Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

There have been reports of the forum SPAM blocker (Mollom) blocking legitimate posts. Has anyone else experienced this on the OpenEnergyMonitor forums in the past few days? If so please post as much info as possible and ideally how I might replicate the issue! 

Thanks, 

MartinR's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

The insert image dialogue seems to be completely screwed up now. From Internet Explorer it doesn't work at all, neither of the buttons respond and even the close X doesn't work. From Mozilla it does work but when I tried to insert an attached image the spam filter wouldn't allow the post. It would allow the post if the image was simply attached but not inserted.

Also form IE you can no longer paste into the comment window.

calypso_rae's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

Using Firefox, I've had difficulties pasting anything into the comment window for months. 

I have been blocked by Mollom several times, most recently yesterday.  When this happens, I've not got as far as the stage where you're asked to enter the displayed characters.   Mollom has decided up-front that my contribution needs to be blocked without giving me the chance to prove that I'm not a robot, not a robot, not a ...

Jérôme's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

I regularly have issues with this as well. I didn't notice anything specific these days.

When I enter a post with links, I'm generally asked (but not always) to enter the captcha characters. I sometimes have to go through it several times. Considering the spam that goes through, it seems to be easier for a computer than for myself...

Perhaps could you go for a homegrown anti-spam version. For instance, on user creation, ask a "1+4=?" question, or a question related to the project, something obvious, or even, what is the name of the third element in the menu, or the third title on a specific page. Or even simpler: "Please copy the password that is written here in the wiki." Then assume someone who could create an account is not a machine.

 

RobertK's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

This has asked me to complete a CAPCHA.

Robert Wall's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

I see the latest spammer(s) is using a temporary mail address from Mailnesia, that actually boasts:

"Automatically clicks on registration links!

If the email contains activation/registration links to other sites, they will be automatically visited in the background without any user action. This is most useful for registrations or subscriptions on websites where you must click on an activation link in the message to complete your registration. This will be done without any user intervention, even without you reading the email!"

aideen's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

Hi, I've just posted a reply to the Additional Features and Hardware thread. I tried to reply yesterday (same contents) and it got blocked by Mollom and hasn't appeared (the post contains 4 links).

Today, I just had to complete the CAPTCHA and it went through ok.

 

calypso_rae's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

If you can get as far as CAPTCHA (which I presume is the stage where you're invited to enter the displayed characters), then the process seems to work fine for we humans.  Yesterday, the only way I could get to this stage was to omit and/or disguise all links/URLs.

A few days ago, I could post links with no problem. 

[Edit - this post did not even go though CAPTCHA]

jb79's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

Hello Glyn,

I had problems on Dec. 19th and reported this problem to Trystan on Dec. 20th in the morning (via PM). I tried to post an update in my showcase and later wanted to reply to a forum post, both failed. I think there was no CAPTCHA when I got the error.

Today everything is running again (update: http://openenergymonitor.org/emon/node/2557#comment-17089), but I'm sorry that can't tell you details now (since when it works again).

TrystanLea's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

I've set the option to retain blocked content for manual moderation to get a better idea of the number and type of posts that are blocked.

TrystanLea's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

Hello All, first of all Im really sorry for the spam blocking, Im sure its been infuriating, a surprising number of posts got into the approval queue that I turned on, the spam blocker mollom seems to have got over zealous in its blocking.

I cant see any settings that can be changed with Mollom so as a first stage in a solution I've created a new user group which bypasses mollom which I have so far added everyone who had posts in the approval queue and I also published those posts.

At least if you get this problem once now you will be guaranteed not to get it again once one of us have added you to the user group. In the mean time I will try and figure out if there is anything that can be done on the mollom spam checker end.

Trystan

boelle's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

at least posts with internal links should not be put in to moderation....

 

but for external links yes..... then again spam could be done by using a simple picture that shows the link..

 

not easy :-/

Robert Wall's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

To give you some idea of the problem, 8 of the 15 new users who registered in the last 24 hours, and 10 out of the 21 in the 24 hours before that, were spammers. And it seems to have been much the same right over the holiday (without actually analysing the list).

I too can't see a problem with allowing internal links, though whether Mollom is capable of that is a different question.

boelle's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

yeah...

 

and i guess most of those are just bots and not real humans.....

is it the type of forum that attracts them? ie phpbb.... or is this one called syndicate?

 

maybe when people sign up have them enter a word that is found on another page so they have to jump pages... and change that one every other week.... ie say first word on a given page.... then next last word etc etc

 

cold also be whats is the price for something in the shop.... or if going drastic.... ask people for allowance to auth 1€ on their CC but do not draw that amount.... so in fact its free still it would scare spammers off?

