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Thread: Getting spam messages with CAPTCHA installed via formmail-relaytest

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default Getting spam messages with CAPTCHA installed via formmail-relaytest

    I installed the CAPTCHA feature in the hope of reducing spam but suddenly seem to have received even more spamas follows:
    email heading:

    FormMail script error (formmail-relaytest patiodeckbuilding.com//formmail.php)

    email body:

    To: myemail@mywebsite.com (not my real email)
    From: FormMail@patiodeckbuilding.com
    The following error occurred in FormMail :
    no_recipients
    **********
    Error=The form has an internal error - no actions or recipients were specified.

    email: devnull@kundenserver.de
    realname: Foo Bar
    recipient: '<devnull@schlund.net>www.patiodeckbuilding.com'
    message: 'mrvnet_will_discard_this_message=b16a4aabed2f34330bbd0350981d3b40'
    Referring page was http://www.patiodeckbuilding.com
    User IP address was 127.0.0.1

    What am I doing wrong to receive such spam e-mail and how do I fix it?
    I've got hidden fields in my contact form as follows:
    <input type="hidden" name="required" value="email:Your email address,imgverify:The text shown in the image" />

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    3,980

    Default Re: Getting spam messages with CAPTCHA installed via formmail-relaytest

    Hi,

    Making "imgverify" required in your HTML is ineffective against spam bots - they just bypass that field.

    The solution until recently is to move the "required" specification into an INI file (see the HOW TO guide).

    However, we now have a much easier solution since version 8.10: $REQUIRE_CAPTCHA.

    Just set this to the message you want:
    PHP Code:
    $REQUIRE_CAPTCHA "The text shown in the image"
    and no submission will be accepted without the correct CAPTCHA value.
    Russell Robinson - Author of Tectite FormMail and FormMailDecoder
    http://www.tectite.com/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Getting spam messages with CAPTCHA installed via formmail-relaytest

    I did excatly as suggested and put
    $REQUIRE_CAPTCHA = "The text shown in the image"; but I suspect some spammer is trying to prove (quite successfully) that he can defeat that method as well since just now I received 10 spam emails of the following kind, with different "recipient" showing in each one - exactly as I received before earlier today: (and I received exactly the same 10 spam emails within a minute or so on another 3 sites where I also use the tectite formmail with
    $REQUIRE_CAPTCHA = "The text shown in the image" included.

    To: email@mywebsite.com (not my actual email)
    From: FormMail@patiomakeover.com
    The following error occurred in FormMail :
    missing_fields
    Error=The form required some values that you did not seem to provide.
    Please enter the image characters

    email: devnull@kundenserver.de
    realname: Foo Bar
    recipient: 'devnull@schlund.net'
    message: 'mrvnet_will_discard_this_message=b16a4aabed2f34330bbd0350981d3b40'
    Referring page was http://www.worldwidemart.com
    User IP address was 127.0.0.1

    But if I test my contact form on my site and dont enter the CAPTCHA it says:

    An error occurred while processing the form .
    The form required some values that you did not seem to provide.
    The text shown in the image
    Please enter the image characters


    Any suggestions of what I can do?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    3,980

    Default Re: Getting spam messages with CAPTCHA installed via formmail-relaytest

    Hi,

    To: email@mywebsite.com (not my actual email)
    From: FormMail@patiomakeover.com
    The following error occurred in FormMail :
    missing_fields
    Error=The form required some values that you did not seem to provide.
    Please enter the image characters
    This is an error message from FormMail - an alert message. It is not a successful form submission.

    Set ALERT_ON_USER_ERROR to false and you won't get these alert messages any more.
    Russell Robinson - Author of Tectite FormMail and FormMailDecoder
    http://www.tectite.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Getting spam messages with CAPTCHA installed via formmail-relaytest

    Hi,
    I'm using version 8.1 with CAPTCHA and I have the settings:
    $REQUIRE_CAPTCHA = "Please enter the image characters";
    and
    define("ALERT_ON_USER_ERROR",false);
    and
    $FROM_USER = "";
    but I still have:
    define("DEF_ALERT","myemail@mywebsite.com");

    my contact form does NOT show any complete email address but uses the MANGLE for the @ symbol but I'm still getting spam messages such as below.
    Note the error message is actully incorrect since the image verification string is NOT missing.
    So although I seems to have stopped the "user error" messages, it is letting through incorrect "imternal errors" which I asssume I can only fix by removing my email address from the DEF_ALERT (which you dont recommend).

