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Topics - Mike

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BotScout Discussion / Confabulation Error #xxxxxx
« on: November 14, 2015, 10:57:04 AM »
We get a fair number of emails that say something like this: "Help, when I run the Raw PHP sample code for querying the API, its shows me a 'Confabulation Error' message."

The "Confabulation Error" response in the default code is simply a placeholder for what your code should do as a response an API query run against our database.

In other words, this is where you will need to put some code to handle the response we return indicating that a suspect record was found in our database (depending on the type of query you send, i.e. IP address, email address, etc).

You should really only need to use the raw code if you're developing your own plugin or implementing the BotScout API in a form or internal process that doesn't already have an existing plugin.

BotScout Discussion / FireHOL - firehol_level1
« on: September 11, 2015, 07:26:47 AM »
FireHOL is a project that combines several IP blacklists in order to create a more comprehensive list with (hopefully) fewer false positives.

About firehol_level1
This IP list is a composition of other IP list

The objective is to create a blacklist that can be safe enough to be used on all systems, with a firewall, to block access entirely, from and to its listed IPs.

The key prerequisite for this cause, is to have no false positives. All IPs listed should be bad and should be blocked, without exceptions.

To accomplish this, we include the following IP lists:

    fullbogons - the unroutable IPs
    spamhaus drop and edrop - Don't Route Or Peer IPs
    dshield - the top 20 attacking class-C
    malware lists - the Command and Control IPs

firehol_level1 is updated automatically every time any of its IP lists is updated. If you use FireHOL's update-ipsets.sh, you can just enable it and it will be composed directly from the individual lists, on your computer. Otherwise, you can download it from github.


BotScout Discussion / Joomla users: jHackGuard Issues and Problems
« on: December 26, 2014, 10:55:20 AM »
You probably came to this page because you're using the jHackGuard plugin and are suddenly unable to access your site or login to it.


Entienda por favor: NO te estn bloqueando.
Ju lutem kuptoni: Ne nuk po bllokojm JU.
Խնդրում ենք հասկանալ ՄԵՆՔ ՉԵՆՔ ԱՐԳԵԼԱՓԱԿՈՒՄԸ ձեզ.
Mesedez ulertzeko: EZ duzu gara blokeatuz.
Калі ласка, зразумейце,: Мы не блакуе вас.
Molimo razumijem: Nismo blokirate.
Pochopte prosm: Jsme neblokuje VS.
Se il vous plat comprendre: NOUS NE SOMMES PAS VOUS blocage.
Bitte haben Sie Verstndnis: Wir sind nicht Sie blockiert.
कृपया समझते हैं: हम आपको अवरुद्ध नहीं कर रहे।
Vi preghiamo di comprendere: NON ti stanno bloccando.
Jekk jogħġbok jifhmu: WE ARE MHUX IBBLOKKAR INTI.
Proszę zrozumieć: my nie blokując dostęp.
Vă rugăm să nțelegeți: nu te blocheaza.
Пожалуйста, поймите,: Мы не блокирует вас.
Ni mste frst: VI R INTE blockerar dig.
Будь ласка, зрозумійте,: Ми не блокує вас.
Vennligst forst: Vi er ikke blokkerer deg.
Παρακαλούμε να κατανοήσετε: δεν είμαστε ΜΠΛΟΚ ΣΑΣ.

Be aware that the jHackGuard plugin has been found to have serious problems:

1) Upon installation it may lock users and admins out of the site, and

2) it returns an erroneous message when the site using it runs out of daily queries. This causes ALL registrations and logins to fail.

When this happens the plugin blocks ALL users and erroneously points them here to BotScout as the source of the problem.

If you've installed jHackGuard and are now having problems with your site, it's not us. It's the plugin.

Unfortunately, since we didn't write the plugin there's nothing we can do to resolve this problem.

Some users have been able to edit the Joomla database to bypass it and allow it to be uninstalled, others have had to resort to restoring the site from a backup.

Until the author corrects the plugin's behavior, you might want to uninstall it and/or use a different plugin.

One last thing- we'd really appreciate it if people would contact the author about this issue. You can do that here:



The BotScout Team

BotScout Discussion / BotScout for WordPress
« on: August 14, 2014, 03:25:42 PM »
Thanks to Jimmy from JimmysCode.com, a new plugin for screening comment spam in WordPress is now available:


Direct link at WordPress.org: BotScout Comment Protection

BotScout Discussion / BotScout and Cloudflare
« on: May 10, 2014, 10:14:40 AM »
A user sent in this note regarding using BotScout with Cloudflare:

To work behind cloudflare your general code needs to be updated as follows:

Code: [Select]
// get the IP address


For those who aren't familiar with Cloudflare, this is a description of their service:

"CloudFlare protects and accelerates any website online. Once your website is a part of the CloudFlare community, its web traffic is routed through our intelligent global network. We automatically optimize the delivery of your web pages so your visitors get the fastest page load times and best performance. We also block threats and limit abusive bots and crawlers from wasting your bandwidth and server resources. The result: CloudFlare-powered websites see a significant improvement in performance and a decrease in spam and other attacks."

