I’ve held off on this one for a few weeks now, for fear of letting on would be spammers. But what the heck.
With comment spam increasing over the past few months, and my seeming daily maintenance to delete them, I wrote some code to look for certain patterns, and then not reject them, but do some amusing things like make them visible to the poster’s IP address but nobody else, and then delete them after an hour or so. There’s a bunch of other tricks in there as well, but I don’t want to give too much away to them.
These spammers seem to automate their posting engines, so another neat trick is to generate random form button names, to prevent them from automating http POST requests.
Anyway, it makes for amusing reading each week, looking through the site logs, watching these guys try their stuff. Some waltz in, make their spam post and then move on, without realising their work just disappeared down the old bit bucket. Others stick around and check that the post stuck before moving on. And yet others, like the one tonight, sniffed something was wrong, and instead of trying to hack something up that works, just tried the same post over and over again. I haven’t seen that since the early computing days, when new users would just keep on clicking the same old button over and over again if something didn’t work.
I learned a few tricks from my copy protection days, the main one being not to let on that you’re working against them. The RIAA of course, being new to this game, seems to fail to understand that bragging about or claiming superiority, either moral or technical, is like a rag to a bull.
An old Apple II game called Threshold used to protect the disk with a nibble count, which I won’t go into now, but to defeat the nibble count you’d have to patch the nibble counting code, which was fine if you knew how to do it. The amusing part was that late in the game, another routine would checksum the nibble counting code, and if there was a change, would ever so gradually corrupt the graphics, making you think that the disk was corrupted. I’ve seen a lot of supposed cracks for this game which missed this later checksum, because they assumed it was just a corrupted disk and so didn’t bother looking for it.
So anyway, not only do I have a good read each week, watching these people play away, but I also sit here with a rather smug look on my face, knowing that these people have paid good money for their automated spamming tools which they think are working, but which aren’t.
Although I am flattered that they’ve coded for my custom built site. Thanks guys, you’ve made my day. Your mileage may vary.