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Thread: IP banning and webmaster black hole

  1. #1
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    IP banning and webmaster black hole

    Hi,

    I'm not sure if this is the right forum, but messages to the webmaster have been sort of a black hole without any feedback via Hawking radiation (harhar!)

    Here's the problem: I love getting my morning BAUTforum fix via reading on the train to work on my iPad via my 3G connection.

    Lately though, I've been deprived, because I've been getting messages that my IP is banned and that I should contract the administrator. There's a link and I assume it means webmaster, not forum admin? This happens across an entire range of IP addresses, which of course change along the route, but are always in the same subnet.

    Thing is, I'm using Australia's Telstra. Our largest telco and ISP. Hardly some dodgy hole-in-the-wall ISP specialising in purveyors of the enlargement of manlihoods and such.

    However, due to their size (by our standards), it's probably inevitable that they would be eventually also be used by spammers and scammers via high-jacked bot PC. But, does the whole IP range need to be blocked just for that? I'm sure the same happens with Comcast or AT&T in the US, but surely you wouldn't block them for that!

    So, who do I need to plead to and explain that Telstra isn't some boutique outlet and that the blocking is causing severe morning withdrawal symptoms?

    Help!
    Mike

  2. #2
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    We don't really have a policy in place that offers a clear-cut answer as to how to proceed with your issue, but we can take an ad hoc look at this. As it happens the vast majority of blocked IPs are from persistent spammers (we don't block on the first shot), but there are a few that are blocked for other reasons.

    I'm pretty sure we haven't blocked all of Telstra, but if you can somehow get the range of IPs you are trying to access from we can test the waters of turning them back on.

    I wish I could be more embracing, or ask for less help on your side, but the whole picture is complicated.
    Forming opinions as we speak

  3. #3
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    Thanks for that!

    As far as I've been able to establish, on an "average" ride I'll have about 3 IPs in the 192.148.117.0 range, which are all part of Telstra's Bigpond.

    That they would produce much spammage isn't a surprising - it's very much your average mom&pop ISP. who likely still run Windows XP without service packs, IE6 and have been ignoring those annoying "your virus signatures are out of date" popups which Symantec has been bombarding them with for the last 8 years.

    But they do have the best 3G coverage by far and my employer uses them for our mobile devices, so I have little choice there for my iPad.

    Cheers
    Mike

  4. #4
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    I'm thinking you might be having a similar issue to what was discussed here:

    http://www.bautforum.com/showthread....-for-no-reason....

    http://www.bautforum.com/showthread....ting-IP-banned

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." Abraham Lincoln

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    I'm thinking you might be having a similar issue to what was discussed here:

    http://www.bautforum.com/showthread....-for-no-reason....

    http://www.bautforum.com/showthread....ting-IP-banned
    I strongly suspect that's the reason. Obviously with a smartphone using 3G Internet I'll end up with some dynamically assigned IP out of a pool used by the ISP. If said ISP is also abused by spammers, the hosting company for BAUTforum may block one IP or the entire range/subnet.

    Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Leading me to believe that it's probably not the entire subnet but selected IP addresses *within* that subnet. Thus, whitelisting said subnet would remove the issue of blockage, though also opening the entire range for spammers. Such is the Internet we now live with.

    There's no easy solution, I'm aware. For my own home network I have a static IP. If that gets blocked I know it was truly a system in my network that was hijacked - but for the smartphone it's no fault of mine.

    Do the BAUTforum admins even have influence over the white/blacklisting or is that purely under control of the hosting company's staff?

  6. #6
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    Ip blocking is a manual operation done by the overworked bautforum admins as and when persistent abuse makes it look like the best solution.

    This decision is normally based on whether there are other users in the same range, since you joined fairly recently it's likely there were no active users in the block when the abuse happened, which made ip-blocking a more attractive solution.
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  7. #7
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    I'll just mention, as a point of interest, that Telstra, while certainly being a large ISP, has a notorious and very sordid history as far as tolerating spam is concerned. Believe it or not, yes, Telstra wound up considered for a Usenet Death Penalty more than once (I remember twice), and again as recently as 2003 apparently.

    http://www.zdnet.com.au/telstra-move...-120272732.htm
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose View Post
    I'll just mention, as a point of interest, that Telstra, while certainly being a large ISP, has a notorious and very sordid history as far as tolerating spam is concerned. Believe it or not, yes, Telstra wound up considered for a Usenet Death Penalty more than once (I remember twice), and again as recently as 2003 apparently.

    http://www.zdnet.com.au/telstra-move...-120272732.htm
    Can't say it surprises me. Though was before I emigrated to Australia, so I'm innocent! I'd consider them for my ISP only if there were no other options. Thing is, you would think their 3G (and thus its associated IP block) would be uninteresting to spammers due to bandwidth and other limitations.

    If it's too much trouble for the admins, I'd even look into a proxy solution - except that those proxies themselves are favoured tools of spammers, due to the anonymity they frequently offer. So it'd be frying pan to fire.

  9. #9
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    A rather more technically involved solution could be to run a proxy at your home PC/network, somehow allowing access only for yourself. Drawbacks are that 1) you really need some knowledge to set it up and 2) opening up a port for access from "the intarnet" is dangerous. Another option could be to read BAUT on a text based browser like Lynx or Links. Unix-like OS required back home, and an open port to SSH in to that box. More safe, less pretty. I bet others could come up with several other working solutions... but probably all requiring some IT knowledge to do safely...

    ETA: and another option: SSH access to home network, use SSH tunnel for web traffic. This one I used a while ago at (previous) work, mainly so other admins would not be able to what I read. Again a technical solution, no idea if it's feasible on an ipad thingy. Nowadays at my current job I'm so busy I don't even want to look at "hobby" websites.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    A rather more technically involved solution could be to run a proxy at your home PC/network, somehow allowing access only for yourself. Drawbacks are that 1) you really need some knowledge to set it up and 2) opening up a port for access from "the intarnet" is dangerous. Another option could be to read BAUT on a text based browser like Lynx or Links. Unix-like OS required back home, and an open port to SSH in to that box. More safe, less pretty. I bet others could come up with several other working solutions... but probably all requiring some IT knowledge to do safely...

    ETA: and another option: SSH access to home network, use SSH tunnel for web traffic. This one I used a while ago at (previous) work, mainly so other admins would not be able to what I read. Again a technical solution, no idea if it's feasible on an ipad thingy. Nowadays at my current job I'm so busy I don't even want to look at "hobby" websites.
    Knowledge isn't the problem. In fact I *have* a proxy VM on my home server. Alas, it's just sitting there, because I found until we get some long overdue network infrastructure update it's unusable. The DSL upchannel only give me 256kbit/sec on a good day, which I found all but useless - and much of that I have by needs set aside for the cloud backup channel for our important files.

    There's the massive National Broadband Network upgrade coming, if it doesn't get shut down or cancelled in midstream due to change of government, which would give me 100MBit down and potentially 10-40MBit/sec up. That'll change the game.

    In the meantime, Telstra's Wholesale arm is planning an intermediate update in our neighbourhood to DSL2+ which would give me 20MBit/sec down and hopefully 1MBit/sec up. I'm fairly close to the CMUX, so I may actually get close to that. Not earth-shattering but workable.

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