Be Safe Out There

freenode is sometimes a target of spammers, bots, or attempts to trick users into taking action or giving up information they normally would not. One form of spam, popular recently, claims that freenode will require SASL to connect. Others attempt to lure users to a website that may generate revenue for the spammer, attempt to install malicious software, reveal information about the user (such as location, IP address, operating system, and so on), or lead to a shock site intended to offend or disgust. Other spam has no purpose except to cause disruption through channel noise, nick-highlights, and the ensuing complaints from those disrupted.

Don’t be a victim of these mischievous ploys. Don’t react when you see this sort of activity. Don’t click on unsolicited links. Don’t trust spam to be accurate or truthful. Instead, be a catalyst or just ignore the unwanted behavior. Most IRC clients offer a way to filter out messages from a person or containing certain text by using a command called /ignore. Even if your client doesn’t support /ignore, you can mentally ignore it just like you might ignore someone yelling on a street corner.

Bad behavior that is limited to one or two channels can be handled by the helpers and operators in the channel. If you feel compelled to report spam or abusive behavior, privately message one of the people on the channel’s access list, which may be seen using /msg chanserv access #channel list. To check how recently a person was active, use /whois nickname nickname. (Yes, put the nick twice). This will show whether they are away, and how long they have been idle. Some projects use a -ops channel (e.g. #ubuntu-ops) to make it easier to contact an operator.

If bad behavior is widespread, network staff may intervene. As always, staffers can be reached in #freenode. When reporting an issue, please do not (re-)paste spam or highlight many nicks. This only adds to the disruption and makes the reporter look like the spammer. When a staffer responds, you can privately message the content of the spam, if it is important to addressing the problem.

And one final word about announcements: any major change to the network’s operations (like, say, requiring SASL) would be announced properly through the website and/or blog. We might also announce it over IRC using a global notice or wallop. A wallop or global notice would come from a staffer — someone with a freenode/staff cloak in whois — and probably appear in your client’s server or status window. Spammers may choose nicks that look similar to those of staffers, but staffers will have a freenode/staff cloak and we will not spam channels as a way of making announcements. A bit of skepticism before trusting something seen on the internet can help keep you safe, and the network running smoothly.

30 thoughts on “Be Safe Out There

  1. I totally agree with this post… Man trolls are soo annoying!!@! If people would only learn not to click virus and attack links they wouldn’t get their identities stolen and bank accounts emptied. Thanks, Freenode!

  2. Is annoying to me. I access freenode to improve my small knowledge of programming, as I’m designer mainly. And, yeah, the post is totally right on its comments.
    Unfortunatelly bad manners are widespread.

  3. why my IRC banned easily??i juz log sometimes in the site of RF freedom forum..please i wanna know the reason why it banned so easly?

  4. Isn’t SASL required for some networks? I can’t connect without a SASL client lately when I try to connect from AT&T tethered connections. (Which sucks because mIrc isn’t SASL).

  5. Yes, unfortunately, we were forced to do this. If I were you, I would lobby the mIRC devs and/or switch to an alternate client like XChat. The build is both Free and free for Windows.

  6. hello
    i need some help
    i cant connect t a network with my j downloader what can i do

    thank you

  7. I am not sure what J downloader is, but if you install XChat from (Linux, Mac) or (Windows), you can join #freenode and we will try to help you.

  8. Hmm, maybe. I guess there’s no harm in leaving the comment up, but thanks for the info :)

    Normally, I only scan for the obvious nonsensical, flamebait or spam and let everything else through.

  9. For those that do not know, freenode offers some SASL scripts for a few clients (Irssi, X-Chat, and mIRC) on

  10. Only if you actually ask a question :)

    It would be best to simply drop into #freenode and ask there.

  11. SASL is also required from Virgin Mobile broadband, which is a pain when I’m trying to connect my bot to my channel to test it and that’s the only connection available. Is there some kind of SASL library or instructions that I could incorporate into the redturnip irc framework I’m using for the bot?

  12. Hi, I’d like to connect a personal bot to a personal channel using Virgin Mobile Broadband but the connection is refused because the bot doesn’t implement SASL, is there any easy way or instructions how I can modify the bot to use SASL authentication? Thanks!

  13. rsm: minimum SASL support that works (PLAIN method) seems to be…
    (tried with help of #freenode):

    first bot sends
    CAP REQ :sasl
    before any USER/NICK

    then bots base64 encodes following string (example in Java)
    String authStr = saslNick + “00” + saslNick + “00” + saslPass
    String authEncoded = Base64.encode(authStr);

    where saslNick is variable with nickserv username and saslPass is variable with nickserv pass and “00” is ASCII char 0

    bot sends to server
    “AUTHENTICATE ” + authEncoded

    when bot gets 903 numeric reply from server, it sends
    to finish SASL and then send NICK/USER commands.

  14. SASL works for mirc. There is an Add-on script floating around. Use google. I connect by tor to freenode by SASL. (I run a Tor node so freenode bans me otherwise).

  15. Hi, I am a silver surfer (75+) new to Ubunto. I use as my main compute Windows 7 on a Dell with a Kodak ESP5250 printer.
    I have also an Aspire one which has Ubunto v 10.10 on it and I am trying to get it to connect wirelessly to my printer and main computer.
    I can get it to recognise the printer and it connects to the Thomson wireless modem but it will go no further and will not connect to the internet or printer.

  16. Hello!

    Since days of active users of the site I am sorry to find that my nick name suddenly seems to be reserved, and I generally can not reach into the chat. What can cause this?

  17. hi ,
    i am using freenas 8.0 ,facing some issue to add domain users rights on folder permission. unable to add join domain.

  18. FYI, the latest release of XChat-WDK (1499-2) bundles a plugin for SASL support. Enjoy.

  19. Tmobile banned freenode get SASL via teathering! No big deal use cable network. :). I use irssi like command line.

  20. I can not contact to irc chanel via it can’t send anything & bealeve me i would like to talk with you all a little help? and just to know i’m not using you all as a facebook eather just so you know all of this & i am not repreat NOT a criminal or killer?

    Send me a message when you get this ok?

    Micah James

  21. do not I get here by accident, I was motivated by my thirst for knowledge and interest in programming. Forgive me my ignorance I would like to know more, which is freenode?

  22. I use Colloquy on my iPhone

    On my Windows Machine I use mIRC+NNScript

    Go to NNSCRIPT.DE, it’s no longer updated (the site or the script) but the NN script default theme is gorgeous.

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