The problem with SPAM

Most of you are familiar with SPAM – unwanted communications that find their way into your inbox.  If you use web based email services like gmail, maybe the SPAM has disappeared completely, or almost.

SPAMMERs are able to use a variety of strategies to manage devastatingly interesting campaigns and can target website owners in a number of ways, including through your contact form, a published email address, and lastly through comments, forums (and forum replies) and trackbacks.

OurLocality is a WordPress multisite with Akismet built in, which should catch most SPAM. But if you’ve got 1000s of SPAM comments waiting to be moderated or deleted, this is a pain and you probably have to take action.

  1. You can remove all user interaction. To do this just turn comments and trackbacks off in Settings > Discussion and remember to set the comments to OFF in each post and page. By default our websites are created with comments and trackbacks turned off
  2. Alternatively tune the discussion settings so that you have the upper hand. Comments can be moderated or only accepted from registered or otherwise trusted users.
  3. Use the recaptcha enabled contact form in preference to an email address. Or use no form at all (who wants to be contacted anyway?).
  4. Mask your email address, by substituting the @  with the word at or AT and the . with a dot or DOT or similar, human readable trick/device.
  5. Comments on images are now banished from users of the WeLoveOurlocality template, but if you need it there is a full blown plugin to regain control over open comments flags including Image Attachment SPAM – go to plugins and active Comment Control

If none of that is enough and you are receiving too many pesky emails from the same IP address, then activate the BAN plugin.

Then goto the http://ip-lookup.net/index.php IP Lookup website and make a note of your current IP as you must not ban yourself (NB this IP can change depending on your location and if you have a dynamic IP, common with most ADSL connections)

Now check your email or comments page and make a note the IP addresses that are SPAM. You can check where it is coming from.  China  and Eastern Europe are quite common but the USA and Europe too.

Then add the IP to the BAN list.  If further access is detected, the robot receives a message to go away and it records how many attempts are made.  SPAMMERS will use a number of IPs to get their nefarious emails out, so no strategy is perfect and the impact of SPAMMERs increaseingly transient as they get banned from everywhere and have to move on.

Here are some rogue IPs that are currently SPAMMING us of late, to get you started (added 14 March 2013).

91.236.75.6
91.214.17.6
76.115.9.78
69.162.123.35
218.104.72.98
198.100.146.130
193.105.210.216
192.74.255.101
192.74.255.100
192.74.252.20
176.31.105.147
175.44.8.208
175.44.7.43
175.44.32.224
175.44.16.208
175.44.16.192
175.44.10.245
175.42.84.4
175.42.83.183
142.54.182.186
142.4.127.28
142.4.117.44
142.4.109.45
112.111.184.227