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Thread: Website Comments - IP Addresses

  1. #1
    tMP Senior Friend
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    21.11.2003
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    Website Comments - IP Addresses

    Hi Everyone

    I am currently running the website for Northop Silver Band, and have set up the usual sort of pages (News, Players, etc.), but i am finding that someone is leaving comments in the Guestbook which, whilst not offensive as such, are not really pleasant or should be shown. Because i receive notifications when the Guestbook is signed, i usually find these comments and delete quickly.

    Now when the first one was posted, i made a note of the IP address that the message was posted from, and i have found that subsequent messages come from the same, or similar IP address, e.g. 100.01.100 and 100.01.101

    Can anyone tell me if this IP address can be traced, and how i could possibly contact this person to politely ask them to stop posting to our website. Unlike tmp where people can freely air their views and opinions i don't really want these comments appearing on our site.

    Although i know a little bit about IT this is beyond my knowledge really.

    Thanks for the help

    Karl

  2. #2
    tMP Prime Friend johnmartin's Avatar
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    30.10.2003
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    Lochgelly
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    You can usually block IP addresses but it depends on the guestbook software. Is it possible that these messages are being left by a spambot rather than a real person. I had to modify our guestbook software to eventually filter out most of the spambots.

    By the way those IP addresses are missing one of the octets. There's usually four numbers separated by dots. From the look of them and without checking, it looks like they've been spoofed anyway.
    John J. Martin
    Webmaster
    http://www.lochgellyband.com


    "The lead car is absolutely unique, except for the one behind it which is identical" - Murray Walker

  3. #3
    tMP Senior Friend andyh's Avatar
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    21.03.2003
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    Karl, I would recommend that you switch to a moderated guestbook, ie one that gives you the option to preview and approve messages before they appear on the website. That should solve your problem.

    Andy
    3rd-man-down...
    Woodbridge Excelsior Band


  4. #4
    tMP Friend in Training
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    28.07.2004
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    Plenty of web pages offer "IP lookup". Try plugging the IP addresses you have into http://samspade.org. This will give you a "whois" record for the ISP or host concerned. If it's a larger company, this record will usually include an email address for reporting abuse. They may even respond to it, but don't hold your breath.
    You'll need to give the host full details of what IP address left what message, and exactly when (including the time zone, which may be included in the email to you as a plus or minus 4-digit figure for hours' difference from GMT). If it's a person who thinks they're being funny or has some kind of grudge, they will almost certainly be breaking their usage agreement with the ISP. They may not think it so funny if their internet account is cancelled.
    IP addresses are usually dished out "dynamically" to people using modems, or who switch their routers off at night, so it's not a good idea to block IP addresses unless you're sure they are solidly tied to the malefactors. You could end up banning some innocent party who happened to be allocated the IP address that was used by your unwanted visitor the day before. You can visit http://www.projecthoneypot.org/search_ip.php and check whether an IP has been spotted trying to leave comment spam at other sites. If it's a known baddie, you can ban it very effectively from your site via an access control file called .htaccess. I suspect you don't want to get that technical, but your host may offer tools in your hosting control panel to exclude IP addresses using a friendlier front end.
    Regarding protection for the future, you actually seem to have one of the most effective anti-spambot mechanisms already. Your guestbook uses Javascript, and most bots don't do Javascript. See whether it's an idiot or a robot you're dealing with before switching guestbooks.
    A couple of simple protective measures you can take are:
    - change the name of your guestbook file (and make sure the relevant menu links are also updated). Guestbook.htm is bit of a giveaway, really, if robots are looking for victims.
    - add a "META tag" to the HEAD part of the guestbook page, instructing search engines to exclude your guestbook from search results:
    <meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow">

    Good luck with your site
    KP

  5. #5
    tMP Senior Friend
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    Thanks for the replies and advice.

    I checked with my host, and they state they can't block IP addresses, so that's not an option. The IP numbers i used were just examples, and i realised i didn't even use the right format for them...sorry!!

    I think i have an idea of who it might be leaving these messages, but can't prove anything, and i don't really want to cause too much of a fuss. If they were obscene or offensive then i might be thinking differently.

    I will definitely change the name of the Guestbook just in case - pretty obvious when its mentioned to you

    Thanks again.

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