Limiting Country Access & Blocking User Agents

Pigoo

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A website security service I'm using has recommended limiting website access from certain countries...and blocking a couple user agents:

- Limit top 3 most risky countries to read-only access (cannot login, register, buy, send, etc.). Countries are China, Russian Federation, and Turkey.
- Block user agents SemrushBot/3bl & Baiduspider/2.0

What do you guys think:

- Necessary/Unnecessary?
- Pro's or Con's with each choice (limiting country access & blocking user agents)?

Thanks
 

Joeychgo

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partly it depends on your forum topic. If you have no use for those countries, why not block them?
 

Pigoo

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partly it depends on your forum topic. If you have no use for those countries, why not block them?

Forum topic is global...there would be no reason to block any country based on the forum topic.

The website security service is recommending that these 3 countries are the top 3 countries for security issues (spam, malicious activity, etc.)...this is the reason for blocking these three countries.

"Blocking" in this case means...they can still view everything on the website...they just can't login, register, buy, send, etc.

Thanks
 

Joeychgo

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"Blocking" in this case means...they can still view everything on the website...they just can't login, register, buy, send, etc.

and how exactly do you accomplish that?
 

Pigoo

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and how exactly do you accomplish that?

Not my area of expertise.;)...that's why I pay the security company.:)

My best guess would have to be something related to IP address...or maybe something user-agent related...if certain user agents can be associated with specific countries.
 

Joeychgo

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Not my area of expertise.;)...that's why I pay the security company.:)

My best guess would have to be something related to IP address...or maybe something user-agent related...if certain user agents are associated with specific countries.

I would be interested to know.

I would think its better to block them entirely.
 

Pigoo

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I would be interested to know.

I would think its better to block them entirely.

In the dashboard/control panel area for my account there's a "Geo-Blocking" section:

- Column 1 lists the countries alphabetically.
- Column 2 & column 3 have check boxes for each country.
- Column 2 heading = "View"...Column 3 heading = "Post".

* If the "Post" box is checked...visitors from that country can allows them to view the content in read-only mode, but they won't be able to login, register, buy or send any comments.
* If the "View" box is checked...it prevents anyone from that country from visiting (browsing) the site (this would probably be the total-blocking option).

Here's what it looks like (screenshot below).

Since this is a security company that specializes in this sort of thing...I'm assuming they know this stuff a lot better than the rest of us...and however they're doing it...they're certainly not going to share that info.;)
 

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Pigoo

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The 3 countries with limited access are China, Russian Federation, and Turkey...some pretty big areas.

I don't know what the true malicious activity risk is from these 3 countries. My concern is...with these three countries having limited access to the site (can't register, login, post, etc)...the site may be missing out on a lot of potential new member registrations and Q&A from these members.
 

Pigoo

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What software?

It isn't software based...it's a browser interface...somewhat similar to cpanel, WHM, domain registration dashboard, etc. This is a security service that's paid for on an annual basis.

Has a ticketing system for things to be setup/adjusted by the security company professionals...or the account holder can adjust settings themselves.
 

Joeychgo

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I don't know what the true malicious activity risk is from these 3 countries. My concern is...with these three countries having limited access to the site (can't register, login, post, etc)...the site may be missing out on a lot of potential new member registrations and Q&A from these members.

so you have Chinese, Russian and Arabic languages on your forum?
 

Pigoo

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so you have Chinese, Russian and Arabic languages on your forum?

Forum has a global audience...many members are from countries where English may not be the first language. But forum conversations are in English...so members from non-English speaking countries would either need to read/write enough English to get by...or they could use something like Google Translate.

There are a lot of English speaking folks in China & Russia. I was just reading an article that claims there are more English speakers in China than there are in the United States (or at least learning English). That's a nice pool of people that could be members on English speaking internet forums.:)
 

craigForo

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"Blocking" in this case means...they can still view everything on the website...they just can't login, register, buy, send, etc.

Thanks

How does this security software you are using deal with citizens of these country's that use a vpn?
 

Pigoo

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How does this security software you are using deal with citizens of these country's that use a vpn?

Don't really know...never asked. But I'm very familiar with malicious forum members that use VPN's...and it's not fun.:(
 

mysiteguy

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I'd see what your Google analytics tells you about your visitors, to see if it's worth blocking those countries.

For China, probably most are using Chinese language forums and social media, I doubt many of them who visit your site are contributors. I can count on one hand, literally, the number of valid posts I've seen on a myriad of forums I've operated in the past 20 from a legit Chinese user.

IP addresses from TOR, many VPNs, hosting centers, China and several other countries all receive a human verification screen on my forums before they can go further.
 

Pigoo

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I'd see what your Google analytics tells you about your visitors, to see if it's worth blocking those countries.

Thanks mysiteguy...great suggestion...I'll check it out.:)
 

MagicalAzareal

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I don't really block anyone. Everyone is welcome.

And apparently, SemrushBot or something is good for getting better adverts, as they sell their information to the advertisers who decide if you're a legitimate site or just someone trying to con them out of money.

Also, I get people from China all the time... Although, they tend to be very... privacy conscious thanks to their government.
Since this is a security company that specializes in this sort of thing...I'm assuming they know this stuff a lot better than the rest of us...and however they're doing it...they're certainly not going to share that info.;)
Please stop tripping flags.

"I'm sure they know what they're doing," is practically tempting fate lol
 

Pigoo

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And apparently, SemrushBot or something is good for getting better adverts, as they sell their information to the advertisers who decide if you're a legitimate site or just someone trying to con them out of money.

You saying blocking Semrushbot could be harmful to a site from a traffic or monetization standpoint?

I think the biggest complaint about Semrushbot isn't security related...but more server resources related (since Semrushbot sends site requests about a bazillion times/minute)!;)
 

MagicalAzareal

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You saying blocking Semrushbot could be harmful to a site from a traffic or monetization standpoint?

I think the biggest complaint about Semrushbot isn't security related...but more server resources related (since Semrushbot sends site requests about a bazillion times/minute)!;)
They're statistically insignificant compared to Chrome and Opera for me, although they do seem to be creeping up:

upload_2019-5-10_13-2-21.png

I'm not too worried about them though lol
Maybe, they like some sites more than others.
 

Pigoo

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They're statistically insignificant compared to Chrome and Opera for me, although they do seem to be creeping up:

I think the last time I checked (when Semrushbot wasn't being blocked)...Semrushbot was a distant 3rd for me.
 
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