Why are my threads trashed

  • Not sure I understand this. Are you saying that somehow I have been spreading spam without my knowledge? If so how do I clean my system out?

    Actually, I assumed that's what was going on as mine was deleted as well.

    I was referring to a user yesterday who managed to comment a large amount of times in the forum within a short amount of time. His posts were deleted along with mine. So I assumed IPACs was just cleaning house from all the non-sense.

    I'm not actually sure why yours were deleted.

    • Official Post

    There was a bot active in the forums which bothered many users by leaving nonsense comments on many threads. A bot is basically a software program which emulates user behavior that is able to use written text on the forum, garble it up and produce a language like output text which is used to reply to your threads or to post on your profile walls. This is not something on your systems and it's not a hack of the forum software as such, it's a remote controlled user which is able to navigate the forum interface automatically and to browse the forum for content.

    The issue is that such a bot behaves mostly peacefully, the texts it creates are human like, talk about a certain topic and is context aware and because of that spam filters have a hard time detecting there is anything wrong.


    Because several users including me fell for these generated texts and quoted it in our replies there was a lot of left over junk in the forum that I cleaned up.


    I decided to clean up mess after I received a handful of content reports from several users that this bot/user was flooding their threads with spam messages as well as their walls.


    How can you help stop this in the future?

    - report users that reply to many threads in a very short time or at regular intervals

    - report users that leave unwanted comments on your user profile walls

    - report posts that comment on very old threads, create a new thread for your own questions when the original thread had no reply in 6 months or so

    - report posts that are off topic and do not answer your question, especially when they feel off and not quite human like

    - try not to answer or quote comments that are non-sensical or basically spam, just report it and it becomes easier for us moderators to clean it up

    - do not post private information online, this includes email addresses. Use the private messages feature first if you want to contact another user

    - do not click on links posted by someone who you don't trust


    Thank you for your understanding and thanks for helping us keeping the forum clean of spam.

  • I really had a strange surprise from a user here who answered many topics in less than an hour with some contradictions in his topics and manipulated words ...and it sent messages on the profiles of some people at the same time, including me and I replied it, I apologize!!

    I'll be more attentive next time I thought you guys had a Bot detector type .... But as you said, it may not be simple sometimes!

    Regards,

    Lucas


    A320 Test Pilot at Aerofly FS2!

    I7 8GB RAM GeForce NVIDIA 1660TI 6GB VRAM Graphics 4K .

    • Official Post

    A bot user is usually a user profile which is created and then run by a software program fully automatically. We assume that this software is run by someone with malicious intent and not by a virus on someone else's computer. That's because the bot user profile was pretty new and used a regular mail address to register itself. It did not hack into any user profile to gain access. We cannot rule out that some infected computer which is part of a bot net is executing these commands.


    Not all bots are bad though. There are countless bots on Reddit or Telegram for example which provide helpful services to the other users. E.g. provide the latest weather, provide a downloadable version of a video, detect certain internet memes and comment when someone mentioned that phrase. Bots are also used in technical support I think, so you can ask a specific questions and it provides human like replies with helpful tips. (Have you tried turning it off and on again).


    And then there are bots that automatically create new forum posts and threads with the goal of spreading malicious or illegal content and the usual spam usually with links to infected webpages where your computer could actually catch a virus or worm. These are easy to detect and you guys usually flag them within minutes.


    And then there are bots like the one are currently talking about which creates somewhat human like responses to certain topics. The text itself wasn't the usual spam. The intent was to flood the forum with nonsense comments to annoy people. It might have tried to collect some reputation first before sending users to malicious pages via hidden links. (Like here is a screenshot I took, external link...)