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spammers (2)

NC for Hire
How much do you really know about Online Hackers and Scams? This is an amazing phenomenon and open door of opportunities for Criminals. Educate yourself. Educate your family, friends, and members of your Social Community.

As part of a series of educational videos about Hackers and Scams, I will be adding a new Video Episode each week, for the next month+ to the Creators site and JenSocial.

Episode #1 - Stop Hacker Commerce:


Episode #2 - The Trap Is Set:


Episode #3 - Caught In The Web:

Find out more about the report of all Scams - - Offline and Online. Find out if they are myth or fact.

snopes.com: Scam Report
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)


How To Prevent Spammers on Ning Networks

There are 5 features offered on a Ning Network that help prevent Sign-Up Spammers. To set your options, access the features via: My Network/Members/Controls

You can approve all new Members. This definitely helps in the prevention of Sign-Up spammers joining your Ning Network. You may not catch all of them, but most will give you good indicators that they are spammers. If you see repeated words like "i tell you later, i tell you later", or "i'm a good girl looking for love", etc... you can bet your bottom dollar, these are spammers. And of course goes without saying, Do not approve these accounts.

If you do not want to "Approve Members", there are 4 other features that will help prevent Sign-Up Spammers:

  • Require new members to verify their email address - I advise turning on this feature for all Networks.
  • Fill out a captcha
    • An image containing words that users must correctly identify.
    • I advise turning on this feature, due to most auto-spambots cannot enter a captcha correctly, since it is a never changing "image".
  • Answer the sign-up quiz
    • Create a quiz question that new members must answer correctly to join.
    • You can really get clever on the sign-up quiz question. I saw one where a Network Creator asked "Are you a real person?" and he set the default answer to "No". This will catch a lot of spambots, no doubt.
    • Definition: A spambot is an automated computer program, or, more rarely, a script, designed to assist in the sending of spam - - and joining Networks for the same purpose in mind, including dropping links to illegal sites.
    • Another great way to utilize this feature: add a question that only applies to your type network. Add a question that members of your site should know, if they are interested in joining your Network. A great example: A Ning Network for Golf may ask a question like this, "Would you rather have a Birdie or a Bogey?"
  • Spam Prevention - Automatically suspend suspected spammers
    • I'm not sure what algorithm or criteria is in place for suspending suspected spammers.
    • Please let us know your experience, if you know more about this feature.

Here's a screen shot of your "Prevent Spammer" Controls:


Perfect Example - - Just had this spammer join JenSocial (August 10, 2010), and about the 7th one today. BTW, I have not set a question for the Sign-Up Quiz yet. I will very soon!

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Many Network Creators continue to report high levels of spam on their Ning Networks.

What are we doing about it?

First of all, I want you to know how seriously we consider this issue. Spam isn’t just an annoyance for Network Creators and their members. Spam gets in the way of member participation and interaction, which is the lifeblood of a successful, vibrant Ning Network like yours. We have a dedicated engineering team that is focused on spam prevention led by Martin Westhead.

Unfortunately, the current spam attack promoting “Canadian Pharmacy” is a sophisticated attack attributed to a Russian cyber-criminal organization. As with other sophisticated spammers, this organization employs dozens or even hundreds of people to create accounts, resolve CAPTCHAs and verify email addresses, then passes the accounts to a large botnet to post spam from thousands of computers, each with a different IP address.

Due to the sophisticated nature of the attack, there aren’t any quick fixes. We have already implemented several steps to block spam and plan to deploy a number of other features in the next few weeks. These measures are already blocking and disabling thousands of spam accounts each day. Here’s an update:

  • Yesterday, we significantly tightened our rules for new blog posts, which has been the primary type of spam for the “Canadian Pharmacy” attack. These rules identify and remove spam accounts automatically. You may have noticed a decrease in spam based on this action.
  • Next week, we will test and begin implementing temporary blocks on members that look suspicious based on their recent activity.
  • Within the next two weeks, we'll roll out a new feature for NCs — you'll be able to give specific members of your Ning Network the ability to easily flag and hide spam on your Ning Network.


How can you help?

We are using the data from the “suspend for spam” feature to automatically disable thousands of accounts across the Ning Platform each day. Please continue to use this feature when you suspend spammers.

We recommend that you turn on blog approval on your Ning Network. This will help you block new spam posts. While it's not optimal for some larger Ning Networks, we also recommend that you consider turning on member moderation.

As we implement increasingly stringent anti-spam measure, we are working hard to minimize the number of legitimate members that are incorrectly blocked or disabled. We apologize if this happens to any of your members. Please have them write in to our Help Center and we will re-enable their account as quickly as possible.

John McDonald
Vice President, Advocacy

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