 

just thoughts an ideas.... dont shoot me :-P

tomkerswill's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

Hi

I tend to get the CAPTCHA quite often when posting. I found it's taking me 5-7 attempts to enter the correct letters! In the end, I found that typing lowercase (even if the picture of the letter was a capital) seemed to solve it. I also had success using the audio version --- but some letters seemed to be very hard to understand on the audio (odd accent, and not the usual phonetic alphabet!)

Tom

Jérôme's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

I also think a single human check at subscription should be enough to ensure all users are real and can post anything.

Because I assume spammers are bots. (If a real human spams, we can remove him manually. If many humans spam, I don't know, but I'd be surprised.)

Why not add a silly question at subscription, one that a bot would not understand. Perhaps a "1 + three equals" type of check is too common, now, but we could come up with something not too complicated. Like "please enter here the password that is on this wiki page", and then the wiki page says "password is fhdsifdgxxj98797" and it is obvious and not blocking for a real human like most of us are.

Just rephrasing what I wrote earlier in this thread, but I think it makes sense, doesn't it ?

Or is it too complicated to integrate into the CMS ?

Robert Wall's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

The problem with spam is it's an arms race. And by definition we'll always be one step behind.

My feeling is we do need to do a manual check on users signing up and then on their first few posts, and when they have proven themselves, transfer them to a "trusted" list where there's no further checking. If they breach that trust, they can be dealt with manually, as always.

Just looking now at the list, it's obvious to me that a user name "qwrkerstintgsmu**" [I've obscured two letters] with an email address of "[email protected][well-know free email provider].com" isn't a real person. But how do you make an algorithm to tell that? It looks like a neural network problem that's way past my comprehension.

Of course, the downside is human intervention of any sort introduces a delay and I can well imagine a newbie, having just got his kit and trying to get it going, being totally frustrated when his plea for help is held up in a queue waiting for moderation. It would be very nice to avoid that, and I think this goes a long way towards explaining why Glyn & Trystan have been reluctant to go down this route.

TrystanLea's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

I took a look today at the mollom statistics, it receives about 400-500 spam attempts a day! I remember years ago now when openenergymonitor was just getting stated we didn't have mollom installed and the amount of spam was huge then so it does do an amazing job at getting rid of most of the actual spam.

When posting and the iste gives a captcha does it then still fail to post the message? or does a post always get accepted if the captcha was correct?

I added quite a few people to the bypass mollom group today.

calypso_rae's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

or does a post always get accepted if the captcha was correct? 

In my experience, yes.

Robert Wall's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

And I've just zapped 2 spammers that got in.

DaveLloyd's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

I tried to post but was blocked despite filling in the captcha.

boelle's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

what about chekcing "user" mail server against this site: http://www.dnsbl.info/dnsbl-database-check.php

 

ie checking gmail.com of course clears :-D

 

of course if one tries to register with an mail from a know spam source log ip so it cant be used again

 

and i think there is a clever way to tell the isp when ip is given... maybe block all future attempt from same isp.... 

 

then at maybe 1-3 months interval clear the board and start over....

 

but maybe also figure what attracts these spammers in the first place? ask ourselfes why they start to bother in the first place? is there something about the forum that stands out and makes this thought pop up in the spammers head: "easy sight to spam - lets have some fun"

 

 

boelle's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

taken from this site:

 

http://www.sitepoint.com/easy-spam-prevention-using-hidden-form-fields/

 

"a spambot cannot distinguish the difference between whether or not fields are optional or required, so it just fills them all out."

 

 

so a hidden field that the spam bot will fill out but a normal user will not see could be an option... both at user reg. but also when posting

 

 

boelle's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

maybe use this service: http://www.blocklist.de/en/index.html

 

it has an option to export spammers ip during last 48 hours 

 

also you might consider support them by reporting back attacks

boelle's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

in add to above:

http://forums.phplist.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=37393

 

last post on page seems like an idea... ie prevent bots entirely from entering site in the first place

 

 

i use this personal for a pizzadelivery site i manage... the .htaccess filters all non danish ip's out, the shop does not serve other than people within 20 km's anyway

boelle's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

we have  new spammer it seems: moncler237

 

made 4 posts that thou they are german does not mention anything that even remote relates to OEM

boelle's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

add the "member" sortingbeans to the spam list :-(

boelle's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

another spammer... Frank Gore Jersey

//links removed as they are no longer exist//

Paul Reed's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

All blocked now & posts deleted 

Paul

Robert Wall's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

Boelle, it is pointless you posting 3 times adding one spammer each time. I and the other moderators look at the members list and new content very frequently and deal with them in the time-honoured manner. I've just dealt with another 9.

boelle's picture

Re: Forum SPAM blocker malfunction?

sorry....

just got admin rights myself to report spammers.... so will do my share when i discover spammers

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