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XF 1.4 Spam Getting Out of Control

System0

Active member
#1
One of my forums is receiving an excessive amount of spam from automated spam software.

I am using XF 1.4.1 and have some of the TAC anti-spam add-ons installed: Tac AuthCaptha, TAC De-Dos - Reduce the effect DOS attacks usually caused by spam bots, and TAC StopCountrySpam - black/white list country IPs from registering.

I disabled the other TAC add-ons as they were stopping legitimate members from signing up. Even I couldn't sign up when I tested it with the other TAC add-ons installed.

In the user registration options area, I have Solve Media enabled. I have also tried question and answer and Google ReCaptcha. None of them works.

Currently, if I don't check the forum for a day, I go back and see dozens of spam threads. It's pushing members away and discouraging others from signing up.

I have tried a lot of different anti-spam add-ons for my discussion forums. The setup mentioned above seems to work ok with another forum of mine; but the spammers are getting through on the other forum.

What other solutions are available to me?

Kevin
 

Brogan

XenForo moderator
Staff member
#2
Have you analysed the spam to see if there is anything in common?

Are you utilising the spam phrases option?

Have you tried tweaking all of the various settings until you hit on something which works for your site?

Have you considered moderating the first x posts?
 

System0

Active member
#3
Moderating the first X posts is not practical for me as it would be too time consuming. I'd rather it was automatic.

I have tried various settings and tried all the different captcha methods. Nothing seems to work.

The messages do look quite similar. They all tend to be a paragraph or two long with one or two keywords embedded as links and a full URL posted at the end. However, nothing seems to be consistent as far as name, email, IP address etc., is concerned.

I haven't set up spam phrases as yet. Is there a common spam phrases list available that I can copy and paste into the field?
 

System0

Active member
#5
I can't see any pattern. They aren't posting pharmaceutical or sex related phrases. It's just random gibberish using common English words, with some of those words being linked.
 

Brogan

XenForo moderator
Staff member
#6
There is no magic one click solution.

In a lot of cases these are human spammers and they require some effort to combat and deal with them.
 

System0

Active member
#7
It's certainly not human spammers. That much I am sure of. They are sometimes registering multiple people at the same time and posting dozens of threads. It is definitely software that is doing this.
 

Brogan

XenForo moderator
Staff member
#8
The tools are available to deal with it.

Very little spam makes it to the forums on this site, but that's not for lack of trying.
 

System0

Active member
#9
What tools? I upgraded to 1.4.1 because it apparently had better anti-spam controls, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

As I noted, spam is not getting through on my other forums, just this one.

If no spam is getting through to XenForo, can you please share the spam settings you guys use so that I can compare them with my settings and see if anything is differently (i.e. privately, I am not suggesting you share this publicly).
 

Mike

XenForo developer
Staff member
#10
It's certainly not human spammers. That much I am sure of.
While I can't speak for the spam you're getting, I wouldn't be definitive about that. The only spam we get here appears to be backed by humans in some way. You can actually see how they end up at our site (URL opener sites, referrers from elsewhere, coming back to a previous profile they registered). The majority of the IPs are from India or Pakistan (or from VPN-type services). The format of the spam is similar to what you're reporting.

The majority of stuff we do to prevent spam is down to picking up the keywords that they use that our regular users don't use (things like "garcinia", "muscle", etc).
 

System0

Active member
#11
So do you think humans are copying and pasting huge volumes of spam?

Here is a few examples of spam messages that I hadn't deleted.

I'll and you just had a over your face wherever you want to bear imperfections and he has a nice finish am sugary thing isn't going to be like fully shire it’s when there's a little bit is like reflecting she married to the particles in powder foundation it definitely makes your skin look way more beautiful in for Jim compared to just straight cake paparazzi foundation which make you little bit like to you met which is my visit this is completely optional like its it really depends on your taste but my taste is and from experience I think when the birth from Sheila particles it makes you book way better on and I'm not talking about like glitter or anything I’m talking about. liked tiny T Advance specks I'll blight reflecting stuff there in predominately Japanese foundations and I’m not talking to highlight it simple math and Asian power foundation is she took into the powder you'll see me little shimmery things and am they just solder she works at the highway a look at Heineken just it just looks really good and the way I found it looks really good is by am the photographs for to pass nicely it makes you look more dimensional when it's completely match kind of foundation a tends to make you cry way flatter and I'll not flatter think I'm in so I think particularly her for people Lake Asian people like myself if I need little bit difficult to find found it like foundation colors that match perfectly in sort of like predominantly Western countries if you find yourself in Japan Sunday.
http://menshealthtrim.com/
Wimbledon High School for Girls you go to yeah know if he isn't there any other people that attend will last for girls but said there are others are the Los They're very other people if you are rope and retain the mood in high school for girls check yourself before you wreck yourself if you're a girl women in our school for come on stop the rumors there is evaluated forth rule is a good as stops Carla is really talking to see how you take care yeah it's a my case it's been a lesson for soul in a the nature of gender and city saving Trevor you puzzles well I think that the thing is that if you're a man you got to bring something different to their partnership in if you're a woman Gmax vice versa doesn't always have to be protection but that's usually where is P if you can bring something else s fine as always you can bring something somewhat analogous perfect she calmed down smartly you've got there if you should live inside society by now we turn off to protect each other such a shame in it there was no voter into the phone with protection is so high on our agenda you know is that is a bit of a worry this is a Russell Brand on radio to move Jeremy Nicholas you to me you are known as the announcer West Ham United but you do right answer for if they have television as well linden it raises a semi voting amazing people radio so how amazing pay for I Chris Morris seekers Morrison Chris Evans analyst.
http://gmaxsuplementoss.com/
Of our time where with the Fast Ethernet mustn't or practice okay another interface while is a very important for us as well is they call cereals its easy n/a you have to understand what the meaning cereal and what the doc job for Syria serial we have the band with them so many different band led by an hour practice we use 1 million on 1 million it is to bit which is equal one mica and this is this beat for this cable or for this interface and there is a big concert and very important concept they called DTE and EU CE DT NDC K we need to discuss about this point because this point is very important for a number two let me just say in nested our subject there after that they give 640-554 you information for each point number one is interface number two is the call inline we have a to three types as well we have a call on Psalm also we had v T you or reach you I sorry it is they call it all meant and we have another one it is a you lyrics okay a new York’s this is the line and airline and number three we have something the coal port example for poor it is switch K so this is our deal before to start totaling about season a you'll have to identify and you have to know what those meaning what the meaning inter phone what the meaning lying line what the meaning port okay thinks.
http://640-554cisco.com/
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Brogan

XenForo moderator
Staff member
#14
It's big business and there are a lot of poor people in the third/developing world who will do that all day long for a a pittance.
 

Mike

XenForo developer
Staff member
#16
Click the "IP" link on those and see where the GeoIP resolves to.

You may find that most of it comes at a particular time range. By afternoon in the UK, we see comparatively little.
 

System0

Active member
#17
I have checked a lot of the IP addresses there. Most appear to be from Pakistan and India, though I found one that was from Germany.