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 Post subject: Club Websites and Spam Risk
PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 8:40 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 5:41 am
Posts: 873
Location: Somewhere between D.C. and the battlefield
A week ago I changed to a new email address for this club because my old one was so spam-ridden I could hardly find the "real" emails any more. I did not publish this email address other than sending it to my relevant contacts in this club and asking them not to share it; on my own (AoS / War College) websites it is only listed in a camouflaged form. (See http://www.wargame.ch/board/acw/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=7613).

For six days I had a perfectly clean inbox with only, and I mean only, emails that I really wanted to receive. Yesterday night, the new address was added to the Union Muster. This morning, I had my first requests to send money to Nigeria and buy certain adult pharmaceuticals cheap. Wasn't that quick. [:(][xx(]

I conclude from this experience that we have now proof of what so far I only suspected, i.e. that the listing of email addresses on open club websites--regardless of on how many sites, one seems to suffice--is a major source of unwanted email.

I hereby propose a radical solution to this problem.
(1) All email addresses for club members to be listed mandatorily in a single location only--the muster for each army.
(2) This list to be kept current at all times.
(3) This list to be protected with an easy to remember password.
(4) No email addresses of club members to be published anywhere else without their consent. (Anyone of course to be free to publish his own email address anywhere he likes, or allow others to do so.)

Reasons:
(1) Most email addresses I need to find only once--to add them to my address book.
(2) If I need an email address that I don't have in my book, going to a central location and needing a password to get it is only a very mild bother.
(3) All the other listings of email addresses on army, corps, division, school etc. pages add only very little convenience in return for an annoyingly high (practically certain) spam risk.

Gen. Walter, USA
AoS / War College


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 12:10 am 
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Joined: Tue May 22, 2001 7:49 pm
Posts: 423
Location: USA
Using your masking solution would work too Dierk...reason being is the messages are being "harvested" by what is called a "web crawler"...a computer that constantly scans the net and pulls e-mail addresses off web pages and populates a database with them.

Another method which I have started using is an e-mail encoder:

http://www.wbwip.com/wbw/emailencoder.html

This works great, and is still a single-click compatible with web browsers, but the crawlers don't recognize it so they bypass it.

Regards,
Rich

LGen. Hamilton
II Corps
ANV, CSA


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 1:00 am 
I definitely like the idea of putting the musters & OOBs behind a password screen; that would help a lot. Bcause we are talking about avoiding bots as opposed to people, we could even post the password on the entry page.

I do see a problem with this being the only place to get emails though. As with any single, central resource, when it is down, any access to the information is down.

I would advocate for this solution plus: any other posted addresses in the club are corrupted as the AoS adopted about a week ago. This form of corrupting the address would be unique to the ACWGC, hence so rare on the net that no bot is going to be programmed to decode it.

Which brings me to the only problem with the West Bay Web encoding. If any browser can decode it, then so can a bot, and if this encrypting becomes popular then bots will be programed to decode it.

But yeah, some form of action would be nice ...


Brig Gen Mike Kaulbars Image
3rd "Freiheit" Division
VIII/AoS
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 1:13 am 
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Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 5:41 am
Posts: 873
Location: Somewhere between D.C. and the battlefield
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by greenFyre</i>
I do see a problem with this being the only place to get emails though. As with any single, central resource, when it is down, any access to the information is down.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Mirror it on a second server then.

Gen. Walter, USA
AoS / War College


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 2:58 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2004 11:55 am
Posts: 13
Location: United Kingdom
Another solution added to the ones already mentioned. what about Anti-Leech Spambot Stopper http://www.anti-leech.com/spam/spambot_stopper.php

Place this web address on the page and It catches the spam bots and sends it into a circle that generates millions of false e-mail addresses. clogging up their databases [:p] [:D] It's one way of kicking the spammers in the teeth [:D]

Lt.Col Steve Kitchen
1st Infantry Brigade
2nd Infantry Division
I st Corps
Army of Northern Virginia
http://www.battleground.pwp.blueyonder. ... /index.htm
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 3:07 am 
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Joined: Tue May 22, 2001 4:51 pm
Posts: 2804
Location: Massachusetts, USA
The simplest solution is to replace the "@" with a "(AT)" in all email addresses, as has been done on the muster and OOB forms for the Union Army.

