Attack of the Spam Bots!

Discussion in 'Site Discussion' started by ryodoan, Nov 20, 2008.

  1. ryodoan

    ryodoan Resident Bum

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    As some of you may, or may not, be aware the forums have started to become inundated with spam bots offering lucrative deals on penis pills and cheap cheap gold.

    On behalf of the Mod team here on the forums I would like to personally thank all of the users who have been reporting the spam posts. These reports greatly increase the speed at which we can remove the spam and ban the spammers.

    The forum admins (DrPepper namely) are currently looking into different solutions for the problem, however, in the meantime we would really appreciate it if everyone kept up the good work and continued to report all of the spam posts you see.

    Thanks your help.
     
  2. Gadget

    aa Gadget

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    I've been trying to report yet another spam post but then I get the following message:


    GarbageMan, you do not have permission to access this page. This could be due to one of several reasons:

    Your user account may not have sufficient privileges to access this page. Are you trying to edit someone else's post, access administrative features or some other privileged system?

    If you are trying to post, the administrator may have disabled your account, or it may be awaiting activation.


    This has been working before so I'm wondering if the reporting feature has been disabled for non-administrators?
     
  3. Armadillo of Doom

    aa Armadillo of Doom Group Founder, Lover of Pie

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    Odds are the post was deleted as you were reporting. But as Ryodoan said, we really do appreciate the effort :)
     
  4. laghlagh

    laghlagh L6: Sharp Member

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    If a bot posts 10 posts in 10 different threads at the same time, should I report all the posts or is one enough?
     
  5. Dox

    Dox L8: Fancy Shmancy Member

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    one should be fine, If its the same bot we can delete everything and ban him from just one post.
     
  6. Spike

    Spike L10: Glamorous Member

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    I want penis pills :O
     
  7. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    You need to see your doctor for those I'm afraid
     
  8. Spike

    Spike L10: Glamorous Member

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    :(
     
  9. Captain Planet

    Captain Planet L2: Junior Member

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    Can't we make it like a closed forum? That you have to sign - up and a admin has to have to give approval?
     
  10. Apom

    Apom L6: Sharp Member

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    How would the admins be able to know beforehand who's going to be a bot?
     
  11. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    The force is strong with DrPepper and DJive, they'll know ;)

    Edit: look at the list of banned users.... now tell me you think its hard spotting a spammer....
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2008
  12. Galago

    Galago L2: Junior Member

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    Youme has a weird name... I SMELL A BOT!
     
  13. ryodoan

    ryodoan Resident Bum

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    I dunno.... that CHEAPTRAMADOLONLINE chap looks legit.
     
  14. laghlagh

    laghlagh L6: Sharp Member

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    What about a pass question? Über-......
     
  15. Captain Planet

    Captain Planet L2: Junior Member

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  16. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    Thats not a half bad idea, obviously it would have to be non-mapping related since we do get lots of legit members who know absolutely nothing about mapping.
     
  17. Captain Planet

    Captain Planet L2: Junior Member

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    Who is the next president of america?

    Ehm, bush, mccain? :D
     
  18. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    Or that image verification code thing?

    I'm glad the report(s) are helpful. I was half under the impression you would just deal with them as you noticed and any report would just be an extra pm to read amongst many other jobs the admins would have to do. Like it might have been an inconvinience as you knew about these and were dealing with them as quick as possible.
     
  19. ryodoan

    ryodoan Resident Bum

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    I believe we already have an image verification (tell me if I am wrong, its been a while).

    The problem is that the people who program bots are not stupid and have managed to "crack" the image algorithms used for many popular websites and web programs.

    If we use any image verification, it is probably the standard vBulletin image verification system which has probably just been cracked.

    *tangent time for those that are curious or bored*
    I think they consider the image generation system "cracked" if the bots can guess the image code correctly 25% of the time, there have been a couple interesting ideas I have seen floated for how to make the algorithms harder
    1. There is a project going on to take actual books and convert them to text files on computers, sometimes their Image->Text algorithm fails (and recognizes a failure) and flags it, one group is working on figuring out which words / phrases it fails the most on and the theory is that if state of the art Image->Text converters fail on these words / phrases then an image reading bot should fail as well.
    2. An idea I had, I would imagine that other people have had it as well, is to implement how they do spam filtering but for the image generating algorithm. The way spam filter works is that it is a pattern recognition program that learns new patterns as more emails are reported as spam. Well since the majority of image failures are generated by bots failing at converting images, find the images it fails the most on and generate hybrid images from the ones the bots failed at, therefore presenting an always moving target for the bot makers to hit as the image generating program starts generating more complex images, of course you also have the problem where the images get to complex for even humans to read.... heh

    As for the Question / Response plan, I think for our local site that could work out, we just need to come up with a list of questions / answers that should be widely known, or easily figured out. The bots follow scripted procedures so if we just switch up the process a bit then they should be stymied.

    Like, "What is Seven times 3?" or "Is a circle round?", "Type the word heart in the answer box."

    The real problem though is, which is less work, Having mods approve all new users or implementing a new registration system... I guess its up to the Site admins (DrPepper and DJive) to figure that out.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2008
  20. DJive

    aa DJive Cake or Death?

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    We thank you all for the care and the initiative you've given the forum so far, it shows you really enjoy being a part of this community and are not willing to let it become polluted with garbage *no pun to user garbage =p*

    With that said most of "these" types of bots are actually "real" people looking to drive some traffic to a site. As far as "what can we do to stop them" with image verification and Email validation both those stop "fake "bots as you can see here..

    Autimated bots never confirm. Real spam users can and there is nothing we can really do to prevent that unless we are willing to screen each registration.

    [​IMG]

    we've always had a fair bit of bots in the void of "awaiting email confirmation" as most all forums do, however the user "spam" hasn't really started until this month *November* *20 of the 22 are in November this year*

    and 90% of them are reported to and taken care of by our wonderful mod staff here within the hour.

    I look at this in a different light then most though having run/help run a few community's prior to joining up here and that's in a positive note. Our community has grown to a point where spambots and people are noticing. a Forum i am a staff member has been going on for over 8 years now.. does not have any spambots and the sign up is instant. username>password>start posting.

    I want to say a HUGE thank you to our user base those with your super fast "reported posts" and wanting to keep a community clean that you can proudly say is your own.

    Thanks again everyone for your continuing support. :wow::wow: