Every once in a while, a fill in form is required or needed in order to gather and analyze subscriptions, payments or other types of information. Not all forms are the same but nevertheless, they share the most basic of parameters. These elements are the most basic, whether designing for a website, television or a mobile app. They include a text area for – Name, Email, Message and a Submit button. In the past, simply setting these up would be all ok but SPAMMERS have figured out how to hijack forms using remote crawlers and robots/bugs whose automated commands are designed to send SPAM messages to you and everyone else. It is uncommon for system administrators to receive 500+ emails each day about every topic under the sun – viagra pills, casino trials, lottery bonus and so forth.

For the spammers who are keen to go further, your forms can be hijacked and used as a rerouting point for compromising email messages to people in your address book. Though this hardly occurs, you can be the target of spammers if you let your guards down. There are several mail and forms protection software which I highly recommend for the corporate IT manager.

A low cost way to “wall” off your forms and to make it harder for robots to hijack your forms. This low-cost solution is called “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart” or CAPTCHA.

Applying CAPTCHA to your fill-in forms will "FORCE" SPAMMERS to manually fill in a randomly generated text-on-an-image into a separate text-area of your form. If a spammer fails to respond to this request, the form will return an error and thus not forward any email. CAPTCHA has its downsides – 1) It is written in PHP 2) A badly written CAPTCHA is worse than no CAPTCHA

Keep your forms safe and secure. My two cents! Stay Professional.

About the author: Sal Souza is an International Designer (Graphic, Visual, Multimedia, Broadcast Media, Industrial, User Interaction, User Experience) and IT Consultant with expertise in New Media, Web 3.0, IPTV, DTV, Media Production, Product Prototyping, Desktop Software, Interactivity, Mobile Applications, Traditional Knowledge, Geographical Indications and Cultural Goods. He lives and works in Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

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