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Author Topic: Banning look-alike characters in usernames  (Read 4199 times)
OgNasty
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March 03, 2016, 07:49:44 PM
 #1

There are those who attempt to impersonate trusted members by using look-alike characters in their usernames (i.e. OgNasty/0gNasty).  Bitcoin solves this issue by banning certain characters in public addresses.  Maybe a similar method could be applied to forum usernames (first come first serve on the "look-alike" characters)?

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March 03, 2016, 08:54:53 PM
 #2

We used to call it imping, but it's not fooling anyone on a forum like this that displays rank and activity

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March 03, 2016, 09:24:20 PM
 #3

Seems like a non issue to me  Roll Eyes


We used to call it imping, but it's not fooling anyone on a forum like this that displays rank and activity
It happens more often than you'd expect.. Especially when the legit user doesn't have an avatar. I've seen a few people get fooled and scammed by these impostors in the few years I've been on the site.
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March 03, 2016, 09:27:28 PM
 #4


This just happened; however I've banned the account. Well, currently we handle this on a case-by-case basis. We permanently ban impostors.

Maybe a similar method could be applied to forum usernames (first come first serve on the "look-alike" characters)?
If something automatic was built in that could cause collateral damage. However, I'm sure that a similarity metric could be created which would ban the account if a certain threshold was met.

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March 03, 2016, 09:31:05 PM
 #5

Seems it would only really be a problem for people that are established here in some form and earned green trust.
Case by case seems to be the fairest way of going about it,besides people would have to ignore post,activity and trust to be taken by a dummy account.

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March 03, 2016, 09:32:46 PM
 #6

Epochtalk will allow only a restricted set of characters in usernames (the same set as hostnames, IIRC). Alongside every post will be the person's username as well as their far-less-restrictive display name. This should help in a lot of cases.

Trying to detect similar names in general seems pretty difficult. I'm not sure how it'd be done.

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March 03, 2016, 09:42:04 PM
 #7

Epochtalk will allow only a restricted set of characters in usernames (the same set as hostnames, IIRC). Alongside every post will be the person's username as well as their far-less-restrictive display name. This should help in a lot of cases.

Trying to detect similar names in general seems pretty difficult. I'm not sure how it'd be done.
It would be difficult to detect different names, but an idea that came to mind would be generating a small image, or a certain color from the hash of someone's username. That way, each color or image should be (at least slightly) different, even when a username is extremely similar. The one problem I could foresee with that approach would be having an ugly color, or small image beside every user's name on all posts and PM's.
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March 03, 2016, 10:07:06 PM
 #8

All it takes is a 1 second check off the activity score and trust level.

A little due diligence goes a long way.





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March 04, 2016, 06:50:08 AM
 #9

first come first serve
It is already first come first serve.Also i don't think you would be responsible for the loss caused by the impersonator,if its the ego issue then you can create all the look like-alike names for "OgNasty" and ask theymos to ban them.

All it takes is a 1 second check off the activity score and trust level.
If someone ignores that then they wont learn until they start losing something they shouldn't.

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March 04, 2016, 02:47:09 PM
 #10

first come first serve
-snip-
if its the ego issue then you can create all the look like-alike names for "OgNasty" and ask theymos to ban them.
-snip-

If it would be simple to create all look alike accounts it could be automated. I assure you there will be at least one OgNasty did not think about.

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March 04, 2016, 03:24:29 PM
 #11

first come first serve
-snip-
if its the ego issue then you can create all the look like-alike names for "OgNasty" and ask theymos to ban them.
-snip-

If it would be simple to create all look alike accounts it could be automated. I assure you there will be at least one OgNasty did not think about.
If he could make 50 + look like accounts then the rest of them would be easy to spot.In any case it is pretty obvious that no one is going to do the coding for it.

Trying to detect similar names in general seems pretty difficult. I'm not sure how it'd be done.

yo
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March 04, 2016, 04:17:01 PM
 #12

first come first serve
It is already first come first serve.Also i don't think you would be responsible for the loss caused by the impersonator,if its the ego issue then you can create all the look like-alike names for "OgNasty" and ask theymos to ban them.

You are horribly mistaken to think this is about my ego, or even about me.  I couldn't care less about perceived liability or ego.  This is about protecting users and I am not the only person who gets impersonated around here.  I was simply making a suggestion about how to combat a problem I see all to frequently to help make this place safer.  Perhaps you are not involved in enough trades around here to notice, or you have some sort of issue with protecting newbies from scams.

I also find your suggested approach to be impossibly time consuming when dealing with the entire community and not one person.

