How to spot a SPAMmer.

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How to spot a SPAMmer.

Post#1 by fanthom » 13 Aug 2015, 21:58

Few tips how to recognize spammer and do not get fooled by his tricks.

What is SPAM?

SPAM is advertizing for a site or product that costs money and is _stealing_ bandwidth to do it.

There are a couple of different types of SPAM.

If you see a new member posting to an old thread, a post that contains a link to something that costs money and has little to do with Porteus, that member is a SPAMmer.
The reason for the link is not to get visitors to the forum to click on it so much as it is to get search engines to find the link and up the link's site to a higher position on the search engine's search results.

They post to an old thread hoping hope noone will see the posting, and link, and it will stay on the forum for a long time.

Another SPAMmer approach is to post copies of older postings to a thread with the hope noone will notice they are indeed duplicate postings. Then a couple of weeks later the SPAMmer will return to edit the duplicate postings to their own benefit, either adding SPAM links to it or rewriting the posting as SPAM itself.

Both these approaches have been seen on the Porteus forum in the past few months. As we grow in popularity we will attract more SPAMmers. And these SPAMmers are individuals looking to either promote their own sites or the companies they work for.

Another SPAMmer approach is done by 'bots and is usually fairly obvious. Multiple postings, blatant narratives with multiple links to a commercial site. These are fairly obvious to spot.

What to do with a SPAMmer? The usual approach is to delete the posting and the member. As the threat of SPAM grows there are other approaches that can be used to fight back. Block IP addresses,
add edits of key SPAM links, move SPAM postings to a resticted area of the forum that only admins and mods can see and analyse for patterns.
Please add [Solved] to your thread title if the solution was found.

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Re: How to spot a SPAMmer.

Post#2 by francois » 14 Aug 2015, 15:52

To add to fanthom's instructions, here are more general and specific considerations about spammers and forum:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forum_spam
https://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtop ... &t=2158003
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Re: How to spot a SPAMmer.

Post#3 by Blaze » 14 Aug 2015, 16:35

I reccomend this hook antibot100500_v4.zip for phpbb 3 look at this topic

Small tweak. Open hook_antibot100500.php

find

Code: Select all

   if (!defined('ADMIN_START') && !defined('IN_INSTALL') && defined('HEADER_INC') && !empty($template->_rootref['S_FORM_TOKEN']) && isset($template->_rootref['DEBUG_OUTPUT']))
replace with

Code: Select all

   if (!$user->data['is_registered'] && defined('HEADER_INC') && !empty($template->_rootref['S_FORM_TOKEN']) && isset($template->_rootref['DEBUG_OUTPUT']))
1) copy hook_antibot100500.php to includes/hooks/
2) clear the cache of forum in acp (phpbb).
and you forget about spam :)
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Re: How to spot a SPAMmer.

Post#4 by Ed_P » 14 Aug 2015, 17:00

francois wrote:To add to fanthom's instructions, here are more general and specific considerations about spammers
Interesting links. Did you read them? No where do they instruct sending an email to the poster and waiting a week before deciding the poster is a spammer. :wink: Sorry, I couldn't resist. :pardon:

On a positive note, the fact that spammers are visiting here implies the forum is becoming more popular. :Yahoo!:
Ed

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Re: How to spot a SPAMmer.

Post#5 by francois » 14 Aug 2015, 20:58

@smarted:
The story did not mention it, but the spammer was banned definitively. Did you found some additional artefacts or some additional passages of this particular spammer on this forum?

I do read what I post, and usually learn from what I post. But I might forget some information or leave some 'coquilles' when I write. Especially, when I am on the smartphone.

