Oh dear. I really think this forum needs the attention of the moderator, as I think maybe some recent posts need removing.
What a shame that Richard seems to have disappeared into thin air.
Tricky posted on Saturday, 13 May, 2006 - 10:25 am
It's a pity Richard didn't allocate a trusted forum user as another admin or moderator.
Be very wary of accidentally clicking on the links in these stupid spam posts. An examination of the times and links (without clicking on them) indicates they were generated by robot (automated) software. You could find your mailbox spammed, or worse - your PC infested with viruses.
Chris posted on Saturday, 13 May, 2006 - 12:44 pm
You're probably right about them having been generated by some kind of automated process. So does this mean we've seen the last of them (one concerted barrage?) or will they keep appearing ad infinitum? We don't need this message board being clogged up with that kind of garbage.
It really is a mystery, as far as I'm concerned, as to where Richard has gone and why. It would be nice to think that he still looked in from time to time, but I haven't seen any evidence of this.
Let's hope he's alright - wherever he may be...
Myke posted on Sunday, 14 May, 2006 - 11:05 am
Oh shoot, I guess this might explain the spate of spam mail on my hotmail address. I usually leave my e-mail active on posts, though thank heaven it's a hotmail job and not my personal account. These 'bots' can pick up details like this from sites that are targeted, and use them to send spam to!! Note no active address here.
Richard come back . . .
Tricky posted on Sunday, 14 May, 2006 - 04:21 pm
Email bots are usually programmed to recognise and harvest text strings in the form firstname.lastname@example.org, whereas links (as we normally use here) are ignored. I've noticed a couple of posts on this site that have displayed active email links... Note the irony - email@example.com doesn't exist, so the bots can have these 2 for free :-)
I've also come across sites that have pages of hundreds of email links - presumably pointing to people/sites the admins didn't like... (Don't get any bright ideas ;-))
While on the subject of security, my favourite anti-virus prog is AVG (free!). Now that Microsoft have bought it, they'll have to keep it up to scratch to maintain Windows:-)
Microsoftís AntiSpyware - or Windows Defender as it's now called - is another beauty (also free!). The same argument as above applies.
Both of these progs have received high praise in various magazines, and my own experiences, and the results from people who Iíve advised, support this. I recommend these to everybody.
Switching Explorerís popup blocker to "medium" is a good move, as is looking at the "Services" tab in Windows "System Configuration Utility". You can switch off any suspicious entries there until you've had a chance to check them out. This is particularly useful if popups and explorer windows open unbidden. (both free!)
Security's a complex issue, but if you like fear, check out ShieldsUP! (about half way down the page) Well worth the time taken to check out your PC, and extremely useful if you intend to run a home web server (and yes - it's free!) (There's also a useful forum!)
Chris posted on Sunday, 14 May, 2006 - 08:11 pm
I've had ZoneAlarm for a year or so now and have just installed Anti-Spy, which I noticed on my IE toolbar. I used to run Spy Sweeper, but, for some reason, this seemed to interfere with the boot-up process of my - admittedly crappy - PC, so I uninstalled it. Have only had a couple of very minor virus problems, which were sorted out by a PC-savvy friend of mine. But it's certainly a concern, especially since there are so many apparently twisted b*stards out there.
Myke. posted on Monday, 15 May, 2006 - 12:21 pm
I use Trend Micro PC-Cillin at home and work, which is pretty good at what it does. It has even caught at least one network virus that my companies systems missed out on. Can't remember the last time my PC got a virus, but now that I have a broadband wireless router at home, I'm even more vigilant, despite hiding behind two sets of firewalls. The only problem I get is the occaisional rare spam mail at home, as my ISP screens most of these out. I have filters set on OE to delete automatically anything that Trend labels as 'spam'. With preview turned off I can look at these deleted mails just to check any false positives. The only problem is with 'webmail' via websites, and here despite a love/hate thing Microsoft is usually pretty good at sorting out junk mail for spam. Which is why I use Hotmail so much for anything and everything on the web, and my personal address only between family and friends etc.