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Heutenamos
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March 04, 2016, 04:36:52 PM
 #13

first come first serve
It is already first come first serve.Also i don't think you would be responsible for the loss caused by the impersonator,if its the ego issue then you can create all the look like-alike names for "OgNasty" and ask theymos to ban them.

You are horribly mistaken to think this is about my ego, or even about me.  I couldn't care less about perceived liability or ego.  This is about protecting users and I am not the only person who gets impersonated around here.  I was simply making a suggestion about how to combat a problem I see all to frequently to help make this place safer.  Perhaps you are not involved in enough trades around here to notice, or you have some sort of issue with protecting newbies from scams.

I also find your suggested approach to be impossibly time consuming when dealing with the entire community and not one person.
But you would have to restrict hundreds of thousands of combinations to stop them and that for only a handful of usernames,which is why i said you could make the obvious ones and ban them.

By asking you to make accounts doesn't means that you should sit & create the accounts.There is a line of people waiting for a job in the services section.

yo
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March 04, 2016, 04:46:18 PM
 #14

By asking you to make accounts doesn't means that you should sit & create the accounts.There is a line of people waiting for a job in the services section.

You should put up a bounty and fund your idea.  I support that 100%.  I'll stick with making a suggestion to the people who are actually asking for feedback on how to create a better forum.

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March 04, 2016, 05:02:22 PM
 #15

Even theymos has been impersonated and has successfully scammed and advertiser in this forum. I've read the thread before and the scammer was quite clever. i think the username is theyrnos like THEYRNOS.

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March 04, 2016, 05:44:16 PM
 #16

Indeed there was a theyrnos.
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March 04, 2016, 05:46:43 PM
 #17

Besides they have multi accounts they even can't be original. Found also an offlinedragon account posting on this forum.

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March 04, 2016, 09:50:13 PM
 #18


Could also incorporate what Twitter does with their "verified account" image.

Issue some type of very visible "verified account" or "THE REAL" image to those on the default 1 & 2 trust list.






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March 05, 2016, 01:39:25 AM
 #19


Could also incorporate what Twitter does with their "verified account" image.

Issue some type of very visible "verified account" or "THE REAL" image to those on the default 1 & 2 trust list.

That is interesting, but who would do all the verifying of accounts, and what information would be necessary to get your account verified?  Would there be a charge for this?  If a verified account scams someone, what does the forum do?

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March 05, 2016, 08:07:21 AM
 #20


Could also incorporate what Twitter does with their "verified account" image.

Issue some type of very visible "verified account" or "THE REAL" image to those on the default 1 & 2 trust list.

That is interesting, but who would do all the verifying of accounts, and what information would be necessary to get your account verified?  Would there be a charge for this?  If a verified account scams someone, what does the forum do?

Well if we're just trying to address the "spoof" accounts issue for now? Then the TRUST LIST is already in place and makes the most sense for verification purposes, to avoid spoofing at least. So now it would mainly be about automatically adding an "extra badge", an "image", or "message" and maybe even a different background color all-together into the messages and posts of those on the default trust list(s), just to let other users know !!!HEY you are in fact dealing with THE REAL "OgNasty", "Theymos", "Blazed" etc... (FROM DT 1/2 Verified Badge/Image/Bg Color)" !!! . Now it would not prevent a MASTER-P type situation, but should eliminate most of the spoofing IMO, and I would imagine it would be similar if not easier to implement then the "red tagging" message of newbie accounts when they message you and you see: !!! WARNING: This user is a newbie. If you are expecting a message from a more veteran member, then this is an imposter impostor !!! but I'm not an experienced developer or coder, so I could be wrong.

Fees? I don't think there should be any fees charged to those on the DT lists for this service, creating a safer forum and community would in the end financially benefit the forum. The overall perception of the forum right now is somewhat of a corrupt "scam city" persona, so if we can somehow change that? I think it will bring in better users, and more advertisers long term. Which should = HIGHER Bids for Ad Space here.

Forum Responsibility? It's still "trade at your own risk" IMO, even if you're dealing with someone from the DT, no different then craigslist, fb classifieds, etc...

Features I think that could help with the NEW Forum?

Implement "INSTANTLY Visible Tags/Badges" on ALL Accounts for "X" PERIOD of time IF:
PW has Recently Changed.
EMAIL has Recently Changed.
Account tagged as "Recently Sold" (From DT of course).
Account tagged as "HACKED"  (again From DT of course).
Accounts with "X" amount of RED Trust score from DT, their avatar should automatically be removed and replaced with a "SCAMATAR" or "DO NOT TRUST" image and their sig space should be disabled until the red trust is removed or bought down below the X threshold.

Anyway, just some ideas! Have a Great Weekend Everybody!

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