BotScout Discussion / New Code Added: MyBB Forum
« on: January 19, 2013, 02:25:43 PM »
Thanks to Jimmy Pena, there is now a BotScout plugin for the MyBB Forum.

Thanks, Jimmy!

BotScout Discussion / Heads up: DNS Changer Alert
« on: April 20, 2012, 05:00:05 PM »
Not a joke.  Check your PC now. Forward this to people if you want.
There has apparently been a MAJOR stealth virus quietly infecting PCs for the last few months that has recently come to light.
The FBI is encouraging users to visit a website run by its security partner, http://www.dcwg.org, that will inform them whether they're infected and explain how to fix the problem. After July 9, infected users won't be able to connect to the Internet.
Click the 'detect' button and follow the steps.
You can also go here to do a double-check  http://dns-ok.ca/results-en.html

Again, this isn't some joke or funny trick page, this is legit. More information here:

BotScout Discussion / New plugin developed for Joomla
« on: April 10, 2012, 05:54:19 AM »
A new plugin developed by one of our users, Adrian Rosian, for Joomla:


JJAntispam helps you prevent spam registration on your Joomla website by checking the spammer's signature against the spambusted.com spammer database. If the user that tries to register gets a positive hit, he is denied registration.

In version 1.3 if you block users you are automatically reporting them to SpamBusted. This way their IP will never bother you again.

In version 1.4 you can add an extra layer of security by checking against Botscout as well. Since version 1.4 uses Joomla transport layer for server-to-server communication, Joomla 2.5 is most recommended.

Author Website: https://www.joomlajingle.com

BotScout Discussion / Changes
« on: February 20, 2012, 09:49:54 AM »
We've instituted some changes at BotScout, some on the user side, some behind the scenes.

The most noticeable change for users is the removal of paginated results. The listing of bots page-by-page was of no real value except to other bots scraping our pages. This drove the server load up needlessly, and was most often used by bot-herders to see if a bot had been found.

BotScout Discussion / WordPress and the Subscribe2 plugin
« on: September 09, 2011, 06:08:46 AM »
This is code sent in by "Piotr" for use with WordPress and the Subscribe2 plugin.

To implement bot trapping I have used your sample code.

I was working on 6.2 version of the plugin, but I'm sure all changes can be made to any version of it.
If anybody want to modify Subscribe2 plugin like I did, subscribe2.php file need to be modify:

function is_bot() must be placed anywhere in the file (I've placed it under is_barred() function, here is code, I deleted most of the comments as you guys knows your code:)

Code: [Select]
function is_bot($XMAIL='', $XIP='') {
                 /////////////////// START CONFIGURATION
                 // use diagnostic output? ('1' to use, '0' to suppress)
                 // (normally set to '0')
                 $diag = '0';
                 // init vars
                 // your optional API key (don't have one? get one here: http://botscout.com/
                 $APIKEY = '';
                 // use XML output responses?
                 // '1' to use XML, '0' to use standard responses
                 $USEXML = '0';
                 /////////////////// END CONFIGURATION

                 // make the url compliant with urlencode()
                 $XMAIL = urlencode($XMAIL);

                 // for this example we'll use the MULTI test
                 $test_string = "http://botscout.com/test/?multi&mail=$XMAIL&ip=$XIP";

                 // are using an API key? If so, append it.
                 if($APIKEY != ''){
                  $test_string = "$test_string&key=$APIKEY";

                  // are using XML responses? If so, append the XML format key.
                  if($USEXML == '1'){
                     $test_string = "$test_string&format=xml";

                  if($diag=='1'){print "Test String: $test_string";}

                $ch = curl_init($test_string);
                curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_HEADER, 0);
                curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1);
                $returned_data = curl_exec($ch);

                print "RETURNED DATA: $returned_data";
                // sanity check
                if($returned_data==''){ print 'Error: No return data from API query.'; exit; }

                  $botdata = explode('|', $returned_data);

                  if(substr($returned_data, 0,1) == '!'){
                print "Error: $returned_data";

                 if($botdata[3] > 0 || $botdata[5] > 0){
                //print $data;
                print "Bot signature found.";
                print "Type of test was: $botdata[1]";
                print "The {$botdata[2]} was found {$botdata[3]} times, the {$botdata[4]} was found {$botdata[5]} times";

                        return true;
                } else {
                        return false;

} //end is_bot()
Most important thing is to get email address and ip when calling a function
and to return true or false after checking that data.

