registration
4. is it possible to select many users and delete at a time
The solutions to all of your questions are in the first post of this topic!
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Re: Preventing SPAM - Bots and Humans [*Read the First Post!*]

Post by Welshcat » Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:42 am

I have several anti-spam mods and filters in place on my forum such as ones to prevent new users posting links until they have been there/posted legitimately for a while. I also have put a hack in place where not all of the fields (eg website, birthdays etc) can be filled out in a profile while registering unless the member actually goes back and edits it later on. Furthermore, I have banned certain email addresses too, using the *@email.com wildcard.

Now these mostly work fine, and when I have tested it, you can't even see those fields (websites, urls, birthdays) in the profile when registering. However, for some reason, there are still a few spammers that manage to slip through the cracks. I don't know how, but ones from a certain email address that have been banned can still register with that address (even though it should say "this email address has been disallowed") and can still enter their date of birth (even though this is one of the fields that has been hidden during registration.

I also have a mod that logs the registration IP of new members. However, these certain spammers who are still able to register never display a registration IP or host name. I even have visual confirmation (Captcha) mods in place but that still doesn't stop them. They can just bypass all of this.

How are these spammers able to still circumvent the mods in place, even though you can't see the fields at all? It's not like they're coming back to edit their profiles either, because they show up as members who haven't actually been activated. And how can they still register with those email addresses that have been banned?

Is there some other mod that can keep these users out permanently?

Thanks

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Re: Preventing SPAM - Bots and Humans [*Read the First Post!*]

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie » Tue Feb 05, 2008 4:05 am

the register bots never see your registration form at all, hiding the fields makes no difference.

the best thing to do is to install the RAC MOD mentioned earlier in this topic.

It has been 100% effective so far ( over a year ) at stopping the bots.

human spammers are almost impossible to stop.

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Re: Preventing SPAM - Bots and Humans [*Read the First Post!*]

Post by Welshcat » Tue Feb 05, 2008 5:05 am

Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:the register bots never see your registration form at all, hiding the fields makes no difference.

the best thing to do is to install the RAC MOD mentioned earlier in this topic.

It has been 100% effective so far ( over a year ) at stopping the bots.

human spammers are almost impossible to stop.

robert
Well the visual confirmation mod didn't seem to stop the bots, even though they would be required to actually identify certain pictures.

I've installed the RAC mod but that also wasn't successful in preventing this particular bot from registering, so I guess it's not 100% effective. The bots just seemed to bypass the RAC completely for some reason, and I don't think it's a human spammer either because a) it has to answer a certain question that only certain people would know; b ) even though certain email addresses are banned it still manages to enter those email addresses in the profile; c) the spammer never activates its own membership and d) using the registration IP mod, these particular registrants never show an IP address or host.

Someone help. I've tried nearly all the mods but without success. I keep thinking that one will finally work only to find that the bot has gotten past that one too.

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Re: Preventing SPAM - Bots and Humans [*Read the First Post!*]

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie » Tue Feb 05, 2008 12:42 pm

a bot could not do all of that. the RAC MOD and most of the others are not going to work against a human that is determined to get in.

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Re: Preventing SPAM - Bots and Humans [*Read the First Post!*]

Post by stevemaury » Tue Feb 05, 2008 7:01 pm

That would be a human. There is some advantage in hiding fields in the Registration Form because it removes some of the incentive of human spammers. The Security Question MOD does this, and is configurable from the ACP, but otherwise pretty much like the RAC MOD.
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Re: Preventing SPAM - Bots and Humans [*Read the First Post!*]

Post by Welshcat » Tue Feb 05, 2008 9:32 pm

stevemaury wrote:That would be a human. There is some advantage in hiding fields in the Registration Form because it removes some of the incentive of human spammers. The Security Question MOD does this, and is configurable from the ACP, but otherwise pretty much like the RAC MOD.
Well the thing is that this particular brand of registrant sometimes seems the least human. First off, the website, signature and birthday fields are hidden when registering. Now the registrant never fills in the website or signature field thereby bringing into question the incentive of actually registering if there is nothing that will show up if a seach engine spiders the memberlist or profiles. However, he/she/it always manages to fill in the birthday field even though it shouldn't even appear on registration and has been tested in this regard. Furthermore, the registrant never activates his/her profile so it's not like he/she actually goes back to fill in the birthday field. How can it still fill in this field?

