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Forum Moderators: rogerd
Mostly the problem IS my fault, because I set the forum permissions to be fairly loose. My thinking was that if someone did find me, I wanted to make it easy to say hello. Forget that! Now registration is required. I know that won't stop the spam... it never stops it here at WW. I understand the need for moderation.
But how did they find me? That's a rhetorical question, unless you actually know the answer.
I'm sure as time goes on I'll get more use from this Community Building forum at WW. For now, I guess my first post here as a forum administrator will go down as a whine ;->
Presumably they look for anything which looks like a form, and POST their junk regardless of what happens. I have some custom software running a variety of (obscure) blogs and sites, and "they" have managed to find the comments / forum sections on that. Fortunately it was fairly easy to apply some analysis both at client and incoming content level which conveys the spam into either data nirvana or an auto-moderation queue with (as of now) about a 98% success rate, meaning the genuine users don't have to mess about with registration, captchas and the like. Alas, the solution probably won't scale to higher traffic and / or higher visibility sites.
But how did they find me?
Footprints! If you are using an off the shelf forum package, they come under heavy attack from miscreants. This can be easily seen by looking at your log files and all those 404 requests for non-existent directories that are usually present when forum software is installed.
grepthe logs for any given site and you will see common access attempts for many widely-known issues, both in popular open source packages as well as Windows-specific and otherwise. They don't know and don't care what your site is running, they just look for holes.
do a search for spam, and believe me, you will find a lot of information (probably too much). or become a member, and just ask.
spam is a hot, hot topic for any forum nowadays. I've noticed a big increase on my little forums the latter part of 2006.. and continuing, unfortunately. I've been able to catch most of it with what my forum can do.
I am not versed with phpbb software, but these people might be able to give you more specific pointers for phpbb forums.