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  IRC Warfare  

Non-technical Attacks

Just because the technical type attacks and exploits get all the attention does not lessen the harmful effectiveness of the more obvious and low-tech methods of attacking someone. Simple abuse and smear campaigns are some of the most difficult attacks to deal with.

If another user of IRC spends his time whispering vile insults at you well then that's exactly what the 'ignore' function was made for. The ops of a channel or server can't help much unless they personally witness the attacks. Logs are no good, since anything that exists in text format can be created in a text editor. All logs can be faked.

Simply placing the user on ignore is best. Trust your friends to let you know what the attacker gets upto that you need know. If you don't have friends to trust then perhaps you need to look at your own behaviour to see why you are getting abuse but no friendships.

If an abusive idiot pursues you around then there are two easy methods to follow. Either disconnect and redial to change your ip to throw him off, (don't forget to change nick too), or lead him into whatever room the server ops or IRCops tend to hang out in. The beginners channels are often a good place. Let him get himself k-lined for unprovoked abuse there.

Of course, not all of the non-technical abuse is direct. Some of these nasty little kids will attempt to smear your name by using it when you are offline. They might abuse the Ops using your name or abuse your friends if they know who they are.

Well, if you suspect this then the answer is to warn people you know that you believe this has been happening and ask them to note the ip of anyone using your nick for a few days. You should also warn the channel ops of your favourite rooms in case someone uses your nick to abuse them in the hopes of getting you banned.

In all cases of attack of any kind your first step is to do what you can to limit the attackers ability to harm you. The second step is always to attempt to identify who is behind the attacks.

Retaliation is also possible. Remember, people invariably attack others in ways that show their own vulnerabilities. A person who criticizes weight a lot is almost always concerned about their own. Someone who attacks personality is probably insecure about their own charm. Someone who attacks your repute is obviously a person who is worried about reputation. Use that weakness - write a web-page that makes them look as weak and petty as they are.

DO NOT get involved in slanging matches. You too could be kicked by the ops and no-one on IRC wants to be in an unpleasant channel. By all means tear them apart in a polite and terribly patronizing manner if you have that talent. The tactics comedians use against hecklers is perfect.

However, do remember that comedians and the like get paid to put themselves in the line of fire from hecklers. If you get abuse in some channel where you don't normally hang out then the simplest and most mature approach is simply to leave the kiddies to play in peace.

The Ignore Command

The /ignore command is actually quite a powerful command in terms of its scope. The ignore command is not by any means an all or nothing feature and you can set the exact things you wish to ignore.

/IGNORE [-lrpcntikxu#] <on|off|nick/address> [type]

The ignore command needs one of four parameters and has ten switches. This allows for a great deal of 'fine tuning'. The optional switches do the following things.

The /ignore switches:

-r Removes the ignore you specify
-p Ignores Private messages
-c Ignores Channel messages
-n Ignores Notices
-t Ignores CTCPs
-i Ignores Invites
-k Ignores Control codes (bold, colours etc.)
-x Species this user/address should be Excluded from ignores
-u<duration in seconds> will remove itself after the time specified.

You'll note that there is an optional parameter for [Type] which is the type of mask you specify for the user's address. See the Hostmasks section in Events Scripting for a full explaination of masks.

Okay lets get practical now and show some example /ignore commands and the way that they work.

/ignore -pntiu900 George

This ignores everything EXCEPT channel text (-pnti) from the person with the nick George. Any attempt by George to send you notices, private messages or a ctcp message will be completely ignored by mIRC, and it will not display to you at all. George has no clue that he is being ignored unless you tell him so. This ignore will automatically remove itself after 15 minutes (-u900).

/ignore George 3

This ignores everything from George using a type 3 hostmask to identify him so that simply changing nick won't help him. It uses his ident and domain to identify him.

Try out some of your own preferred types of ignores and add them to some alias or popup scripts in mIRC for quick use. Need some more ideas?

/ignore -t <nick> 3

This one just ignores ctcps from the person specified and so blocks out things like sounds and dcc sends without blocking their chat messages. Ideal for those times when someone is driving you mad with non-stop sounds.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you do use ignores, remember that they are in effect. You should check the current ignores every day or two and remove any you no longer need. Current ignores are listed in the options, under the 'IRC' group of options, in the 'Control' sub-group.

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