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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) PMs from Ex-Members (Read 15,671 times)
corvettec3
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PMs from Ex-Members
Nov 17th, 2011 at 2:09pm
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Members on our forum are getting spammed with private messages from ex-members.  As an admin I received three yesterday.  How are ex-members able to do this and how do I remedy the problem?
  
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JonB
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Re: PMs from Ex-Members
Reply #1 - Nov 18th, 2011 at 12:00am
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Do you mean "ex-members" as in 'I don't think they are on the forum any longer'

OR

Do you mean "ex-members" as in 'that is what YaBB displays next to their posts'

????  Shocked


Good Luck
Cool
  

I find your lack of faith disturbing.
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corvettec3
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Re: PMs from Ex-Members
Reply #2 - Nov 18th, 2011 at 12:57am
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Well Jon, I just assumed they were ex-members as that was what was indicated in all the posts by YaBB.  Perhaps they never ever were members and if that is the case, how could they send a PM?
  
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JonB
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Re: PMs from Ex-Members
Reply #3 - Nov 18th, 2011 at 12:38pm
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OK -

A few things need to be determined here, now that we have clarified that last question.

First - Do you know that having 'ex-members' is a sign your Forum has a problem??? You should not have 'ex-members' (we have at least one on this forum - bit I'm not the admin, either).

An 'ex-member' indicates (usually) that the .vars file for that username is truncated to a zero-byte length.  This could allow a new user to 'assume' another former user's Display Name.

Second - what is your setting for this item in Admn Center > Forum Settings > Members

Require Members to use a different Displayed Name than their User (login) Name?

Third - Have you used the Admin Center > View Delete Members to check the information on any of these 'ex-members'???

Lastly - What is your registration method (and) do you have 'Enable Guest Posting' checked in Admin Center > Members

All righty - probably enough questions for right now.



Good Luck
Cool
  

I find your lack of faith disturbing.
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corvettec3
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Re: PMs from Ex-Members
Reply #4 - Nov 18th, 2011 at 1:36pm
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JonB wrote on Nov 18th, 2011 at 12:38pm:
OK -

A few things need to be determined here, now that we have clarified that last question.

First - Do you know that having 'ex-members' is a sign your Forum has a problem??? You should not have 'ex-members' (we have at least one on this forum - bit I'm not the admin, either).

An 'ex-member' indicates (usually) that the .vars file for that username is truncated to a zero-byte length.  This could allow a new user to 'assume' another former user's Display Name.

Second - what is your setting for this item in Admn Center > Forum Settings > Members

Require Members to use a different Displayed Name than their User (login) Name?

Third - Have you used the Admin Center > View Delete Members to check the information on any of these 'ex-members'???

Lastly - What is your registration method (and) do you have 'Enable Guest Posting' checked in Admin Center > Members

All righty - probably enough questions for right now.



Good Luck
Cool



OK Jon...Answers to your questions:

1/  There are no '0' size .vars files

2/  New members are required to have their ID different from display name, that has always been turned on from day 1

3/  I have not cross checked the ex-members with the info in the member's list but will do that.

4/  Our registration method has been admin approval for the last month.  Guest posting has always been disabled.

  
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Elrick.
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Re: PMs from Ex-Members
Reply #5 - Nov 18th, 2011 at 1:45pm
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Well, it seems you have been acosted by spammers using a spamming program called: ============  which bypass forum security enabling the spammer to post as a guest and sending PMs to all registered members. No doubt the developers here (if any left) can devise a countermeasure to thwart these scammers.

Just got the post below posted by the seller of that program. Sad

================================================

Edited at Elrick's request -

Elrick
« Last Edit: Nov 18th, 2011 at 9:54pm by JonB »  

There is no direct experience of reality without interpretation; and all interpretation is corrupted by the cultural and personal prejudices or prejudgments of the interpreter. ~ Elrick
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corvettec3
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Re: PMs from Ex-Members
Reply #6 - Nov 18th, 2011 at 6:28pm
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Elrick, I think probably you are on to something.  I have discovered that blocking IPs with these characters is accomplishing nothing.  I see the same usernames coming up for validation over and over even after adding the IPs to the Guardian.  Restricting PMs to admins and mods does not resolve anything as the spam messages are still coming through.
  
