Spammers galore

Discussion in 'Feedback and Suggestions' started by bmcj, Jan 27, 2018.

  1. bmcj

    bmcj Well-Known Member

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    We just had over 700 new members join in a 10 day period. Can anyone smell spam? Most are obviously spammers laying in wait, but there are some that don’t even try to hide, like member “Payday Loans Online”.

    What happened? Did someone break down the front gate? I thought we had put some sort of screening process in place.
     
  2. Stl.Ed

    Stl.Ed New Member

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    I wonder how much of that was pent-up demand; maybe it depends on the 10 day period you checked.
    It seems as though the CAPTCHA function was not working from about September 1st until January 1st; no way to register and no way to report it without answering a CAPTCHA challenge. So, depending on what the average monthly join rate would be, January could represent 5 months of enrollments.

    Here are a couple of related threads:
    https://www.homebuiltairplanes.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28579
    https://www.homebuiltairplanes.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28915

    I think CAPTCHA was working when I registered on January 2nd, so spam bot registration should be screened. However, I agree that a "Payday Loans Online" member name looks suspicious.
     
  3. pictsidhe

    pictsidhe Well-Known Member

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    I noticed that new members have been able to sign up again. I've reported maybe a dozen posts over the last week myself. Tedious signup annoys me, but maybe the signup needs to be a lot more tedious? No images or links in the first 10 posts also seems a good idea, along with one post per day for new members? Don't go too far though, like the board who refused to let me join as my very recent immigrant status means that I didn't have a background for them to check. A moderately tedious signup along with prompt deletion of spam posts (that bit seems to work) will discourage repeat offending.
     
  4. Turbine Aeronautics

    Turbine Aeronautics Well-Known Member

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    A limit of one post per day for the first 3 posts of a new joiner would at least limit the spammers to a single post before he was taken down. We’ve had instances of maybe 10 spam posts all in a row before the offender was blocked by the mods.
     
  5. Dana

    Dana Moderator

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    The problem is that Jake (the owner of this forum) has to authorize any changes to the new user registration, and he's been unavailable.

    Dana
     
  6. bmcj

    bmcj Well-Known Member

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    PAYDAY LOANS ONLINE just made his first post and was promptly reported and deleted. :)
     
  7. pictsidhe

    pictsidhe Well-Known Member

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    I've found that the best way to deal with spammers is to waste enough of their time that they add you to their sh1tlist and go find easier targets. I used to ignore the numerous spam calls a day that I got. Then, 6 months ago, I answered one, 10 minutes later, he hung up on me while I babbled on, he sounded irritated... I can usually string them out for several minutes up to 20 before they discover that I'm incapable of taking up their offer. I Haven't had one this year, yet...

    Maybe we could private message members like payday loans?

    Maybe we could have a 2 stage post report system. A post is put into limbo if two members with at least X posts reports it. A mod then makes the final decision, restoring or deleting it, and dealing with reporting misuse. The quicker these posts go down, the less likely that spammer will be back.
     
  8. bmcj

    bmcj Well-Known Member

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    Good thoughts, and that might work for scammers but not spammers. A lot of the spammers are largely automated anyway so there’s no one to bug. Sending a private message would not do much because they’re just looking for places to get their links out there for a penny per click or whatever it is they make off of it.
     
  9. Topaz

    Topaz Moderator

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    Yeah, during the time the sign-up mechanism was down, the spammers seem to have developed new tools for getting around our procedures that try to ensure that you're a living, breathing, person. It's a constant measure/counter-measure battle, and Nathan has been doing a great job over the years keeping it all to a minimum. Right now, for the moment, the hordes have found a chink in our walls somewhere.

    The best thing you all can do is exactly what you've been doing - reporting the spam using the "report post" button (small black triangle with an exclamation point, lower left side of each post). The moderators (and Nathan) get an e-mail every time this is clicked, and we all seem to almost race to get to them. We have nearly 24h "someone's awake" coverage, with moderators spaced across the USA and Europe, so we respond to, delete, and ban most reported spammers within a few minutes of their being reported. A few, I know, we catch even before you folks see them.

    Thank you everyone for helping us keep this place as spam-free as possible!

    As BMCJ mentions, these are almost all "spam-bots", not actual human beings. Computer software trained to get through the sign-on procedure, then post the payload message(s) to the forum. After reporting them, the very best you can do is to never click on the links the spammers provide. They get their money by providing "clicks" to their paying customers, and every time you click on a spam link, you're putting a tiny amount of cash in the spammer's pocket. The more clicks they get here, the more lucrative a target we are. Report 'em, and starve 'em. And Nathan always fighting the good fight of tool against tool. That's how we keep them at bay.
     
