Whats up with the Spam bots?

Hang out, sip some ice tea, and shoot the breeze with TR regulars.

Moderators: emkubed, Captain Ned

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Tue Mar 27, 2012 6:41 pm

I noticed on some Snowmobile forums that I post on that they have the EXACT same problem we were having here. So it does not seem to be specific to any one type of community. Those forums are vBulletin though, so its also not specific to certain forum software either. The posts over there though look to at least be generated content on assumed subject material. The best one I saw was a computer generated conversation attempting to describe rebuilding this engine and getting some amazing result out of the rebuild process... The moderators took it down otherwise It would have been interesting to share with you guys :P
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

i5-2500K|Asus P67 Sabertooth|16GB Corsair 1600|MSI 7850 2GB|250gb Evo 840|Corsair 400R|ET750w PSU|Logitech G5|Dell 2420L|Corsair Vengeance 1300
Welch
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 2635
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 5:45 pm
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:32 pm

Just popping in to say that I've recently had to report 2 spammers by using the "Report this post" icon, and TR's reponse was swift.

So, thanks Mods! :D
Yeats
Gerbil XP
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 320
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:53 pm
Location: NJ, USA

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:03 pm

Around 25 spam-like threads popped up on my RSS Reader since last evening. All of them seem to be removed now. Was there a sudden wave of new spam accounts?
(My build, thanks to TR) i5-3570k | P8Z77-V | DDR3 1600 (4x4 GB) | 7950 | m4 128 GB | Blue SE16 500 GB | Green SE16 1 TB | Xonar DG | M12II 520 W | 550D | LP2475W | Blu-Ray | Shine Zero | MX310 | Windows 7 Home Premium SP1
integer
Gerbil Team Leader
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 289
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:23 pm
Location: New Jersey

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Sat Mar 31, 2012 4:02 pm

integer wrote:Around 25 spam-like threads popped up on my RSS Reader since last evening. All of them seem to be removed now. Was there a sudden wave of new spam accounts?

I think some of them tend to wait for Friday night, assuming that the spam police are paid employees who only work Mon-Fri.
(this space intentionally left blank)
just brew it!
Administrator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 37639
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:52 am

There was recently this post on the Announcements forum.
morphine wrote:Hi guys, we're going to do an upgrade to phpBB, for the following:
- Upgrade to the latest version
- Try to address the spam problem.

Does anyone have more information on what was done to address spam (assuming it is not classified!).
(My build, thanks to TR) i5-3570k | P8Z77-V | DDR3 1600 (4x4 GB) | 7950 | m4 128 GB | Blue SE16 500 GB | Green SE16 1 TB | Xonar DG | M12II 520 W | 550D | LP2475W | Blu-Ray | Shine Zero | MX310 | Windows 7 Home Premium SP1
integer
Gerbil Team Leader
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 289
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:23 pm
Location: New Jersey

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:08 am

Clearly, the solution here is to include multiple choice rhetorical questions when signing new users, stuff only lurkers know, such as:

Krogoth is..
a. Hot
b. Asian
c. not impressed

SweatShopKing loves..
a. Hot Asians
b. Horses
c. His wife
d. All of the above

Cyril Kowaliski lacks..
a. Facial hair
b. Easy-to-spell last name
c. moar time to write even more awesome articles and reviews
TaBoVilla
Gerbil Team Leader
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 251
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2005 2:37 am
Location: Madrid, Spain

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:51 am

TaBoVilla wrote:Clearly, the solution here is to include multiple choice rhetorical questions when signing new users, stuff only lurkers know, such as:

Krogoth is..
a. Hot
b. Asian
c. not impressed

SweatShopKing loves..
a. Hot Asians
b. Horses
c. His wife
d. All of the above

Cyril Kowaliski lacks..
a. Facial hair
b. Easy-to-spell last name
c. moar time to write even more awesome articles and reviews


1. c
2. d
3. ??? b & c?
Core i7 4770K | eVGA GTX770 SC ACX | 16GB DDR3 2133mhz | Asus Z87-PLUS | Corsair HX650 | Fractal Define R4 | Samsung 840 Pro 256GB | Windows 8 x64
yogibbear
Gerbil Elite
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 668
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:28 am

integer wrote:There was recently this post on the Announcements forum.
morphine wrote:Hi guys, we're going to do an upgrade to phpBB, for the following:
- Upgrade to the latest version
- Try to address the spam problem.