2nd thing is to modify shortcode() function (3112 line of my file).

You have to search for this (3149-3151 lines of my file):

} elseif ( $this->is_barred($_POST['email']) ) {
 $this->s2form = $this->form . $this->barred_domain;
} else {

and change it to this:

} elseif ( $this->is_barred($_POST['email']) ) {
$this->s2form = $this->form . $this->barred_domain;
 } elseif ( $this->is_bot($_POST['email'], $_POST['ip']) ) {
$this->s2form = $this->form . $this->barred_domain;
 } else {

So now it works just like for barred_domain. If anybody wan't to show
something else, this could be modified, but for me this is fine.

That's it, I hope this will help people like me having problems with bots
and Subscribe2 plugin.

BotScout Discussion / New Feature for bot submitters
« on: April 25, 2011, 09:33:13 AM »
For those who routinely submit bot records, you are now able to browse and remove records in case a record is mistakenly submitted.

To access this feature just login to your API Control panel account and mouseover the "Account" tab at the top of the page (between "Links" and "Contact"). Click on the "Pending Records" menu item and you'll be taken to the page showing all of your pending records.

BotScout Discussion / LOL
« on: April 11, 2011, 04:38:34 PM »
A user named "xrumerforum" (cinwhiter@aol.com) just tried to regester.

I mean, seriously guys...you'll have to be a little more subtle than that.

BotScout Discussion / New: Domain Detection Feature
« on: April 01, 2011, 06:11:14 AM »
We plan to be adding "domain detection" in the near future as an additional layer of protection for registration screening. Here's how it will work....

Queries to the BotScout database will by default do an additional check against a growing list of ~50,000 known bot and spam domains. If the registrant's email matches one of the "known bad" domains, the data will be returned with a "hit" against the email address. An additional field will also be returned indicating that the hit was found in the bad domains list.

This change shouldn't affect the way current users process the API return codes and existing plugins will not need to be re-written.

Users of existing plugins (if properly coded) should notice no difference (except a higher "catch" rate). The new field will also provide an additional way for the returned data to be evaluated. Authors of plugin code can decide whether to use the additional field in some way (such as dynamic scoring or weighting) or simply ignore it.

A couple of additional API commands will also be added:

The first will allow users (or plugins) to bypass the "bad domains" testing process. If this optional parameter is present then queries to BotScout will not do a check against the bad domains list.

The second API command (still under consideration) will allow a direct check of the domain without any other parameters, so users (or plugins) can test a given domain name to see if it's on the list. The plugin code can send just the domain name or a full email address (if a full email address is sent we'll extract the domain name and test it by itself).

We'll update the API Command Reference as soon as these changes are made. We expect to have the changes in place within a week, possibly sooner.

BotScout Discussion / Yay for backups :)
« on: February 06, 2011, 06:05:46 PM »
On or about Feb 2 or 3 the BotScout server hard drive failed and everything stored on the drive was lost. The system was restored from the nightly backups of Feb 3 2011. .

During the rebuild a couple of days of bot collection signatures were lost, but everything else was restored successfully. During the recovery process bot screening services were unavailable but everything should be back to normal now.

If you find something that's missing or not working, please let us know in this thread.

BotScout Discussion / ParentingTime.net using BotScout
« on: November 17, 2009, 08:10:30 AM »
ParentingTime.net Releases Child Custody Tracking Tool that uses BotScout screening

Win Child Custody with OPTIMAL ver. 3.0 - ParentingTime.net

ParentingTime.net announced the release of OPTIMAL, version 3.0, which uses the BotScout service to maintain security for its clients.

"OPTIMAL is a unique online service that can help you win custody, change custody, or reduce child support. OPTIMAL is used every day by thousands of parents and families worldwide", said Mike Rogers, Client Liaison at ParentingTime.net.

"Version 3.0 is a major upgrade for our users and comes with dozens of new features and literally hundreds of improvements. It's more advanced than the similar services that are out there, and OPTIMAL even comes at a lower price."

"We use BotScout.com's bot-screening API to help stop fraudulent signups, spam, and interference with our system", said Mike.

OPTIMAL is an online custody calendar that allows you to easily schedule and track parenting time as well as monitor compliance with your custody arrangement. (Often just monitoring each parent's compliance is enough to cause a change for the better.) Whatever kind of parenting arrangement you have- joint custody, sole custody, long distance, cooperative or conflicted- OPTIMAL can help make communicating with the other parent and managing your parenting time easier.

What can OPTIMAL do for me?
OPTIMAL provides an unbiased, accessible record of your parenting time. This can reduce or eliminate disputes over custody or parenting time, and can prevent conflict between you and the child's other parent. By using a shared tool for scheduling parenting time OPTIMAL  helps enforce the parenting plan and makes sure each parent receives the parenting time they deserve.

