Bad Behavior Blackhole Update
About a year ago I started a project called the Bad Behavior Blackhole. The purpose of the blackhole was to list known sources of blog spam and to publish that data for the use of bloggers who wanted to make use of it to prevent spam.
Due to lack of time, I put the project on hold indefinitely. But I’ve been slowly working on it, off and on, over the last few months. Mostly off, again, due to lack of time. As I’ve said before, I have to spend most of my time on things that pay the bills, and historically, fighting spam hasn’t really been one of them, unfortunately.
With Bad Behavior 2.0.6 this week, I released a new feature which checks POST requests against third-party spam blacklists. This has proven quite effective in stopping a lot of the spam that wasn’t otherwise caught, but it does have a few drawbacks.
First, since I don’t maintain any of the lists, it’s difficult for me to help anyone get removed from the lists, other than providing links back to the blacklist providers. I’ve seen a few positive hits which I don’t want to be blocking, such as dynamic IP addresses which once sent a spam two or three years ago and have been blacklisted ever since. (The list involved, list.dsbl.org, will be dropped in the next release, and you can edit the code and remove it yourself if you’re having problems with it.)
I envision the Bad Behavior Blackhole as much more responsive than other blacklists, as the users likely to be affected aren’t going to really know what’s going on, or why they should be blocked because somebody sent a spam back in 2003.
Specifically, Bad Behavior Blackhole will have the following features:
- Immediate removal for anyone upon request, the first time. Removal will be delayed for further requests from the same IP, to prevent spammers from removing themselves and sending more spam.
- Blacklisting only for a specific period of time, and only while spam is actually flowing from a given IP address. Once the spam stops, the address will be delisted automatically after a short time. If it restarts, then the address is relisted.
- List sources which are actually sending spam, as well as sources which are demonstrated to have compromised security, such as open proxy servers and Trojaned machines, before they can send spam.
- Usable from any platform. This covers Movable Type, WordPress, and just about anything else you can think of. Adding support for realtime blackhole lists to any given program is at most a 15-minute hack.
It needs about a day and a half worth of work to finish up and do the initial rollout. (Didn’t you notice the link for it was dead?) But as I said before, I’ve been delaying it due to lack of time. And this is where you come in. I work on Bad Behavior and related projects primarily as I have time, and I can afford to devote more time to it when more people contribute to its development.
Over the past couple of months I’ve been quietly setting up a honeypot blog, and collecting other sources of data on blog spammers, to feed the realtime blackhole list. The data is coming in. At this point it just needs to be connected to the Bad Behavior Blackhole, tested and released. Once this is done we’ll have a much more responsive list which actually keeps spammers out, keeps blocking of legitimate users to an absolute minimum, and provides an easy removal method for the rare person who might be blocked.
If you’d like to see this project completed sooner than later, contribute to further development of the Bad Behavior Blackhole.
And again, thank you all for your continued support in the war on web spam. Bad Behavior could not continue without it.
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