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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 :)

  Copyright secured by Digiprove

Anope releases RC1 of new 1.8 stable branch

On Sunday, 26th October the Anope project announces the release of release candidate 1 of their new stable branch, version 1.8 of their widely used IRC services package.

The announcement on their website also mentions that “Apart from updates to language files there are no changes since the last development release (1.7.24).”

However, all users of the last stable release, 1.6.5, should prepare to test the new version since they plan to stop supporting it when 1.8 becomes final.

A detailed changelog can be found here.

Thanks to Chaz & Viper for the tip!

Denora IRC-Statistics version 1.4.1 released

Changes in the latest version include improved Charybdis support, Nefarious and other P10 IRCD improvements, compiling on Windows has been fixed, some other minor fixes which are unnamed and an as vaguely described “potential security issue in string handling has been adressed”.

Compiling on Windows with SQL enabled has been a “last minute fix” so the developers consider this a test release for Windows and appreciate any feedback via their bugtracker

The homepage of the project is located here

ChatSpike Migrates to Atheme IRC Services

ChatSpike is migrating to Atheme IRC Services (from ircservices 5 which we have been using since we started, 6 years ago)” Brain said to IRC-Junkie.

W00t explains why IRC Services no longer serves the network. “IRC services was and is a big influence on the IRC landscape, to me. It was one of the first packages to be OSS’d, it was actively developed over a long timeframe, and incorporated user feedback. It supported a wide range of IRC daemons, and was also one of the earliest packages to get modules support”

Its age was showing in the flexibility however, w00t, who is also a developer of Atheme IRC services explains: “some features have taken us hundreds of lines of code to write, including database handling and other horrific and repetitive code. Atheme has a more streamlined design that lets us tackle this in a RAD style, meaning new toys take a lot less time to get from the ideas stage to the point where our users can play with them.”

Additionally the maintainer of IRCservices Andy Church will be leaving the project soon making future updates too unsure for Chatspike’s needs.

Another reason to switch to Atheme is its better integration with the networks IRCd, InspIRCd. “In atheme [...] we can add and customize things specifically *for* ChatSpike a few light years quicker than we could in the past, new commands, new website integration features, anything becomes feasible instead of a pain in the ass.”

IRC Defender 1.5 Released

IRC Defender is a security package written in Perl made for small to medium sized networks. Its written in Perl and fully modular.

It took some time to release version 1.5. Developer Thunderhacker explains: “InspIRCd became far more popular than he (Brain, ed.) expected and development of Defender got pushed to the side.  Shortly after I took over I went back to school, so my schoolwork pushed its development aside.  Now that school is out for the summer I will be doing a lot more development.”

Although newer versions are always available over SVN the team recommends stable releases if stability is important.

IRC-Junkie asked what’s new in the release. “Along with the addition of a couple of modules this release fixes many bugs that have been found over the months.  Aside from that not much of the functionality has changed.”

“As Defender is primarily a services package for ChatSpike, I am currently working on modifying the InspIRCd link module for their new 1.2 release.  There is a copy of the partially completed module in SVN. I will keep it updated nightly with any progress I make on it.”

Finally Thunderhacker likes to express a few thanks, “I’d also like to add a thanks to everyone who has helped with development.  I have credited everyone in the changelog and also in comments on SVN commits.  In particular I’d like to thank satmd and w00t for their help with support in the help channel during my absence and also OUTsider for his work on the P10 link module as he has become an unofficial developer of that part of Defender.”

Thanks to Greg for the tip.