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  1. #1
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    phpbb registration spam versus vbulletin

    I've run phpbb and had to suspend my board due to exhorbinant registration spam, even after patching with counter-measures.

    Has anybody been able to compare vBulletin's ability to deal with this issue versus phpbb?

    Thanks.

    Mike

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Vbulletin had image verification tool and some good extensions that you can use to limit the number of posts a new member had to post before spam their url.

  3. #3
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    Thanks, but I am specifically referring to registration spam - not posting. phpbb also has image verification.

    How does vbulletin do in eliminating *registration* spam?

  4. #4
    PHPBB has image verification. Do you allow annomous posts? I get a few bot's every now and then, but they do not activate account. I only average 77K hits per month, so maybe your getting more than that and it is the difference.

  5. #5
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    VB also has some mods (hacks) that can be used in place of image verification. one in particular that has helped us is a challenge and response system, where you have a question you have to answer (instead of captcha). You get to configure these yourself, making it much harder to guess from board to board, and so far they have to visit to sign up.

    Combined that with another hack that places any first post (configurable from 1-infinity) containing keywords or URLs into the moderation queue. Spam is just about history, and quite manageable.

  6. #6
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    I have a phpBB board that got A LOT of registration spam bots signing up, I used Anti-Spam ACP and a custom CAPTCHA from freecap info here and it stopped the spam bots completely... nothing in the last 30 days where I would have normally had 4/5 bots a day signing up

    EDIT: actually it seems like the latest version of Anti-Spam ACP has it's own captcha (image verification) built in, so it might be enough to just install that.
    Last edited by Shrill; 12-26-2006 at 09:58 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Yes, same here. We get spam on my phpBB board, both from registrations and non-registrations. I've just changed the forum so only registered users can post in, which reduces spam a bit, but not enough.

    I'll check out the antispam links - thank you.

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  8. #8
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    May 2002
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    I was getting flooded with spam bots on vBulletin with image verification. They still manage to register and post spam.

    After applying 2 hacks from vbulletin.org I have no spam at all.

    NoSpam!
    and
    Prevent Spam

    both are product addons and easy to install.
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  9. #9
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    The problem is that the image verification scripts on both vbul and phpbb have been cracked long ago, so that the bots can actually see the letters and numbers on the images, simply because they're the standard images being used all over the web, and therefore it pays off to crack them for the bot owners... If you install another image verification script it should cut down on the bots a lot.

    See the links Shrill posted, as they seem to do a great job
    || Semi-professional PHP developer || Exams right now, don't I just feel lucky? ||

  10. #10
    I recently switched from phpbb to vbulletin about 3 months ago and haven't had any spambots sign up yet. I was getting them on phpbb about 1-2 day... and would just manually get rid of them.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ks Jeppe
    The problem is that the image verification scripts on both vbul and phpbb have been cracked long ago, so that the bots can actually see the letters and numbers on the images, simply because they're the standard images being used all over the web, and therefore it pays off to crack them for the bot owners... If you install another image verification script it should cut down on the bots a lot.
    That's a fascinating bit of information, hadn't thought of that. I guess they need to be more randomized - change the location of the characters, the colour, background and size so that no two images are the same. I guess the culprit was poor code design ultimately ...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianoz
    That's a fascinating bit of information, hadn't thought of that. I guess they need to be more randomized - change the location of the characters, the colour, background and size so that no two images are the same. I guess the culprit was poor code design ultimately ...
    Wont call it poor, but it could be much better... that, and the fact that you can easily get your hands on the code for it makes the image very easy to crack... IMO any standard image verification, VB and phpbb alike serve no real purpose since they are so widely used.
    || Semi-professional PHP developer || Exams right now, don't I just feel lucky? ||

  13. #13
    I have read about an image verification that allows you to specify the image code. I foget which one it was, but I will chack later today if time permits.

  14. #14
    What alternative captcha methods are there for vBulletin and other popular forum-software?

  15. #15
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    I completely resolved spam on phpbb with the "Stop Spambot Registration" mod
    the idea is fairly simple, there's a message in the registration page that tells not to fill any field, since all the bots fill the www field their registration is denied

    the result for me has been 0 new spam bots registered

  16. #16
    Do you have a link?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    http://bbantispam.com/

    good mods, they work

  18. #18
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    just search for "Stop Spambot Registration" in the mods database on phpbb.com

  19. #19
    http://www.phpbb.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=430710

    The above mod stopped all of the bots from registering on my site. Although it is in beta, I have looked over the code and it is stable and has no bugs.
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  20. #20
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    I just implemented this mod and it did not change anything in preventing bot registrations. Is it possible that the bots are able to follow the links in the same way a human does during registration and thus the mod would be ineffective for that scenario?

    I will give the alternate image verification a try next.

    Thanks for all the great feedback.

  21. #21
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    You may want to check this article to implement a custom captcha for phpBB

  22. #22
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    yes, just tried it. those images are really tricky for anybody to read - i'm testing it and can't even get a test registration done! any way to adjust image distortion?

  23. #23
    Aren't the images just a bunch of image files? Or does it actaully generate them somehow each time? I always just thought they were a bunch of files and you had to type in what matched the filte that happened to load that time. I would think as these things come out that the bots could just update the filenames/answers and be set again.

  24. #24
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    Nah coral.... They're generated randomly from load to load... It's done in PHP via. the GD extension, which is a good way to handle images via PHP..
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  25. #25
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    Personally, I would go with
    C> SMF:
    SMF is one of the better options for free boards. I replaced PHPbb with SMF months ago and have seen a drastic reduction in not only spam registrations,b ut in spam posts as well.

    SMF also has a phpbb importer which is pretty accurate.

    Start there, see if that helps the problem
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  26. #26
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    Sep 2005
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    I use this better captcha => http://www.phpbb.com/phpBB/viewtopic...473222&start=0

    Eliminate spam from 50 a day to nothing in last 30 days

  27. #27
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    here's the mod I'm using on 2 boards, http://www.phpbb.com/phpBB/viewtopic...t+registration
    you also get an email each time a spambot is stopped (this happens 2-8 times a day to me)
    with this mod I passed from 6-7 spammy registrations to 0

  28. #28
    what about vbulletin?

  29. #29
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    There are several solutions for VB. Go to www.vbulletin.org and type in "spam" to search for a few. NoSpam! is one. I'm using that and another that can take a post by a member with under x number of posts, and place thier posts in the moderation queue based on keywords or having posted URLs.
    Well worth installing them both.

  30. #30
    I deployed myvipcode a few days ago and my registration bots went from 4 - 5 a day to 0.

    You can find it here: http://www.phpbb.com/phpBB/viewtopic...asc&highlight=

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