Bounced emails/ inactive users

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jwhaide
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Bounced emails/ inactive users

Post by jwhaide » Mon May 25, 2009 7:15 am

Hi all, I am sorry if this was discissed previously but for the life of me, I can't find it.
I am being hit with about 5 users a day that do not activate their accounts. I am sure these are some sort of bots, but not sure if there is a way to block them. It is annoying to get all the bounced email notifications.
These users follow a pattern. All the email addresses consist of a reasonable sounding first name followed by the letter z then another name or similar. Something like annazpetrov@gmail.com They all have addresses of gmail, tmail, email, e-mail, or hotmail with the three suffixes of .com, .org or .net
Some of them have reasonable sounding user names but most seem randomly generated as do the passwords.
None of them ever activate and there is no signature info or web site listed in their profiles.
When looked up in whois, they tend to be mostly from foreign countries mainly in eastern Europe or asia but some also originate in the US or western Europe.
Question is, what are they up to? Is there a way to block them from getting to the point they do in the registrataion and is there a way to keep them from filling up my email inbox with bounced mail messages?
Also, how many of you are seeing this same activity on your forums and what are you doing about it?

Thanks in advance
John Haide, Manager, folbotforum.com
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ameeck
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Re: Bounced emails/ inactive users

Post by ameeck » Mon May 25, 2009 7:29 am

If they are human, there isn't much you can't do about it, there really isn't any accurate way of determining them automatically.

In case they are automated bots, I'd try some of the solutions listed here: http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopi ... &t=1437125

jwhaide
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Re: Bounced emails/ inactive users

Post by jwhaide » Mon May 25, 2009 5:07 pm

Thanks ameeck for your reply and suggestion. Fortunately, we have applied some of the methods outlined in the post you suggested so we have very little trouble with spammers actually posting to our forums other thant the occasional human who completes the registration.
What I am getting at in my question though is what the deal is with all the incompleted registrations with bogus email accounts are all about?
Also, is this common to others out there with phpBB forums and what are others doing about it if anything?
Is there a way we can take advanage of the numbers of phpBB forum managers and administrators to make it less beneficial to these people for this activity.
I guess I am just getting annoyed with having to keep cleaning out my inactive users list and keeping my email inbox cleared of all the bounced email messages.
John Haide - Manager of User Forum at http://www.folbotforum.com

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stevemaury
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Re: Bounced emails/ inactive users

Post by stevemaury » Mon May 25, 2009 5:17 pm

How about enabling this option in the Security settings -
Check e-mail domain for valid MX record:
If enabled, the e-mail domain provided on registration and profile changes is checked for a valid MX record.
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Re: Bounced emails/ inactive users

Post by Dan27 » Mon May 25, 2009 5:17 pm

*Edit: Doesn't matter now, I would just do what Stevemaury and Ameeck said :)
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jwhaide
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Re: Bounced emails/ inactive users

Post by jwhaide » Mon May 25, 2009 6:30 pm

At what point does checking for a valid MX record take place? Does it check the email address given by the user attempting to register before the validation email is sent? If so I can see where there would be hope here. Is there a way this could be used to keep this user from being placed in the inactive users list waiting for validation?
Still curious as to whether others are experiencing this issue and what are these people gaining by placing these unvalidated registrations on the forums.
John Haide - Manager of User Forum at http://www.folbotforum.com

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Re: Bounced emails/ inactive users

Post by ToonArmy » Mon May 25, 2009 6:31 pm

the MX record check is done when the user is registering, they will get an error if it fails.
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jwhaide
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Re: Bounced emails/ inactive users

Post by jwhaide » Mon May 25, 2009 9:38 pm

Thank you ToonArmy, I will give that a try.
John Haide - Manager of User Forum at http://www.folbotforum.com

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Re: Bounced emails/ inactive users

Post by jwhaide » Tue May 26, 2009 5:37 pm

Well, discovered I already had the "Check for valid email MX record switch checked so I guess that is not going to help...
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Re: Bounced emails/ inactive users

Post by Brf » Tue May 26, 2009 5:54 pm

I get about 10 of those registrations per day.
Checking the MX record does not check for a valid email account, only a valid email domain.