Who uses OPTIMAL?
Thousand of parents and families are using OPTIMAL to avoid the financial and emotional costs of returning to court over and over to resolve issues. By using OPTIMAL parents are able to coordinate schedules, communicate without stress, agree on changes to parenting schedules, and keep track of expenses without having to spend money on attorneys.

Can OPTIMAL help me in court?
Absolutely! You can use OPTIMAL to change custody, win custody, or reduce child support. OPTIMAL produces clear, compelling printouts that are specifically designed for use in court or negotiation. The OPTIMAL time logs are also powerful and effective tools, documenting any interference with your parenting time. As mentioned above, OPTIMAL can help you win child custody , change change custody , or reduce child support .

What comes with OPTIMAL?
The central parts of OPTIMAL are the Tracker and the Calendar. The Tracker lets you accurately record and track parenting time while the Calendar lets you show parenting schedules, appointments, birthdays, and more. However, OPTIMAL also contains a variety of other powerful and easy-to-use tools (included free) to help you manage and coordinate parenting time.

Nothing To Download, Nothing To Install!
OPTIMAL runs in your browser so you don't have to download or install anything- just sign up and you can be using it in minutes! And because it runs in your browser you can use it from anywhere: your home or office, a hotel, a friend's home... anywhere there is a PC with an internet connection! OPTIMAL works with any modern browser- Windows, Mac, or Linux .

The Form Wizards Make It Easy!
The OPTIMAL Form Wizards make it easy to enter your information- they guide you step-by-step, letting you back up and change things if you need to. You can try a Wizard by running the Demo and clicking the "Add a Calendar Event" link on the Home page.

Never Lose Critical Data
We know how important your records are, so your data is stored securely on our servers. You never have to worry about losing anything or spending time backing up your data. Even if your PC crashes or gets infected with a virus, you don't have to worry- your data will still be safe with us.

Powerful Graphs Make A Difference In Court!
The graphs OPTIMAL produces can make a powerful and compelling statement without saying a word. When presented in court or in negotiations they show exactly what's going on in a way that's hard to refute. A picture is worth a thousand words, and OPTIMAL graphs make your case in a clear and easy-to-understand way. No other system produces the detailed custody and parenting time statistics that OPTIMAL does.

Advanced Time Tracking? We Can Do It!
Need to track multiple pick-ups and drop offs per day? End-to-End visits? Multiple locations? No problem- OPTIMAL can do all that and more! Track time down to 1-minute periods and create as many visits per day as needed. Other custody tracking programs just can't do this!

Secure File Storage? We've Got It!
OPTIMAL comes with secure online file storage, so you can upload images, documents, scanned bills, and more. You can restrict access to your files as well as make selected ones available in several different ways.

Private Messaging? It's Included- Free.
OPTIMAL comes standard with a powerful private messaging system you can use to communicate with your children, the other parent, legal professionals, or whomever you choose. Unlike other services, this is a standard part of OPTIMAL and does not cost extra.

Previous Years? No Problem!
OPTIMAL calendars, time-tracking, and journal entries can go back as far as you need to go to track time for as many children as required. Previous years are available whenever you want.

Private Chat? We've Got It!
OPTIMAL provides you with a private chat area for use with your children, legal advisors, friends, or whomever you want to invite. OPTIMAL Chat is fast, secure, and full-featured.

Recommended By Professionals
OPTIMAL is endorsed and recommended by professionals and is recognized as a valuable tool for parents involved in divorce and custody situations. Read what professionals say about OPTIMAL.

Parents Love Us!
We've helped thousands of families over the years, and parents write us often to tell us how much OPTIMAL has helped them both in and out of court. Here's what parents say about OPTIMAL.

Mediators Love Us!
Mediators and therapists recommend OPTIMAL because they know it can help reduce the stress and conflict that come with managing custody and parenting time. When stress and conflict are reduced, everybody wins- especially the children.

Custody Evaluators Love Us!
OPTIMAL is the only custody-tracking tool endorsed by PACE , the Professional Association of Custody Evaluators. PACE is a private, non-profit organization whose membership is composed of mental health professionals who specialize in child custody and related issues.

Judges and Lawyers Love Us!
Judges and other legal professionals love OPTIMAL because it eliminates the "he said, she said" stories and gives them the detailed information they need to make fair decisions about custody and parenting time.

More Features, Easier To Use, and Costs Less!
We're not afraid to compare- OPTIMAL has more features, is easier to use, and has a proven track record. For example, see how we compare to the Our Family Wizard service, and we think you'll agree that OPTIMAL is better:


Mike concluded by saying, "You owe it to your children to get the best custody outcome you can. Don't leave the most important decisions in your life up to chance- Get OPTIMAL and take control of your custody outcome."


ParentingTime.net - Win Child Custody
Win Child Custody
Seattle WA

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