Spam sandwich

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Spam sandwich

Postby Larry » Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:02 pm

Since James updated the website, the new member question protocols have been removed (this is not a dig at James :) ) and part of my job as a moderator is to check the new members and approve or disapprove their posts for acceptance to the forum.

I’m astonished at the amount of Spam that comes through every day and most seem to be for buying online drugs. Surely everyone must be aware of the potential danger of these drugs. They are frequently exposed as being either much lower in content or simply being padded out with cheaper and sometimes, potentially dangerous ingredients.

I have to assume that some people respond to these adverts otherwise they wouldn’t bother to keep sending them . . . would they? More to the point, even if the larger percentage of them were known to be genuine, would you risk it?
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Re: Spam sandwich

Postby James » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:10 pm

Ah, but remember that they are mostly automated! When I updated the main website, I also updated the forum software... :? I thought that was meant to make it more secure!!!

I've just been through and deleted about 500 users that joined since the new year.

I signed out and tried to register as a new user, but when I did it, it did ask me the verification question. Does it ask it for others?
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Re: Spam sandwich

Postby Larry » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:54 pm

Hmm, curious, James.

I guessed that all the new spam registrations are done automatically just like those phone calls that you answer and there’s no one there – within 24 hours you get several cold calls, grrrr.

Maybe the new spambots are more sophisticated and able to answer a simple question automatically but it’s strange that this has only happened since you updated the website. I did the same as you, logged out and went through the initial registration process and sure enough, the question was there.

I didn’t want to complicate things by actually registering but I wonder if the verification question is not answered does it actually prevent registration?
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Re: Spam sandwich

Postby James » Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:31 pm

I've just tried to register without answering the question - it says:
You have provided an invalid answer to the question.

It won't let you through if it's blank or the incorrect answer. I guess nystagmus is in (actually is) the domain name which might be one of the first things that spambots try. Any ideas on different questions that are still simple enough for someone to answer?
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Re: Spam sandwich

Postby adam_13_cato » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:47 pm

Was just on a website where they had a "Are you human?" validation process where you were shown a picture (presumably 1 of a group) with a word on it, and you had to select which word out of 3 was on the picture...

Would that work? And yes, I do see the irony of having a visual validation for this forum =)
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Re: Spam sandwich

Postby Lou » Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:42 pm

I see the point of making sure that you're a real person etc...but I must admit, I do get frustrated with some websites where you have to type in the word that is on the screen and you can't see what it actually says...Sometimes, I have to have about 3 or 4 attempts because the word is written in such a way that it's near enough impossible for me to tell what the letters are :( although I do get there eventually!
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Re: Spam sandwich

Postby Larry » Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:08 pm

When I tried to re-register, the question was ‘how many eyes do you have’ or something similar. Anyway, as the answer was a number, and the question was ‘How many’, I’d imagine the spambots are programmed to run through a series of digits until they hit the right one. Likewise, just as easy if you had a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to the question.

I agree that those random, distorted letters you have to copy to gain access to some websites can be a pain but they obviously keep the spambots out. What about something less obvious for a question such as, ‘Correction eye lenses are more commonly know as?’

Just a thought, could think of more if I put my mind to it.
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Re: Spam sandwich

Postby MrsEmmaCato » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:00 pm

Larry wrote:When I tried to re-register, the question was ‘how many eyes do you have’ or something similar.


What if someone has had an accident or something and only has 1 eye? they would get the question 'wrong', (presuming that the answer is 2, as if you can put in any number then it wouldnt stop a bot) if they were honest and wouldnt be allowed to register coz they r thought to be a spam bot?!? a question like that which has a right of wrong answer shouldnt be personal as someone could have 0, 1 or 2 eyes however if they have 0 i doubt they would be registering for the forum hehe
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Re: Spam sandwich

Postby James » Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:26 pm

emmahallett wrote:if they have 0 i doubt they would be registering for the forum

Come on Emma! There are people who are totally blind who can surf the internet! If a website is truely accessible, it is possible for an application called a 'screen reader' like JAWS, to read webpages out loud. A user can then navigate webpages or applications using voice commands. It's very nifty software and I find it amazing that it's been around for about 15 years!

Larry is right about the fact that the question has 'how many' in it, however, there are two questions I currently have setup. The second question asks something like, 'what do humans have two of and use to see'.

The questions need to be pretty closed. The answer has to be expected and limited. Ideally, it should be one word to prevent the use of spaces. It needs to be such that 99% of people would give the same response. I welcome suggestions! It would be good to build a bank of questions.
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Re: Spam sandwich

Postby tony dunn » Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:21 am

Oh I wondered what those calls were about Larry as we"ve had them too. Yes those letters which you have to copy out can be diffucult (esspecialy with my typing skills ha ha) but a few websites have an audio verification imput but these are few and far between.
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Re: Spam sandwich

Postby Sofie » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:24 am

I've just had to disapprove 22 spam messages.
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Re: Spam sandwich

Postby Lou » Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:40 pm

That captcha example where you have to draw round the picture I found quite easy. Well, at first I didn't understand what you had to do (nothing to do with nystagmus, just me being thick!) but it was ok after a while. I suppose everyone's different. It's when you have to write the letters in the box that I can't stand. I know they're a necessary part of registering on a website, but sometimes I find them impossible to read. Occasionally, the letters are nice and clear and easy to read. This doesn't happen often though!
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Re: Spam sandwich

Postby Sofie » Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:27 pm

The captcha with the letters, has really put me off using Google mail.

Is the audio version another option, James? I've just had to delete another lot of spam.
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Re: Spam sandwich

Postby tony dunn » Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:25 pm

Some questons which could b used with a number as answer.

How many days in a week?
How many days in the year etc.
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Re: Spam sandwich

Postby tony dunn » Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:37 pm

Those jumbled up letter things are OK because you can click it again if unreadable.
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