Spam Bots or The Real Thing?

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Spam Bots or The Real Thing?

Postby Anne Birch » Sat Sep 13, 2008 11:07 pm

Hi Tony,
I'm just wondering if you had looked at any of the forum membership names that are being created at the moment (at least 3 to 4 daily) and if you can see where the ID's are being created from in origin? Seems to look like there are several ID's created per day and I am assuming that it is some type of spam bot as I don't feel there would be so many people joining the CAH forum on a day-to-day basis due to the fact that CAH is rare for one and whilst you may occassionally get the odd member joining and posting some of the nicks created are looking a little odd. I doubt you'd get 3-4 memberships created daily with a forum such as this.

Only mentioned it as I myself has a forum at:

http://www.cahsupportforum.com

for some time and I adjusted some of the scripts to ensure that spam bots could not register. The problem after that was the ID's continued to be created, and it led me to the conclusion that I had someone sat there literally manually created false ID's as a nuisance as I the administrator would get notification emails evry time someone created and ID. Often the names would be derogatory ones. I.e. today it is "Insane's" birthday. Not sure if this person has ever posted a post here? We have a new member named sevi today. Yesterday there were several ID's created. I've been observing them daily because of what occured on cahsupport.com and I am sure if you observe the bottom of the forum more closely, a few other ID's have been created on a daily basis in the past two weeks. I figured in the end that it was someone in the CAH community that was deliberately created derogatory ID's manually for some reason. I closed my forum down as most of the links the person linked to were porn sites and other inappropriate sites. I felt it was someone deliberately trying to sabbotage the forum - i.e. someone in the CAH community that had taken a dislike to me personally in my case as I had done everything Admin wise to prevent bots. Person had to be creating manual ID's with proxies. It seems as if this is occuring here now.
Last edited by Anne Birch on Sat Sep 13, 2008 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Spam Bots or The Real Thing?

Postby Anne Birch » Sat Sep 13, 2008 11:30 pm

I have done 12 months in IT and studied programming (at the same institute that I study at now) with php scripting experience going further back than that so I was able to adjust the scripts to prevent 'automated' memberships from being created at the time. If you could keep an eye on it I'd be grateful, as at the time, I could not tell whether it was someone from my study place or someone from overseas as I had several online accounts hacked into and the passwords and secret questions changed. The only public PC's that I use where passwords could be taken from with use of a key logger are at my place of study. At the time there were a few students messing with key loggers and gaining access to other students accounts and tracking what they had done online via the web broweser if someone had not cleaned their history or cookies and data. I was harrassed on several email accounts that I logged into from my study institute with similar spam based mail but the spam titling was personal and related to myself. When I joined this forum I joined from my study institute from a library machine 3-4 weeks ago. On the email accounts I had last year a lot of the spam that came had derogatory stuff in about what I wore around campus, and hair colour changes etc. I suspected someone either in IT within my study institute, a student stalking or someone in the CAH community at the time, but as many of the memberships were created with a proxy I could not really pin it down.

I often admin'd my forum from the college. One forum was hacked into and the password changed. In fact many of my login passwords in my place of study when I log into the system were also changed frequently and I could not login to do my work without going to see the technician to reset my password. I reported the whole matter to the Dean. It's on record there. This is the only place that I visit online from my study institute as I was working on my research project from that point from the library. I literally pulled out of an IT degree because of the issue over a year ago now suspecting that whoever it was has issues. I actually perceived it as harrassment and stalking at the time. Obviously nothing could be done about it as whoever was doing such is a little clued up and can screen their identity. I thought to bring that to your attention as it has been an ongoing issue for some 2 yrs since starting studying there.
Thanks
Anne.
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Re: Spam Bots or The Real Thing?

Postby tony » Sat Sep 13, 2008 11:49 pm

Hi Anne,

Please review this post:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=179

We take privacy and security VERY seriously here. The forum script is updated as per the developers roll-outs and our mandatory address fields in the signup process keep out any automated spammers. Of course we can't keep out human harvesters, so as per the above post, periodically we review each and every member profile for inconsistencies. It's not perfect, but rest assured the member listing here is genuine and free from those wishing to abuse the data. We have members from all aspects of CAH, including doctors, nurses, parents, grandparents, sufferers, etc - the 'forced' membership to even view the threads ensures we both protect and control the members best interests.

Obviously we can't protect our members outside of the site, but your details here are made as secure as they can be.
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Re: Spam Bots or The Real Thing?

Postby tony » Sat Sep 13, 2008 11:57 pm

Just for reference:
Both Insane and Sevi have posted before. :)
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Re: Spam Bots or The Real Thing?

Postby Anne Birch » Sun Sep 14, 2008 12:51 am

sevi appears to be a new member. I PM'd you with regards to a membership created approx two weeks ago though. Thanks for your attention and thanks for confirming the issues with automated harvesters. It still doesn't explain the numbers registering per day where it concerns a rare medical condition to me but it has given me some peace of mind in the sense that I am now aware it isn't automated. They are obviously manually created memberships where the user is filling out forms and literally clicking "OK". The problem is the Alistair Williams one created some weeks ago. Just happened to coincide with a guy named Alistair assisting me with photoshop in one of the labs at uni on the same day and to be honest, a little too coincidental for me given the odds of someone named Alistair in reference to a rare medical diagnosis joining on the same day given the problems that I have had connected with that institute as per my PM. I do know one thing... I am quite sure it is not from overseas in my case now. If anything it is occuring directly from the study institute and I feel it is a police matter. When the Alistair Williams ID was created I started to take screen shots of forum memberships due to my experiences in the past. I do know that IT monitor everything that we do as students and only IT and security see what is on camera around campus and CAN get access to a students account. Most of the students messing with key loggers graduated this year and I feel it is something I should deal with via NZ Police in relation to it having screen captured some of them this far.
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Re: Spam Bots or The Real Thing?

Postby tony » Sun Sep 14, 2008 9:56 am

Anne Birch wrote:It still doesn't explain the numbers registering per day where it concerns a rare medical condition to me


CAH is not the most common condition, but many people as well as the sufferers are affected, so look for support and understanding. I certainly don't think that the membership figures here are in any way mis-represented.

Anne Birch wrote:The problem is the Alistair Williams one created some weeks ago


I can't find any reference to that user.

Any form of harassment conducted on this site towards a member will be taken very seriously and dealt with accordingly, however you seem to have issues outside of it, so I suggest you need to take whatever action you feel necessary but would ask that they are conducted off forum.
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