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  10. pictsidhe

    pictsidhe Well-Known Member

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    We shall fight them on the beaches!

    I'm looking forward to the day that spamming becomes a capital offence...
     
    bmcj likes this.
  11. Marc Zeitlin

    Marc Zeitlin Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure this has been brought up before, but I have a 99.999999% sure way of eliminating Spam. I've run the COZY mailing list since 1995, when I started it. I do not allow anonymous members. If you want to join, you send me your name, address and phone #. I keep it in a database that's available to all members (and ONLY to members). I can count the # of spam emails we've received on the COZY list on the fingers of two fingers. Over 23 years.

    Are a few folks annoyed that they can't be anonymous? Yep. Do I care? Nope. Are they members? Some are, some aren't. Somehow, the list has survived for 23 years. We have over 730 members, none of whom ever complain about spam, and I NEVER have to deal with spammers or deleting them. In fact, over that 23 year period, I've only ever had to remove two members due to incivility.

    I understand the THEORY of anonymity, and maybe if we were fighting against tyranny here, there'd be an argument for it, but we're just talking about airplanes...

    My $0.02, and a proven method of eliminating spam AND incivility.
     
  12. BJC

    BJC Well-Known Member

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    Marc:

    I like your prescription. There is no need for anonymity on a forum such as this one.


    BJC
     
  13. bmcj

    bmcj Well-Known Member

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    I agree!!!

    ............... — Anonymous
     
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  14. Dana

    Dana Moderator

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    There are a number of good ways to eliminate the spam... moderation approval of new users ("explain why you want to join HBA"), moderator approval of posts by new users with less than x posts, etc. However, any change to HBA policies requires approval by Jake, the forum owner, and he has been mostly out of touch for some time. Hopefully when he gets back and is able to play a more active role, we'll able to implement some new policies. Until then, we'll just have to be patient and deal with it as best we can.

    Dana

    P.S. One of the more notorious Russian spammers (a lot of spam comes from Russia, or did) was beaten to death some years back. Nobody seemed terribly upset about it... :shock:
     
  15. bmcj

    bmcj Well-Known Member

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    But they like Spam in Hawaii.
     
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  16. pictsidhe

    pictsidhe Well-Known Member

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    I've been noticing something lately. Although most spam posts are taken down PDQ, I keep coming across some that are many hours old. I saw one that was maybe 8 hours a few weeks back. In each case, an HBA member had helpfully posted 'reported'. I go ahead and report them anyway if it's been an hour, and the spam is gone PDQ. Are these 'reported' posts counter productive? If the mods see an hour or two old report in their email, but nothing since, are they likely to assume another mod has dealt with it?
     
  17. bmcj

    bmcj Well-Known Member

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    I don’t know the underlying mail and reporting infrastructure for HBA, but I’m sure that these don’t get missed. It probably has more to do with how blaringly obvious the post is or the post’s timing (whether the mods are on line or if a post goes unreported due to being posted in the middle of the night for most), but I think every report gets checked. Still, it doesn’t hurt to report it again.
     
  18. Dana

    Dana Moderator

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    If it's an obvious spam in its own new thread, no real need to report it because we'll see it anyway and take it down. If it's in an existing thread or has a non spam title, definitely report it because we might not see it.

    When a post is reported, the report starts a thread in the moderator only section and an email is sent to all the moderators. If it's already reported, no need to report it again. I don't know about the other mods, but I typically check my email and the HBA "new posts" at the same time, so I'll usually see a new spam thread if it's there when I'm online.

    Dana
     
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  19. bmcj

    bmcj Well-Known Member

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    In browsing the member list today, I noticed that we have over 400 new joins this month alone (I only looked as far back as Feb 1). Almost ALL have no postings, so I browsed through some of the profiles and found only one so far that has any mention of aviation. I’m quite certain that 99% of them are spammers or spambots laying in wait, complete with random, rambling profile description and links to sites like pharma, investing, foreign, etc.

    Also interesting, I looked at all of the members we have with zero posts... over 11,000 of them over the years, some seemingly legit, but most probably spambots.
     
  20. Himat

    Himat Well-Known Member

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    Actually, if those possible spammers or spambots just lie dormant and have done so for a long time they are very ineffective at their work. Could suspect someone get paid by the account registered and have found ways to inflate their numbers.
     

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