Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we’ve had a very strange spammer hitting SEB the past couple of weeks. Two to five times a day he’ll post a comment spam that’s composed entirely of gibberish; random characters and URLs that don’t point to actual websites. It’s an annoyance, but little more. Still I decided to see what I could do about it and it turns out that Expression Engine has had a couple of extensions/modules released that add a bit more spam protection to the system.
One is the Advanced Captcha extension developed by the folks at pMachine. It makes the captcha system in use by EE a little more robust and hopefully more difficult for captcha decoding scripts to overcome. It’s also ridiculously easy to install. Upload a single file to the extensions folder then go into the extensions manager in the Admin section and enable it and you’re done. It automagically replaces the old style captchas.
The other is the Akismet extension/module combo that makes use of the anti-spam system WordPress uses which seems to work pretty well for them. It brings along a side benefit of checking trackbacks as well as comments so I’ve gone ahead and re-enabled trackbacks to see how well it works. I’ve got trackbacks set to display inline with comments and as such they’re using the same code as the comment entries which means they look even worse than the comments do in the new templates, but they’re there and you can try pinging SEB for trackbacks once again at least until the first time a boatload of trackback spam makes it past the new defenses and I turn it off again.
Update: Well, better than the last time I tried this. Posted this around 4:30 and two hours later at 7:36 I got my first trackback spam. Beats the five minutes it took last time.