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Recent flood of spammers
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Andy_Nonymous
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 8:44 am
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As many are well aware, we've had a lot of spammers lately, posting their unwanted links in our forum. Probably the new Wolfenstein release has brought them here like moths to a flame.

I'm curious, wouldn't it be less trouble to the mods if we just closed the registration process, and forced new prospects to submit to a manual approval process? Right now, all they need is a valid e-mail, and they're in. I'm wondering if maybe we can require them to say why they should be allowed to join, maybe answer some Wolf3d-related questions, show some very basic wolf mod knowledge, for example, subject to mod(s) approval. This could be done on a temporary basis, until "DOOM4: Crush Satan's Skull" (or whatever) is finally released to distract the moths.

Don't get me wrong, I do not want to prevent newbies from joining, or even discourage them either; in fact the more newbies, the better.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 10:22 am
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Andy_Nonymous wrote:
I'm wondering if maybe we can require them to say why they should be allowed to join, maybe answer some Wolf3d-related questions, show some very basic wolf mod knowledge, for example, subject to mod(s) approval.

I agree. This would be a great idea, if possible. Say, having a field that says "Why would you like to join this forum?" or "Why do you like wolf3d?" with a 25 word minimum when you register, or something similar. If they're too lazy to explain, then they aren't really a diehard wolfer, are they? lol. Maybe each email could get 2-3 chances to explain before it gets banned?

To be honest, I always wondered if this kind of screening was already in place (I haven't tried registering a new account since 2003, so I have no idea). With all the spammers out there, I imagine Greg has at least thought of the idea before too though.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 2:21 pm
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I know what Andy means which it lead me to believe that something newcomers are required to enter the reCAPTCHA before they can register here, it will prevent these bots from spamming around here.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 11:27 pm
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Or there's a phpBB mod that allows you to set up unique, random questions and their answers that new users are required to answer when registering. So far this has worked pretty well on the winwolf3d.dugtrio17.com board. In fact, it was DugTrio17 who initially brought it to my attention.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 2:25 am
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My ears're burnin'... hey wait, what's this strange CamelCase in my name? Anyway, yeah I've had great luck with the textual confirmation mod. My question is just how to spell a word backwards without some of the letters, but I'm sure more normal ideas can be used. Haven't had a single bot successfully sign up since it was put in place. The only thing is that I'm not sure if phpBB even still hosts phpBB 2 mods. If they don't then I can probably dig up the mod off my hard drive and send it over.

There is one annoying thing about it, though, and that's the fact that it sends an email every time a user is denied. At first this is kind of cool; I was really impressed when I saw fifty or so new bots blasted every day. But when you have two thousand new emails and they're all just that garbage it gets old fast. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but one of the stipulations with the mod is that the emails be sent. I'm actually pretty sure they're fine with it making the mod not email the user, but it also emails the mod creators. In fact, I think that's the cause of all the bounced emails I've been getting recently; maybe the address provided doesn't work anymore.

But really none of that second paragraph matters if you just say [Censored] it and take out the emails. I mean, what are they going to do, call the cops when they notice they're not receiving emails from you?

Oh, and I believe I heard BrotherTank comment once that several of the spammers are actual humans signing up for the forums. I'm still a little skeptical about that (but then what the hell do I know), but if that's the case then some sort of validation like the textual confirmation mod still seems like a good move, if only to weed out the automated spammers and show how many of these bastards there are. But again, shit, for all I know all these measures could already be in place and we could just be facing an army of humans with an assload of free time on their hands. My mind's wandering. Damn. Gonna go play Doom now.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:39 am
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I also remember BrotherTank commenting that several spammers are actually humans signing up, but I, like dUgTRio17, am also skeptical of this.

@DuGTrio17: I haven't been getting any bounce back at my address. I used to get a bunch of notifications, up to 4 a day, I started blocking IPs that had multiple offenses and the problem has gone down. I get maybe 2 a week. You can always set up an email filter to auto-delete or auto-file those notifications.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 2:59 pm
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Why have the banned IP addresses been flushed?
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 3:05 pm
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Very good question...

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 6:19 pm
   Subject: Re: Recent flood of spammers
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Having looked at the Banned List from time to time, no permanent bans I've read appear to last more than two weeks, possibly even one week. After that, they disappear from the list without explanation. Confused
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:28 pm
   Subject: Re: Recent flood of spammers
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TheTalentedMrLeo wrote:
Why have the banned IP addresses been flushed?


