Simple Machines Community Forum

SMF Support => SMF 2.0.x Support => Topic started by: Opentoe on December 25, 2014, 11:03:20 PM

Title: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: Opentoe on December 25, 2014, 11:03:20 PM
In the last 3-4 months my little forum has received maybe 100 accounts that are just spamming the boards with mostly medication advertisements and crap like that. Soon as I delete their accounts they sign right back up and start posting again. These can't be bots doing this, right? So temporarily I set the forum to admin approval for new registrations right now. I don't like to bog down a forum with mods and make a lot of changes because it becomes tedious to update. I'm only using the built-in verification, which it set to medium. I'm guessing these people who post this spam get paid somehow on how many posts/accounts they make so it will probably never stop. Besides being extra vigilant, is there anything anyone can recommend to help with the spam problem? I've always loved SMF, but was told to try "another" one that has more features and better handling spam and bots. I really want to stick with SMF though. I like it a lot and the forum has been on it since it started in early 2012.

There are even some forums like discourse that are more or less written with more of the future in mind, but there is always a charge and subscription charges for that.

Merry Christmas, its almost over.
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: Kindred on December 25, 2014, 11:09:12 PM
They are spambots.

See the FAQ article on what to do....
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: dekoffieboer on December 26, 2014, 12:45:44 AM
Quote from: dekoffieboer on December 25, 2014, 12:07:29 AM
Under "Configuration -> Security and Moderation -> Anti-Spam"
Scroll down to "Configure Verification Methods" and set the option "Number of verification questions user must answer" to 1 or more.

Then scroll further down to "Verification Questions" and for the first question think of something nice with a hard answer only a human would normally know.
An example, i use something simular on my forum, is the question "How much is Ten + 10 plus 10?" with the answer "30". This fools away most registration bots i have noticed.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: beanflying on December 26, 2014, 03:59:17 AM
Also while a minor drag on your mod staff but setup a starter post count group with whatever limit you think (1 normally sorts out the dodgy human bots) and moderate their posts.

Good post approved gets them to the next group (non post moderated) and terminate the rotten spammers with extreme prejudice (http://www.coffeenation.org.au/Smileys/Android/fryingpan.gif)
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: Sagar_king on December 26, 2014, 05:21:37 AM
I faced same type of issue I apply approve post topic system for first 2 post so now spamming is history
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: a10 on December 26, 2014, 08:01:24 AM
A few good verification questions. No spambot registrations whatsoever succeeding here for years, millions of attempts.

The system in use here, see http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=525929.msg3727607#msg3727607
Bots killed immediately, zero problems for real people.

Enter the last three numbers seen in dg7564gh
Write the 2 first letters seen in 56kdgt
Write the numbers seen in no2645spam
Write the uppercase letters seen in dfsGHFuyt

Implemented in seconds, endless variations possible. Good luck.
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: Night09 on December 26, 2014, 11:49:40 AM
It appears after some testing that questions should be of reasonable difficulty to stop bots answering. Its likely because of the questions theres a database of answers being built that can eventually circumnavigate the questions set.

I purposely set to admin approval and let it run for a while to check volume and can hit 100+ a day answering two questions. I have just changed the questions for more challenging answers which should stop this now. Point is set questions but not ones that a small child could answer IE: what color is the sky?
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: Sir Osis of Liver on December 26, 2014, 12:48:43 PM
Verification questions work best if they are related to forum content (something a member would know but others would not), and if you have a dozen or so questions and require 2-3 to be answered.  SMF will randomly select the required questions, so they'll not always be the same.
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: vbgamer45 on December 26, 2014, 12:55:11 PM
Quote from: a10 on December 26, 2014, 08:01:24 AM
A few good verification questions. No spambot registrations whatsoever succeeding here for years, millions of attempts.

The system in use here, see http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=525929.msg3727607#msg3727607
Bots killed immediately, zero problems for real people.