<b><font color="gold">Ernie Sands
LtGen, CO XXIII Corps, AoO
Image
President, Colonial Campaigns Club
</b></font id="gold">


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 4:44 am 
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Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 5:41 am
Posts: 873
Location: Somewhere between D.C. and the battlefield
I am afraid this trick is so old (I heard of it first at least three years ago) that everyone knows it and thus the spammers's address-grabbing software is certainly aware of it.

With a password protected page I think we would be safest.

Gen. Walter, USA
AoS / War College


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 9:05 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:06 pm
Posts: 232
Location: USA
Gentlemen,

I know it is getting old from me, but all that you ask for is contained in the club's new records web site. You have NO IDEA the power of Cold Fusion coupled with Macromedia's Dreamweaver and I am amazed as I discover ever more. Rest assured I am working on this as much and as often as I can. On May 27th my school year ends and I will have much more time to dedicate to the site.

When you think of what the club data base actually HAS to have to function this is what I came up with and am building around it:

Membership Table: ID Number, Rank, First Name, Last Name, Side, Army, Corps, Division, Brigade, Email Address

Game Registration Table (and its sub tables): Players (1 through 10 selected by drop down lists), Game, scenario, date.--------(to end game): Turns played, Victor, Victory Level
From the above, points can be calculated and awarded.

Other Point Awards: Member, points, reason for award (Medal, CC points, etc)

From those items mentioned above, OOB's, Rosters, statistics of many kinds, etc, can be developed using simple and complex queries. (These would be converted to buttons that members can simply select to see the results. Buttons will be developed as requests come in for specific data) Division commanders and above can access their subordinate commanders to see how and what they are doing as well as assign them to specific commands. All of this is kept in real time as the data is entered.

In regards to Gen. Walter's concerns:

First, in regards to privacy, the site and every page in it will require that the user is logged in or you will not get access. This keeps someone from linking to an inner page trying to bypass the login page.

Second: All OOB's will be constructed dynamically by Cold Fusion so a simple update to the membership table is carried over to the OOB's immediately and automatically.

Third: All members will be able to change their password and email each time they log in (if you wish) and that address is automatically placed in the OOB and your membership profile immediately.

Fourth: Membership data will be entered initially by the Commandants of West Point and VMI. Afterwards, access will be granted to Division Commanders and above in your chain of command.

Fifth: Musters I had not thought about, but it seems it would be easy to do. I will ponder that.

Sixth: The changes made anywhere in the site to the database is immediately reflected on the website. For instance, to add someone to the drop down lists at the present game registration site I have to copy and paste the data 10 times. Here it is done as soon as the Commandants enter a new member's data into the membership table. NOTHING has to be done to the page itself and the dropdown lists add the new member to all 10 locations automatically.

Seventh: Be patient with me as I do have other irons in the fire. I will try to demo as much as I have completed at Tiller Con so everyone there can see what's coming. I promise, you will not be disappointed.

Does anyone see the advantages of this site and how much work being done by hand now to maintain the data will be done automatically in the future? There is hope on the horizon! I already have the site and domain name and the the first year paid. I have given it freely to the club and though presently I am running it, I will turn it over to whoever the club designates. When the site testing is completed and we are ready to take it live, at that time I will reveal the location and your passwords to get in. It is not so much that I am working for secrecy, but that I want to make sure it is working correctly before opening it up. There will be bugs to be worked out I am sure and it will be in continual development as we discover new things and capabilities. In case you didn't hear, Adobe has bought out Macromedia and Cold Fusion so I am hoping we see some good things come from that partnership. Don't hesitate to email me with questions or suggestions.

Lt. Gen. Don Adams
5th Texas "Lone Star" Cavalry Brigade
I/III ANV
http://www.rootsandsaddles.com/index.htm
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 9:12 am 
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Joined: Tue May 22, 2001 4:51 pm
Posts: 2804
Location: Massachusetts, USA
It all sounds very good, Don. With a complex site, it is best to work out as many qlitches as you can before going live.

<b><font color="gold">Ernie Sands
LtGen, CO XXIII Corps, AoO
Image
President, Colonial Campaigns Club
</b></font id="gold">


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 5:50 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 5:41 am
Posts: 873
Location: Somewhere between D.C. and the battlefield
Sounds like a dream about to come true, Don. [:I]

Gen. Walter, USA
AoS / War College


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 3:56 pm 
Bill

I am afraid I cannot agree. Adding an an extra task to the Corps COs just complicates the situation, and is unnecessary as it adds no more security than Don's proposal.

Don, you have my vote! and gratitutde [8D]



Brig Gen Mike Kaulbars Image
3rd "Freiheit" Division
VIII/AoS
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