Archive for the ‘PHPBB’ Category

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Sunday, March 12th, 2006

Within a few hours of re-activating the discussion boards here on BarelyFitz, I started getting spammers.

Spammers have determined that if they register for a message board account, they can leave a link to their webpage, and the link shows up on the message board user list. I’ll have to hack PHPBB to remove this back door for spammers.

I noticed the following interesting attempt: instead of leaving an obvious link to a spammer site, the link was something like the following:

studentloan.example.com/religious/

This URL looks relatively innocent – after all it has the word “religious” in it! But if you follow the link, you get a page that uses JavaScript to immediately redirect you to the spammer’s site.

After a bit more digging into the redirect page I found a JavaScript program that does the redirecting (heavily obfuscated to prevent Google from discovering the true purpose of the script), plus a bunch of computer-generated text to geared to increase their search results, a sample of which follows:

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Update 2006-03-14: This morning there were three message board spam posts, which I quickly eliminated when I saw them in my RSS feed. They wouldn’t have helped the spammer since the links were all marked as rel=”nofollow” after some changes I made to PHPBB. But I just don’t want to deal with it, so I changed the discussion boards to require registration before posting. Sigh… why do spammers have to ruin it for all of us.

It would be nice if PHPBB had the same “moderate once” system that WordPress uses.