Enter the last three numbers seen in dg7564gh
Write the 2 first letters seen in 56kdgt
Write the numbers seen in no2645spam
Write the uppercase letters seen in dfsGHFuyt

Implemented in seconds, endless variations possible. Good luck.
I like those a lot very creative and seems strong.
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: Night09 on December 26, 2014, 01:18:29 PM
Quote from: vbgamer45 on December 26, 2014, 12:55:11 PM
Quote from: a10 on December 26, 2014, 08:01:24 AM
A few good verification questions. No spambot registrations whatsoever succeeding here for years, millions of attempts.

The system in use here, see http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=525929.msg3727607#msg3727607
Bots killed immediately, zero problems for real people.

Enter the last three numbers seen in dg7564gh
Write the 2 first letters seen in 56kdgt
Write the numbers seen in no2645spam
Write the uppercase letters seen in dfsGHFuyt

Implemented in seconds, endless variations possible. Good luck.
I like those a lot very creative and seems strong.

They are a good way to do this as its so random in answers rather than generic questions.
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: Opentoe on December 26, 2014, 10:30:14 PM
Quote from: Sagar_king on December 26, 2014, 05:21:37 AM
I faced same type of issue I apply approve post topic system for first 2 post so now spamming is history

I think I will try this method. Cause most of the spammers only post once anyway....maybe even put a time limit on 'when' they can post after being a member. OR, setup a board where everyone can post but name the board "SPAM" so no one looks there anyway. Kind of using the spam for themselves or something like that.

Thanks and Happy Holidays!
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: busterone on December 26, 2014, 10:53:37 PM
Leaving a board open and naming it "Spam" is not a good idea. I run several anti-spam honeypots and can assure you that if you leave a board available to them, they will report it on their spammer networks, and before long, you will have them coming in 10 fold. Even if the board is not indexed by search engines (which is what they are after), they will eat up your bandwidth eventually.  The botware that they use has the ability to report back to the botmasters what sites they were able to successfully register and post on. That info travels extremely fast to the rest of the scumbags out there.

Several well implemented questions and answers (rotating and changing them often) and Arantor's mod- http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=3685 (http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=3685)
is a great start. Captcha is useless. The bots broke it years ago. I have it turned off.  An additional mod such as Stop Spammer works well also.
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: Bruce the Shark on December 27, 2014, 01:37:27 AM
I am using the same example as mentioned above.
And its all been good for me. :)
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: stmaxx on December 27, 2014, 06:29:16 AM
Thanks for sharing!

That is real nice, I think I'll give it go!

regards,
Maxx
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: Nodaz on December 28, 2014, 12:00:13 PM
Quote from: beanflying on December 26, 2014, 03:59:17 AM
Also while a minor drag on your mod staff but setup a starter post count group with whatever limit you think (1 normally sorts out the dodgy human bots) and moderate their posts.

Good post approved gets them to the next group (non post moderated) and terminate the rotten spammers with extreme prejudice (http://www.coffeenation.org.au/Smileys/Android/fryingpan.gif)
Where is this set-up?
I can only find:
Post count under which users must pass verification to make a post
(0 for no limit, moderators are exempt)
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: Kindred on December 28, 2014, 12:32:33 PM
use the post-count based membergroups and set the first group from 0 to 10 posts... and require posts from those users to be validated
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: Antechinus on December 28, 2014, 04:22:13 PM
Quote from: vbgamer45 on December 26, 2014, 12:55:11 PM
Quote from: a10 on December 26, 2014, 08:01:24 AM
A few good verification questions. No spambot registrations whatsoever succeeding here for years, millions of attempts.

The system in use here, see http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=525929.msg3727607#msg3727607
Bots killed immediately, zero problems for real people.

Enter the last three numbers seen in dg7564gh
Write the 2 first letters seen in 56kdgt
Write the numbers seen in no2645spam
Write the uppercase letters seen in dfsGHFuyt

Implemented in seconds, endless variations possible. Good luck.
I like those a lot very creative and seems strong.

