Thanks for all your work, Robbie.
Due to a large influx of spam-bot registrations, I'm implementing a temporary top-level domain ban on all .info email addresses. The only people this SHOULD really effect are spam bots and people who do mapping that are also webmasters of .info domains (which may not be anyone).
I intend for this ban to be temporary as an effort to help the spammers get the idea that this site is very proactive against spam and that they are not welcomed here. If you feel that your account or ability to post has been affected because of this ban, please email me.
If this ban seems to have no affect on the number of spambots, I will lift the ban. What you may not be aware of is that I delete 5 to 10 accounts from spam bots on a daily basis, and I intend to cut back on that number...how I don't know yet, but I believe that upgrading to a more robust board system may be the answer. I am just reluctant to upgrading if its going to cost me the posts we already have here. Stay tuned!
Robbie Powell - Site Admin
I have a phpbb mod that cut back on about 95% of spam. It's pretty simple. The new registrant is asked to fill in nothing but name, password and email address. They can go back after activation and add web address, interests, etc.
If they attempt to fill in more than that at registration time, they are kicked back and their IP is automatically forwarded to a spammer registry. If you wish, the system will generate a complementary email recording each such attempt. I get 5 or more a day, but they are automatically routed to an archive folder that I only check to remind myself how much work this mod has saved me.
It's called Stop_Spambot_Registration-1.0.2
Its not so much of the forum software, but the powerful software available to spammers and crackers. With the cashflow available to these people who do this stuff there is a large array of applications that can register and "participate" on about any forum.
These applications can read captcha images, fill out only "required" info (by reading the page) and even "test posting" their spam message is specific forums (by reading the page). As well as other configruable options.
However, a simple text string or image asking the user to solve a simple logical problem will stop these things in their tracks (at least for now)...
Heres the preliminary anti-bot captcha system I'm working on until I get the "real deal" coded.
Mods > vBulletin 3.6 Add-ons... Then sort by # of installs - it's the 12th one down
Like I said, it has worked very well for me. In the admin you get to word a question (anything) and determine the answer. Because everyone will generally do something different, the spam bots can not be automated to fill out an answer for the field. You can do things as simple as "type out the word 4 below" and then in the answer field type all the combinations you would like to be accepted ("four" in the case, or maybe even "for" for people who... can't spell).
Anyway, it's an idea - free plugin, super easy to install.
I appreciate the effort that goes into maintaining a forum too. Mine is tiny and gets zillions of spammy hits. God knows what it must be like on something like ENWorld. I have implemented a firewall based on blocking by IP. Its quite ruthless and you do get a few bad blocks but its culled it to near zero but it is at the expense of usability esp guests.
Nowadays you have to expect that the bot is a real dude being paid by the cartels. If you have a real dude like Arcana pro-actively managing it then I think it can still stalemate. No hope if your targeted of course but there are still plenty of sites passively sitting there which make for easier pickings.
Since switching to vBulletin this email ban has been lifted and we've only had one spam issue to date. Cross your fingers! I'm going to go ahead and close this topic though.
Robbie Powell - Site Admin