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Increase In Spam


hermann
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As you have all probably noticed, there's been a tremendous increase in spam lately. The trend seems to go beyond Diamond Review, as even Google has recently reported an increase in spam across the internet.

 

To help combat the problem, today I added a "challenge question" to the registration process. The challenge question gets selected randomly out of a pool of questions I've created... these are very simple questions such as "what color is the white house?" that are easy (and in some cases funny) for humans, but should hopefully thwart the automated spam software (so-called "spam-bots").

 

Over the weekend I will also investigate adding an automated anti-spam tool provided by the vendors of this forum software. I also plan to look at a couple of other things on the "to-do" list, such as reinstating the search, etc.

 

Anyway, just wanted our loyal users to know that I'm very aware of the problem and doing everything I can to fix it.

 

Hermann

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Thanks Hermann!

 

I actually thought about posting something on this topic when I got back from running errands, having been checking here every few hours (if not more frequently) since being made a moderator, and usually deleting anywhere between 2-12 EVERY time I check. We definitely got on some spammers' radar BIG TIME! I also wanted folks to know that we were being vigilant about checking and removing it, since some of it was especially offensive, and we don't want to give anyone the impression that that is ok around here or that it gets ignored.

 

Thanks so much to the regular folks around here who are the backbone of the group, and welcome to new folks coming by. We hope to continue to make this a great and informative forum for you to get answers to your questions and that you'll feel comfortable hanging out!

 

Laurie

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Hermann, Laurie - thank you for letting us know.

 

And thanks for keeping the forum as clean as it is.

 

Hermann: not sure if this applies/is customisable, but one of the best (worst?) spamming softwares is XRumer, which is definitely used by some of the spammers on the forum (one did not even bother to change the default username from XRumer_Test). It may be detected/foiled by putting a hidden password field in the registration form, and checking whether it gets filled in. XRumer will fill in all password fields, including hidden ones, before submitting the form. Clearly, a human being does not know about the hidden field...

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Hermann, Laurie - thank you for letting us know.

 

And thanks for keeping the forum as clean as it is.

 

Hermann: not sure if this applies/is customisable, but one of the best (worst?) spamming softwares is XRumer, which is definitely used by some of the spammers on the forum (one did not even bother to change the default username from XRumer_Test). It may be detected/foiled by putting a hidden password field in the registration form, and checking whether it gets filled in. XRumer will fill in all password fields, including hidden ones, before submitting the form. Clearly, a human being does not know about the hidden field...

 

The problem is, the forum software is not customizable at that level.

 

I added the challenge question a little while ago, and just deleted a bunch of new spam... don't know if the spammer had gotten through before or after I implemented the challenge question, but if things don't get better in another day or so I will take more drastic measures, including the anti-spam service I mentioned to you privately, and more if I need to.

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I love easy questions:

 

Who's buried in Grants tomb? (Mr and Mrs. Grant are endombed there. No one is buried there)

How long was the hundred year war? (114 years)

What color is an airplane's black box? (orange)

Are you smarter than a 5th grader? (yes. Although I'm not sure I'm smarter than ALL of them)

Edited by denverappraiser
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Well, it looks like the spammers are laughing at my challenge question. Laurie and I have been deleting spam relentlessly all weekend, and it still comes back.

 

So, it's time to take the next step: An anti-spam service provided by the makers of this software. I've already submitted a request for a license key (it's a paid service, every month) and when I get it, I'll activate it. I'll post a message here once this is done.

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Yep, I couldn't agree more.

 

Spam and viruses truly are a blessing for many software companies, because it forces customers to stay "tethered" to the maker of the software. And as you know, whenever there's a tether, there's a money flow.... LOL

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AH...so this is who makes money off spammers... I always wonder what the point is, because the people doing the spamming, I'd imagine, don't--esp when it's crappy broken English aimed at primary English speakers and/or in other languages. Or when there's nothing in there to link to (if any crazy person were so inclined). I suppose those folks fall into the "I do it because I can'" category. Such a waste of time and energy!

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Update on the spam situation... I ordered the spam service from the vendor a few days ago, but for whatever reason they're taking forever to get it installed.

 

In the meantime, please bear with us. I check the site several times a day (as does Laurie) and we're relentlessly trying to keep the spam off. However we are fighting against automated software (so-called "spam-bots") so it is a losing battle until we implement the above changes.

 

I'll post another update here once I have news.

 

Have a great weekend!

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Thanks--we'd wanted to hold off on any announcement saying "it worked! spam gone!' til we saw a major decrease, and considering I've now nixed only about a dozen or so messages since he and I talked on Tuesday, I'd say it's working! I will tell you...the hours and hours before then, trying to keep the really BAD stuff away was getting tedious! I don't get who benefits from this nonsense, but it drives me nuts! So glad it's all but gone! And now...back to the sparklies' talk :)

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Who benefits: the spammers. Since the cost of spamming, if fully automated in software, is practically zero, it's not a problem doing it. Some of it will land in places where it generates leads. Some of it (e.g. nonsense posts) is probably just test runs by either spammers or spam-engine builders.

 

Then there is the other argument that the benefit receiver are the "good" software houses building barriers against spam, but even my Machiavellian nature does not quite go that far...

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It's true, I installed the anti-spam service on Tuesday or so and the spam has gone way down... at least it's not out of control like it was. Still, I am looking to implement a customized registration form that will thwart the spam software... the spammers would need to customize their software to DR's form, which is unlikely. Stay tuned... thanks Laurie for swiftly swashbuckling the few remaining spammers that are still getting through. :-)

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