I emptied the IP Banlist the last time the forums database was trashed.
The IP scan is still in place and will ban anyone using a "Proxy" from signing into the site. That's an automatic. I put that in place so that you guys weren't chasing ghosts, and so you had actual real data to block the e-mails with. You guys have been adding and working on that list without any editing on my part. I only touched the IP list as it's really e-mail sites that they use to validate and get access to the forums that needs to be blocked.

Yes, I also have two other spam protectors installed as well. I'll go into detail in the Moderator Area if you mods need to know more, as I don't want to give any help in the public area for these idiots to spam the forums.

As to the recent increase in the number of people trying... i guess you all have seen that the Bots are back and scanning the forums. I opened them back up to scan the site and include the information (including the SDL) that we have added to the site over the last 2+ years. This is so that people can find that Wolfenstein 3d is still alive and also playable with the SDL version on the Windows XP, Vista, and now 7 versions of Windows OS. The bots that I refer to are the Search Bots gathering the info so that people wanting to play Wolfenstein on the newers Os's could get their fix here. It's like the Old games are cool once again... Which is another reason why I let them back scanning... lol..

And with all the protections that are in the site, the two that I have deleted that reg'd and posted crap, were a proper person typing in the commands. I watched 1 of them do it right in front of me.. it's wasn't a script doing it or it would have been an almost instant post. The person scanned the different sections and decided which area to post in. The second actually sent me a PM personally saying that I might want to check out these sites he posted. So yes, these spammers are not all bots... and those ones that do get through, probably aren't bots.

Hope that makes everything make sense. If its causing too much trouble for everyone, I can just turn off the registration and add into the forum rules that they can e-mail me personally for addition into the site. I really don't want to do it that way, but if I have to I will.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:50 am
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BrotherTank wrote:
If its causing too much trouble for everyone, I can just turn off the registration and add into the forum rules that they can e-mail me personally for addition into the site. I really don't want to do it that way, but if I have to I will.

It would probably make things easier than letting spammers keep joining, then having to delete their threads/accounts... I would think?

Maybe there should be a public section where new people can prove their worth to the mods for approval. Spam City forum. Could be entertaining. Laughing
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 4:00 pm
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BrotherTank wrote:
And with all the protections that are in the site, the two that I have deleted that reg'd and posted crap, were a proper person typing in the commands. I watched 1 of them do it right in front of me.. it's wasn't a script doing it or it would have been an almost instant post. The person scanned the different sections and decided which area to post in. The second actually sent me a PM personally saying that I might want to check out these sites he posted. So yes, these spammers are not all bots... and those ones that do get through, probably aren't bots.


That doesn't really make sense. How did you watch one of them do it right in front of you? At a computer next to you. I would guess that the person spammer vs bot spammer ratio is extremely low. The subset of spam that I've seen on here has definitely been bot produced. Bots scan different sections to see which are the most active and use that to determine where to post. Going to different sections doesn't necessarily mean that it's a person. Before I put that textual confirmation in place I did catch a few bots going through the site and only posting in one of them. So I guess I'm just a little confused how you actually 'watched' the person do the actions.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:11 am
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Adam Biser wrote:
BrotherTank wrote:
And with all the protections that are in the site, the two that I have deleted that reg'd and posted crap, were a proper person typing in the commands. I watched 1 of them do it right in front of me.. it's wasn't a script doing it or it would have been an almost instant post. The person scanned the different sections and decided which area to post in. The second actually sent me a PM personally saying that I might want to check out these sites he posted. So yes, these spammers are not all bots... and those ones that do get through, probably aren't bots.


That doesn't really make sense. How did you watch one of them do it right in front of you? At a computer next to you. I would guess that the person spammer vs bot spammer ratio is extremely low. The subset of spam that I've seen on here has definitely been bot produced. Bots scan different sections to see which are the most active and use that to determine where to post. Going to different sections doesn't necessarily mean that it's a person. Before I put that textual confirmation in place I did catch a few bots going through the site and only posting in one of them. So I guess I'm just a little confused how you actually 'watched' the person do the actions.


Sorry I didn't explain it in full enough that your response makes me look like an idiot??