Does anyone have more information on what was done to address spam (assuming it is not classified!).

Not classified at all, since it's present in the registration form. We've added registration questions instead of a regular CAPTCHA in order to try to sift out bots. We're currently tuning them.
There is a fixed amount of intelligence on the planet, and the population keeps growing :(
morphine
Gerbil Khan
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 9952
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2002 8:51 pm
Location: Portugal (that's next to Spain)

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:32 am

I've been clicking that little warning sign to try and report threads, but I keep getting the "this thread has already been reported message"

It's a little disappointing that I don't get to be "FIRST!" to notice, but after a couple of attempts across various threads I tend to feel good about the TR forums and that we've got concerned citizens here doing their part. I take pride in the fact that I'm doing my part too, even if I don't get to do the report.


And then the intro to the Verhoven Starship Troopers movie (and show) plays in my head. I hear some fanfare and a whole bunch of voices saying "I'm doing my part..." :D
Sabina - i7-3930k | P9x79 Pro | PH-TC14PE w/ 2x TY-140 | 16GB DDR3-1600 1.25V | 2x Samsung 830 256GB | GTX680
Circe - Disconnected and Disconcerted
gbcrush
Gerbil Elite
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 551
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2005 12:36 pm

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:37 am

Can we get a "report this post" link for the article comments? There's a spam on the article about Chrome tab syncing, for instance.
Think for yourself, schmuck!
i5-2500K@4.3|Asus P8P67-LE|8GB DDR3-1600|Powercolor R7850 2G|1.5TB 7200.11|1988 Model M|Saitek X-45 & P880|Logitech MX 518|Dell 2209WA|Sennheiser PC151|Asus Xonar DX
bthylafh
Grand Gerbil Poohbah
 
Posts: 3151
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2003 11:55 pm
Location: Southwest Missouri, USA

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:56 am

TaBoVilla wrote:Clearly, the solution here is to include multiple choice rhetorical questions when signing new users, stuff only lurkers know, such as:
While these are hilarious, and would obviously work (though like yogibbear I'm a little unclear on the right answer to that last question) it would also work to keep out the people who may not lurk frequently enough to know those answers but may still need to register suddenly to get a technical problem fixed, and you don't want to keep those people out.
gbcrush wrote:It's a little disappointing that I don't get to be "FIRST!" to notice, but after a couple of attempts across various threads I tend to feel good about the TR forums and that we've got concerned citizens here doing their part. I take pride in the fact that I'm doing my part too, even if I don't get to do the report.
Try reading the forums after midnight PDT. That's when I see spam comments that I end up being the first to report (a couple of times a week on average). Although when there are 8 or more of them in a row it's a bit tedious (it's actually easier to just query the "user's" posts and then just work through that set).
bthylafh wrote:Can we get a "report this post" link for the article comments? There's a spam on the article about Chrome tab syncing, for instance.
Yeah, that's just one of the ways the front page commenting system is different from and inferior to the forum system (I especially miss the preview button).
UberGerbil
Gerbil Khan
 
Posts: 9974
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2003 3:11 pm

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:31 pm

UberGerbil wrote:
gbcrush wrote:It's a little disappointing that I don't get to be "FIRST!" to notice, but after a couple of attempts across various threads I tend to feel good about the TR forums and that we've got concerned citizens here doing their part. I take pride in the fact that I'm doing my part too, even if I don't get to do the report.
Try reading the forums after midnight PDT. That's when I see spam comments that I end up being the first to report (a couple of times a week on average). Although when there are 8 or more of them in a row it's a bit tedious (it's actually easier to just query the "user's" posts and then just work through that set)

I agree. I've had the most success after 2 AM EDT.

On a related note, am as curious as bthylafh in this post in finding out who has successfully reported the most spam.
(My build, thanks to TR) i5-3570k | P8Z77-V | DDR3 1600 (4x4 GB) | 7950 | m4 128 GB | Blue SE16 500 GB | Green SE16 1 TB | Xonar DG | M12II 520 W | 550D | LP2475W | Blu-Ray | Shine Zero | MX310 | Windows 7 Home Premium SP1
integer
Gerbil Team Leader
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 289
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:23 pm
Location: New Jersey

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:03 pm

integer wrote:On a related note, am as curious as bthylafh in this post in finding out who has successfully reported the most spam.

