Popular cheating ways:
- TOR browser – detection
- web proxies
- SCAM (getonlinevotes.com, socpublic.com, www.seosprint.net)
- voting bots
- using Mobile Internet to change IP
There are 2 ways to prevent cheating:
1. Active security
What it is: “Active security” means preset Voting security types; more here.
Objective: detect user votes by analyzing some parameters like IP, cookies, and such.
Problems: TorBrowser can sometimes get around default security.
Most Secure Security type: Social Login. This setting relies on social network accounts and prevents users from voting more than allowed in the plugin settings.
Also, a way to secure more is using reCaptcha, as it prevents fast voting or automated cheating.
Finally, allowing voting for logged in users only will force cheaters to create several accounts, which takes time.
What it is: system, that tries analyze vote and find similarity with exists info (like diff IP but the same browser and OS).
You can enable in: Admin => Photo contest => Settings => Voting => “Enable anti fraud system”.
Objective: analysis of a vote to give it a spam score from 0 to 100. This setting allows mistakes and does not block votes or detect small cheats, but if a lot of votes with a high spam score show up, they become questionable.
Principle: When a user votes, the plugin checks the user’s information and scans the database to find similarities in the voting behavior, even with other IP addresses.
Also, the plugin will try to detect Tor Browser (that browser allows its users to change IP).
Note: with this setting, the administrator will have to check Voting log manually to find cheating problems.
3. Analyze voting log
Small example: https://recordit.co/vWcCvjQjTs
You can export all votes and check:
- Voting date: if you see peaks of activity at night or votes every 10 seconds for a long time for example.
- Refer: if you see many empty refers or refers from sites like fiverr.com, getonlinevotes.com, this is an indicator for cheating.
- Possible use of charts for detailed analysis of suspicious photos, to see votes per day, and some splashes.
- Voters country: if you have a contest for New York inhabitants but you see too many votes from Brasil for example, there is probably cheating involved (of course this info is not 100% exact but it is accurate enough to see the overall situation).
When contests have good prizes, users will always try to find ways of cheating. You need to be vigilant over this.