thermalben's picture
thermalben started the topic in Wednesday, 8 Feb 2012 at 8:45am

Apologies for the recent forum spam - turns out a bunch of automatic registrations from last year have 'activated' their spam-bots in the past couple of weeks.

We implemented a system to stop future auto-registrations however we've had to devise a way to get rid of the existing spammers. We hope to upload the fix in the next day or two, which should get rid of most of them.. fingers crossed!

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Saturday, 11 Dec 2021 at 6:47am

Spam continues to be an ongoing headache for most websites these days, but we've developed a few tools over the years that has curbed its effects on Swellnet.

One of the best methods we've implemented is requiring all new accounts to have their first couple of posts vetoed by Swellnet staff. This stops 99% of spam comments from being displayed on the site.

Here's a typical example:

Kinda obvious. The meaningless text that could be applied to any comment on any website, and the obscure URL at the end.

But.. the bots are getting crafty.

Here's a 'first forum post' from a brand new account, that arrived overnight. Reckon this looks legit?

Seems reasonably authentic.. no URL in the post, the comment fits the article it's posted in, and there's a few reasonably obscure references that could only have been written by a fan or Jordy or Dane.

But something didn't feel right, so I searched. And whaddya know! The text was lifted from Wavelength mag.

And the email address comes up on a SPAM list.

So, boom - it's deleted.

And Swellnet users are none-the-wiser.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Saturday, 11 Dec 2021 at 6:52am

But what’s the point of it? Nothing advertised?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Saturday, 11 Dec 2021 at 6:57am

Well, the other interesting trick up their sleeves is that the bots have an 'auto-edit' function. At some point down the track, they will edit their post and whack in a link to whatever Viagra supplement they're selling.

Of course, we've tripped that up too by not allowing users to edit their posts after 10 mins.

Gotta remember that this kinda stuff is not targeted to Swellnet - it's just a random bot that looks for database holes in any website, anywhere, and fills it with content and a link. Done at scale, hundred of millions of spam posts every day only requires a fraction of a percent of 'em to be clicked on, to justify the biz model.

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink Monday, 13 Dec 2021 at 5:37pm

Good luck Ben, but them bots don’t get tired, don’t sleep, don’t eat.

Appreciate the effort, the site would be terrible if it became a bot-fest. It’s bad enough with the human bots already (do they ever sleep, or walk away from their computer?)