Spammers brought down the E-classifieds.net script

My first foray into the world of web programming was back in 2002, a time when websites didn’t need to verify you were a bot. Accounts could be created and forms submitted without captcha verification.  Obviously times have changed and tonight the e-classifieds script I’ve maintained for 8 years got suspended with the following message from the ISP:

Domain has exceeded the max emails per hour (200) allowed. Message discarded. User xxx has been suspended for the following reason:
Spamming

Some spammer was using a vulnerability to auto-form spam. I hadn’t touched the code in years but to fix the problem I was going to have to roll up my sleeves and stuff a captcha in the important forms.   First stop, which captcha to use?   Sure I could use recaptcha but that would require installing a cpan perl module on a shared account which I didn’t want to deal with so I searched google and ended up with http://bumblebeeware.com/captcha/, a simple perl script that worked great.  If you’re running e-classifieds and in the same predicament, give that script a shot.