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How to protect an IRC network from spam

Dealing with spam is something every IRC network had to do in the past, present or even maybe in the future.

If it is somebody that is trying to give your network a bad name, a trojan horse that tries to infect your users or just someone that tries to annoy you and your users doesn’t quite matter, spam probably has been an issue as long as IRC has existed.

Luckily, there are quite a few methods and ways to counter-act on it.

First thing should be educating your users to not click on anything that has been sent to them unsolicited – or performing any commands that promise them to “get free ops” and what else is going to be tempting to some – or they also might unwillingly and unknowingly join the spammers.

There are many (semi-) automated means to combat spam, mostly depending on what software you use – or are willing to use – on your network.

Some IRCd’s, such as Unreal or InspIRCd, already have built-in functionality to filter spam in any part that is visible to other IRCers – those however require that someone notices the spam and adds a regular expression to block and act upon it.

Completely automated ways to combat drones and malicious users include setting up a proxy scanner using DNS blacklists, or DNSBLs for short. There are extensive lists of various blacklists available on the internet but only some of them are meant to be used exclusively for IRC so choose wisely.

But what if the IRCd of your choice doesn’t support spamfilters and you don’t want to use DNS-based blacklists? IRCDefender is a software that could provide you with such functionality by adding a “pseudo-server” to your network which sole purpose would be checking for spam and everything else you configure it to do.

Neostats is another service that can help you combat malicious activity – it might even already be installed so you only would need to add the SecureServ module to it to have an additional layer of protection available.

So, since preventing spam also somewhat pertains to security, the same rules apply to it: you rather have a few layers to prevent something bad from happening than depend on a single line of defense.

Please share your tips what you do about spam on your network as well as stuff i might have missed :)

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  • Anon says:

    This post seems to shove a barrage of different tools designed for different purposes under an umbrella heading.

    To be honest: it’s confusing, and not up to the editorial standards of the site. Either it was hastily written, or somebody didn’t bother proofreading as some of the punctuation and grammar hiccups make it a toil to read.

    Trying not to be a pedant here or put the author down, it’s just that it really is of a lower standard than usual…

    November 11, 2008 at 4:59 am
  • phrozen77 says:

    Yes, they are different tools which CAN serve one common goal: stop / reduce spam and prevent spammers from coming to your network.

    Regarding the spelling errors: of course you’re more than welcome to send me an edited version or point out any errors i made and i’m more than happy to correct them.

    Standards: Again, you’re more than welcome to suggest a topic that fits your understanding of standards better.

    Not trying to be offensive, but unless any of that happens – which i doubt – you’re just trolling.

    November 11, 2008 at 11:11 am
  • greg says:

    There are two main tools identified in this article: proxy scanning and DNS blacklists, and spamfilters. Both are useful in preventing spam and abuse.

    Oh, and the grammar is better than in most of the articles found on the Internet these days.

    November 12, 2008 at 2:07 am
  • Anon says:

    I never said there were any spelling errors, I can live with typos, it’s just sentences like:

    “If it is somebody that is trying to give your network a bad name, a trojan horse that tries to infect your users or just someone that tries to annoy you and your users doesn’t quite matter, spam probably has been an issue as long as IRC has existed.”

    which, to be perfectly honest, don’t make much sense in English. As for sending you an edited version, I don’t feel I should have to do the job of an editor just because I point out the mistakes he made. Either take the criticism or don’t, it’s up to you.

    Greg, whether or not it’s better than most of the articles found on the internet isn’t the point, that’s just an example of argumentum ad populum. The point I was making was the article isn’t up to the usual high standards of the site: both in terms of subject matter and presentation.

    At the end of the day, you’re perfectly within your rights to publish what you want, however you want. I dispute you regarding critique as synonymous with trolling, but if that’s your opinion then fine.

    November 15, 2008 at 4:12 am
  • PingBad says:

    Amusing… all this critique coming from someone hiding behind the anonymous handle.

    November 24, 2008 at 10:01 am
  • Trixar_za says:

    I agree with PingBad.

    Also ‘Anon’ this is done in his free time and a free service. It’s not his JOB and doesn’t bring him in money, hence the standard being better than most is a great achievement in itself.

    I hate complainers, that don’t lift a finger to fix the thing they are complaining about or even offering to help CONSTRUCTIVELY. Either Live with it or do something about it.

    I also want to add that there are also modules for Services and IRCd’s that also help with botnets and spammers (like Anti-random for Unreal and securelist for inspircd)

    Anyway, Well done so far phrozen77 on the work you put in.

    November 30, 2008 at 3:52 pm

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