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#1 2017-06-14 11:29 pm

Alex Kemp
Moderator
From: Nottingham, England
Registered: 2009-12-02
Posts: 1,894
Website

Profile Spam has Escalated in Recent Months

If the experience on this site is any indication then Profile spamming began to escalate in frequency in February of this year & is steaming on ever since.

What is Profile Spam?
Most Bulletin Boards like this one allow their users to personalise their account. To achieve this, each user has a User Profile. With the innocence of the early Internet the Profile proved to be a fertile garden for spammers to drop their dirt. It was even better if they never posted, since the SEs would crawl the Profile, but the site admin + users were likely not to ever look at it. In that way, they could affect the Search Engines (which is the sole purpose of spam) but stay out of sight.

The most common Profile Fields used are Website + Signature. SFS encourages you to report Profile spam in the same way as 'normal' forum spam.

How to Fix Profile Spam?
You need to be able to change your default site scripting, either directly or through plug-ins. The easiest method may seem to be to remove the line that lists every new user that has registered. However, any menu- or other-link that an SE can crawl which leads to the User List will cause the Profiles to be crawled by the SEs. That means that Profile Fields need to be either removed (particularly Website + Signature) or restricted to trusted users.

One fundamental issue is that most spamming is actually bot spamming, and can often be defeated by careful changes to standard BB scripting.

The Bottom Line for StopForumSpam
Check out the SFS Site Rules. In addition, I would strongly advise you NOT to add anything of any kind to your Profile, else a busy mod may well not look close enough & ban/report you. If we spot any links then you go straight into the SFS database, and will then be banned at virtually every forum on the 'net.

The Results
I've spent most of the day removing 130 Profile Spammers (no ban/report-specific buttons, so it was slow). Below are a few samples so that you can see the evidence (these are all already in the DB) (do notice how even the usernames look spammy):

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#2 2017-06-16 12:03 pm

Alex Kemp
Moderator
From: Nottingham, England
Registered: 2009-12-02
Posts: 1,894
Website

Re: Profile Spam has Escalated in Recent Months

The error that allowed the spam listed above has now been fixed. A normal FluxBB update shafted earlier customisations but, unfortunately, was not noticed at the time. Thus, for a couple of months the Website & Signature Profile fields became available to new registrants immediately. Bugger.

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