Trying to Use Spyderco Forum with VPN

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ducknado
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Trying to Use Spyderco Forum with VPN

Postby ducknado » Sun Feb 09, 2020 12:35 am

Hi All,

I searched and found a couple old topics mentioning this but not discussing it specifically. I have a lot of trouble accessing the forum, or I should say posting to the forum specifically, because I connect to the internet using VPN. I'm not a spammer, hacker or other online bad actor. I'm just a regular dude who takes the precaution of using VPN because it protects me while using public wifi and I oftentimes travel for work and pass through or have to spend time in countries with authoritarian regimes that do not so nice things over the internet on their own citizens and visitors (I guess one could argue the US could be put in that category too but that's a discussion for another time).

I understand that VPN is used by some bad folks, but then again it's used by a lot of normal people or people who just want to protect their web traffic, or are connected to work servers, etc. Have there been any attacks on the Spyderco forums or website by someone using VPN in the past, necessitating the extreme level of blocking? This site is such a great resource and the people are really great and welcoming, the deals thread is fantastic, but it remains probably the most severely restrictive websites I ever visit when it comes to automatically blocking connections from VPN servers.

I'm just wondering if there's some happy middle ground we can reach here, unless I'm the only one who's ever affected by the way the site is configured. If that's the case I'll just go back to only reading :)

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TazKristi
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Re: Trying to Use Spyderco Forum with VPN

Postby TazKristi » Sun Feb 09, 2020 1:36 pm

ducknado wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 12:35 am
Hi All,

I searched and found a couple old topics mentioning this but not discussing it specifically. I have a lot of trouble accessing the forum, or I should say posting to the forum specifically, because I connect to the internet using VPN. I'm not a spammer, hacker or other online bad actor. I'm just a regular dude who takes the precaution of using VPN because it protects me while using public wifi and I oftentimes travel for work and pass through or have to spend time in countries with authoritarian regimes that do not so nice things over the internet on their own citizens and visitors (I guess one could argue the US could be put in that category too but that's a discussion for another time).

I understand that VPN is used by some bad folks, but then again it's used by a lot of normal people or people who just want to protect their web traffic, or are connected to work servers, etc. Have there been any attacks on the Spyderco forums or website by someone using VPN in the past, necessitating the extreme level of blocking? This site is such a great resource and the people are really great and welcoming, the deals thread is fantastic, but it remains probably the most severely restrictive websites I ever visit when it comes to automatically blocking connections from VPN servers.

I'm just wondering if there's some happy middle ground we can reach here, unless I'm the only one who's ever affected by the way the site is configured. If that's the case I'll just go back to only reading :)
Hi, ducknado:
Welcome to our forum. The VPN block is in place due to the abuse of VPNs by bad actors on our website. However, the VPN block only applies to Spyderco.com in the cart system. The VPN block isn't in place on the forum because it's on a completely separate server and there is little to gain on the forum. I'm on a VPN as I type this, and on most days. The use of a VPN shouldn't restrict you from posting on our forum at all. I'd have to know more about what is happening to be able to offer help. If you could get a screenshot of what happens when you try to post and encounter an issue, that would be very helpful.

As for the middle-ground, when someone using a VPN wants to complete a transaction on our site, the site will show the issue along with their IP address. We ask that the user e-mail us their IP address which we can then whitelist.

If you can post a screenshot of what happens when you can't post (or e-mail it to forums@spyderco.com), I'm happy to take a look.

I'm going to move this thread to our tech support area of the forum.

We hope you enjoy your time with us.

Kristi
There is nothing more important than this one day.

ducknado
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Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:03 am

Re: Trying to Use Spyderco Forum with VPN

Postby ducknado » Mon Feb 10, 2020 2:36 am

Hi Kristi and thanks so much for replying. Well, something is definitely up because I think there's been maybe only one time I tried to post to the forum and DIDN'T get blocked because of the VPN. I totally agree too, what would a bad actor even do on the forums besides, I suppose, try to spam it with ads or something.

