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Zero Tolerance for Spambots


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#1 Moofey

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  • Bera

Posted 23 January 2010 - 08:47 AM

Not that any spambots will be reading this but whatever.

I, among with a lot of veteran MapleTowers members, have become exasperated with the large spambot problem that seems to have been plaguing this forum as of late. As I only have limited power over the forum (and limited contact with Lindsay) I have decided to enact the following changes immediately. (For any staff, you may share your opinion in the staff forum if you want. For now I want to throw something out there and hopefully this will change a bit depending on staff and/or user input.)

  • Any new account whose posts are worded much like a spambot, regardless of whether or not the account has advertisements in their sig or profile, will be permanently banned.
  • I will start to ban the Class B IP range (ex. 127.0.*.*) of any account banned for being a spambot
  • All threads created in this forum specifically (The MT Digest) will be closed upon creation until further notice. I apologize that it has to work this way for our veteran members but, it has to do until I can come up with a more reasonable solution
  • All accounts banned as spambots will be reported to the spammer database at Stop Forum Spam.


Once again, I'm sorry that it has to come to this. I especially understand that banning such a large class of IP ranges could have effect on innocent users. If by any chance any current or potential (non-spammy) user is affected by any IP ban I place then contact me immediately. (If you don't have me on any IMs or don't know my e-mail then PM me on Sleepywood, even.) If any other members have any ideas feel free to PM me.

#2 Moofey

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  • Bera

Posted 14 January 2011 - 08:15 AM

UPDATE (Nearly 2 years later)

The spambot zero-tolerance policy has been relaxed a bit. IP ranges are only banned if a specific pattern is recognized now. This coming after the fact that when we switched plans around our new IP fell under one of the banned ranges. I knew being able to work my way around it could do me some good.

That being said, we're hoping that the massive spambot flood that has left me monitoring the forum on a near-constant basis over the last couple of weeks has come to an end with Lindsay installing a security question mod for the registration page. Now if any so bots get through they'd be of the manually registered kind. This should significantly decrease the amount of spambots we have but we won't know for a while.

On top of that, all accounts with less than two posts are now gone. To give you an idea on just how bad this was, we went from 4.4k members to about 435. (Doing this of the top of my head.)

I am going to continue screening new accounts as they come in. I've posted a thread making it clear on what will make me believe the account is a spambot and thus get it banned permanently:

  • An account with location (such as a country) in the character info field. This was a very obvious trend that appeared in just about every bot account.
  • An account with an e-mail from a suspicious domain
  • An account with links leading to obvious spam sites in their signature
  • An account that spams on its first post.


Unvalidated accounts are being cleared once in approximately 48 hours as well, as the majority of spambot accounts never made it past validation. I could tell that at the very least we were getting up to 30 or more new spambot accounts per day, which was absolutely horrible. IP.Board 3 has a spam monitoring service for those with an active service contract, but as the forum was built up around IP.Board 2.3 it would require too much for now for the upgrade either way. Now that new countermeasures have been put in place we should see a significant decrease in these bastards.

And, just to show how potentially effective this has been so far. Since this was put into place about an hour ago, we've had absolutely zero new registrations. This is a good sign right now, as we've literally had maybe only one legit member out of hundreds of new accounts.

#3 Lindsay

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  • Windia

Posted 14 January 2011 - 08:18 AM

Also, we deleted a ton of accounts with only 0 posts. Most of these were bots but some were also legitly registered...however, at zero posts, we feel that remaking an account is not terribly bad. If any currently browsing members had their accounts deleted, I'm sorry. sad.gif This was just the easiest way to clean up our member list of the bots and also clear up some usernames which weren't being used.

#4 Moofey

Moofey

    Take that!


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    (Quit)

  • Bera

Posted 16 January 2011 - 06:43 PM

I can now say with confidence that the new measures implemented work 100%, as we have had no successful bot registrations since installed.

With that said, the measures taken to reduce bots before can be relaxed. Many of the IP range band have been removed (we'll see if any of those need to be rebanned) and announcement threads will no longer be locked on creation.




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