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Elrick.
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Re: PMs from Ex-Members
Reply #7 - Nov 18th, 2011 at 10:57pm
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Yeap, Corvette3

And the reason why they appear as Ex-members is because once they get into the forum, spam the members via PM and then log out as guests YaBB would treat them (the originator of the PMs) as Ex-member 'cause YaBB can not find them on the Members list registry any longer or group members. The spamming software they use gives posting privileges and confuses YaBB scripts. Methinks.


  

There is no direct experience of reality without interpretation; and all interpretation is corrupted by the cultural and personal prejudices or prejudgments of the interpreter. ~ Elrick
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corvettec3
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Re: PMs from Ex-Members
Reply #8 - Nov 19th, 2011 at 4:16pm
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So even with Guest Access disabled we are still getting bombarded with spam member requests.
  
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JonB
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Re: PMs from Ex-Members
Reply #9 - Nov 19th, 2011 at 5:06pm
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@ corvettec3

Member 'join' requests, but no more PM's, right???

It looks like that code relies on Guest privileges elevation.  I'm getting an idea of how that might work.

(not saying I have a solution in mind either)


As for the join requests, one of those anti-spam mods might do the trick

Cool
« Last Edit: Nov 19th, 2011 at 5:07pm by JonB »  

I find your lack of faith disturbing.
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corvettec3
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Re: PMs from Ex-Members
Reply #10 - Nov 19th, 2011 at 5:30pm
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Jon....No PMs since I disabled Guest Access this morning.  I am getting a spam membership request about every 10 minutes.
  
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corvettec3
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Re: PMs from Ex-Members
Reply #11 - Nov 19th, 2011 at 5:56pm
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I just realized that with Guests disabled that search engines can no longer access the forum but I guess in essence they are probably treated as guests as well.
  
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JonB
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Re: PMs from Ex-Members
Reply #12 - Nov 19th, 2011 at 6:13pm
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OK -

Thanks for the info -

"I" have not done it, but I'm pretty sure there are ways to allow Spiders to crawl your forum, even if you have Guest Access off.

BUT - no one else who is not registered will be able to get to the content.

I'm trying to get it sorted.


Thanks again.

Cool
  

I find your lack of faith disturbing.
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JonB
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Re: PMs from Ex-Members
Reply #13 - Nov 20th, 2011 at 6:16pm
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OK - two fresh questions -

1. Were the displaynames used by the PM spammers actually found in the Admin Center > View Delete Members after they spammed the forums????  In other words - were these displaynames actaully deleted members, or were they 'bogus/made-up' names that were never actually registered???

2. Was 'Disable Guest Access' checked at the time.

Thanks
Cool
  

I find your lack of faith disturbing.
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corvettec3
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Re: PMs from Ex-Members
Reply #14 - Nov 20th, 2011 at 7:48pm
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Hi Jon

The names coming up as ex-members in the PMs were never ever members.  For the most part we would not even permit members to use names like that.

Guest access was not disabled when the messages were coming in.  I did turn on Guest Access again becuase of the search engines that I mentioned previously.

I see that in the last 2 hours we have had 9 membership requests...all coming from gmail.  Here is an example:

Registration UserID:      glongedob
Chosen screen name:      ugg bailey button uk
Not validated email address:      famil.ymili.se.e.s.ee.e@gmail.com
Chosen language:      English
Coming from IP address:      117.26.75.252
Given reason for registering:      Me need talk...for information

Thanks Jon

Our forum is running smoothly....just that this sort of crap is a pta  Smiley
  
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