Second, I have the myprofile space mod installed on my forum. Therefore every new registrant should always have a myprofile space-style profile as soon as they register. However, this particular spammer always has the old profile style. I don't understand how it manages to get that.

Third, I have the registration IP mod installed. This spammer however never shows an IP address or host upon registration whereas all other registrants do.

Fourth and most importantly, I have both a visual confirmation mod and RAC mod installed. Now these aren't standard pictures or security questions that everyone would know. My forum is a maria sharapova fan site, and you have to actually identify all the pictures of her out of similar-looking tennis players with the same hair colour and similar looks. A fan would know, but to the average person it might be quite difficult to tell them apart. If you look at the example below, I have difficulty believing spammers would be able to actually pick the correct pictures, especially only a few minutes after the mod has just been installed:

Image

If they could actually pick out the pictures in the first place, then they would be a fan and not a spammer.

As far as the RAC mod goes, the question is also something that only a fan would know and not the average spammer.

So any help with this or any suggestions would be much appreciated.

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Re: Preventing SPAM - Bots and Humans [*Read the First Post!*]

Post by ric323 » Tue Feb 05, 2008 10:07 pm

From your descriptoin it is registering like a bot.
i.e. it doesn't matter what fields you hide, it is submitting the registration info directly, so it never sees your regiatration page.
What IP MOD exactly are you using? I suspect it is adding info in what is posted to register, so this technique is simply not providing that info.
I'm less sure how it could bypass the RAC MOD, unless someone has tuned a BOT to answer your question specifically. I also don't know how your 'pick the correct images" MOD works, but there may be a way to bypass it also. Could you post a link to that MOD file?
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Re: Preventing SPAM - Bots and Humans [*Read the First Post!*]

Post by Welshcat » Tue Feb 05, 2008 10:55 pm

ric323 wrote:From your descriptoin it is registering like a bot.
i.e. it doesn't matter what fields you hide, it is submitting the registration info directly, so it never sees your regiatration page.
What IP MOD exactly are you using? I suspect it is adding info in what is posted to register, so this technique is simply not providing that info.
I'm less sure how it could bypass the RAC MOD, unless someone has tuned a BOT to answer your question specifically. I also don't know how your 'pick the correct images" MOD works, but there may be a way to bypass it also. Could you post a link to that MOD file?
Well I'm not sure if the "hacks" (aka mods) I installed from these links are the same ones as some of the mods on this board, but from the descriptions they sound like they are.

The log registration IP mod is here: http://www.phpbbhacks.com/download/2975

And the photo visual confirmation is here: http://www.phpbbhacks.com/download/7937 (this one uses pics of animals and cars - the registrant has to pick the animals from the cars).

I simply changed the animal and car photos in the mod to something more specific when I installed it. However, less than 3 minutes after I actually installed the mod, one of those bots I have described above got through and managed to register. I can't see how someone would have tuned the bot to bypass that specifically after only 2 minutes, especially when it would have to a) learn which photos always appear and b ) actually be able to recognise which ones are correct.

The photo visual mod seems to have stopped human spammers from registering because they simply don't know the answer, but the bots still get through.

As for the RAC Mod, the question isn't something so straight forward either. It asks "what is maria sharapova's first grand slam title?" - a fan would easily know this, but not a bot and not necessarily a human spammer (incidentally it has also stopped the human spammers too but not the bot in question). Again, while the bot could have been tuned to answer this question specifically (I suppose it is possible that hundreds of spammers know the answer to this question), it shouldn't be able to get through this after just a few minutes of installing again.

So this bot must be designed to get through all these defences somehow.

