The PHP Spam Poison is a fake-page generator that simulates long lists of fake email addresses and links to more generated pages, to be harvested by spam-robots, effectively poisoning their databases with useless email addresses. This spam poisoner was inspired by the WPoison software from Monkeys.com.
Features of the PHP Spam Poison
- It uses PHP, so no CGI access is needed.
- Fast and lightweight.
- Highly configurable.
- Can be included by others PHP pages.
- Require software available in most hosting services.
- Doesn’t require a SQL database.
- Works in Linux/Unix and Windows servers (with IIS or Apache).
- GPL license (open-source).
- Simple to install.
Required: PHP 4.1.x or higher. Your web server should be able to interpret the PHP language. It really doesn’t matter the platform (tested with GNU/Linux and Windows 2000).
Required: A web server. It should work with any web server running in your workstation or server (tested with Apache in GNU/Linux, with Apache in Windows 2000 and IIS in Windows 2000).
Download the PHP Spam Poison
The current version are available as a tar.gz package or as a zip file at http://www.mariovaldez.net/software/phpwpoison/
Also you can find ther the Readme (readme.txt), Changelog (version.txt), checksums (checksums.txt) and license (license.txt) files.
Installation of the PHP Spam Poison
1) Get the files
Get the files from http://www.mariovaldez.net/software/phpwpoison/ (There are zip and tar.gz files available). Be sure to download also the wordlist.
Extract the script files in a web server directory. That will create a “phpwpoison” directory with few filesinside. Then unpack the wordlist and save it in the same directory.
3) Change ownership
Change the ownership of those files and the directory “phpwpoison” to the user used by your web server (usually “nobody” in Unix/Linux). To change the ownership in Linux/Unix, you execute in a shell terminal.
chown -h -R nobody:nobody phpwpoison/
In Windows environments, using the Windows Explorer, check the Security tab of the Properties dialog of the directory, and set the permissions so that the user IUSR_servername has permissions to read and write on the “phpwpoison” directory.
If you cannot set the ownership, at least be sure to enable writting permissions in the directory.
4) Rename the directory
Rename the phpwpoison directory to a simple name. Avoid “poison”, “spam”, etc. The idea is to not give a clue to those email-harvester robots that this is a trap.
5) Rename the script
Rename the emailusers.php file to any simple name. Avoid “poison”, “spam”, etc. The idea is to not give a clue to those email-harvester robots that this is a trap.
Edit the renamed PHP file, changing at least the pwp_scriptname variable. If you renamed the script to “listusers.php” then set the pwp_scriptname variable to “listusers.php”. Also, check the pwp_html_postheader and pwp_html_footer variables, where you can
insert HTML so the generated pages match your website look.
Try to open the renamed PHP file from your the browser thru the web server. (Please note that by default, the script will make a pause of up to 30 seconds before finishing rendering the page; to modify or eliminate that delay, edit the script and change the options pwp_minsleeptime and pwp_maxsleeptime).
8) You are done.
The following step is optional:
9) Create a spammer list (option available since version 1.1.0)
Maybe you already have a list of email addresses of known spammers. A list with real addresses (not fake addresses like those used by most spammers). Some spammers are just uninformed people thinking that spamming is a good business practice. Some of them will stop spamming when learn that spamming is not good for their business. But for those who don’t…
Let the phpwpoison script create fake email addresses mixed with spammers addresses. Let other spammers know what spamming is all about for the receiver.
Create a text file with each line containing an email address. Avoid using the default spammers.txt filename. Edit the phpwpoison script and change the variables pwp_use_spammer_list, pwp_spammer_file and pwp_spammer_ratio.
Always create a robots.txt file in your site, to let search engines know that they should not visit the spam trap. Email harvesters usually ignore the robots.txt file, so they will fall into the trap anyway.
For more information about the robots.txt file, visit The Web Robots pages or the Robots.txt Tutorial (from SearchEngineWorld).
For example, the robots.txt file in this website looks like this (meaning that search engines should not follow the spam trap located in the users.php webpage):
The pages generated by phpWPoison may take a few seconds to render, but it’s not because they are slow. It is because phpWPoison waits a random number of seconds before finishing sending the page. The goal is slow-down the spam-spider. You can adjust this waiting time editing the variables pwp_minsleeptime and pwp_maxsleeptime.
You can include the output of the phpWPoison script so it can be shown as part of a different webpage. Just build you hosting page (as PHP) as usual, but for the content use something like:
Then edit the emailusers.php script and change the option pwp_scriptname to the name of the hosting script. Change the option pwp_standalone to false. Also, adjust the paths of the files set in the options pwp_word_file, pwp_cache_file and pwp_spammer_file (which are relatives to the hosting script).
NOTE: if you include the script into another, the pwp_html_preheader, pwp_html_postheader and pwp_html_footer variables are ignored. Then you should provide the meta tag ROBOTS in the head of the hosting webpage (or be sure to provide a robots.txt file in your site).