Such a shame that mindless vandalism like the posts on this forum get through. Maybe Richard, if he ever pops up again from wherever he is, will have to institute passwords after all!!! He could delete all the offensive posts to clean things out if he has time.
Richard posted on Monday, 15 May, 2006 - 01:19 pm
Chris, thanks for the email.
Sorry guys. I've been a mixture of away and inordinately busy since September and simply haven't had the time to pop in. (Admittedly, I did take a quick look from another computer a couple of weeks ago but didn't get very far.)
I'll try to find the spam and get rid of it but if there's still anything around later tonight, can someone please let me know.
I had thought about giving someone mod privileges but never got around to it, so now that the subject is on the agenda, are there any volunteers? (drop me an email)
Richard, welcome back, you've been sorely missed of late. I would volunteer on a rota basis if someone else is unable to do it more often. Don't know your e-mail address though, so mine's below if you want to get in touch.
Chris posted on Monday, 15 May, 2006 - 04:33 pm
Glad that you received my email. To be honest, I didn't think you would, as I seem to recall someone else saying that they'd tried to contact you without success (could be wrong about this) and I assumed that you'd have about 39,000 emails clogging up your inbox. But, it reached you and obviously drew your attention to our little problem. Let's hope it can be sorted out and these spammers can be banished from these boards.
More importantly, I suppose, welcome back. Glad that nothing awful has befallen you since we last heard from you. I imagine that you'll have fun reading all the hundreds of posts that have been made since you were last on the board. We've been having fun, as you can see, and there have been some very interesting topics of conversation which I've enjoyed being part of.
All the best from sunny Grimsby.
Chris posted on Monday, 15 May, 2006 - 04:56 pm
Richard, as the Cybermen said on Saturday evening... "DELETE! DELETE! DELETE!"
(I'm sure that Bill D. will appreciate that, if no-one else!!!)
Tricky posted on Monday, 15 May, 2006 - 08:18 pm
I've been in touch with Richard, we're trying to sort out the moderator account. (It may be possible to filter out attempted spam based on keywords. Not sure yet)
I used to use ZoneAlarm, but found it too intrusive - too many false alarms. So I decided to get to grips with my cable router's settings (I was decorating, so hardwired the house) and Windows network settings - heavy stuff (he says, wiping sweat off forehead), but once it's clicked, it all seems obvious. ShieldsUp! now reports that only ports 80 (http) and 21 (ftp) are open - I'm setting up a home webserver (more on this later) so port 80 has to be.
I was amazed once to find a virus infected file on a reputable computer magazine's cover disk... and of course Sony recently distributed its own version of a virus under the guise of copy protection...
Tricky posted on Monday, 15 May, 2006 - 09:40 pm
Sorted (for today at least). Between Richard and myself (mostly Richard) we've got rid of the, erm, indelicate and mobile phone ads. If you see anything we've missed...
Myke posted on Monday, 15 May, 2006 - 09:47 pm
How about all the happy go lucky (gay) messages?
Tricky posted on Monday, 15 May, 2006 - 10:00 pm
Gone. Can't see a way offhand of deleting the "Last Poster" name. I'll have another look tomorrow. Still looking at what I can do without accidentally causing the site to collapse into a singularity...
Tricky posted on Monday, 15 May, 2006 - 10:04 pm
Sorry - that should have read ' > altering < the Last Poster name '
Chris posted on Tuesday, 16 May, 2006 - 12:04 am
Hmmm... I'd hate to see it disappear over the Event Horizon.
Tricky posted on Tuesday, 16 May, 2006 - 09:26 am
What a pity. It seems you can't change the poster's name directly without opening the database file with a text or html editor. It's possible, but Richard would have to do it, and I think he's a bit too busy at the moment.
Another method, if anyone thinks it's worthwhile, is by adding a test post, to the spammed posts, with the last legitimate user's name, thereby overwriting the spam poster's name. This test post can then be deleted (leaving the posters name intact)
How many entries to overwrite ?
