BeerSmith™ Home Brewing Forum

BeerSmith Software => News => Topic started by: bonjour on November 01, 2006, 07:33:05 AM

Title: SPAM and Apologies
Post by: bonjour on November 01, 2006, 07:33:05 AM
Just before 5AM (EDT) this board was spammed with a graphic porn spam.  Approximately 3 hours after this occured I removed (I hope) all of the offending posts and topics, including a couple of member responses. The responses were not inappropiate but were removed as part of the thread.

But. . .

A number of members (at least 10) were sent the same post via PM, that is Private Message.  I cannot remove these from the Private Post area (why do you think it is called Private) because it is, well, private.  So to those 9 users (I was one of the 10), and any others that I am unaware of at this time, on behalf of the  BeerSmith board I apologize.

We do not approve of either the principle of spamming nor the unacceptable content of these posts, either via public post or via PM and will deal with them as quickly and severely as possible.

Fred Bonjour
Title: Re: SPAM and Apologies
Post by: BeerSmith on November 01, 2006, 07:42:55 AM
Let me echo Fred's comments.  I certainly don't approve of or endorse this kind of behavior and I'm trying very hard to set security settings to prevent it in the future.

As a preventative measure, I have disabled sending private messages for Junior members temporarily.  I hope to have this service back online as soon as I can update the software to prevent this type of spamming in the future.  I also just applied the latest security updates and will try to clean up as much of this mess as I can.

Again, my apologies to anyone who received an offensive PM or message.

Title: Re: SPAM and Apologies
Post by: Jay on November 01, 2006, 10:23:20 AM
Seeing how I cannot send a PM - you can kill those PM's that are still out there - The e-mail about the PM is out of your control...

Just a little digging around in the mySQL database and everything is cleaned up ;)
Title: Re: SPAM and Apologies
Post by: joet56 on November 01, 2006, 09:51:31 PM
Could you Please take a moment and explain how this happened?
Title: Re: SPAM and Apologies
Post by: Andrewqld on November 01, 2006, 11:44:06 PM
Sadly I can't say how this has happened, but needless to say it is being looked into very seriously. Again we apologise, and can assure you that every effort is being made to rectify the situation.

Title: Re: SPAM and Apologies
Post by: Jay on November 02, 2006, 08:09:55 AM
I'm not an admin here, but I have used SMF and several other forums - alot. 

This is all done with a bot -

It creates a user account.
Once the user account is created it then goes and use URL's to post items within each forum.
The bot will scan the membership list (which is visible to members) and then will start to send out PM's to users within the list.

All this happens within minutes.  There are several counter measures to deter this - but stopping it cold is a bit more of a challenge.  A couple of items is requiring a valid e-mail address to register.  Another is a delay between message posts/replys.  As far as the PM's, I think they got that fixed - not allowing Jr. members to send PM's.  Of course, as you increase security - you can begin to decrease functionality.  It's a fine line to walk. 
Title: Re: SPAM and Apologies
Post by: BeerSmith on November 05, 2006, 11:24:32 PM
  As you mention, the person in question basically exploited the Private Messaging system to send offensive PMs.  Once again, I sincerely apologize to anyone who received any of this filth - we certainly don't approve of that kind of content on this forum.

  Many of the protections you mentioned were already in place.  We had PM disabled for junior members, required email registration and even have captcha character verification enabled to prevent bots from creating accounts without human intervention.  As near as I can tell a human had to create the initial account first (the captcha and email requiremend force this), and then perhaps used a bot to exploit it.  They then managed to post enough posts to become a more senior member (allowing them to PM) and started sending out PM's.  Even then I had already lowered the limit on number of people that could be copied on a single PM, so they had to send a few addresses at a time.

  Since then I had to disable PM's (at least for now), increase the delay between posts/replies, added some spam blacklist extensions, disallowed aliases (he used an alias to disguise his real login), decreased the PM count further, and of course banned the offending user and also his IP addresses.  I'm also looking into other countermeasures.

  Jay, I would appreciate it if you could email me with other suggestions, and also let me know if there is an easy way to eliminate the remaining PM's from the SQL database.  My email is simply beersmith at the domain.

Title: Re: SPAM and Apologies
Post by: Yeasty on December 30, 2006, 07:16:35 PM
Could someone please pm me a copy of said pornography so I can look into the issue further? This needs to get resolved. ;D
Title: Re: SPAM and Apologies
Post by: Shakey_Dog on February 02, 2007, 01:07:19 PM
You guys did all you can!

Some people just have problems.