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How to Reduce Spam and Registration Bots

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  • [vB 3.6] How to Reduce Spam and Registration Bots

    Step 0 : Upgrade to the latest stable build of vBulletin to get the best anti spam tools and options.

    Most people are being hit with a lot of spam these days. Some things you can do to reduce this are:

    1. Moderate new registrations:
    Admin CP -> vBulletin Options -> User Registration Options -> Moderate New Members -> Yes
    2. Activate email verification:
    Admin CP -> vBulletin Options -> User Registration Options -> Verify Email address in Registration
    3. Upgrade to 3.6.x if you haven't already since this includes an improved captcha for image verification. Then activate Image Verification if your server supports it:
    1. Ensure that you have uploaded the true type fronts from the vBulletin download package. They are found in the /images/regimage/fonts folder
    2. Ensure that you have uploaded the background images from the vBulletin download package. They are found in the /images/regimage/backgrounds folder

    Admin CP -> vBulletin Options -> Image Settings -> Image Verification Library
    Set this option to GD (True Type Font). If the sample image shown below the option does not work, first ask your host if they can recompile PHP with Freetype 2 support. You want PHP to be able to handle True Type fonts properly and it will need this support to be able to do so. If your host refuses to do so or is unable to accomplish it, you will be forced to use the GD (Simple Font) option.
    Your server may also support ImageMagick 6.0+. If you have confirmed this, then you may also choose the ImageMagick 6 option. It is as secure as the GD (True Type Font) option.
    Admin CP -> vBulletin Options -> Image Settings -> Image Verification Options
    Enable all options other than Random Shapes. If you are using the GD (Simple Font) option then you will need to enable ALL five options.
    Admin CP -> vBulletin Options -> User Registration Options -> Image Verification
    Enable this option.
    You may also add your own fonts or background image to the system. Simply upload .ttf fonts to the font directory and .jpg or .gif images to the backgrounds directory (directories are detailed above). The backgrounds are used for all three image libraries and the fonts are randomly chosen for usaged by the GD (True Type Font) and ImageMagick 6 libraries.
    4. Ban 'free' email domains many spammers use:
    Admin CP -> vBulletin Options -> User Banning Options -> Banned Email Addresses
    5. Set these options to 'No' for the Unregistered, Users Awaiting and COPPA usergroups:
    Can Use Email to Friend
    Can Email Members
    6. In addition you can follow these instructions to Add an extra question to the registration to prevent bot registrations. You should not need to do this unless you don't enable image verification or are forced to use the Simple Font option with image verification.

    7. Some people have reported that spammers are using the 'Send Email to Friend' function to spam others from your forums. To reduce this make sure that your Unregistered, COPPA and User's Awaiting groups have the 'Can Use Email to Friend' option set to 'No'.

    8. To help stop bots spamming through the Contact Us link, set this:
    Admin CP -> vBulletin Options -> Site Name / URL / Contact Details -> Allow Unregistered Users to use 'Contact Us' -> Yes, but Verify Image
    Last edited by Floris; Sat 4 Oct '08, 7:03am.
    Steve Machol, former vBulletin Customer Support Manager (and NOT retired!)
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  • #2
    Reply To:How to Reduce Spam and Registration Bots

    I didn't know if we were suppoes to post in that forum but here's something I have done to prevent spam bots from at least posting. Even with the image verification turned on they still got through.

    I noticed that the bots (that came to my site) always started a new thread. So I setup the Registered group to Not allow the new user to make a new Thread, only reply and I prevent them from posting links ( Then I setup another group of regular members with full permissions. Then I setup a promotion from the Registered to Regulars. The promotion said they needed 5 post and 5 days but you can pick anything. I then setup an automatic welcome PM to inform legit users of the restriction. This has been setup on my site for several months now and I haven't had a single bot make a post. Plenty register (and from email domains I've never heard of), but they don't post. Every so often I go through and prune off users that never made it from Registered to Regulars.

    You can add this to your suggestions if you like or delete.


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