Hmmm. It may be worthwhile waiting till after this weekend...
Chris posted on Tuesday, 16 May, 2006 - 08:46 pm
Duh! I've only just realised that I've actually got AVG 6.0 on my PC! I'm not sure how long it's been there or who put it on. Probably the guy who built my PC for me and probably since day one!! Maybe the little 4-colour interlocking flag logo on my toolbar should have told me something? How many times have I looked at that and wondered what is was?!!!
I know, I am aren't I!
Still, at least I now know that between ZoneAlarm, Anti-Spy and AVG, I am fairly well protected. Just ran an AVG scan and it didn't unearth any viruses. So I appear to be safe. For the time being.
Maybe it would be a good idea to look through the rest of my programs and see what else is on here that I didn't know I had...
Myke posted on Tuesday, 16 May, 2006 - 08:47 pm
Dear All, Don't know if this is just me, so let me know what you see. I intended to post a simple message on all the offensive last names to replace them. However when I did that to just one or two in each branch, the whole branch seemed to be resorted and cleared up of those 'names'. Hope this helps, but if so it's pure luck not skill on my part!!!
Tricky posted on Tuesday, 16 May, 2006 - 09:29 pm
Chris, If you've got the free edition of AVG, you can update it to version 7 :-)
Myke, I think this is Richard's doing. He has an option to "re-index" the board when necessary, thank god! (either that or the there's an auto-reset as well!) If nothing else, the spammers have shown us how to slough them off :-)
Tricky posted on Wednesday, 17 May, 2006 - 05:52 pm
Well, the spammers haven't given up yet, but I spotted it all less than 2 hours after they'd posted it, and removed it. My fears about it being software generated were unfounded from the looks of the timing. Hope no-one was offended by the posts. Spam removal's a doddle. My coffee was still too hot to drink by the time I'd finished.
Richard put a post in the Sky/Misc thread (which I missed until now) which explains why the board doesn't automatically re-index when posts are removed.
Now then, where were we..., ah yes... coffee...
Chris posted on Tuesday, 30 May, 2006 - 04:35 pm
To put it bluntly, the situation with these offensive gay spam posts on the forum is beginning to become bl**dy ridiculous.
Would now be a good time, to try to stave these off, to make the forum members only so that registration is required?
It would be a shame if this had to happen, but I can't see any other way of stopping these unwanted and vile messages/links, etc... Personally, even if the message has been deleted, I don't want to visit the forum only to see the name Gay Man or Gay Lord, or whatever, appearing a couple of dozen times down the right hand side of the index. Is it putting others off, I wonder?
These people are more than just a nuisance and the sooner something is done about them, the better.
If you are reading this, Richard especially (as it's his website), what do you think?
Myke posted on Tuesday, 30 May, 2006 - 09:42 pm
I go along with that Chris. Congrats to Tricky in trying to manage the situation, but I'm sure it does put off passing viewers of the website, who wouldn't look any further once they've seen the offensive names . .
Tricky posted on Tuesday, 30 May, 2006 - 11:11 pm
I'm certain it's putting visitors off. The number of posts have almost stopped since the spamming started. Deleting the posts is easy enough, and as I work part-time I simply have a synchronised window open of the main page. As soon as I see anything...
A google of one of the less common names used has shown over 22k posts - even on corporate sites - which shows the scale of the problem. Some of these sites even have a registration process, so it's not putting them off.
Unfortunately I can't re-index the database with moderator priveleges (Administration Instructions - Data Recovery - Tree) - just delete the offending spam. (Richard would have to make me an administrator...)
Myke. posted on Monday, 24 July, 2006 - 09:07 am
Oh dear Richard & Richard, I think you've got your work cut out now. Regisration and passwords will have to remain if these mindless morons carry on like this. Saving grace I suppose is this lot are simply a nuisance rather than offensive nuisance.
Good luck cleaning it up, if I can be of any assistance please let me know.