Getting bombarded with spam emails via Joomla

Discussion regarding Joomla! 3.x security issues.

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Getting bombarded with spam emails via Joomla

Post by jross » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:16 pm

Hello, my client is receiving hundreds of spam emails with the subject, Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender

The message itself is

"Aussie Princess" <>
3/16/2018 2:45 AM

This is a copy of the following message you sent to Aussie Princess via Aussie Princess Luxury Boat Charters

This is an enquiry email via from:
Леночка Козлова <>


Is this happening as a result of the site (Joomla 3.8.6) being hacked? What can I do to stop this torrent of emails?
Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks, JR
Last edited by fcoulter on Fri Sep 28, 2018 10:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: edited link to prevent automatic link creation

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Re: Getting bombarded with spam emails via Joomla

Post by creativesights » Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:04 am

You could turn off email sending in the global configuration. It's aggressive, but you're website won't be able to send any email. Additionally it will help confirm whether or not the email is actually coming from the site.

We use Admin Tools Pro on a lot of sites, if you can identify the IP that's on the site, you can block it. Your hosting company can often be a good resource with blocking traffic like that also.
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Re: Getting bombarded with spam emails via Joomla

Post by sozzled » Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:04 am

There are many topics on this forum that discuss spam and spam emails. I suggest that you use the Joomla forum search search.php

This question is not unique to any specific version of Joomla.
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Re: Getting bombarded with spam emails via Joomla

Post by fcoulter » Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:18 pm

To be clear about this, it does not mean that your site has been hacked.

It looks as if the spammer is trying to abuse the function that allows the user to send a copy to themselves of a message sent through the contact form.

You can actually turn off the display of the checkbox on the contact form that allows this in the contacts component options. I am not sure though if that stops the email itself from being sent, I guess you would have to try it to see.

Otherwise you can try enabling re-captcha on the contact form, that is usually quite effective. You just need to enable the recaptcha plugin, get some keys (see, and set this as the default captcha for your site. for Joomla! extensions my personal website
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Re: Getting bombarded with spam emails via Joomla

Post by giovannino » Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:32 pm

Hello, I got same issue with 3.7.3 standard contacts plugin. The message that automatically arrive to my admin mail is "Delivery Status Notification (Failure)"... with some specific strange email in cirillic or chinese from
Did you fix it or not ?
Is it only sent to administator ? It's the only user as far now.

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Re: Getting bombarded with spam emails via Joomla

Post by mandville » Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:38 pm

giovannino wrote:Hello, I got same issue with 3.7.3
then you are using an out of date vulnerable version of joomla.
Did you fix it or not ?
there is nothing for the developers of joomla to fix, the fix is with the adminsitrators of the website that uses joomla .
Is it only sent to administator ? It's the only user as far now.Thanks
well i think you will find its actually sent to the email address listed for the the administrator or the reply to address for the website.

see the answers and suggestions above for how to get you to sort your site out.
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Re: Getting bombarded with spam emails via Joomla

Post by markcrobinson » Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:50 pm

I was getting the same email spam. I contacted my host who gave the reply below. Thought it might be helpful to share:
Note that one of the sites does not have a contact form, but is still, apparently, vulnerable.


Thank you for all the information and for including the bounceback. According to the bounceback this email originated from your Joomla installation (/home/xxxxxxxxxxxxx/public_html/index.php).

This specific email is very familiar, as it states the following:

"This is an enquiry email via http:// xxxxxxxxx .com/ from:"

This is typically due to the contact form on your Joomla site being abused. I do see that your contact form uses a form of a captcha. The spammer could potentially be getting through this captcha, or there could be another form (even if it's hidden from the website) that the spammer is taking advantage of. Joomla has built in functionality of 'Send a copy to form submission address' that will email a copy of the email to the person submitting the form.

I don't see the checkbox for this on the site like it usually is, but I'm guessing the spammer is sending the POST request with the send copy attribute included in the POST data. It looks like there is a work around by renaming the component (components/com_mailto/) to something different (like components/com_mailto_DISABLED/).. but this could break some email functionality for the website potentially.

I'd recommend that you contact Joomla for their best recommendation.

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