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Fake (spam bot?) users

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This forum is meant for general questions about the usability of OJS from an everyday user's perspective: journal managers, authors, and editors are welcome to post questions here, as are librarians and other support staff. We welcome general questions about the role of OJS and how the workflow works, as well as specific function- or user-related questions.

What to do if you have general, workflow or usability questions about OJS:

1. Read the documentation. We've written documentation to cover from OJS basics to system administration and code development, and we encourage you to read it.

2. take a look at the tutorials. We will continue to add tutorials covering OJS basics as time goes on.

3. Post a question. Questions are always welcome here, but if it's a technical question you should probably post to the OJS Technical Support subforum; if you have a development question, try the OJS Development subforum.

Fake (spam bot?) users

Postby dkolin » Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:30 pm

I have a problem a large number of seemingly "fake" users registering for my OJS journal. They always have three repeated names such as "Pladrarttapop, Pladrarttapop Pladrarttapop" for their last, first middle names. They always live in Afghanistan and their phone numbers are always 123456. It is getting tedious to constantly delete these users, and they're annoying because they crowd out legitimate users when searching for users, etc. Has anyone else had this problem? Any way to prevent their registration in the first place?

Thanks,
Dave
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Re: Fake (spam bot?) users

Postby RickMath » Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:47 pm

Dave

I occiasonally have the same problem. Don't have an answer but same scenario. Three name parts the same (although different from yours) and phone 123456 and from Afganistan.

Maybe the PKP wizards have a solution. I just unenroll and delete mine. Just thought I'd comment.

Rick
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Re: Fake (spam bot?) users

Postby jmacgreg » Sat Jan 09, 2010 5:15 pm

Hi folks,

OJS comes with Captcha support, but it is disabled by default. Look for Captcha settings in config.inc.php; and try a forum search as well. We're also planning on including reCaptcha eventually as well: http://pkp.sfu.ca/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=4082.

Cheers,
James
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Re: Fake (spam bot?) users

Postby RickMath » Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:14 pm

James

Sorry for my ignorance but if I set the CAPTCHA features to On do I need something else on my server to make it work. My setting in config.inc.php is curently Off.

Thanks

Rick
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Re: Fake (spam bot?) users

Postby RickMath » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:38 pm

I turned the captcha features on in config.inc.php

Now when I test the register as new user the validation box appears but there is no validation image displayed. Only the words Validation Image appear above the box to enter the validation code. Is there something else that I need to turn on?

Thanks

Rick
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Re: Fake (spam bot?) users

Postby RickMath » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:58 pm

I just tested it again (REGISTER) and now I get a box with a red x in it above the line that says enter the letters in the box above.

Is there an image somewhere that perhaps has the need to have permissions set.

Thanks

Rick
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Re: Fake (spam bot?) users

Postby jmacgreg » Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:39 pm

Hi Rick,

You'll also want to ensure that in config.inc.php you are pointing to a font that is currently installed on your server. Also, take a look at the following thread for more troubleshooting: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4963&start=0.

Cheers,
James
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Re: Fake (spam bot?) users

Postby RickMath » Fri Feb 19, 2010 8:02 pm

James

I have checked on all this and it appears that the font that is pointed to in config.inc.php which is FreeSerif.ttf is installed.

Where do I go next? I am a bit confused as it does not appear to be a font problem but a problem with creating the captcha image. Where does the captcha image get written to? I appears that in the captcha files in the classes folder create an image to be displayed. I am having the same problem in OCS.

I will be glad to send screen shots if they would be helpful.

This is really important as since I turned Captcha on in the config.inc.php fiel we are no longer being invaded with fake users. I can get rid of these by editing the database but it annoying.

Thanks for your help. Hopefully I can get this resolved.

:D Rick
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Re: Fake (spam bot?) users

Postby RickMath » Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:00 pm

See my post here viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4963

I am having trouble resolving where the fonts should be located.

Thanks
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Re: Fake (spam bot?) users

Postby jmacgreg » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:15 am

Hi Rick,

If you think it's a font location problem, I'd suggest downloading the font as Tyler suggests in that thread, uploading it to wherever you can on your folder, and pointing to it in your config.inc.php. Make sure the file is readable.

Cheers,
James
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Re: Fake (spam bot?) users

Postby RickMath » Mon Feb 22, 2010 7:45 pm

Thanks James.

I'll try that and post the results. I do not know if it is a font problem but judging from the other posts at least we will cross that bridge.

I appreciate your input on this.

Rick
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Re: Fake (spam bot?) users

Postby RickMath » Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:37 pm

:D :D :D
James and Tyler

Thanks for your input on resolving the issues. I am happy to report that the CAPTCHA feature is working as expected. The image is displayed with random letters and when they are entered everything works well. Time will tell if we are invaded with BOTs but so far none.

I suspect that the config.inc.php file specifies a higher level folder on a server. Maybe like the PKP one. Since I am on a shared server I had no control over the path to fonts nor could I install them in the usr folder.

So here was the solution that worked. I created a new folder in my OJS path called fonts. Using Tylers suggestion to upload the FreeSerif.ttf font file into this folder and repointing the captcha settings to this file with the path .../OJS/fonts/FreeSerif.ttf the captcha is working.

I have also done this in OCS and it works. The coding is slightly different as the path in our installation is ".../ocs/fonts...." instead of OCS (note case) and the path in ocs needs to have quotes.

So thanks to James and Tyler for a solution. The great thing about the PKP support forum is that with the people at PKP and us users we eventually work out a solution. It may take some time, but we always solve the issues.

Kudos everyone!

Rick
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Re: Fake (spam bot?) users

Postby RickMath » Sun Mar 07, 2010 4:29 pm

UPDATE ON CAPTCHA

Ever since I was able to get Captcha working three weeks ago there are no more BOTS registering for either my OCS or OJS site.

This really works folks!!

:D Thanks to the PKP team for their previous help on this.

Rick
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Re: Fake (spam bot?) users

Postby jayfitzsimmons » Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:01 pm

I just wanted to thank RickMath and everyone else for this forum topic - it helped me out. I was having the same problem with bot registrations, but my Captcha picture would not appear properly when I enabled it. I followed Tyler's advice from the forum and downloaded a font package from ftp://ftp.gnu.org/pub/gnu/freefont/. I created a folder for the FreeSerif.ttf font and pointed my config file to it, and it worked great. I think I had the same problem as RickMath did, with my journal not having access to upstream directories of our server because it's a commercial server with lots of clients. Once we had a font file in an accessible directory Captcha works fine.

Jay
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Re: Fake (spam bot?) users

Postby RickMath » Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:26 pm

Glad it worked out for you. We are all here to help each other with the guidance of the PKP team.

I am on a shared server too so for anyone who has this problem refer to this post.

Rick
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