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Should we block TOR access to this forum to reduce spam?
Yes it should be blocked 60%  60%  [ 6 ]
No, some of us use it for legit purposes 40%  40%  [ 4 ]
Total votes : 10
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PostPosted: 03 Nov 2019, 19:34 
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For anyone not familiar with Tor, here is what it is in a nutshell:
Tor is short for The Onion Router (thus the logo) and was initially a worldwide network of servers developed with the US Navy that enabled people to browse the internet anonymously. Now, it's a non-profit organisation whose main purpose is the research and development of online privacy tools.

The Tor network disguises your identity by moving your traffic across different Tor servers, and encrypting that traffic so it isn't traced back to you. Anyone who tries would see traffic coming from random nodes on the Tor network, rather than your computer.

To access this network, you just need to download the Tor browser. Everything you do in the browser goes through the Tor network and doesn't need any setup or configuration from you. That said, since your data goes through a lot of relays, it's slow, so you'll experience a much more sluggish internet than usual when you're using Tor.


A lot of the spam traffic to this forum comes from Tor. Although it's clearly usable for legitimate purposes, it's very often used for spam.

So my question is, does anyone use Tor to access this forum? I can't see they they should, because it slows everything down and people have a decent level of anonymity here anyway, but perhaps I'm overlooking something?

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PostPosted: 03 Nov 2019, 21:30 
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I don't thing that blocking TOR will stop spam. Also by blocking IPs you will not get less spam as most users have dynamic ips and not static.

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PostPosted: 03 Nov 2019, 22:37 
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tzifos wrote:
I don't thing that blocking TOR will stop spam. Also by blocking IPs you will not get less spam as most users have dynamic ips and not static.

I completely agree that nothing will stop spam. However the great majority of our current spam traffic is identified as coming from TOR, so if we have no legit users that use TOR, blocking it should certainly help control that traffic to some extent.
However, knowing that I'm no expert in this field, I'm hoping other here can help me decide if that would be a sensible decision. I know we have some pretty clever people on this forum. ;)

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PostPosted: 04 Nov 2019, 00:06 
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I have tried TOR in the past, purely because of paranoia about tracking. Irrational fear actually, because I don't engage in anything that would interest anyone, but I just don't like it when I am followed around by advertisers. Anyway, I hide all advertising now, so although it's probably still there (mainly on Facebook), I just don't see it. I still keep an up to date TOR browser, for the inevitable future where using the internet just becomes dangerous, but I haven't used it for years.
I see no reason why anyone would need it to access this forum.

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PostPosted: 04 Nov 2019, 00:53 
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It is a rare day I don't have to ban spammers.
Doubt if most people have any idea how much time it takes. :swear:


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PostPosted: 04 Nov 2019, 02:49 
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If most of the spam is coming through Tor, and no one uses it to access the forum, well, I guess it's a no-brainer.. :lol: I can't see any reason to use Tor to browse the forum, myself.

Just curious though - what would the effect of VPNs be? Would it be advantageous for spammers to use a VPN?

Iskandar


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PostPosted: 04 Nov 2019, 05:15 
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Ok, I don't use Tor now, but I've used it a lot when I lived in Russia..
Not that it's needed for this forum, but still..
Instead of banning Tor registrations why not change the registration process? Add a ReCaptcha, check the registering email in a open smabot database? I know that such plugins exist.. Won't those things help? Or are we already using something like this and it doesn't help?

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PostPosted: 04 Nov 2019, 07:45 
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Thanks for the responses everyone! :up:

v100ev wrote:
Instead of banning Tor registrations why not change the registration process? Add a ReCaptcha, check the registering email in a open smabot database? I know that such plugins exist.. Won't those things help? Or are we already using something like this and it doesn't help?

It's not registration that's an issue (and yes we do use these techniques), these are just visitors traffic to the forum, and they come in such massive waves, they're almost certainly not real people, just bots.

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PostPosted: 04 Nov 2019, 11:19 
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If it makes life easier for the Forum then block it :up:

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PostPosted: 04 Nov 2019, 16:25 
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Gollum wrote:
If it makes life easier for the Forum then block it :up:

Some of the votes above indicate that some people do use it, so i don't like to block it unless I have no choice. I'll see how things go with current settings. ;)

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PostPosted: 04 Nov 2019, 17:12 
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Personal preferences must be sacrificed for the collective good. Block it.


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