Monday, January 15, 2007

forum poster verification techniques

Introducing the next generation of anti-spam technology

I host a technical forum and I’m always surprised at the sophistication of the automated forum spam bots. They register with the forum, answer the confirmation e-mail, and them proceed to post pornography and links to penis enlargement, Photoshopped pictures of celebrities naughty bits, and other raunchy stuff.

Even though the CDA excepts me from responsibility for the postings of other people, that’s only in the USA, and I must always be vigilant to remove any content that is obscene, infringing or defamatory.

I’ve been forced to implement sophisticated anti-spam bit measures to counteract this automated web pollution, but it’s only a matter of time before the old-fashioned word verifications are conquered by the spammers:

Here are my notes on the future of spam bot prevention techniques.

The really scary stuff is coming from the spam bit criminals who post photo’s and links to child pornography on innocent forums and blogs. If you no not practice “semper vigilance”, you may get an unwanted visit from the FBI.

So, what can be done to thwart these spammer monsters?

First, all spam verifications models pair an image with a string answer, and it’s easy to make more sophisticated verifications:

The spammers won’t take long to use letter recognition technologies and more sophisticated verification methods must be incorporated to stop the spam bots. You can also incorporate simple math problems into your blogger comment verification:

But that’s no fun. The possibilities for improving anti-spam bot are endless, and you can weed-out lame comments from real human users by testing their knowledge of current events:

As we see, there are lots of screening possibilities for blog and forum posting verification and we could also test blog commenter’s for their political knowledge:

You will soon be able to create your own blog comment verification questions and you can make them screen-out people who don’t share your academic interests:

If you want to be controversial, bloggers could incorporate sick and offensive humor into their blog verification questions:

Note: This is just an example of inappropriate verification questions, only for illustrative purposes. I don't find this sick humor the slightest bit funny, so please don’t send me e-mails!

Mark my word, as soon as we get control over our verification questions, corporate America will enter the picture and offer payment in-return for using corporate questions as anti-spam verification:

The future may change, but I predict that the spam bots will continue to get more sophisticated, requiring more counter-measures from bloggers and forum hosts.