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Thread: spam in bulletin boards (phpbb), examples?

  1. #1

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    spam in bulletin boards (phpbb), examples?

    Hi, since about two weeks ago I have been receiving spam in a forum. There are some things I can try but have not tried it yet, as the forum does not receive much traffic so I am using it as a test bench to check which things work and which don't. I have banned the ips from the spammers (though if spam is generated by zombies that would not help much, though you see patterns and you can ban whole ip masks), I also have placed user confirmation on registration via mail (the user has to check mail to verify user registration).

    So far, the objective I am trying to achieve is that the effort the spammer has to do, is bigger than the effort I have to do to block him/her/them. There are some things the spammer has to do by hand, some others that can be delegated to a bot or a script. If i place a captcha (not like the one on the example in these forums, which is weak since the captcha value is also stored in the browser, it has to be stored in the server, probably as a session var), there is at least one thing the spammer has to do by hand. Also, if the user has to verify the account by mail, the spammer has to check manually the mail, unless is a 3 cents mail service. If that is the case, the spammer would probably use that service to create many user accounts and not just one, so I can ban the whole server (or invalidate mails from that service, though I am not sure I can do that in phpbb). I can share my list of banned ips so far if anybody wants it.

    I read somewhere that you can set it up so new users have to be approved after their first post. if their first post is rubbish, then you can ban it before he or she posts anything else. That sounds useful, but I have not set it yet; I want the spammer to keep spamming for a while to keep making some experiments meanwhile

    What I have in mind now, is to use the word sensor to replace some words with others. IF the spammer does this, is because he or she expects people to make a search and find the thing they are looking for; but if I replace 'levitra' by 'child molester', the searches would be different and less appealing.

    Right now my spammer seems to have gotten tired or out of ips, but I was expecting to find more spam to create my list of replacement terms. Does anybody else has spam problems in bulletin boards, so I can see examples of spam posts and create this list?

  2. #2
    target='_blank' snowmaker's Avatar
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    The forum I run is not PHPBB so I can't give you any coding samples that may or may not work for you, but I do have two suggestions for you,

    1. ZBBlock - http://www.spambotsecurity.com/zbblock.php
    2. Stop Forum Spam - http://www.stopforumspam.com

    There is a forum on the first site for support of that software, and the second site is just a godsend. There's just so much that SFS offers to forum owners. I'm almost positive that the Admin(s) of this forum use a VBB plugin that checks the database at SFS, and I as a mod here submit to that database as well. The forum at SFS is great too, in fact, you'll probably get better and quicker responses to any forum spam questions you come up with. If you do post on that forum, remember, that site only deals with FORUM spam. Not EMAIL spam, k?

    edit: well make that 3 suggestions.. Forum Spam List Checker - http://www.gunnerinc.com/fslc.htm. You can input some spammer info (username, IP, email address) to check that info against the SFS database and several others as well. This is a great little program that I don't have to use as often since the forum here got upgraded, but I still use occasionally.
    Last edited by snowmaker; 3-18-14 at 01:42 PM. Reason: added FSLC
    -bruce /* somdcomputerguy */
    'If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.'

  3. #3

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    tnx!, anyway, I still want to make the replacement list, as I said in first post at least to check the results. The phpbb install I used (the one that comes with simplescripts) has the option to check against a black list, I don't remember the name, though I thought it would be a good idea to create my own as well

  4. #4
    Mod.. with bite.. Croc Hunter's Avatar
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    Nobody spams by hand it's all automated. Forget CAPTCHA and all the antispam measures phpBB3 offers except the Q&A. phpBB openly admit their CAPTCHA etc are not effective. Don't make your users jump through hoops, just set one smart Question & Answer. Not 3+3=? or, what color is the sky? Something unique.

    I asked about antispam at phpBB's forum some time ago. Here's a link to the thread; https://www.phpbb.com/community/view...f=46&t=2211226 This method still works for me.
    Croc Hunter MSC :

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