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The Bot Problem

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The Bot Problem

    • Lt. Nomad

      Don’t get me wrong I like bots, Robots. But almost every time I go here onto my favorite site thair is a message from a bot saying something like “hi I’m from blah blah message me at hot mail” I keep getting these and I believe we need something to kill all of these bots! ^^

    • Hunter

      Wait a minute… I think I’ve got a similar Email too… Did it go on about how they saw our profile and messaged in good faith, and proceeded to say what state they live in, and that they wish to become friends? If so, that’s exactly what I got…

    • Meticulac

      Such a weird form of spam, too! It’s always some variation of someone claiming to be from the U.N. or some branch of the U.S. military looking for someone to be friends with, which is a specific enough pattern to suggest it’s all from the same source. But I can easily think of smarter tactics it could be using if it were targeting this site specifically (Which I considered elaborating on until I figured I might not want to potentially give them ideas), so I’m guessing it isn’t.

      So we have a line of untargeted spam that happens to be able to get past whatever anti-bot system the board has set up, and from the content of its messages seems to be here due to detecting the site’s repeated mention of armies and soldiers and interpreting that as the site being a place of activity for people in actual militaries.

      Not sure what it’d want from that demographic in particular, but I doubt we have much that whoever’s running it actually cares about. Given that, the measures needed to block this line of bots in particular probably don’t need to be all that elaborate, as the bot maker won’t bother to account for them if they’re not employed on sites relevant to their interests.

    • Engineer Airhead

      The main problem is that there already is a line of anti-bot measures in place, so we don’t know if these are actually bots or normal users signing up and then giving the login credentials to a script that will send messages to as many members as possible.

      That is what makes this just the more difficult to prevent.

      I am working with various other parties to fight this problem.
      As there are plenty of other website experiencing the same problem. Just because it’s still happening, doesn’t mean that nothing is being done about it ;)

      I can only be sorry that the members here are on the receiving end of this problem.
      But I can promise that whenever a bot account has been reported to me, I will share an update about in on our Discord server and Facebook account.

      And thank you Lt. Nomad for starting this post.
      It shows me that I need to be more upfront with communication regarding the bot problem :)

    • All,

      In the current climate I am amazed that TSU gets so few bots. My job lets me see just how much pretty much every site and organisation is being targeted by Mechanical Turk farms, malicious scripts and more besides. It is frankly a zoo out there. A zoo where all the animals have broken into the behaviour alteration beans and are causing a Pandamonium.

      Best thing to do with any of these is as ever: Report it. Delete it. Move on with your life.

      We are a relatively small site with a small group of back end admins (whose work I appreciate massively). If you want to stop the bot rot, volunteer your time and/or report them.

    • DigitalImpostor

      There does seem to have been an increase in spam. I’ve been getting a lot more in my inbox and Cambodian accounts keep trying to add me as a friend on Facebook.

    • El Capitan Shady

      Completely forgot about this website only to be brought back by a bot. Not sure if that’s a good thing?

    • Hunter

      Um, while this could be spam, I’m starting to think that it is an actual person that sent direct messages to as many people as they could to try and talk to somebody. I got into contact with them and I’m really starting to believe that it is not a bot. But it could still be possible.

      • SLIII

        The initial email is usually a bot and any follow up is usually a real person.

        If they’re actually after a friend, become one! Otherwise I recommend taking some inspiration from James Veitch:

      • SLIII is exactly right in that they tend to have real people working on the other end once they have hooked a potential victim. The team at 419 eater used to troll these guys as hard as they could until they learned a key lesson that forced the majority of them to retire: “These people you are trolling are still criminals and if they can retaliate, they most certainly will.”
        So take care.

    • Flare by N-N-E

      This same strange email brought me back.

      As of writing this I have yet to reply.

      Initial research indicates that the same message has recently been used on other forums, pointing to the same Hotmail address each time.

      Examples:Earther Academy (last active about a week ago) and Central Virginia Trailblazers (where in a post about 2 months old titled “Haritta Returns!” the same message was quoted with the comment “… “Alice”, is back …” and it seemed to be treated like a spam report).

      I will retain links to these sources for 24 hours in case anyone here wants them.


    • Howard Mob

      I logged on and I have 5 of these “bots” have sent me “in good faith” quotes if this is someone that is making multiple accounts and sending people messages, this is one hell of a troll to go to all this trouble

    • Nurse Bunny Juju

      You mean to tell me that these aren’t real people messaging me?!? 😱😉

    • Andrew Flintoff

      Bots represent half of all web traffic. Pernicious bots will cause more than $12 billion in misfortunes by one year from now in the U.S. alone. Security groups are facing agitators utilizing a large number of tricky strategies to target applications through botnets and mechanized bot traffic.

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