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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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Comments

  • Today someone somehow sent the same comment message to everyone on my site, which first appeared on the activity feed. How did they leave a comment for everyone when they should have no access to my member list? I deleted the false member ID and then had to delete the activity feeds one-by-one. I can understand how spammers can blog various messages, but how are they accessing the member list and sending messages to everyone, quite a flaw in security?

    Jim

  • Thank you for IDing this recurring spam source. I have often received spam emails from people who have had their email addresses "hijacked" via phishing. Many times the source is this Canadian Pharmacy.....
  • Thanks, for this feedback.

    I have one question about spam. It appears that when we delete someone for spam, their messages on personal pages of members is not deleted. This is the worst spam. Is there a plan to make this possible in the future?

    At the moment it is possible for one member to post teh same reactions to 2000+ members. It would be great if NING would notice this and will stop the spammer after 10 messages that are exactly the same.

    best,

    Ronald
  • here is what i have done on my networks way back in 2008 yet following is one of the questions mandatory before anyone is allowed to join our artist sites (other sites have similar but wording is slightly different for mediasfor wich we affix disclaimer in description box of all our uploads we dont own) ;("Profile Information
    Edit
    Here the rules are few ; no spam , no porn , no stalking , and all material uploaded is to be owned by the uploaders or granted permission to be uploaded by the artist in the media uploaded we do strive for High Quality in all we do from graphics to music in all its forms as well as art related to album covers and other medias . I hope this is a nice place for you to network and share some of Your original material do you agree?
    Yes")
  • finally someone talking truth about fake canada drug outlets NOT BEING from Canada but from RUSSIA
    thanks for exposing this finally
  • Is it possible that new members have to affirm their email adress before they can leave a reaction on other member pages?

    We see that the spammers do not post blogs anymore but leave reaction on 20+ pages of members. Which is even worse....

    Thanks!
  • Thanks for the info, and for all of your hard work. It's nice knowing there is a whole "spam team" protecting my network. If I was just a regular old blog hosted on GoDaddy or Dreamhost I'd be on my own. (And for the record, I do have a blog hosted on Dreamhost and it does get hammered with spammers. Even with the Askimet Wordpress filter they still can get through. Not fun!). I wish people would stop buying the junk that these spammers push. That is the only REAL way to stop spam.
  • Curious if gmail can help because all the spam on my page is coming from there? I'm still willing to delete individual "users" in order to facilitate ease of use on my page for real people.
  • I think Madeline's comments are unfair on Ning. They are the victim, not the perpetrator.

    We all have a responsibility to help combat this crime. One easy step is to make our members aware of what Ning is doing, and what we are doing vis a vis turning on Blog Approval, etc., and the reasons we are doing it.
  • Thank you for the info. And knowing your working on this. Go Ning!
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