But of course, one has to ask again: what is the incentive for the bots to keep registering if the website or signature fields never show up and they haven't even filled them in? Are they just registering for the sake of inputting their birthdays? Surely if they can bypass all of these mods then wouldn't they at least post some links in the website and signature fields rather than just filling in their date of birth?

Just to explain further, this is a screenshot of how the profile (myprofile space) of normal users or even human spammers etc would look on my forum:

Image

That is the only way their profiles can appear when they register.

Then this screenshot here is how the profiles appear for those spammers I have been referring to in my posts here so far. It's always exactly the same pattern:

Image

As you can see, the birthday field is always filled in. This causes headaches later because all of these spammers' birthdays appear at the bottom of the forum en masse and the profiles have to be amended each day.

Even if there isn't some mod to stop these spammers, is there some way for the birthdays to not appear at the bottom of the forum for these particular users, but to appear for everyone else who is legitimate?

Oh, and the other thing this bot can do is that it can still have usernames (and all variations of it) that have been specifically disallowed in the ACP.

This is really annoying.

Any help would be appreciated.

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Re: Preventing SPAM - Bots and Humans [*Read the First Post!*]

Post by 2by2host » Wed Feb 06, 2008 8:38 pm

Here’s a pretty interesting online tool that checks your phpBB forum for vulnerabilities to SPAM. It’s completely anonymous and free. All you need to do is type in your URL and it will produce the results.
http://www.phpbbcustomization.com/tools.php

Any comments, suggestions and bug reports are welcome.

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Re: Preventing SPAM - Bots and Humans [*Read the First Post!*]

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie » Thu Feb 07, 2008 6:34 am

2by2host wrote:Here’s a pretty interesting online tool that checks your phpBB forum for vulnerabilities to SPAM. It’s completely anonymous and free. All you need to do is type in your URL and it will produce the results.
http://www.phpbbcustomization.com/tools.php

Any comments, suggestions and bug reports are welcome.
harvesting email addresses is hardly the main problem with spammers in phpbb.

all you have to do is set email via board to yes and that problem goes away.


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Re: Preventing SPAM - Bots and Humans [*Read the First Post!*]

Post by danjoy25 » Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:22 am

Any chance there is a flash tutorial on how to install this mod, actually any mods. Ive been running PHPBB since Nov 07 but paid someone to load the software and Im really keen to learn myself. I've read "how to install mods" and has just confused me more. Im really clueless.

I can get in to my C Panel (Hostmonster) and not sure what to do from there. Is it going to files and clicking on the file manager to access and edit files? Any help please.

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Re: Preventing SPAM - Bots and Humans [*Read the First Post!*]

Post by ric323 » Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:16 am

You really need to get yourself an FTP program (there are several good free ones), so you can download the files to your PC, edit them there (after making a backup of any file you are going to change), and copy them back up to your web server.
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Re: Preventing SPAM - Bots and Humans [*Read the First Post!*]

Post by danjoy25 » Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:32 am

Did read it a few more times "how to install mods" and its starting to make sense on the actions (find, replace, add before and after. I also downloaded the mod Im after and open it with wordpad and at the same time view the file in my site directory which needs replacing. All that is left is the courage to do edit it. I will do abit more reading on backing up the file. I can see the light now :D

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Re: Preventing SPAM - Bots and Humans [*Read the First Post!*]

Post by ric323 » Thu Feb 07, 2008 10:12 am

danjoy25 wrote:Did read it a few more times "how to install mods" and its starting to make sense on the actions (find, replace, add before and after. I also downloaded the mod Im after and open it with wordpad and at the same time view the file in my site directory which needs replacing. All that is left is the courage to do edit it. I will do abit more reading on backing up the file. I can see the light now :D
Have a read of Knowledge Base - Tools needed to set up and customise phpBB

Once you have a file on your PC, "making a backup" is simply making a copy of the file for safekeeping, BEFORE you make any changes to it.
The Knowledge Base contains solutions to many common problems!
How to fix "Doesn't have a default value" and "Incorrect string value: xxx for column 'post_text' " errors.
How to do a clean re-install of the latest phpBB3 version.
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