Human Spammers: People are paid to spam your forum.

Shiro

Aspirant
Joined
Jul 8, 2009
Messages
31
You may be aware of services like Amazon Mechanical Turk or Microworkers. These are crowdsourcing services that allow vendors to pay small amounts of money for the completion of tasks. These tasks often range from things like helping Google and Bing rank search results (human experience), and completing surveys. However, as I discovered today, spammers are using these systems on a massive scale to recruit human spammers.

A typical example of spam recruitment jobs:
Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 8.26.13 AM.png

Step one will link you to a google search results page for "smp toronto", which is the keyword the spammer is targeting. You're then asked to find blogs or forums to post a spam comment on within those keywords, when you do so you'll visit the second link and see this:
Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at 8.25.53 AM.png
Look familiar? This is the same type of stuff that bots post in forums all the time. Now rather than paying for an xRumer license, spammers can pay less than 25 cents per human-generated spam comment. This type of operation is particularly challenging to defend against via automated means. CAPTCHA is obviously completely useless, since you're dealing with a 100% human operation. Checks on registration are useless, because these are regular users who have probably not engaged in malicious activity anymore. You're left with keyword filtering, and services like Akismet. Any suggestions on how to deal with this type of spam? I'm looking into having Trust+ checks ran at post time, and the ability to detect spam patterns currently.

After looking through these types of jobs, I have also seen solicitations to post a "one hundred word product review" on a random forum, and of course this pays higher because the user needs to come up with the text. They then request the user post a link back to their site. Even spam detection services that work on patterns may not be entirely effective against this type of spammer.
 

ozzy47

Tazmanian Veteran
Joined
Oct 18, 2013
Messages
9,007
Yeah human spammers are more popular these days. What a lot of them do to maximize profit, is sign up to a bunch of sites, then run programs such as XRummer on those sites. It maximizes their profit by posting to multiple sites quicker.

Another thing they do is sign up to a site, find older topics, and reply to them. These replies seem on topic so most people ignore them. They then share the keywords they use in replies with their underground community, which in turn allows other spammers to search the keywords and spam the sites.
 

Shiro

Aspirant
Joined
Jul 8, 2009
Messages
31
Yeah human spammers are more popular these days. What a lot of them do to maximize profit, is sign up to a bunch of sites, then run programs such as XRummer on those sites. It maximizes their profit by posting to multiple sites quicker.

Another thing they do is sign up to a site, find older topics, and reply to them. These replies seem on topic so most people ignore them. They then share the keywords they use in replies with their underground community, which in turn allows other spammers to search the keywords and spam the sites.
Pretty much, yeah. I'm surprised people still think forum spamming is a good CEO move, considering the fact that unless the forum is inactive, most spam content is quickly removed, and Google has algorithms (and humans) to detect such deceptive measures. But then again, I guess it's like a doctor giving a sugar pill, there's always people who believe it will help and pay for the service.
 
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