Ima Robot Forums

Defeating Spambots

benb - 9-21-2018 at 01:00 PM

Hi! I'm currently on vacation up in Maine so managing the site is very difficult. Thankfully, however, the site is very low in terms of data usage - very basic PHP and GIF images. And I'm able to access the server via SSH through my Linux machine. The site runs on a Raspberry Pi literally in my house, running off my router. I'm pretty sure Comcast doesn't like me doing this, but I don't expect a crazy amount of traffic on our site here, so I doubt they'll even notice. I prefer running my own webserver, that way I have full control over it and there are little fees beside the electric bill and domain name. Plus: I was running a server for other reasons anyway, so adding this site to my server was next to no effort for me.

So one thing I did while I was up here is defeat the spambots.

The first thing I did... I tweaked the user registration page and swapped the spaces for Username and E-mail. I figured bots were using some sort of automated system that knew the first box was Username, and the second box was e-mail, and by swapping them I could trick them into doing the reverse. Sadly, about an hour after I did this, another spambot showed up.

So I did some googling -- keep in mind I'm currently on a connection of about 16kbps internet speeds so it took some time -- and I found a hack for XMB that adds a Google Captcha "I'm Not A Robot" requirement before registration can begin. How ironic, given the site's name. Hopefully, this should eliminate the spambots once and for all.

When I get home, I also plan on literally removing every spambot from the SQL database so that we only have real users on the site. Nothing worse than "Knitters from Austria" en masse who never post and are literally only here to advertise a URL on their profile.

Bear with me -- I'm really giving this site my all!

JPG - 9-22-2018 at 06:23 AM


By the way you're doing a good job.

Maine has got to be a little cold eh?

benb - 9-22-2018 at 05:24 PM

16kbps. I'm not joking. I had to do everything through SSH and transferring files here and back, as well as following a guide that took like 20 minutes to load detailing me how to add captcha to XMB.

Imagine like a command prompt window terminal and having to do literally everything through that.

But thankfully it seems to have worked and we haven't had a single spambot register in the last 24 hours, so I think I did something right.