After some investigation, it appears the spammer is not a person but rather a botnet. These are, unfortunately, not all that uncommon. They consist of networks of compromised machines, typically Windows machines, and the network of things, Televisions, etc, that are easily compromised and turned into a network of bots that the controller often leases to a third party such as a spammer, to do their evil work.
Looking at the registrations, always they registered with an e-mail address of (something)@subdomain.cheapdigitalcameras.net.
Registration was allowed without any sort of confirmation in the BBS configuration. I have changed that to require mail validation. The captchas that come with phpBB3 are all garbage, there are image recognition programs that can extract the text from them fairly reliably and botnets will employ these to gain access. I've installed a "Sortables" captcha that involves sorting things into appropriate columns. This requires a mouse movement and is more difficult for bots to simulate, even if they happen to know the correct answers. I've used this on my phpBB at Eskimo and it has successfully kept spammers out for three years.
I further used infectious and non-infectious diseases which hopefully someone stupid enough to have to resort to spamming for a living won't be able to properly sort.
Hopefully this will provide a better experience.
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