4 Strategies for Dealing with Spam

The issue of spam is a common and undesirable problem for website owners. While spamming was once only a concern for large websites, the problem has now become widespread. This presents a dilemma for website owners as they must decide how much of the user experience they are willing to compromise to tackle the issue of spam. Various security measures and solutions are available to address this challenge, but each one has a price tag.

Spammers continuously develop more advanced methods of spamming, making it challenging for website owners to protect their sites from them. Achieving website security may call for the use of various strategies, but doing so could impact the user experience. Visitors may face difficulties, distractions, or increased time spent on the website, leading to poor metrics and reduced conversion rates. Thus, it’s crucial to strike a balance between anti-spam measures and user experience, and having a team of experts managing your defence system is often the best option. Works offers anti-spam services to their clients, including some of the services listed below.

Protecting Against CSRF

Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) is a severe security concern for websites that face risks beyond spam. Taking precautions against CSRF not only ensures website security but also helps prevent a significant portion of automated spam. The primary protection method involves storing a user’s unique identifier in the PHP session. This ID is then entered into a hidden field when the user accesses a submission form. Before processing the form, the server will verify that the ID in the session matches the one entered in the form. The correct value for the hidden field can be retrieved when the form is fully loaded.

The Bonus

This technique is an intriguing way of detecting spam bots. It involves creating a “code trap” that can be identified by automated software. To do this, you must insert a fake HTML field that can be concealed from users using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). This field is invisible to people, but a script designed to automatically fill in all input fields it comes across will still complete it.

Despite its efficiency, this process has some unintended outcomes. For example, advanced bots may detect the presence of code traps and decide to circumvent them, even when the code is hidden using “display: none”. Furthermore, there is a slim chance that an actual person may complete the hidden field, especially if they are using an outdated browser that does not support CSS. While this is a highly infrequent event, it could lead to the visitor being incorrectly labeled as a bot.

Session Tokens

To store a session token, a cookie may be used when a user accesses your website. Since most bots either do not support cookies or bypass them altogether, the token serves as an “entry ticket” that only humans can use to complete your forms. However, a potential drawback is that visitors who directly enter the form URL in their browser or click on a bookmark might be unable to submit it since they lack a token. It’s important to consider your target audience, adjust your approach accordingly, and tailor your forms to how your audience interacts with your content.

Internet Service Provider Blockage System

Creating a filter based on collected Internet Protocol (IP) addresses is an efficient strategy that does not endanger your users. If many submissions originate from the same IP address, it is probable that they came from a spambot and can be ignored. Although this method works well in preventing sudden activity spikes, it is less effective in countering persistent spam, as it only blocks spambots after they have submitted multiple times. Its success relies heavily on the website’s engagement levels.

Webpage to Counter Spam

At Works, we regard spam with great seriousness and believe that the best way to guard against it is to employ a combination of methods. Although several techniques exist for preventing spam, our technical team has identified several that have demonstrated excellent results. Nevertheless, even with diverse approaches, completely eliminating spam is not feasible. Therefore, we highly advise taking essential measures to safeguard against this problem.

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