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Manual approval for registration

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Manual approval for registration

Postby Aaron » Tue Nov 28, 2006 3:05 am

Hello everyone,

There's been an unpleasant tide of spam postings recently, and whilst I appreciate the thoughtfulness of the spammers to restrict themselves to the off-topic forum, I nonetheless cannot tolerate dodgy links to pr0n and pill sites in my forum.

So, while I look for a technological fix (e.g. better, or at least vaguely functional CAPTCHA), I've temporarily changed the new-user registration to require manual approval by me. I apologise in advance for any delays caused, and I hope to resume normal service within a day or two.

Best regards,
Aaron.
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Postby Mixael » Tue Nov 28, 2006 11:25 pm

I'm assuming this will only affect NEW signups and not those of us who are real-life people---I mean already registered :)
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Postby Aaron » Wed Nov 29, 2006 12:10 am

Hi Mixael,

You are correct; these measures only affect the process of registration for new members.

Cheers,
Aaron.
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Postby JavaJones » Wed Nov 29, 2006 2:08 am

I've been dealing with similar problems on a number of my sites. I've had to go with admin approval on Ashundar because LDU lacks any sort of captcha provision (will be switching systems soon!), but my SMF sites have been doing great. There are a number of captcha options there, including a bundled one in 1.1 RC3. Hopefully that will be improved for 1.1 final.

I'd be surprised if there isn't a decent captcha for phpBB too. But I know Stephen Schmitt ended up switching the World Machine forum over from phpBB to SMF because of spam issues, and it's been fine over there since. Seems kind of drastic though. *shrug*

- Oshyan
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Postby Aaron » Wed Nov 29, 2006 2:40 pm

Hi Oshyan,

Yeah, I don't think the problem here is quite bad enough to warrant switching systems, particularly since the forum drives the front page, and does the auth backend for the gallery and wiki(s). Anyhoo, I've downloaded and installed the better captcha mod, and if I see a drop-off in spam reg requests over the next few days I'll return us to regular automated approval. There are a few other anti-spam mods I might install also (there are plenty, in fact).

Cheers,
Aaron.
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Postby JavaJones » Thu Nov 30, 2006 2:14 am

Yeah, I knew you used the phpBB auth system for a lot of stuff here. It seemed extreme even in the WM case and this situation would be much more difficult. I pleased to see there seem to be decent anti-spam tools for the system - given its popularity it would be surprising if there weren't!

- Oshyan
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Postby Shealladh » Thu Nov 30, 2006 10:15 am

Spammers should be shot, or at least rewards given out for their heads 8)
I take solice from the fact that I know nothing...compared to the rest of the world.
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Postby Aaron » Thu Nov 30, 2006 1:36 pm

Hello,

The captcha upgrade seems to be enough for now, as spam registrations have dropped from about 10 per day to about 0. So, we're back to automatic registration, until this happens again.

Oshyan wrote:I pleased to see there seem to be decent anti-spam tools for the system - given its popularity it would be surprising if there weren't!


Yeah, I guess that's a strength and a weakness. The popularity of phpBB means there are lots of mod-developers actively patching up the holes, but there are also lots of spambot developers gunning for such a big target. Seems that in this case, the forces of spiced ham had only a fleeting victory.

Shealladh wrote:Spammers should be shot, or at least rewards given out for their heads 8)


If it were legal, I would also offer a reward for the head of the person who drops junk-mail in my letterbox each day. Alas, this nanny-state in which I live prohibits good honest citizens such as myself from inciting violence against evil retired grandmothers seeking to supplement their pensions by taking a delivery round. They're what's wrong with society, I tell you!

Cheers,
Aaron.
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Postby monks » Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:35 am

Bring back the stocks! Mother Needham (a notorious bawd aka brothel owner) of olde London town was seen off in this fashion :evil:

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Postby Q-dad » Thu Feb 08, 2007 9:10 am

I also added that same captcha thingy to our TXP forums a few months back, and I also turned on admin verification... This reduced the number of bot registrations from around 10 per day to around 1 per day.

However, lately they've managed to find a way around it, as well as around the admin verification, so now I've installed the myVIPcode mod as well, and so far it's working great...! :)

You can download it from here...

The myVIPcode mod basically requires that the user inputs a VIP code during the registration process. The VIP code can be distributed for instance via your support page, or in the about menu of your application, etc... At the same place, you can add information about extra processing needs in order to calculate the VIP code... For instance, if the VIP code needed for the registration is "B84HY6", you could provide the code "5kB1yt8gg4p9H5Ya6" on the support page, together with an instruction to use only the capital letters and the even numbers, from left to right... Since this extra processing method can be tweaked in a million different ways, the bots probably won't figure it out without human help...

It's easy to modify it as well, whenever needed... To see how it's set up at the TXP forums at the moment, try going through the initial registration steps here...: http://txp.df2.org/Forums/index.php
TXP (Terrain Xpansion Pack) for DF2: txp.df2.org

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Postby Aaron » Thu Feb 08, 2007 11:42 pm

Hi Q-dad,

Thanks for the suggestion. At the moment the fake registrations here are running at about one every two or three days, but if we have another spate of spambot registrants, I'll definitely look into this mod.

Another measure I recommend is blocking spammy e-mail domains. For the previous few months, I was getting a few spambots per day registering with e-mail addresses from cashette.com and mail.ru. Apparently these are among the few e-mail providers that allow such rampant abuse, as there are no spambots registering from other free services (hotmail, yahoo, gmail, etc.) So, until cashette and main.ru clean up their house, they're not welcome here.

As a side note, I actually tried to eat Spam[tm] for the first time last month. It was awful! I like ham, I like spices, but what sort of evil wizardry have they used to turn spices and ham into spam? I know, I know, it's only trotters, snouts and fat, but shouldn't it still taste a little bit like pig? I tried to pass it off to the cats, since they eat all manner of offal. Their response? Sniff, sniff, sniff, turn around, walk away, meow for food. Spam isn't even pet food! And this is coming from an Australian who loves a good meat pie. Down here, the regulations for meat pies (the de facto national food) don't require there to be any actual meat; it can be - and often is - just pastry, gravy and offal. But it still tastes better than spam!.

--- END RANT ---

Cheers,
Aaron.
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