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Dave Bean
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Post by Dave Bean »

Forum spam is a big issue for me and I'm close to closing down 2 of my most popular boards, even though I have visual confirmation, email activation, required registration and the registration has mods enabled. The notify on all posts mod helps, but is an effort each day. The point being spam is a big issue.

Recent spam posts have been quickly locked and we were directed to the big spam threads where after a while it is hard to follow specific discussions.

How about creating a phpbb forum section for spam. Seems like we need one and if we don't sometime in the future, that would be great!

Any interest in a http://skypecasts.skype.com audio conference on this subject - conferences are free and easy - I've done quite a few.
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Mortemorte
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Post by Mortemorte »

I e-mailed abuse@web.de and I hope to get a response from them.
I suggest if you get loads of spam from 1 e-mail provider than do the same.

Log all details from the spambots, make a detailed list.

And dont close your boards. You could choose to disable registrations for a month or so.
Some suggested this spam lately is also because of the holidays (seasonal spam?)
And phpBB3 could provide better solutions I hope out of the box
gilibaus
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Post by gilibaus »

Albert Wiersch wrote: The visual confirmation wasn't doing much for me either.

I did find a great simple mod that simply asks the user to enter a "VIP code" that is located on the support page. It's a little work for the user, but has stopped all spam users so far. I've disabled the visual confirmation too.

If you have a web site, you could easily put a "VIP code" anywhere and tell the user where to find it to be able to register.

I got permission to post the mod and would be happy to share it.


Thanks Albert,

VIP code is doing fine up to now. I 've put a gif image on the registration page, and ALL spam is being stopped.

Good work.

Alessandro
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olpa
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Post by olpa »

How about creating a phpbb forum section for spam. Seems like we need one

I'm not sure. Most people don't want to discuss spam. Instead, they prefer don't see spam. However, you are always welcome to my forum dedicated to phpBB spam.

[Link edited by Marshalrusty]
kopper65
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Post by kopper65 »

Marshalrusty wrote: Here is a more compliant copy: http://www.marshalrusty.com/phpBB/vip.mod
You'll need to fill in the username and email on top

OK, I must be doing something wrong. I followed all of the instructions for this mod but I don't see anywhere in the registration area where it asks you for a VIP code. I filled everything out on the registration page (nowhere did it ask for a VIP code, btw), but it then tells me, "Sorry, but your VIP code is NOT correct."

What went wrong???
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Marshalrusty
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Post by Marshalrusty »

The last change there is what will actually add the input boxes. If you're not using subSilver, then you need to make that change for the template you have installed (or better yet, all templates you have installed).
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kopper65
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Post by kopper65 »

OK, I got it to show up in the registration area finally, but now I'm not sure how to set the VIP code... How does one edit the "WebSite-Watcher Support page"? And where is it?

Can't I just add the code to the FAQ page instead? But even if I do that, I'm not sure how to set it in the registration so the right code is works so that it accepts the user's registration...

Thanks!
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Marshalrusty
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Post by Marshalrusty »

This line in usercp_register.php (assuming you have installed the MOD) will check to make sure the correct code was added:

Code: Select all

if ( ($mode == 'register') && ($HTTP_POST_VARS['myVIPcode'] != '2486') )
You can change 2486 to anything you like, and you can publish the code anywhere on your site. You can even stick it in a forum description so it will show up on the index.
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easttech
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Post by easttech »

I solved the forum spambot problem by simply modifying a few files in the php install tree. I modified the "Reg_agreement" message in the lang_main.php file telling folks they need to use a hypen in their username (e.g dave-smith) and I added the following line in my usercp_register.php:

if (!preg_match ("/-/", $username)) {
$error = TRUE;
$error_msg .= ( ( isset($error_msg) ) ? '<br />' : '' )
. $lang['Invalid_Username'];
}

So if the user doesn't use a hyphen, they get redirected to the registration page. This stops 100% of these annoying spambot signups. I have very few manual spammer signups these days and since I frequent my forum multiple times per day, I can easily remove offenders.

I also added the following line to my lang_main.php file for the "Invalid_Username" message:

$lang['Invalid_Username'] = 'Invalid Username specified. To fight against forum spambots, all usernames MUST have a hyphen in them. For example john-doe or dx-user. Please try again.';
mcd007
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Post by mcd007 »

Anyone know of a way to block bot registrations based on a keyword used in the Occupation field? I have recurring bot registrations that list "Disigner" as their Occupation, and I was wondering if I could block registrations that use that word.
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Post by alvo »

mcd007 wrote: Anyone know of a way to block bot registrations based on a keyword used in the Occupation field? I have recurring bot registrations that list "Disigner" as their Occupation, and I was wondering if I could block registrations that use that word.


It wouldn't be that hard to do, but kind of pointless in the long run, isn't it? First it will only stop a small number of spam attempts, plus what happens when this short wave of attempts is over? You've then got additional code that won't ever yield results again adding a tad to the overall load on the server.
mcd007
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Post by mcd007 »

alvo wrote: It wouldn't be that hard to do, but kind of pointless in the long run, isn't it? First it will only stop a small number of spam attempts, plus what happens when this short wave of attempts is over? You've then got additional code that won't ever yield results again adding a tad to the overall load on the server.


Good point, but really you wouldn't believe how many of the bots I encounter have this common characteristic. I could cut my spam in half at least if I blocked these bots. Not sure why I see a huge percentage of bots with this strange Occupation title, but if I can block them, I think it's worth doing. There are really that many of them.
Mortemorte
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Post by Mortemorte »

The best is to prevent all bots from registering.
I installed vip mod, it was easy to do and easy to alter to your wishes.
alvo
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Post by alvo »

I second that recommendation, install something that will stop the bots from registering/posting at all and where they come from doesn't matter. The VIP mod and the Anti Bot Question mod are two that do this. This thread has all the options listed in the first post.
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4n6guy
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Post by 4n6guy »

I just put the VIP mod up... I hope it works as well as you guys mentioned....

Also, just as a side note, I created a forum with the words "off topic" included in the forum title. I did a little research on the spam software out there and by default, they look for this type of forum to post to first. If it does not exist, they will look for your most popular forum.

For my description, I put "IF YOU ARE HUMAN, DO NOT POST HERE... this area was made specifically for the damned forum bots that seem to get through every once in a while... Again, DO NOT POST HERE!" It is quite easy to find the posters by visiting this one time per day.

Lastly, I made this area viewable only to people who are registered and logged in - "registered-hidden" forum. I also set it to purge this forum every single day. Since I login at least once a day, I find anyone who posts here and delete the account. I am guessing that since this area is only visible to registered, logged in users, googlebot will not see/spider it - right?

Again, I just installed the VIP mod, so hopefully this will work as well... just in case, the off-topic forum is there ready to play for them.
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