A treatise on spam and other forms of canned meats.

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Lethe
badministrator
Posts: 92
Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2009 4:02 am
Location: Bumming around Kuula
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A treatise on spam and other forms of canned meats.

Post by Lethe » Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:45 pm

First, thanks for the people who pointed out that we had a spambot running around causing trouble, you guys rule! I took care of that particular bot as soon as I saw your various messages, sorry for any delay.

Spambots in general and this one in particular don't pose any threat to the forums themselves or any user information. However, using common sense when clicking links in posts that look like spam is always a good idea. If you did click on any links, it might be prudent to run an antivirus sweep on your computer.

Now some technical stuff:
I'm a bit miffed that a bot could somehow defeat the registration form captcha, but I suppose it was only a matter of time before the fact that I was using the stock phpbb registration form became an issue. Because that registration form is so common, bot makers are able to tailor their system to defeat it. Defeat is kinda a scary word, but in this case it only means that the bot is able to create an account, again there's no risk to your accounts or the forums.

To help prevent this from happening again, I made a small change in the frontend of the forums, and a more significant change to the backend. You'll notice that if you go to register an account, it will give you a captcha first, before the registration form. Many bots will not expect or be able to adapt to this simple change. There are also some changes on the backend to make the registration system a bit more protected, but these changes will not be visible. I also have spam filters and user flagging ready to go if these changes don't prove effective. I'm not going to turn those on until they're needed, just in case there's an issue with false positives.

If you have experience with phpbb, or just have some thoughts or ideas on other ways to foil those who seek to annoy us, feel free to share or let me know!

Quite Oh
NCI Officer
Posts: 180
Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2009 11:21 pm
Location: Canada

Re: A treatise on spam and other forms of canned meats.

Post by Quite Oh » Sun Nov 01, 2009 8:22 am

Lethe,

You're doing a great job. You aren't expected to be flawless at what you do--just to keep doing exactly what have been doing: performing with excellence.

Thanks Lethe :)

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