Spam Activity & Spam Prevention

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11-23-2020 11:56 AM

Spam Activity & Spam Prevention

As some of your may have seen over the last few days we have seen some spam activity in our Community. 

Thanks to the prompt reporting by members of this group and our wider community we were able to move content and ban 4 new accounts. As it turns out this is not isolated to our Community and we received notification from Khoros that this was part of a coordinated effort by a group of spammers over the weekend and Khoros monitoring systems had detected it. 

I thought this might be a good point to share with you how our new community is set up to handle spam attacks.

We are set-up for this as follows:

  1. New account set-up - ArcGIS Online has in-built measures that ensures that new accounts have verified email addresses and are not using known anonymizers to prevent fake accounts being created. 
  2. New member permissions - we have specifically limited what a new member can do in their first 24 hours including the ability to send Private Messages. We have also limited what content they can post in their first post to limit their ability to post inappropriate rich media content. 
    1. In this latest spam incident spammers were using simple text and html links which we did not feel appropriate to restrict for all new members as this would be detrimental for genuine members wishing to post content. 
  3. Flood controls - we have specific settings to limit the ability of a member to post in excess of a reasonable amount of content in a defined period. This is a behavior we've seen with spammers in the past so should limit the scale a spammer can post malicious content throughout the site before Flood Control is triggered and stops them. 
  4. Spam filter - we have an integrated Spam filter which autodetects and hides spam content based on a variety of parameters. Typically during the first month of a new Community this spam filter is actually oversensitive and removes non-spam content as it learns what is and isn't spam for our Community. 
    1. In this latest spam incident the spammers were using short sentences and urls which for the most part appeared innocuous until you examined the url link. 
  5. Attachment virus scan - all individual files uploaded to the site are virus scanned during upload. We also run a daily scan of all attachments side wide to check for malicious files. 
  6. Content filters - we have an extensive list of inappropriate words that when used and detected are filtered out and auto reports are sent to the Community team. 

In addition we have monitoring from Khoros and additional escalation options to add further restrictions and ban new accounts if a serious spam attack was in progress. 

We recognize keeping spam activity to a minimum is important to all our members to ensure a positive experience. We also want to ensure we achieve the right balance on keeping the spammers out but not unduly restricting our genuine new members. 

As you have been doing please continue to use the 'Report Inappropriate Content' feature in any 'Post Options' dropdown on a suspicious post you see. This triggers multiple notifications to our team and we can review and remove as quickly as we can. Please note this Abuse report does not remove the post from view automatically and does rely on a member with sufficient permissions to move it to a hidden area.

Thanks for your continued support and feel free to comment below on anything else you'd like more information on. 

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Comments
BrianLeroux
Occasional Contributor III

I am getting spam in my email from the community this morning. Here are some examples.

 

gotiproger (New Member) posted a new topic in ArcGIS Web AppBuilder Questions [community.esri.com] on 03-18-2024 04:05 PM:

clipkerulo (New Member) posted a new topic in ArcGIS Web AppBuilder Questions [community.esri.com]  on 03-19-2024 06:04 AM:

JesseCloutier
Esri Community Manager

Thanks for your post, @BrianLeroux. We have been experiencing increased levels of spam in recent weeks. There's good news in that our automated filtering software has been rapidly catching and removing most of it, but some still manages to get through and can lead to notifications like you saw when it lands on a Place, Board, or Post you're subscribed to. Our team has introduced additional spam prevention processes since this Help Document was published in 2020 and our team regularly uses some of these methods to identify and remove spam posts that sneak past the filter. Members like yourself also provide meaningful assistance by reporting posts to us as you come across them by using this feature. Know that we're continuing to explore more measures we might use to mitigate spam without adversely impacting members' experience. Stay well!

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