    FormMail script error

    To: myemail@mywebsite.com (not my actual address)
    From: FormMail@swiftdek.com
    The following error occurred in FormMail :
    verify_failed
    **********
    Error=Image verification string missing. This is probably a fault on the server.

    email: funrir@lnutue.com
    realname:
    firstname: 'sukqixh'
    lastname: 'sukqixh'
    busphone: 'EQVRvNjsaLyGQp'
    homephone: 'http://zqeylyzcouao.com/'
    city: 'pjHTVEuDnjf'
    state: 'kRjavKTJyUgeJdVdjE'
    EnquiryType: 'Project manager,Landscape architect/contractor,Architect/designer,Importer,Other'
    message: 'Yt0IWp <a href='http://tnrgxbsthhyz.com/'>tnrgxbsthhyz</a>, qmhnkwsphqjo, [link=http://xjbnabjbbmpy.com/]xjbnabjbbmpy[/link], http://pueymitnjlop.com/'
    Referring page was http://www.swiftdek.com/Contact/contact-form.htm
    User IP address was 94.102.60.45

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    3,980

    Default Re: Getting spam messages with CAPTCHA installed via formmail-relaytest

    Hi,

    This is all good.

    The error has now changed to indicate that the CAPTCHA image was not displayed. Or, in other words, the form was not displayed in a user's browser.

    This is typical of spambot behaviour.

    So, the next step is to switch off alerts on certain types of errors.

    Set ATTACK_DETECTION_IGNORE_ERRORS to true.

    You can read about this setting here: http://www.tectite.com/fmdoc/attack_...ore_errors.php

    I know this seems very tedious and complex, but there is a good reason for all of these steps.

    The worst thing is to have a script or form that doesn't work and you get no error messages. Then you're working in the dark and just guessing.

    So, we always provide lots of feedback (error messages) and then allow you to switch them off once you're happy your form is working OK.
    Last edited by russellr; 20-Nov-2008 at 01:19 AM.
    Russell Robinson - Author of Tectite FormMail and FormMailDecoder
    http://www.tectite.com/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Getting spam messages with CAPTCHA installed via formmail-relaytest

    Hi RussellR,
    I am also getting the "Error=Image verification string missing" message. However, it is happening when I'm testing the form - so I know I'm entering the capcha code correctly. When I submit the form, the browser says that the staff at mywebsite.com has been alerted to the error etc... And I do receive an error email listing all the info from each field filled out in the form, but it also states that the image verification failed.

    All of the test forms worked correctly, and I have tried all that I know about so far, but I am new to this. If I remove capcha from my form it works fine.

    Any help is appreciated.
    Peter

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    3,980

    Default Re: Getting spam messages with CAPTCHA installed via formmail-relaytest

    Hi Peter,

    This means the verifyimg (or CaptchaCreator) script hasn't successfully communicated the verification string to FormMail.

    There can be several causes:
    1. You haven't been consistent with domain names. Some places you've used "www.yourdomain.com" and other places you've used "yourdomain.com".
    2. You've used the $SESSION_NAME feature in FormMail. Verifyimg.php supports this too, but CaptchaCreator doesn't.
    3. Your server has a problem.
    Please check 1 & 2. If that's not the problem, then you'll need to get your hosting provider to fix the problem on your server.

    If you subscribe for support I can check out the issue in detail and fix it. If it's definitely a problem on the server I can provide simple proof to your hosting provider that that's the problem.
    Russell Robinson - Author of Tectite FormMail and FormMailDecoder
    http://www.tectite.com/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Getting spam messages with CAPTCHA installed via formmail-relaytest

    Hi Russell,
    thank you for the help. The problem was the first thing you listed, so fixing it was pretty straight forward. I just have to get used to the fact that computer code is not like jazz music: When I play, if I play a "bad" note it somehow ends up getting turned into a "cool" new riff - not so with code!

    Anyway,
    thanks again for your help!
    Peter

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    3,980

    Default OT: Re: Getting spam messages with CAPTCHA installed via formmail-relaytest

    Hi,

    I just have to get used to the fact that computer code is not like jazz music: When I play, if I play a "bad" note it somehow ends up getting turned into a "cool" new riff - not so with code!
    Actually, you're just about spot on!

    In jazz, you can get away with one bad choice (better term than bad note), but a sequence of bad choices just sounds wrong.

    I have a habit of hitting 4ths at the wrong time. Sometimes I get away with it by hitting it again and saying "see I meant it!".

    It's happening less and less, though.

    Making the same mistake many times in computer code makes this definitely worse, not better.

    What instrument(s) do you play?
    Russell Robinson - Author of Tectite FormMail and FormMailDecoder
    http://www.tectite.com/

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