A surprising amount of my work involves helping clients remove spam and preventing future spam. Spam can appear as spam posts, spam private messages or spam registrations. In the case of spam registrations, the spam is usually limited to bogus website URLs for the new “member” that point to spam sites.
Removing spam posts and private message
In general there is no easy way to remove spam posts because it involves human judgment. Latest versions of the Cleantalk extension have a feature that attempts this, but on larger boards it can time out. With patience though you can use it to remove spam posts, if you trust it to be 100% accurate. It decides if a post is spam principally by the IP recorded when the post is made, and whether it’s in its database.
I can also write a script to find duplicate posts, which is often a good way of identifying most, if not all, of the spam in a forum. It’s a good idea to use the report I provide to eye and remove these manually. I can remove these for you with the right privileges by going through your forums, marking these topics and posts and deleting them. Note that if you have a lot of spam that this can get quite expensive. I can estimate the work involved first. Often spam begins to occur after a certain date, which makes it easier to find likely spam.
Removing spam registrations
Large numbers of spam registrations are fairly easily removed directly in the database. The good news here is that there can be removed for a troubleshooting fee, generally an hour of time.
Generally you want to upgrade phpBB as newer versions of phpBB have effective spambot countermeasures. If you need to stay on phpBB 3.0 though I can recommend and install some modifications that will reduce or eliminate these. With phpBB 3.2 and 3.3, the version 2 of reCaptcha is supported: checkbox for 3.2 and invisible for 3.3. This generally works pretty well. My clients often prefer to use additional countermeasures, usually the Cleantalk service. So I can install that extension if you are interested, but it costs $8/year to subscribe to the service.
Most boards to not allow guest to posts. If you do you need an effective spambot countermeasure such as the latest version of reCaptcha. I can help you set this up.
If the contact form is enabled, it can generate spam emails to the administrator. You can turn this off yourself or use an extension that creates a contact form that uses a Captcha.
To get started I suggest sending me a service inquiry.