Systematic banning of presumed spammers might ban naive newcommers. Some people could write what appears to be spam. Once advised they could remove the offending content or simply explain themselves. We have had some occurences of that type of behavior on the porteus forum:
https://forum.porteus.org/viewtopic.php?f=103&t=2488

And we spoke constructively about the spam topic elsewhere:
https://forum.porteus.org/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=2181
viewtopic.php?t=763&p=5920

There is a 'perle' on the topic, in which unetbootin was spamming content. I think you will recognize some of the protagonists:
http://old.slax.org/forum.php?action=vi ... ntID=48909
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Re: How to spot a SPAMmer.

Post#6 by Ed_P » 14 Aug 2015, 22:37

francois wrote:There is a 'perle' on the topic, in which unetbootin was spamming content. I think you will recognize some of the protagonists:
http://old.slax.org/forum.php?action=vi ... ntID=48909
A great link francois. :) I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing it. :beer:
Ed

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Re: How to spot a SPAMmer.

Post#7 by phhpro » 16 Aug 2015, 20:58

...
Last edited by phhpro on 04 Feb 2016, 03:25, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How to spot a SPAMmer.

Post#8 by Ed_P » 19 Aug 2015, 01:22

phhpro wrote: To ban IP's, as mentioned by fanthom, is utterly useless. In fact, it's considered rather counter-producive.
It works on some forums.
If you want maximum control, prepare to invest a maximum of time; and permanent _human_ monitoring.
You're exaggerating. But permanent_human_ monitoring is indeed needed which is why you need moderators, ones that visit the forum frequently, and that know what to do with spam when found.
Ed

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Re: How to spot a SPAMmer.

Post#9 by phhpro » 19 Aug 2015, 21:06

...
Last edited by phhpro on 04 Feb 2016, 03:24, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How to spot a SPAMmer.

Post#10 by Ed_P » 20 Aug 2015, 01:20

phhpro wrote: The next user unfortunate enough to get that IP assigned to his/her current session is out of luck without ever knowing what hit him/her.
The odds of another person using the same IP address to access this forum where it is blocked is slim to nil.
What most; or at least some; sites are doing these days is not to bother about single IP's but a whole pool.
And there are companies that spam that own blocks of addresses so blocking the 100-200 addresses they own individually is not the smartest approach.
Exaggarating? How so? For pointing out the vain efforts required to achieve what's impossible anyway?
If you like forums filled with spam and porn you're going to find this one bland because we don't. And the efforts to control it are not as impossible as you think.
Ed

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Re: How to spot a SPAMmer.

Post#11 by phhpro » 20 Aug 2015, 20:24

...
Last edited by phhpro on 04 Feb 2016, 03:24, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How to spot a SPAMmer.

Post#12 by francois » 30 Aug 2015, 03:49

@ed:
We are waiting anxiously for your reply. :wink:
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aus9

Re: How to spot a SPAMmer.

Post#13 by aus9 » 14 Jan 2016, 05:59

Hi

Is there any merit in asking new members to either pay US$5 if they want to post a link on their first post.....I suspect most spammers are not so enthused by this idea?

OR

Is there any merit in asking new members to do a certain number of meaningful posts before they can link?

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Re: How to spot a SPAMmer.

Post#14 by Blaze » 14 Jan 2016, 15:08

I have site with forum http://ublaze.ru/forum/ base on phpBB3 and i don't hava a spammers.
I use this hook - look at this post
It's 99,9% spam protection.
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Re: How to spot a SPAMmer.

Post#15 by Ed_P » 14 Jan 2016, 18:21

aus9 wrote:Is there any merit in asking new members to either pay US$5 if they want to post a link on their first post.....I suspect most spammers are not so enthused by this idea?
No. SPAMmers don't care about rules and some aren't even human, they're bots. But it would turn off users looking for a friendly forum.
Is there any merit in asking new members to do a certain number of meaningful posts before they can link?
No, but rules can be implemented in the forum's software to prevent links until there are 10 postings. But then the SPAMmer posts 10 spams and then edits the posts to include links. :D

Many SPAMmers put the links in their sigs rather than their postings. In fact some make postings that are copies of legitiment posts, wait a week then either edit the posting or their signature.
Ed

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