Spam prevention

More
25 Feb 2019 12:16 - 28 Feb 2019 08:55 #1 by Jennie Dawson
Spam prevention was created by Jennie Dawson
Hi Demis

I have been a subscriber to your contact form for many years now, I use it on several sites and I love its ease of use and many things about it.

My main bugbear, as I'm sure it is for many, is spam submissions which seem to particularly be on the increase.

I think the following features could really help, so would like to suggest them.

1. Block urls in form content - a lot of spam sends urls to click on so would like to be able to block this

2. Restrict length of characters in form submission to catch the lengthy ones. See example below, I received 2 of these today

3. Honeypot bot catcher

I've had a lot of very annoying ones lately which tends to escalate and is spreading to other sites. It always has the same 'from' email address so could be useful to block by email address too, or maybe emails emanating from a particular country as .ru seems to be a common one. The one I mention here is from a fake email yourmail@gmail.com. It also has the same content each time so I am blocking these by that content which so far seems to work. The content is always Hello. And Bye. I fail to understand what this achieves mind you but there must be something at work.

The length spam submission I received 2 lots today worries me because it's from a company in the Czech Republic and they are offering a service to submit newsletters via their database of website contact forms. In other words they are selling a spamming service! They include a really, really long price list and supply a contact email address. The url for this belongs a Czech web portal and search engine company - seznam.cz.

I'd be interested to know if you think any of these are feasible/useful/possible to implement.

I'm pasting below some of the really, really long form submission I told you about because of the implications it has. I've pasted the content down to the price for Joomla forms which shows the number of Joomla websites that they can submit to. After that they list by country/domain extension, eg:

.uk 3304606 websites International zone United Kingdom:.com.net.biz.info.org.name.tel.mobi.asia-$150
.uk 5496382 websites United Kingdom – $250

I'm amazed they are so blatant about it.

Thank you
Jennie

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
28 Feb 2019 09:43 - 28 Feb 2019 09:45 #2 by Demis [Fox-Labs]
Replied by Demis [Fox-Labs] on topic Spam prevention
Hello Jennie,
thanks for your nice words and for your support along all these years.
And thanks for your suggestion as well, which are always really appreciated.

Block urls in form content, a lot of spam sends urls to click

I think so, too. That's why from the very beginning Fox Contact implemented a content filter by default. Just create a new form and take a look to the "Security" tab. Unless you have intentionally disabled it, you should see a list of pattern typical of links, which had been working very good for the first 6 years.

Restrict length of characters in form submission to catch the lengthy ones

That's another good idea, and we implemented it recently indeed. Use the property "Max text length" in the field "Text Area".

Honeypot bot catcher

Next generation spam bots do not fall into honeypot easily. Honeypots are basically hidden fields which humans don't fill out. For that reason, honeypot must be a "not mandatory" field, because humans has no chance to fill out a field they don't even see.
Well, modern spam bots are quite conservative, and they just skip any field which is not mandatory, just to avoid to fall into a honeypot.

We also have additional anti spam techniques.
Since you have mentioned some Russian domains, one of these techniques is based on sender domain. We still don't have an editor for this, but if you can access your Joomla database, just add your spammers domains to the table #_foxcontact_domain_blacklist, where # stands for your own table prefix.

Again, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. This is really useful and appreciated.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
06 Mar 2019 13:37 #3 by Jennie Dawson
Replied by Jennie Dawson on topic Spam prevention
Hi Demis

Thank you for your reply. I have started installing latest contact form on my sites, but only done 2 so far!! I've had other issues to deal with. So far on these sites I've not seen any more spam so hopefully it's made the difference.

I can see the word limit on the message textarea so that's working fine.

I can also see the pattern in the content filter so I'll watch out for any submissions that make it through with a url in them and check it's there. I do use the content filter quite a bit. I thought I'd had submissions with url's in them but I could be wrong and might have been from a non Joomla site. I'll watch out for this and report back if it does happen.

Thanks again for all your help and support and your most excellent work.

Best regards
Jennie

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
06 Mar 2019 15:10 #4 by Demis [Fox-Labs]
Replied by Demis [Fox-Labs] on topic Spam prevention
Thanks!

You can also looking at the blocked spam attempts in Fox Contact log file, which is locate in logs/foxcontact.php or administrator/logs/foxcontact.php depending on your Joomla settings.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.