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IP address blocked due to false-positive? Introduce CAPTCHA?


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bbint
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  • Last active: Dec 13 2013 08:29 AM
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2008
Hi.

Can't access with router

On I think Oct. 14, I couldn't access the forum at <!-- m -->http://www.autohotkey.com<!-- m -->, and the "is it down for everyone or just me"-type websites said autohotkey.com was fine, so I assumed the forum was under maintenance. On Oct. 16, autohotkey.com didn't work for me. I also couldn't access the site from my other computer on the LAN. I reset my router, but nothing happened.

Can access without router

I then tried bypassing the router, and plugging the modem straight into a computer. The computer was then able to access the site (the IP address is different for a direct connection from the modem). I was looking for posts on the net that mentioned a similar problem, where you can access a site without a router, but can't access it with a router. One post mentioned that a possibility is that your IP address had been blocked.

Can access with router

I attempted to change my IP address by doing a DHCP release on the router page, then shutting off the router and modem power for the night. I got a new IP address, and the site worked again.

Possible reason: false-positive as spammer

I have a hotkey that is RAlt::MButton. It allows me to open links in a new tab more rapidly because pressing right Alt in succession is easier than clicking with the middle mouse button. I had been looking for info on the DLL function, and so I opened the custom Google search for the AHK forum, and started quickly opening all the search results that seemed relevant. I'm not sure when I started to lose connection to the site, but it could be around that time. In the past, there have been times where I've had to enter a captcha while browsing Google due to increased activity. I'm guessing that my hotkeys and Firefox addons make me seem like I'm spamming. However, on my AHK forum Google search of DLL information, I only opened several links from the first 2-3 pages of the search results; It took probably 40 seconds.

Possible reason: sharing an IP with a real spammer

I don't think this is likely because I don't think my IP address changes without my intervention. Also, events later prove that it's more likely the first reason.

Fine for a while

I managed to return to my thread and question about DLL, and I had no problems with the site.

Blocked again (but I think I know why)

On October 20, I was looking for debugging information and I came across mention of SciTE4AutoHotkey. I found the forum post at <!-- l --><a class="postlink-local" href="http://www.autohotkey.com/community/viewtopic.php?t=58820">viewtopic.php?t=58820</a><!-- l -->. The thread is 47 pages long. When there's a lot of information to read from the web, I like to gather all of it, and paste it in a word processor, where I can format it for easier reading, delete information that I don't require for a possible second read-through, use text-to-speech, and do other various things. Ideally, there would be a button, and it could copy a thread to the clipboard (just like you sometimes see for snippets of code on a web page). The Autopager addon/extension for a never-ending page, doesn't work for me on the forum, and I don't think you can go to the control panel and set the view so it's something like 50 posts a page. As a result, I proceeded to rapidly open the first 10 pages of the thread with my RAlt::MButton hotkey. A very short time after doing so, I could no longer access the site, just like before.

Other AutoHotkey posts with what could be the same issue

Without access to the site, I found a cache of some forum posts that described what could be the same issue I was having.

Access denied to <!-- m -->http://www.autohotkey.com<!-- m --> [fixed]
<!-- l --><a class="postlink-local" href="http://www.autohotkey.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=85950">viewtopic.php?f=3&t=85950</a><!-- l -->

Cannot connect to autohotkey.com or autohotkey.net?
<!-- l --><a class="postlink-local" href="http://www.autohotkey.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=78585&start=0">viewtopic.php?f=5&t=78585&start=0</a><!-- l -->

There was mention of people needing a proxy to access the website, so I turned on TunnelBear VPN to check, and I was able to access the site.

Switched IP to gain access

Once again, I shut off the router, and in the morning, I was able to go to the site.

Unblocking the IP addresses

I kept track of the IP addresses that were in effect during the process of being blocked. Are those addresses forever blocked? Should I submit them for review like some people did in the threads mentioned above? I don't want to bother people with private messages. However, I don't want to permanently ban a string of IP addresses that are close to my working one.

Suggestions for the future

Perhaps there could be a captcha that comes up when there is suspicious activity, similar to how I had to enter a captcha when my Google searches were too active (this came up very rarely though; I don't think I'm that hyper). Maybe the threshold for flagging is too low?

Thanks

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From Chris:

Some of the blocks are pre-emptive. They’re from a list of known abusive IP ranges that have been such a chronic problem across the web that many sites block them automatically.

If it happens to you again, a good person to contact is Skan, who is one of the main administrators of the forum. If at that time you can’t contact him due to no access to the forum, you can e-mail <!-- e --><a href="mailto:****@gmail.com">****@gmail.com</a><!-- e --> and one of us will look into it.