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I have been getting some help from Dusty at Site 5 - he has a lot of experience with our SMF forum software and suggested a few tweaks. One of which was a list of the highest number of hits from certain IP addresses. Most were Google, Microsoft, etc. but two where suspicious - one in China and the second in Turkey. I don't think we have members in those countries so I have blocked those IP ranges.
Using the dashboard or cPanel is a great method for permanently blocking an IP or a range of IP's. Simple to do too. Better than the ban in the SMF software as it reduces server load. There are a few IP ranges we have banned in SMF that might be best blocked at the server level. I can produce a list if wanted.
I think they are barking up the wrong tree.