I came across a screencast today that demos a powerful tool used by spammers to pollute message boards, wikis, blogs, and other types of online software. It’s called XRumer, and makes it easy to get through CAPTCHA tests, email confirmations, and other common techniques that supposedly prevent spammers. I’m a lot less confident in these “spam prevention” tools after seeing this video, and I think you will be too.
I routinely got a crap ton of spam on this blog, of both the comment and trackback varieties. I’ve had Movable Type’s built-in spam and moderation tools turned on for a long time, and while the combination keeps the spam from ever reaching my readers, it means more work for me than I’d like back end.
Movable Type’s anti-spam features seem to have gotten less effective over time, meaning a bunch of spammy comments get through. Last week I finally installed the official MT version of Akismet, a sort of community spam list. It immediately took care of the problem, so I recommend it for anyone facing a similar situation. If you’re using WordPress to run your blog, you should already have the plug-in installed – all you need is to get an API key from WordPress.com to start using it.