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 Post subject: Annoying bots
PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:29 am 
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Trusty Riding Saurus
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How is that there are lately so many bots spamming the forums? Well, I've seen them trying to post since I registered, but they were unable to succesfully register until last week. Is there a way to stop them?

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 Post subject: Re: Annoying bots
PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:48 am 
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I don't understand why they would think we'd want to buy something from someone bombarding our boards with crap.


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 Post subject: Re: Annoying bots
PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:16 am 
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The Prince of Shapeir

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We used to have the Kittenauth Captcha in place for registrations, but it reverted back to the phpbb standard "type in these letters" captcha when we upgraded phpbb to the latest version. I recently added background noise behind the letters to try and confuse spambots, but it seems that a few of them still slip through. We're looking at getting Kittenauth reimplemented.

The sad fact is that some suckers somewhere in the world will always buy the junk that these spam adverts advertise, particularly "OEM" (read pirated) software or "discount pills requiring no prescription" (read sugar and glass-laced placebos). Since so few people buy this crap, the spammers take a brute force approach and hit any vulnerable forum that they can access, knowing that, eventually, someone will probably buy something. And it works, otherwise they wouldn't bother doing it!


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 Post subject: Re: Annoying bots
PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 6:30 am 
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Trusty Riding Saurus
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These spambots don't target users in forums, they post on poorly-managed phpBB forums to google bombing their products, so that they appear on top of google/yahoo searchs.

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 Post subject: Re: Annoying bots
PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:35 pm 
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The Enigma
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I've got a mod installed on the IA forums that prevents these spam posts. Works like a treat, haven't had one spam post since I installed it. Although, don't hold me to that they usually wriggle themselves in again.

It's basically runs off a service called Askimet which cleverly interprets these kinds of posts on your forums (buy pills, http://www.blablabla.com, ?????? random jibberish) and prevents it from being submitted.

I run SMF on my forum but I found a link that should help with phpBB.
http://www.eadz.co.nz/blog/article/phpbb-akismet.html

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 Post subject: Re: Annoying bots
PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 1:45 pm 
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Trusty Riding Saurus
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Also, if you want to be mean, you can use any of the traps described here. The problem is that they are quite old and probably many of these spambots have evolutioned not to fall into these. Fortunately, not falling into these usually means not bothering us, so it might be worth to give them a chance. ;)

http://www.neilgunton.com/doc/spambot_trap
http://spamcleaner.org/en/misc/eatme.html
http://spamcleaner.org/en/misc/blog-spam.html
http://spamcleaner.org/en/misc/spam-referer.html

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 Post subject: Re: Annoying bots
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 9:58 pm 
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Seeing another one pop up just a few minutes ago, I wonder how hard it would be to detect that someone recently registered and that their first post (or two or three) contains selected words (and especially links) which are frowned on. I don't know how flexible phpBB is, or if it's open source and can be modified, but that seems to be a pretty easy solution, at least to the attacks that have been getting through.


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 Post subject: Re: Annoying bots
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 5:55 am 
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Okay...now it's porn bots! Help! :eek


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 Post subject: Re: Annoying bots
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 5:21 pm 
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I would defiantly go see a movie called 'attack of the porn bots'


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 Post subject: Re: Annoying bots
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 8:16 am 
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Another has shown up, and they are also attacking Telltale.


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 Post subject: Re: Annoying bots
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 12:34 pm 
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The Master of All Things Musical
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Apparently a new wave of bots has come out based in Russia that uses a new software to bypass CAPTCHA protection. They're everywhere. The Sierra Help Pages forums, The Janitorial Times, and anything connected to the Sierra Forums Gateway.

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 Post subject: Re: Annoying bots
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 4:20 am 
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The Prince of Shapeir

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For what it's worth, I have just installed a new mod to the registration process of this forum for newly registered accounts, which will prompt the person to answer a simple question. They must type it in and if they get it incorrect (or fail to type anything), it won't allow the registration to proceed. Hopefully between that and the visual CAPTCHA with a high level of background noise, it will halt the bots in their tracks.

I also have also addressed the fatal .php error which started appearing in the footer of this forum for the past week or so.


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 Post subject: Re: Annoying bots
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 11:03 am 
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Trusty Riding Saurus
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I was thinking about adding a wheel that cycled around every X seconds with some positions marked "ok", and the user where prompted to press the submit button at certain moment in which the wheel marked "ok". But it seemed too much work.

Let's hope those bots go elsewhere. Their operators should be put into jail.

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 Post subject: Re: Annoying bots
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 4:15 pm 
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I think it would be funny to use this wheel during registration:
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 Post subject: Re: Annoying bots
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 12:12 am 
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Wrong company. :p

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 Post subject: Re: Annoying bots
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 12:47 am 
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Yeah, but I think the most creative thing Sierra had was looking up symbols in manuals. Although... having users register, mailing them a manual, and then having them look up some symbols to activate their account could work too. :p


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 Post subject: Re: Annoying bots
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 2:40 pm 
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Honorary AGD
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Or we could open a registration hint line that charges by the minute. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Annoying bots
PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 3:46 am 
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gamecreator wrote:
Yeah, but I think the most creative thing Sierra had was looking up symbols in manuals. Although... having users register, mailing them a manual, and then having them look up some symbols to activate their account could work too. :p


That's not entirely true. In Larry 3, for example, the copyright protection were printed tickets that you had to use in the middle of the game. In Conquests of Camelot the protection was in the form of a lot of background information you needed to pass certain tests (language of the flowers, ancient Greece history, etc), or think the Cliffs of Logic on KQ6, all the codes and procedures you needed to know in the PQ series, and so on. I mean, they were a little creative sometimes, give them some credit! ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Annoying bots
PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 4:20 am 
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Not to mention the spells in KQ3!

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