Those are good. I hadn't thought of doing it that way. Nice idea.
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: Jade Elizabeth on December 29, 2014, 02:01:15 AM
Gri directed me here and asked me to point out that the question: Columbus sailed the ocean blue when? 'year': should be 1492 and it doesn't work. I am assuming you have something to do with newznabforums? If not and someone else knows how to message them it would be nice if they knew their rego was broken :).
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: Bruce the Shark on December 29, 2014, 02:49:55 AM
Quote from: Jade Elizabeth on December 29, 2014, 02:01:15 AM
: Columbus sailed the ocean blue when? 'year': should be 1492 and it doesn't work

wat?


yes this threw me off as well
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: beanflying on December 29, 2014, 06:54:10 AM
Quote from: Kindred on December 28, 2014, 12:32:33 PM
use the post-count based membergroups and set the first group from 0 to 10 posts... and require posts from those users to be validated

Validated or Moderated?

I don't bother with post validation if it is a bot and they got past validation once it will do it again I guess?

I have set up a moderated first x posts group. Currently set at first post only weeds them out.
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: Kindred on December 29, 2014, 09:00:10 AM
yes, I meant moderated
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: stmaxx on December 29, 2014, 10:06:07 AM
For Version. SMF 2.0.9
Please Note, I like these Q and A's for the registration, however the answer to last one will not save in uppercase, so best change lower case letters in the string. or you'll get no registrations, if used!


EDIT: works great in uppercase for the SMF 2.1 B

regards,
Maxx
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: Steve on December 29, 2014, 11:26:22 AM
Quote from: stmaxx on December 29, 2014, 10:06:07 AM
For Version. SMF 2.0.9
Please Note, I like these Q and A's for the registration, however the answer to last one will not save in uppercase, so best change lower case letters in the string. or you'll get no registrations, if used!

You could just have the acceptable answer in lower case while keeping the question as is, yes? Or is that what you meant?
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: Illori on December 29, 2014, 11:31:11 AM
as far as i know none of the answers should not save in upper case, or at least the answers will be accepted if they are in upper or lower case.
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: Arantor on December 29, 2014, 11:32:47 AM
Internally the system is case insensitive, so the question will have 'abcDEF' and expect 'def' as an answer while 'def' and 'DEF' will both be accepted. To facilitate this the answer is saved in lower case.

2.1 handles this better by having an even smarter Q&A that visibly accepts multiple answers (which, if I do say so myself, is a very nice feature ;D) and lets the admin save it however they want but will accept it in either case.
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: Illori on December 29, 2014, 11:45:09 AM
Quote from: Arantor on December 29, 2014, 11:32:47 AM
however they want but will accept it in either case.

ah, we might need to update our FAQ to make sure admin know the answers are not case sensitive.
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: stmaxx on December 29, 2014, 11:46:56 AM
OK cool thanks that makes me feel better, just was not certain how it would work... had to be sure. but in any case it's Nice !

regards,
Maxx
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: Arantor on December 29, 2014, 11:50:08 AM
Both 2.0 and 2.1 indicate this already.

2.0:
QuoteIf you want users to answer verification questions in order to stop spam bots you should setup a number of questions in the table below. You should pick relatively simple questions; answers are not case sensitive. You may use BBC in the questions for formatting, to remove a question simply delete the contents of that line.

2.1:
QuoteIf you want users to answer verification questions in order to stop spam bots, you should setup a number of questions in the table below. You should choose questions which relate to the subject of your forum. Genuine users will be able to answer these questions, while spam bots will not. Answers are not case sensitive. You may use BBC in the questions for formatting. To remove a question simply delete the contents of that line.
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: Illori on December 29, 2014, 11:51:54 AM
right but our FAQ could not hurt to be updated. maybe if someone reads the FAQ and misses that they will learn it that way.
Title: Re: Spammers and spamming...
Post by: Rk2910 on January 02, 2015, 11:45:21 AM
These tips are great - thanks for posting them.  Happy New Year.