As I said.... the person flipped from section to section. The Admin area has a slightly different setup in that it immediately posts which area and what you are doing in real time. You know the list in the Mod area.. I just haven't updated that area with the same code I have been testing in the Admin, although you guys have most of it.

Now your right that some bots scan and check for the most busy area and most posts.. And yep.. some of them generally check for an "Open" or General Area to post as almost everyone would have access to that area. Bit I watched this guy for 15 mins.. Moving to different areas... Actually reading certain posts.. Or at least that's how it looked.. and the person/thing at the other end posting to the forums, behaved in what looked like a human person manor. And as I said.. the other guy, actually sent me a PM saying that I should check out the links that he posted... I checked the PM's across the board, it was not a mass PM... it was specifically addressed to me only.. He logged off.

Anyhow.. as I said in my previous post..

BrotherTank wrote:
I'll go into detail in the Moderator Area if you mods need to know more, as I don't want to give any help in the public area for these idiots to spam the forums.


Thanks for playing...

BrotherTank
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:16 am
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Didn't mean to make it seem like I thought you were an idiot or anything. I was just confused. I feel that both of the highlighted actions are easy for a bot to duplicate, that was all. Some bots are spiders too, crawling along.

But anyway, again, I meant no offense.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:40 am
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Bots comes from Google, Ask, MSN, Alexa, and all of bot-related websites been affecting these logins. I found information about log-ins by spammers without using real accounts to get in.. User Agent Switcher for Firefox is available at Add-on for Firefox website.

I already checked this website with robots.txt, it been tested and failed (404 not found occurred). this forum might face the security problems. Wink

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 5:52 pm
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Please don't speculate. So you checked the site and their is no Robots.txt file? So what?

That file just tells robots aka Search Robots how to handle the site. It does nothing to handle the Spambots that people use to spam forums. Those Spambots don't check for the Robots.txt because even if it were there, they don't follow the settings within them.

Under... if you believe that a Robots.txt file is part of your security to a site.. and you have one and use it to try and protect yourself, you'll want to find something else fast.

As to the Search Robots that have been visiting the sites, those scan the forums for the information included in each post that you and everyone makes. That is why, I have the other protection items installed into the phpBB software, so that those bots don't get your personal information.. that's one of the pieces that I changed in the software back at the beginning of the forums here.

The search bots scan the info so that when you go to the search sites and type something like "Why do the guards in Wolf3d Moonwalk" you get the proper place or forum, right down to the post that it was made in as the best link to the request you made of the search engine. I just let them start scanning the forums again, about 3 months ago... When the bots grab the information, and put it in their database, it affects the ratings of other sites and where everyone ends up in the order presented each time you search. With them adding our updated information over the last 2+ years where they were not allowed to search and index the forums here... It has changed our rating... bringing us up in the lists, which makes the spammers want to try and post things here to help bring up their ratings... It's all about "URL Links" and the information gathered,... What these spammers want is that when you type and search for anything... Their sites come up on top of the list.... And by doing so, you type Wolf3d... and that's why somewhere in the search results you end up with Nude, and other trash!

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:38 pm
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Hi Everyone Smile

We are seeing a fair flood of spam accounts joining up again and posting links to various places at the moment (the majority seem to be in other languages for some reason!) but the mods are doing their best to get rid of them as soon as we can.

While this is happening could everyone please hit their 'Post report' buttons (The BLUE button) if you find anything you feel breaches the forum rules and we'll jump in, fix up, remove and erradicate as we do! Thanks Smile
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 4:38 pm
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Thanks, Dean. I spotted some spam posts in the News section a number of times, but it's all gone now. Smile
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:09 pm
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Thanks Tricob, I've been deleting and blocking a few new accounts nearly every day lately, and wiping off their spam posts, but it sure makes it easier when people let us know.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:43 pm
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Thanks for the Post report RonWolf, I managed to eradicate a couple more spam accounts today! Smile

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:50 pm
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No problem. Smile
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:32 am
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Dean wrote:
While this is happening could everyone please hit their 'Post report' buttons (The BLUE button) if you find anything you feel breaches the forum rules and we'll jump in, fix up, remove and erradicate as we do! Thanks Smile
I haven't found the blue button in the News section, but there is a spam post in there; presumably, this is by a newly registered user.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 11:13 am
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@Tricob: check the left bottom of the Author section of a post. There you can find the blue button to report a post.
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