If you happen to have installed Joomla based website and setup a contact form and everything worked fine until recently but suddenly your server starts mysteriously acting as a spam relay – even though email server is perfectly secured against spam.
You probably have some issue with a website email contact form hacked or some vulnerability which allowed hackers to upload spammer php script.
I have a website based on Joomla and just until recently everything was okay until I noticed there are tons of spam flying out from my Qmail mail server (which is configured to check spam with Spamassassin has Bayesian Filtering, Distributed Checksum Claring House, Python Razor and plenty of custom anti-spam rules.
It was just yesterday I ended into that situation, then after evaluating all the hosted website, I've realized Spam issues are caused by an Old Joomla Website Contact form!
There were two issues in the form
in the contact form you have the field with a tick:
1. Well Known Joomla Form Vulnerability
Currently all Joomla (including 1.5.22 and 1.6 versions) are vulnerable to a serious spam relay problem as described in the official Joomla site.
There is a quick dirty workaround fix to contact form vulnerability – disable a Joomla Comonent in ../joomla/components/com_mailto/
To disable it I had to:
mv com_mailto com_mailtoNOT_USED
Above solution was described under a post resolve joomla spam relay earlier by Anatoliy Dimitrov (after checking closely the website it happened he is a colleague at HP 🙂 )
2. Second issue causing high amount of spam sent over the email server
was: "E-mail a copy of this message to your own address." contact form tick, which was practically enabling any Spammer with a list to inect emails and spam via the form sending copies to any email out on the internet!
You would definitely want to disable "E-mail a copy of this message to your own address."
I wonder why ever any Joomla developer came up with this "spam form"??
Here is the solution to this:
1. Login to Joomla Admin with admin account
2. Goto Components -> Contacts -> Contacts
3. Click on the relevant Contact form
4. Under Contact Parameters go to Email Parameters
5. Change field E-mail Copy from Show to Hide and click Apply button
And Hooray the E-mail a copy of this message to your own address will be gone from contact form! 🙂
I've seen already plenty of problematic hacked servers and scripts before with Joomla in my last job in International University College – where joomla was heavy used, but I never experienced Joomla Security issues myself 'till know, in future I'm planning to never ever use joomla. Though it is an easy CMS system to setup a website its quite complicated to learn the menus – I remember when creating the problematic website it took me days until I properly setup all the menus and find all joomla components … besides these there is no easy way to migrate between different versions major releases in Joomla like in Wordperss, I guess this Mail Security Issue absolutely convinced me to quit using that piece of crap in future.
In mean Time another very serious Apache security flaw leaked on the Internet just few days ago – The OpenSSL Hearbleed Bug. Thanksfully I'm not running SSL anywhere on my website but many systems are affecting making most of your SSL communication with your Internet banking, E-mail etc. in danger. If you're running Apache with SSL make sure you test it for this vulnerability. Here is description of Heartbleed SSL Critical Vulnerability.
"The Heartbleed Bug is a serious vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. This weakness allows stealing the information protected, under normal conditions, by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet. SSL/TLS provides communication security and privacy over the Internet for applications such as web, email, instant messaging (IM) and some virtual private networks (VPNs).
The Heartbleed bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software. This compromises the secret keys used to identify the service providers and to encrypt the traffic, the names and passwords of the users and the actual content. This allows attackers to eavesdrop on communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users."