Not currently tracked. The only one here who knows if it's even possible in phpBB would be morphine.
It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Captain Ned
Global Moderator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 20189
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: Vermont, USA

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:01 pm

David Letterman wrote:This is only an exhibition, not a competition. Please, no wagering.
My guess is that Captain Ned has dealt with more SPAM than anyone.
JustAnEngineer
Gerbil God
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 15385
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: The Heart of Dixie

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:03 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:
David Letterman wrote:This is only an exhibition, not a competition. Please, no wagering.
My guess is that Captain Ned has dealt with more SPAM than anyone.

Maybe recently, but Kevin was pretty much the sole defense for quite a few years, so he'll always have the crown in my eyes.
It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Captain Ned
Global Moderator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 20189
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: Vermont, USA

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:19 am

thegleek wrote:
JohnC wrote:2) Don't allow links in posts for new users until they make a certain amount of posts (to prevent human "bots" from spamming). Yea, they can just make some "fluff" posts to get their post count up, but honestly, how many will bother doing that, especially if you also enable a timer for such new posters (like only allowing 1 post/hour for them)?
Further potential tweaks: IP range bans for obvious spam posters (some legit users can be caught too, but highly unlikely if the IP range is very narrow and is temporary). Something similar might also work. I definitely disagree with requiring people to pay ANY amount of $$$ to make posts or register on forums.

Yeah the going trend (lately) have been signatures with links.

The last two spam threads today have signatures with links. Not really sure why spam users would enter a signature instead of link bombing a post. However, if that is a trend, would it be possible to at least disable signatures for new users, or request a mod to enable links in signatures? Am assuming most users don't need links in signatures. In this thread, only 5 users have link signatures and 2 of them are TR links.
(My build, thanks to TR) i5-3570k | P8Z77-V | DDR3 1600 (4x4 GB) | 7950 | m4 128 GB | Blue SE16 500 GB | Green SE16 1 TB | Xonar DG | M12II 520 W | 550D | LP2475W | Blu-Ray | Shine Zero | MX310 | Windows 7 Home Premium SP1
integer
Gerbil Team Leader
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 289
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:23 pm
Location: New Jersey

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Thu Apr 26, 2012 4:28 pm

Ok guys, we've put new spam-blocking measures tied into our registration form. It's an automatic check against a database of known spammer accounts. This should ease both the forum and the frontpage comment spamming, since they're tied together.
There is a fixed amount of intelligence on the planet, and the population keeps growing :(
morphine
Gerbil Khan
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 9952
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2002 8:51 pm
Location: Portugal (that's next to Spain)

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:13 pm

Yea! Anything that cuts down on the success of spammers is a good move. (Okay, anything that doesn't hurt the usefulness of the site. ;) ) I hope this addition works out for you. I know adding that capability cut out most of the spam that we were getting. More than registration questions or requiring email validation.
nanoflower
Gerbil First Class
 
Posts: 185
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:10 pm

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:27 pm

Thanks for the tips you gave us in this thread :) We ended up doing something slightly different, but it helped put us on the right track when hunting down a solution that fit the bill.
There is a fixed amount of intelligence on the planet, and the population keeps growing :(
morphine
Gerbil Khan
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 9952
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2002 8:51 pm
Location: Portugal (that's next to Spain)

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:34 pm

Thanks for the (endless) effort here. Maybe the solution (and a more general perspective on the battle?) would interesting for a minute or two's discussion on the next podcast?
UberGerbil
Gerbil Khan
 
Posts: 9974
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2003 3:11 pm

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:00 pm

UberGerbil wrote:Thanks for the (endless) effort here. Maybe the solution (and a more general perspective on the battle?) would interesting for a minute or two's discussion on the next podcast?

