Strange forums

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Isotonik
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Strange forums

Post by Isotonik » Mon Jan 01, 2007 9:37 am

Making a basic Google search indicates that there are a hugh number of phpBB-based forums that have been left to their initial state after installation (with test forum, the intitial welcome message to the admin etc) - sometimes guest posting enabled and no email-confirmation.

Some of these forums appears to be under reputable companies. Nevertheless, they have been completely overtaken by spammers and no one appears to govern them (I started to call them 'floaters' :roll: because they are like ships without captains).

Does anyone of you phpBB seniors have any idea as to the purpose of these forums? Do spammers open bogus forums simply to promote their 'products' (or for click-scams). I would not pay for a domain, bandwidth and a forum that has 170 000 posts - all dedicated to spam.

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Jim_UK
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Post by Jim_UK » Mon Jan 01, 2007 12:40 pm

Perhaps a lot of these "floaters" are on free hosting and the user discovers the limitations. It may even be that someone lands on one of these free hosting sites not even knowing what phpBB is and decides as its free "what the hell" and has a go at creating a site having no desire to actually have one in the first place. We have also had on here folks asking what their password and Username are as "we" did not send it to them. Once again they will have created a "free" site but not have received the email from the free hosting.(probably in some spam box somewhere)
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Ryan_W
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Post by Ryan_W » Mon Jan 01, 2007 1:27 pm

Many of these 'floaters' would have been abandoned by their respective admins as everyone knows starting a forum is easy but getting genuine members and to get the activity going is very difficult. So they are taken over by spammers and no one else bothering to get rid of that spam.

I agree that most of these forums would be on free hosting with restrictions in place.

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karlsemple
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Post by karlsemple » Mon Jan 01, 2007 1:28 pm

There is also the possibility that a lot of these forums are test boards, by this I mean a board set up for the owner to try new things on. So they end up with their main forum which is used, and a test forum which is sat doing nothing until they need to test something. also some of these forums could be honey traps set up on purpose to be hit by spam to collect spam user names and ip's for banning from other forums :)
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Isotonik
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Post by Isotonik » Mon Jan 01, 2007 2:39 pm

Many of these forums are under unique DNS names and true companies (art, travelling, security and so on). I did not find many sites under free hostin services because their capabilities are limited I guess (limited free disc space, limited size of MySQL) I also thought that some of these forums could be so called places to collect test data (spam word combinations, data of spammers and so on) But most positively not all of them. A most curious phenomenom. :?

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karlsemple
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Post by karlsemple » Mon Jan 01, 2007 2:57 pm

Not really, I have forum installed I was going to use and never did....they are now just sat there doing nothing. Could simply be a case of the owners had the best intentions and never followed through with them :)
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Post by alhefner » Tue Jan 02, 2007 10:39 pm

hehehe...I never thought of setting up a forum to attract spammer's! The idea of doing so and then using the info they give to ban them from a legit forum is kind of novel.

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Post by OriginXT » Wed Jan 03, 2007 5:57 am

Hm, that seems like quite an idea.

Similarly if anyone googles up a list of un-updated phpBB forums, you will see a huge list of potential victims to hacking attempts.

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Post by Emufarmers » Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:11 am

draligus wrote: if you do not use your forum and you do not want to let spammers, then close your forum :D

Organizations like companies have a tendency to adopt a software to handle some need, and then completely neglect that software. This goes for forums, wikis, and most anything else. It's some combination of ignorance and apathy.

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Post by Kigen » Fri Jan 05, 2007 3:43 pm

Well, I just recently started a free forum service. I may indeed setup a "forum" to attact spammers so that they may be banned from the actually used forums.

Currently I only have 3 active forums. I normally delete unused forums from the service in about 3 days. You know, the ones that are left at the default phpBB install post and settings.

Most free forum service providers have a "auto-prune" system to get a rid of forums that are no longer used or were never used. So the majority of forums at the default install screen found by Google will be those on websites that are not provided for free.
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Winjeel
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Post by Winjeel » Sun Jan 14, 2007 1:20 am

[topic_deviation]Coppermine (a php based application picture forum / gallery) makes it reall easy and fast to select and delete certain users, and even to limit the fields that users can have in their profile (including 'website:'). I'm hoping php3 would have this (haven't looked yet).

Today, on one forum, I deleted the website addresses for viagra and dating websites, all of them were 'under construction' and with the same contact e-mail address, and so this is the e-mail I sent:
Dear Sir or Madam:
I'm writing to inform you that individuals or companies in which are connected to are performing unauthorised advertising (spamming) certain forums and websites. In each case a different website is being advertised, and this is done without renumeration to my company. I formally request that in the future authorisation and payment be made. Furthermore, it is assumed that this e-mail will have been received, read, and noted. We do look forward to future joint business development.

With kind regards,


I do look forward to future renumeration :D [/topic_deviation]

For me, it's hard to delete all of the spammers (on another website I have), as it's just not easy to do, nor is it fast to do, and so it tends to get left till later (ie: not done). I hope this form of admisitration will be made easier in the next generation of BB's.
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Post by battye » Sun Jan 14, 2007 4:50 am

Why did you send an email to them?

Firstly, most of them are robots, and use fake email addresses.
Secondly, if it is a real email address, now that you have emailed them, they know that yours is a valid email address, and you could get bombarded with inbox spam.
Thirdly, an email won't stop these spammers.
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Winjeel
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Post by Winjeel » Sun Jan 14, 2007 5:12 am

It was worth a try, especially since the website said that it was under construction, and the e-mail address provided was for the site builder, so there could be some assumption that the builder isn't directly related to the spammers. However, I've since got a message saying that the e-mail address didn't exist, so no chance of junk mail.
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Post by WillyP » Mon Jan 15, 2007 1:36 am

Thanks for the chuckle :wink:

It's called a bounce... the recipients server allows them to read the message, and delete it. The a message is sent back saying that the email addy does not exist. Hey, the spammers don't spam... they don't want to sell viagra or whatever, they just want your email addy...

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Post by TutorNGFX » Thu Jan 18, 2007 12:12 pm

I would of thought also, that spam messages are found on inactive support forums, for a site which possibly provides free forum hosting.
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