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  • New registrations blocked due to (false) email banning

    (Yeah, I know, it's a lousy subject title, sorry. Couldn't think of a better way to summarize the situation.)

    Since yesterday, I've received notice that some new signups have been blocked from registering on my forum. They're receiving the "this email address has been banned by the administrator" error message. The individuals are using addresses from hotmail, yahoo and gmail. (I've tested this from my own gmail account and confirmed the issue.)

    But I have not banned these mainstream email services on a domain basis. So this is extremely weird and troubling, to say the least.

    Here's stuff you should probably know:
    • I'm using 3.6.5. with addons aplenty, but haven't added any since yesterday except an extra user profile field (that isn't required at registration). That shouldn't affect registrations, should it?
    • I haven't added any email addresses to the ban list since yesterday.
    • I did ban an IP, but it's a specific one from Russia that should hardly be affecting me or others not using this IP.
    • Use Aggressive Banning is set to NO.
    • There are no carriage returns/hard lines in my ban list. I just went checked by copying the list into EditPad and confirmed this. Addresses and domains are separated by a single space.
    • Not all registrations are affected. Someone signed up today with a comcast.net address, for example.
    • There's one person with a specific @yahoo.com.au address in the ban list (i.e., it's listed as [email protected] in the blocked email textarea box), and @yahoogroups.com is also in there as a banned domain, but since "aggressive email banning" is off, these shouldn't be causing problems, should they? Besides, these were added several months, if not years, ago. People with @yahoo.com addresses have signed up without a problem before.
    • Similarly, there's one person with a specific gmail.com address that's been banned. Again, this was a long time ago, and other people with different gmail.com accounts have been able to sign up since then ... until yesterday, apparently.
    • Hotmail isn't even represented on my ban list at all.
    So that's the sitch, mates. Anyone have ideas on what the heck is going on? I can attach a text doc with my ban list if necessary to figure out the problem.

    Please help!
    Last edited by kiwilerner; Tue 3rd Jul '07, 1:15pm.
    Kira

    EpiGuide: Web Entertainment Forums - vB Board of the Month, Aug 2007
    About Schuyler Falls, an Original Drama | Falling Sky Designs

  • #2
    First, reupload all the original vB non-image files (except install.php). Make sure you upload these in ASCII format and overwrite the ones on the server. Also be sure to upload the admincp files to whichever directory you have set in your config.php file. Then run 'Suspect File Versions' in Diagnostics to make sure you have all the original files for your version:

    Admin CP -> Maintenance -> Diagnostics -> Suspect File Versions

    [Note: In some cases you may also need to remove any of the listed .xml files in the includes/xml directory.]

    Next, disable all plugins.

    Note: To temporarily disable the plugin system, edit config.php and add this line right under <?php

    define('DISABLE_HOOKS', true);

    Then if you still have this problem, create a new style and choose no parent style. This will force it to use the default templates. Finally empty your browser cache, close all browser windows then try again. Make sure you change to the new style and view your forums with it. Now check again.

    Do you still have the same problem?
    Translations provided by Google.

    Wayne Luke
    The Rabid Badger - a vBulletin Cloud demonstration site.
    vBulletin 5 API - Full / Mobile
    Vote for your favorite feature requests and the bugs you want to see fixed.

    Comment


    • #3
      Oh my God. That's gonna take some time. But all righty, I'll do it and will get back to you.

      Thanks for the help so far, Wayne.
      Kira

      EpiGuide: Web Entertainment Forums - vB Board of the Month, Aug 2007
      About Schuyler Falls, an Original Drama | Falling Sky Designs

      Comment


      • #4
        Whew. Okay, all is done and, rather surprisingly, the issue is still occuring. I had a friend test this on her machine (trying to register with a gmail account) to make absolutely certain it's not just me.

        So now back to you! What should I do next? Should I try removing all gmail and yahoo mentions in my banlist? Or maybe emptying the whole banlist would be in order. What do you think?

        Edited to Add: Okay, here's more info. I just tested emptying my entire banlist (I've saved the names in a text file) and tried registering with a gmail account. It worked.

        I then re-added my banlist, but removed the single specific gmail.com account that's been banned. I tried registering with a gmail account. This did not work. I received the "your email account has been banned" message, even though neither the gmail domain nor any specific gmail email addresses are banned.

        What. The. Heck?
        Last edited by kiwilerner; Tue 3rd Jul '07, 4:18pm.
        Kira

        EpiGuide: Web Entertainment Forums - vB Board of the Month, Aug 2007
        About Schuyler Falls, an Original Drama | Falling Sky Designs

        Comment


        • #5
          You will have to open a support ticket.

          www.vbulletin.com/go/techsupport
          Translations provided by Google.

          Wayne Luke
          The Rabid Badger - a vBulletin Cloud demonstration site.
          vBulletin 5 API - Full / Mobile
          Vote for your favorite feature requests and the bugs you want to see fixed.

          Comment


          • #6
            Okay, thanks again, Wayne. I kinda wish I'd thought of fiddling with the ban list earlier (hey, why didn't you think of it? ) since it seems possible that one of the addresses or formatting in there is screwing with vB's banning/registration system.

            Anyway, I'll report back here if/when there's a solution. Thanks!
            Kira

            EpiGuide: Web Entertainment Forums - vB Board of the Month, Aug 2007
            About Schuyler Falls, an Original Drama | Falling Sky Designs

            Comment


            • #7
              Final report: my homing in on the ban list worked. I kept eliminating/refining the ban list (which has hundreds of domains courtesy of some shared spammer ban lists from various forum administrator sites) to find the problem address. I discovered that there was a stray "com" separated by a space from the rest of its email address. This was indeed from the imported "shared spammer domain" list, which had included "blah dot com" for some idiotic reason. Due to the plain "dot com" in the address, this meant that all .com addresses were being banned, even though aggressive email banning was not "on."

              I feel like a dunce for not catching this earlier when I imported the list in the first place, and also for not doing the testing before turning my boards off and uploading all the files etc. Hope my embarrassing admission of stupidity helps other administrators from extra work if the situation ever comes up.
              Kira

              EpiGuide: Web Entertainment Forums - vB Board of the Month, Aug 2007
              About Schuyler Falls, an Original Drama | Falling Sky Designs

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by kiwilerner View Post
                Hope my embarrassing admission of stupidity helps other administrators from extra work if the situation ever comes up.
                It certainly did, thanks for that. I was having problems with Hotmail.co.uk accounts being banned - I removed my imported spam list and the problem went away immediately.

                Thanks again.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks kiwilerner for your observation.

                  I just had the same problem, someone contacted me because they could
                  not register.


                  These spammers are getting clever.

                  Right after a they register they go to edit their email address in their
                  profile. They put a space in between the com from this .com to .c om

                  They know they are going to be put on the banned list and that the
                  administrator is going to copy and paste their email address to the
                  banned list.

                  What the space does is ban every email address that tries to register.

                  Chippie

                  Comment

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