Anyway, I'm posting this now to see if it goes through and if not, I'll take a screen shot and send it to you.

ducknado
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Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:03 am

Re: Trying to Use Spyderco Forum with VPN

Postby ducknado » Mon Feb 10, 2020 2:40 am

Hi again Kristi,

I think I was just able to post a reply to this thread, pending moderator approval. However when I first tried it blocked me and said "Forbidden. Sender Blacklisted."

So I changed VPN servers to a more obscure located one and tried again. First it logged me out, but when I logged back in the post was able to submit (pending moderator approval).

I'm posting this here again from the same server which worked the second time around.

From experience I can say that more servers are blocked than are not, and as I said from my initial post, I need to use VPN for a variety of reasons.

Thanks for your help and please see the screenshot attached.
spyderco forum blocked.png

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TazKristi
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Re: Trying to Use Spyderco Forum with VPN

Postby TazKristi » Mon Feb 10, 2020 8:46 am

ducknado wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 2:40 am
Hi again Kristi,

I think I was just able to post a reply to this thread, pending moderator approval. However when I first tried it blocked me and said "Forbidden. Sender Blacklisted."

So I changed VPN servers to a more obscure located one and tried again. First it logged me out, but when I logged back in the post was able to submit (pending moderator approval).

I'm posting this here again from the same server which worked the second time around.

From experience I can say that more servers are blocked than are not, and as I said from my initial post, I need to use VPN for a variety of reasons.

Thanks for your help and please see the screenshot attached.
Hi, ducknado:
Thank you for the screenshot. It confirms what I thought might be happening. It's not that you're using a VPN that is causing the message, but rather the IP address itself. That message indicates that the IP address you were posting from is blacklisted by one or more of our security platforms. An IP is blacklisted after a high volume of reports related to spam, phishing, malware, etc. Typically the numbers of reports are in the hundreds if not the thousands. When you do see that message, I would switch the server you're connected to with your VPN to get on what is hopefully a better IP address.

If it happens frequently, which it sounds like it does, I would make note of the IP address that is blocked. Try searching online to see where it's blacklisted (there are some great sites out there - http://www.barracudacentral.org/lookups, https://www.spamhaus.org/lookup/, https://www.ipqualityscore.com/free-ip- ... y-vpn-test to name a few). Once you see where it's blacklisted you might consider reaching out to your VPN provider to see what they're doing about it. Any reputable VPN will want to work to get their IPs off of blacklists.

I completely understand the need for VPNs - as I mentioned, I use a VPN too. It's unfortunate that bad actors have made it so challenging. Thanks much for understanding.

Kristi
There is nothing more important than this one day.

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TazKristi
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Re: Trying to Use Spyderco Forum with VPN

Postby TazKristi » Mon Feb 10, 2020 8:52 am

A quick follow-up, I did a brief search on the IPs that we have logged for you. Two out of five are blacklisted, one is a safe IP with no risk or issues, and the last two are both moderate risks but trending towards being blacklisted. I'd say a closer look at your VPN provider would be a good idea. I hope this information helps.

Kristi
There is nothing more important than this one day.

ducknado
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Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:03 am

Re: Trying to Use Spyderco Forum with VPN

Postby ducknado » Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:07 pm

Thank you for looking into this, Kristi. I will continue trying different servers when I use the forum. Is the "waiting for moderator approval" related to this or a different issue entirely, like I need to reach a certain number of posts or something to not have each submission moderated?

Thank you

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TazKristi
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Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2005 1:00 pm
Location: Golden, CO

Re: Trying to Use Spyderco Forum with VPN

Postby TazKristi » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:15 am

ducknado wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:07 pm
Thank you for looking into this, Kristi. I will continue trying different servers when I use the forum. Is the "waiting for moderator approval" related to this or a different issue entirely, like I need to reach a certain number of posts or something to not have each submission moderated?

Thank you
Hi, ducknado:
The post-approval is standard for all new members. Once you reach a certain number of posts, it will drop off. Spammers are crafty these days. You'll find numerous posts about post-approval in this area of the forum. :)

Thanks much.

Kristi
There is nothing more important than this one day.

ducknado
Member
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:03 am

Re: Trying to Use Spyderco Forum with VPN

Postby ducknado » Wed Feb 12, 2020 3:00 am

Well allow me to thank you in another post, Kristi, for all the help. I appreciate it!


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