please stop the spam ... sorry to be part of the noise

Aug 4, 2014 at 1:50 PM
for some reason, there is a HUMUNGOUS amount of spam ...

what ever it takes, even Jack Bauer, please get it under control.

Thank you.

Gerry

Gerry Lowry
Chief Training Architect
Paradigm Mentors
Coordinator
Aug 5, 2014 at 9:52 AM
Thanks Gerry - we're trying. Appears to be a distributed one so traffic harder to block than the usual attacks. In the meantime you might want to disable email notifications from this discussion forum while I'm more confident about stemming the tide. I'll ping you on Twitter when that is the case.
Marked as answer by martin on 8/5/2014 at 1:52 AM
Aug 5, 2014 at 11:02 AM
Edited Aug 5, 2014 at 11:04 AM
Hi Martin ... you're welcome. Glad to be your Paul Revere/Laura Secord.

BTW, i'm guessing you're Jim Newkirk's replacement. N'est-ce pas?

Martin, to disable notifications is to toss out the baby with the bath water...

After pruning my local Outlook 2010 CodePlex folder, i've segregated probably 5500++ messages that imho should never got to CodePlex in the first place.

FWIW, one serious downside of all this spam is that you've probably lost a large number of subscirbers; not everyone is as masochistic as myself.

SUGGESTIONS

(a) add an "Alert Moderator" or "Alert Martin" button ... see forums.asp.net

(b) if you get over a certain threshhold of messages per day, for example, based on years of following CodePlex, 10 per day from the same member, send yourself an alert ... if that number exceeds 100 per day, block to individual and investigate manually. (d-a-r-t-w-e-l-l has posted 1400++ times in the past 48 hours.)

(c) similar idea to (b), however, since a spammer might individually set up many accounts, set threshholds for total messages per hour/per day/per week ... this would hamper spammers trying to sneak in under your radar.

(d) whitelist members that you trust.

(e) share the responsibility and accountibility to fight spam with all; members of your team since presumably you'd eventually like to take the occassional holiday.

Martin, essentially this is for all intents and purposes like a DOS attack.

i look forward to your Twitter ping.

Thank you for intervening.

Gerry
Coordinator
Aug 5, 2014 at 11:23 AM
I could never replace Jim - he is very much one of a kind. But yeah, I'm part of the team that look after CodePlex now-a-days following on from legends like Jim, Sara, Jonathon, Brad and more.

We're looking at adding a "flag" functionality for users and projects, but we're also looking at other ways to help counteract spam including throttling. It's a constant cat-and-mouse game though. We recently modified things to increase the use of "nofollow" tags which helped reduce the amount of people creating fake profiles but the spammers just move elsewhere (we've recently had a spate of spam project creation for example).

Now it looks like targeting discussion forums with lots of email subscribers is a new tactic as a small percentage of people have email alerts to those forums with an address that is likely whitelisted and a smaller percentage of users would see one of the embedded images in the forum posts which sends traffic to the site that is generating the revenue stream for the spammer in question. Sigh - this is why we can't have nice things on the internet :-)

Obviously we'd rather be spending our time building shiny new features, but looks like the next few sprints are going to be spent on spam countermeasures. I'll let you know how we get on but it's an uphill battle on many fronts so your patience and forbearance as we work on this is much appreciated.

Martin.
Aug 6, 2014 at 12:36 AM
Edited Aug 6, 2014 at 12:38 AM
Martin, i am small potatoes in the grand scheme of the Wild, Wild West that is the internet ... yet amazingly, although my little niche server was only recently launched in a state that could imho be called a work in progress, i'm amazed at how many people (perhaps i should say bots) have been trying to hack in over the last few months ... i'm also amazed at how much of my limited time blocking them sucks out of life.

one thing i'm glad i did when building my infrastructure is the creation of a foundation that is able to be weaponized easily ...

forgive me if i sound too critical ~~ it amazes me that Codeplex appears to lack some of the filters that could easily and automatically halt the penetration that you're getting.

YOU ARE DOING BETTER

until noon today, you've have less than a dozen ... one is too many, nevertheless, less than a dozen is a major relief.

between 15:45 and 15:52, j-o-n-a-k-i snuck through almost a dozen more ...