Seconded. Am quite interested in any measures taken to fight spam here.
(My build, thanks to TR) i5-3570k | P8Z77-V | DDR3 1600 (4x4 GB) | 7950 | m4 128 GB | Blue SE16 500 GB | Green SE16 1 TB | Xonar DG | M12II 520 W | 550D | LP2475W | Blu-Ray | Shine Zero | MX310 | Windows 7 Home Premium SP1
integer
Gerbil Team Leader
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 289
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:23 pm
Location: New Jersey

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:36 am

Seems a lot more spam threads and posts have started up. Are spammers willing to get past the additional questions during registration.
(My build, thanks to TR) i5-3570k | P8Z77-V | DDR3 1600 (4x4 GB) | 7950 | m4 128 GB | Blue SE16 500 GB | Green SE16 1 TB | Xonar DG | M12II 520 W | 550D | LP2475W | Blu-Ray | Shine Zero | MX310 | Windows 7 Home Premium SP1
integer
Gerbil Team Leader
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 289
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:23 pm
Location: New Jersey

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:44 am

integer wrote:Seems a lot more spam threads and posts have started up. Are spammers willing to get past the additional questions during registration.

Summer holidays in the northern hemisphere, more kids wanting some extra change to buy toys? :P
Image
The Model M is not for the faint of heart. You either like them or hate them.

Gerbils unite! Fold for UnitedGerbilNation, team 2630.
Flying Fox
Gerbil God
 
Posts: 24360
Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 2:19 am

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Sat Jun 23, 2012 12:23 pm

Maybe you could have a filter that checks for common spammy things like "UFC" in links, since that's a big thing with the local spammers lately.
Think for yourself, schmuck!
i5-2500K@4.3|Asus P8P67-LE|8GB DDR3-1600|Powercolor R7850 2G|1.5TB 7200.11|1988 Model M|Saitek X-45 & P880|Logitech MX 518|Dell 2209WA|Sennheiser PC151|Asus Xonar DX
bthylafh
Grand Gerbil Poohbah
 
Posts: 3151
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2003 11:55 pm
Location: Southwest Missouri, USA

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:46 pm

Is this a good place to report front page comment spam? I couldn't find a report button/link.

This guy says beats by dr dre are the best (haha! HAHAHAHA!) AND posts a link to a store with a glowing recommendation: http://techreport.com/discussions.x/23197?post=651380
Firestarter
Gerbil XP
 
Posts: 478
Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2004 11:12 am

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:35 pm

Firestarter wrote:Is this a good place to report front page comment spam? I couldn't find a report button/link.

This guy says beats by dr dre are the best (haha! HAHAHAHA!) AND posts a link to a store with a glowing recommendation: http://techreport.com/discussions.x/23197?post=651380

Nuked.
(this space intentionally left blank)
just brew it!
Administrator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 37639
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:22 am

Are the spam bots this bad on other forums? Has anyone noticed?
i7 860 - GA-P55-USB3 - 8GiB - HD7850 - SSD - 3.64TB HDD - Xonar D1 - U2410 - Win7 Pro x64.
DancinJack
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
 
Posts: 2037
Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2006 3:21 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:10 am

We've spent a fair amount of time looking into solutions. 8-ball says that yes, the problem is real and very widespread, everyone just scrambling as fast as they can coming up with solutions. Been that way since e-mail spam was invented.
There is a fixed amount of intelligence on the planet, and the population keeps growing :(
morphine
Gerbil Khan
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 9952
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2002 8:51 pm
Location: Portugal (that's next to Spain)

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:31 am

DancinJack wrote:Are the spam bots this bad on other forums? Has anyone noticed?

I think it is effectively worse on many other forums, because they get roughly the same volume of incoming spam but aren't as diligent about nuking it on sight.
(this space intentionally left blank)
just brew it!
Administrator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 37639
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: Whats up with the Spam bots?

Postposted on Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:12 am

Yeah, I wasn't meaning to criticize. I just don't frequent ANY other forum. I look occasionally, but I'm not active really anywhere else. Keep up the good work.
Last edited by DancinJack on Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
i7 860 - GA-P55-USB3 - 8GiB - HD7850 - SSD - 3.64TB HDD - Xonar D1 - U2410 - Win7 Pro x64.
DancinJack
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
 
Posts: 2037
Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2006 3:21 pm
Location: Austin, TX

PreviousNext

Return to The Back Porch

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests