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Thread: We have a record

  1. #1
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    We have a record

    I just noticed this on our index page, where it lists the members on-line
    Most users ever online was 1,026, Today at 04:10 PM.
    I wonder why so much traffic?
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

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  2. #2
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    Last time, it was because of a very heavy dose of spam engine / spam spider. Hopefully it's a legit record this time.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose View Post
    Last time, it was because of a very heavy dose of spam engine / spam spider. Hopefully it's a legit record this time.
    A few minutes ago I looked and saw 520 robots, and about 300 other less-robotic guests and the usual many dozen registered members, for a total in the high-800s.
    0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 ...
    Skepticism enables us to distinguish fancy from fact, to test our speculations. --Carl Sagan

  4. #4
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    I wasn't even able to get into BAUT, BA, or UT all weekend on my admittedly very slow dial-up at the vacation home. Is this why?
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  5. #5
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    Probably not, Treb. It's more likely to have been some sort of unrelated network problem nearer your ISP that segmented the network between you and BA. Switches unexpectedly dying over the weekend aren't all that unheard of. (Meaning the affected site might have been unable to replace it until Monday unless one had a spare immediately to hand.)

    But I can't rule it out entirely. It's just that many more folks would have experienced it if it was the bots dragging down the board.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

  6. #6
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    How are you able to distinguish robots from others?

    Why would there be 300 robots on at once? I would think there would
    be only one from each search engine at any one time. Do individuals
    have their own private search engines, so it isn't just a small handful
    of big ones like Google and Yahoo?

    What is a 'spam engine'? What is a 'spam spider'?

    I know those are appropriate questions to look up at Wikipedia, but
    my current Windows/IE install is broken in some way which causes
    both IE and Windows to lock up every time I download a page from
    Wikipedia. I believe that Wikipedia requests the User Profile from my
    computer (the one that Outlook uses), but can't find some file.
    The BAUT Members List does the same thing.

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Root View Post
    How are you able to distinguish robots from others?
    You'll have to ask 01101001. I'm not sure how he determined that. I believe him, though. It's not the first time we've suffered a large spike of them.

    Why would there be 300 robots on at once? I would think there would be only one from each search engine at any one time.
    The difference is that they're spam robots. Google and Yahoo's spiders are pretty tame. They'll go slow and they'll honor server instructions. Spam robots do neither.

    And the "advantage" is that if they hit a site hard enough, fast enough, and with enough individual machines, the admin simply couldn't respond quickly enough to block 'em before they've done what they're here to do.

    Do individuals have their own private search engines, so it isn't just a small handful of big ones like Google and Yahoo?
    Sort of. See below.

    What is a 'spam engine'? What is a 'spam spider'?
    A spam engine tries to inject spam onto a site or board. The moderation queue catches the more blatant spam posts, and we board members tend to spot the subtle ones that avoid links (usually trying to covertly test a spam vector prior to the actual spam run.)

    A spam spider tries to read the whole board and look for email addresses, vulnerabilities, and/or links to other perhaps more vulnerable boards.

    Spammers now build or rent "zombie networks" which are basically a large battery of compromised machines. If you have enough of 'em, each machine might only covertly send 20-30 email spams then stop, or they might each run one lightweight spider.

    It means that for a site like this one, an attack by 300+ spiders might require blocking 300+ individual IPs, and there's no special reason why one or more of those 300+ can't be hiding on a member's own machine.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

  8. #8
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    Another part of the high numbers might be that Fraser upped the timeout for inactivity from 15 minutes to about an hour, which basically means users are counted as on for that long even of they only fetched one page.

    The Yahoo spider is highly distributed and looks like it's responsible for about 250-300 of the guests we have.
    __________________________________________________
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    Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails. Clarence Darrow
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    The Yahoo spider is highly distributed and looks like it's responsible for about 250-300 of the guests we have.
    Really? I thought they had a much lighter footprint than that. How unfriendly of them.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Root View Post
    How are you able to distinguish robots from others?
    It's hidden well.

    Front page :: click Currently Active Users

    At the bottom, menu default is: Display: All. Select Search Bots, click Display.

    The guest count (e.g. 0 members and 336 guests) at top of list is the count of robots (and the guest count will likely be different if you select to display Guests instead of Search Bots).
    0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 ...
    Skepticism enables us to distinguish fancy from fact, to test our speculations. --Carl Sagan

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose View Post
    Really? I thought they had a much lighter footprint than that. How unfriendly of them.
    That is only ~300 spiderbot's each having fetched at least one page in the last hour, that's only one page every 5 seconds.
    Not quite so unfriendly after all.
    __________________________________________________
    Reductionist and proud of it.

    Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. Benjamin Franklin
    Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails. Clarence Darrow
    A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read. Mark Twain

  12. #12
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    "At least" being the key word, Henrik. That's only the lower bound. Not necessarily the upper.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

  13. #13
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    On another board that I moderate, we've been heavily hit by spambots in the past few days... to the tune of cleaning up 50-60 every few hours. We've blocked a number of the IPs, but quite a few appear to be trojans placed on innocent folks' computers (clicking on a website or opening some emails will do that.)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose View Post
    "At least" being the key word, Henrik. That's only the lower bound. Not necessarily the upper.
    I should have mentioned that their last activity seemed pretty much spread out over the entire hour, which does seem to indicate they are indeed working near the lower bound.
    Only access to the server log will give the actual answer.
    __________________________________________________
    Reductionist and proud of it.

    Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. Benjamin Franklin
    Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails. Clarence Darrow
    A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read. Mark Twain

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    I should have mentioned that their last activity seemed pretty much spread out over the entire hour, which does seem to indicate they are indeed working near the lower bound.
    Only access to the server log will give the actual answer.
    I saw about the same, doing frequent requests to list-by-last-activity (or whatever the option is). THe Yahoo spiders all together did about 5-10 requests per minute. The Google bot(s) was small in number but banged harder -- but probably to about the same effect.
    0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 ...
    Skepticism enables us to distinguish fancy from fact, to test our speculations. --Carl Sagan

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Byrd View Post
    We've blocked a number of the IPs, but quite a few appear to be trojans placed on innocent folks' computers (clicking on a website or opening some emails will do that.)
    Stupidity is not innocence, since they are so stupid as not to protect themselves online, I say ban all the IPs regaurdless.

  17. #17
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    Henrik has the right answer. By upping the timeout, it changes the number of people who are currently accessing the forum. Instead of just being people who came by in the last 15 minutes, it's anyone who came here in the last hour. But, this will stop people from having that timeout when they're composing that great big post.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
    Henrik has the right answer. By upping the timeout, it changes the number of people who are currently accessing the forum. Instead of just being people who came by in the last 15 minutes, it's anyone who came here in the last hour. But, this will stop people from having that timeout when they're composing that great big post.

    THANK YOU!
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
    this will stop people from having that timeout when they're composing
    that great big post.
    Does that apply only to those who have not checked the "Remember me"
    box, and thus do not have the cookie set? I frequently take a long time
    to compose posts -- especially if I have to do any kind of research --
    but don't generally have a problem. ...Although just a few weeks ago
    my ISP started, for the first time ever, disconnecting me after 20 minutes
    of inactivity. So sometimes now when I click the Submit button, I find
    that the modem has to do its BEEP-BOOPs again.

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis

  20. #20
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    Jeff Root

    >my ISP started, for the first time ever, disconnecting me after 20 minutes
    of inactivity. So sometimes now when I click the Submit button, I find
    that the modem has to do its BEEP-BOOPs again.>

    My ISP has always done this.When I am writing a long post I remember to
    click on the refresh (reload current page) icon before the disconnect time.
    Takes 30 seconds (dial up) then I have 20 more minutes to write.Do this any number of times.The partly written posts are not lost.



    I am back.Just did a refresh.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by 01101001 View Post
    A few minutes ago I looked and saw 520 robots, and about 300 other less-robotic guests and the usual many dozen registered members, for a total in the high-800s.
    I believe the accepted term is now "Mech-American."



    *Runs and hides*

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I just noticed this on our index page, where it lists the members on-line

    Most users ever online was 1,026, Today [12-February-2008] at 04:10 PM [probably EST].
    That's so yesterday.

    Most users ever online was 1,041, Yesterday [18-February-2008] at 07:11 PM [PST].
    0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 ...
    Skepticism enables us to distinguish fancy from fact, to test our speculations. --Carl Sagan

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