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Sophisticated SPAM
SPAM
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John S
PDX OR
2868 Posts
(Offline)
1
July 2, 2024 - 3:59 pm

We have been getting some SPAM that is hard to tell if it is or not.  Some of you have been really helpful in discerning this. Thank you for your efforts. I'm pretty good at growing fruit but I don't really know a lot about computers. Some of you are adding specific details that makes it clear that they are SPAM.  I don't know how to do that, but if you explain it to me, I can get rid of it.   Awesome work!

John S
PDX OR

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JeanW
52 Posts
(Offline)
2
July 3, 2024 - 1:41 am

John,

The two posts from “mariahcarey” are more than likely spam.  I know on the surface they sound almost legit, but I doubt it.  In the July 1 “Thinning 2024” post at 11:40 pm, the poster stated they were in SE Georgia.  In the July 1 “When to open your grafts?” post at 11:49 pm, they stated they were in northern Idaho.  Kind of hard to be in two places at once, right?  Also, if you highlight the “Thinning” post, there is another word at the end-- “wordle”.  If you highlight the “When to open” post, the word “mapquest” appears at the end.  Suspicious.  The sentence construction of the two posts from “amorapotter” that just popped up while I was writing this is odd.  Again, there are hidden words at the ends of the posts that appear if you highlight the posts.

JeanW

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jafar
798 Posts
(Offline)
3
July 3, 2024 - 10:17 am

John, thanks for addressing these directly.  

If I'm only 80% sure a new poster is fake, I'll delete to post but not bad the user.  Perhaps we should edit the post with a blanket message like, "post deleted" author please follow up with clearly human generated relevant posts.

Sometimes I wonder if we're just helping train the spam AI to get smarter.

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Larry_G
196 Posts
(Offline)
4
July 3, 2024 - 10:42 am

Good eye, JeanW.

This "hidden word" technique is created via hacking of the HTML code, that is beyond just AI text generation.

First, the background color of the text must be mined, then the text color is made equal to the background color.

In this case:  "<span style="color: #f5f5f5">wordle</span>"

#f5... being light gray.

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John S
PDX OR
2868 Posts
(Offline)
5
July 7, 2024 - 6:21 pm

Thanks for your help.

John S

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Larry_G
196 Posts
(Offline)
6
July 8, 2024 - 11:13 am

All dubious posts should be text-highlighted via mouseover-select to reveal a random and otherwise invisible keyword.

This is an old trick to associate the keyword with a website and improve its ranking by search engines.

So it doesn't even matter if no one sees and clicks on the keyword, there is still a benefit to the spammer.

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jafar
798 Posts
(Offline)
7
July 8, 2024 - 12:21 pm

Larry, thanks for explaining this.  I'll start screening for that.  I'd wondered what the point of posts without a url link.  

I've also read that sometimes they come back and edit their post to include such links, after its been accepted by moderators.

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Larry_G
196 Posts
(Offline)
8
July 8, 2024 - 2:58 pm

This hidden link trick is so old-hat that it makes me wonder if there is something else more modern at play;

I thought that search engine SEO algorithms had long ago ignored or penalized this ploy.

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Larry_G
196 Posts
(Offline)
9
July 8, 2024 - 3:30 pm

These hidden link posts should be deleted as soon as practical as the Google (and other search engines) algorithm can easily detect them and penalize the HOS website.

https://loganix.com/hidden-links/

^ all the hidden link basics, a wordy article several minutes to browse, but it is relatively recent.

Apparently hidden links are still a thing.

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