SPAM COUNTERMEASURES

Martin, some of the ideas that i suggested above, being somewhat heuristic are imho likely worth your consideration; certainly, they would have given you an early warning to the several thousand spam posts you got this Monday and Tuesday.

Gerry

P.S.: we're all one of a kind; "believe you can't and you wont; believe you can and you will (although it may take a while).*
    * plagiarized from "Ping, a frog in search of a new pond". Stuart Avery Gold.
Coordinator
Aug 6, 2014 at 2:24 AM
Turns out even the original developers of CodePlex were human. In my experience there are two things in websites that are hard:
  1. Security
  2. Spam prevention
You think you've been really clever at both and always you try to code defensively, do lots of reviews and threat models, but someone is always cleverer than you...

To be clear, we haven't got any better at all today. All we've done is cleaned up the mess. We're still working on being clever... In the meantime we're trying a few things. I'm personally not a big fan of moderation, and there are some instances where I'm actually opposed to it (things like moderation of reviews to downloads for examples would actually make it easier for people to distribute mallware through CodePlex). StackOverflow seemed to do the best job IMHO. A combination of reputation and heuristics but they still need community flagging etc. One of the fascinating things you learn when building any mass collaboration experience is that it's actually something like 20% software engineering and 80% social engineering. Still we're all getting wiser each day.

Let you know how we get on with things. We'll be a bit better by the end of the week, but I don't think we'll have done enough to reduce the tide by then and it's going to take a bit longer to patch the holes.

Thanks for bearing with us.

Martin.
Aug 6, 2014 at 12:30 PM
Edited Aug 6, 2014 at 12:31 PM
Martin, since you asked... from today, Eastern Daylight Saving Time:

03:15 D-j-c-r-t .. first post
05:04 D-j-c-r-t .. 88th post

Martin, FWIW, i do not open such posts ... my fear factor at work ...
just what are these people (or perhaps just one idiot) trying to achieve?

after all, it's all sports for her/him/it ... seems she/he/it wants us to view athletic events on various networks.

FWIW, AFAIK many/most e-mail servers allow filters if she/he/it is posting via e-mail (assuming that's allowed).

YASI - yet another solution idea

Martin, here's something new that just occurred to me ... i'm not a fan, period, of CAPCHA;
       CAPCHA is so annoying because half the time the images suck, HOWEVER,
       for new members, imho, it would be a fair request to have them complete
       a CAPCHA for their first 100 posts.
Gerry
Aug 7, 2014 at 7:49 PM
Martin, you're team is doing better ...

between 01:53 and 02:40, s-m-t-r-u-e posted 23 times, so i did get 23 notifications;

however, 23 is better than thousands;

kudos++

Martin, i am very happy to see that your team has deleted those posts from your site ...

now, https://codeplex.codeplex.com/discussions/ is much cleaner.

~~Gerry
Aug 7, 2014 at 7:55 PM
Martin, s--m-t-r-u-e just posted AGAIN, about two minutes after i posted my previous reply in this thread. /g.
Aug 7, 2014 at 8:39 PM
Martin, s-m-t-r-u-e et al have posted 30++ times since my previous report. FWIW /g.

P.S.: your unlucky team must be feeling like Mickey Mouse in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice".
Coordinator
Aug 15, 2014 at 3:47 PM
Hi everyone - we've taken a number of steps to reduce the amount of spam, but if you see any more please contact us at https://www.codeplex.com/site/contact and we'll remove it as fast as we can.

Thanks!
Aug 29, 2014 at 1:11 AM
kedavid, i've reported it via your FORM at https://www.codeplex.com/site/contact and also via Twitter @martinwoodward and @codeplex, but it appears no one is working on it yet. FWIW, how can it run ALL DAY long? imho, you need filters. /gerry --
Aug 30, 2014 at 6:31 PM
Why does it appear that no one on top of this (other than me)? ... Friday had 350 SPAM; today 800++ and there's still 10.5 hours left. B-( /g. --
Sep 1, 2014 at 8:19 PM

they're back.