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Re: Bounced emails/ inactive users

Post by jwhaide » Tue May 26, 2009 6:14 pm

So Brf, what do you do about it besides grit your teeth and delete them? Do you know what the reason is that they do these unvalidated registrations in the first place? Are they getting paid by some search outfits for being there? Since they are not in the Memberlist and are not adding signatures or websites, would not think there would be any benefit. Maybe they just hit all phpBBs in hopes of getting on the Memberlist?
Guess I am just groping around thinking of how we can remove the benefit of them doing this.
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Re: Bounced emails/ inactive users

Post by Brf » Tue May 26, 2009 6:18 pm

I delete them.
I am guessing they are real humans sitting there all day filling out registration forms with fake info.

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Re: Bounced emails/ inactive users

Post by I.C.Kelly » Wed May 27, 2009 12:27 am

Brf wrote:I delete them.
I am guessing they are real humans sitting there all day filling out registration forms with fake info.
You can actually see patterns in the names after a while. Well I did when I had my last installed version of php. ;)

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Re: Bounced emails/ inactive users

Post by Dog Cow » Wed May 27, 2009 7:45 pm

If these spammers or whomever are using email domains that "matter," such as any popular free email provider, then you'll want to make pretty darn sure that you are not sending out too many emails which end up bouncing. Here, "you" doesn't mean you personally, but rather your email server-- your web host.

Unfortunately, due to the volumes of spam that gets sent out, a good deal of it bounces because the address is bogus. Free email providers are aware of this, and if they see a mail server sending out too many emails to them which are bogus, then they will mark your server as a spammer, and you'll be lucky if your emails even make it to the spam box rather than being deleted on sight.
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Re: Bounced emails/ inactive users

Post by Joe_Joe » Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:16 pm

jwhaide wrote:Hi all, I am sorry if this was discissed previously but for the life of me, I can't find it.
I am being hit with about 5 users a day that do not activate their accounts. I am sure these are some sort of bots, but not sure if there is a way to block them. It is annoying to get all the bounced email notifications.
These users follow a pattern. All the email addresses consist of a reasonable sounding first name followed by the letter z then another name or similar. Something like annazpetrov@gmail.com They all have addresses of gmail, tmail, email, e-mail, or hotmail with the three suffixes of .com, .org or .net
Some of them have reasonable sounding user names but most seem randomly generated as do the passwords.
None of them ever activate and there is no signature info or web site listed in their profiles.
When looked up in whois, they tend to be mostly from foreign countries mainly in eastern Europe or asia but some also originate in the US or western Europe.
Question is, what are they up to? Is there a way to block them from getting to the point they do in the registrataion and is there a way to keep them from filling up my email inbox with bounced mail messages?
Also, how many of you are seeing this same activity on your forums and what are you doing about it?

Thanks in advance
John Haide, Manager, folbotforum.com
THis one I can help with.

Download and install the mod that creates a second security code. The code is a series of ramdom questions that require a typed answer. Unlike the built in security system it never askes the same question often enough for anyone to write a script for. The questions are mundane but do work. Next require an answer to a stupid question in custom profiles. Make sure the answer is at least 8 characters deep, make it required.

I was getting 10 to 20 of these script bots a week, now none.
jwhaide wrote:Hi all, I am sorry if this was discissed previously but for the life of me, I can't find it.
I am being hit with about 5 users a day that do not activate their accounts. I am sure these are some sort of bots, but not sure if there is a way to block them. It is annoying to get all the bounced email notifications.
These users follow a pattern. All the email addresses consist of a reasonable sounding first name followed by the letter z then another name or similar. Something like annazpetrov@gmail.com They all have addresses of gmail, tmail, email, e-mail, or hotmail with the three suffixes of .com, .org or .net
Some of them have reasonable sounding user names but most seem randomly generated as do the passwords.
None of them ever activate and there is no signature info or web site listed in their profiles.
When looked up in whois, they tend to be mostly from foreign countries mainly in eastern Europe or asia but some also originate in the US or western Europe.
Question is, what are they up to? Is there a way to block them from getting to the point they do in the registrataion and is there a way to keep them from filling up my email inbox with bounced mail messages?
Also, how many of you are seeing this same activity on your forums and what are you doing about it?

Thanks in advance
John Haide, Manager, folbotforum.com
THis one I can help with.

Download and install the mod that creates a second security code. The code is a series of ramdom questions that require a typed answer. Unlike the built in security system it never askes the same question often enough for anyone to write a script for. The questions are mundane but do work. Next require an answer to a stupid question in custom profiles. Make sure the answer is at least 8 characters deep, make it required.

I was getting 10 to 20 of these script bots a week, now none.

http://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtopi ... 0&t=570929

Use both security systems.


JJ

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