I've just recently started getting a LOT of spam registration on a Joomla! website that my company host for one of our clients. I know they are spam because every single user has "https" in the name.

The website is running on Joomla 3.6.0 and can't be updated because an ex-colleague has made changes to the core files (instead of the template files) that are required. The website has user registration disabled, yet I am still seeing all of these spam registrations. I know that the code added by the ex-colleague has nothing to do with the database so that can't be where the registrations are coming from.

The website has VirtueMart 3.0.16 installed, which is being used to sell products (eCommerce plugin).

My question is this: Is there anywhere on the website that is known to still allow registrations, even if the setting is switched off? If not, is there a particular plugin that I can install for this version that will allow me to prevent certain keywords from being used for names and usernames? Because the setting for user registration is turned off, I don't think a plugin will help. My final question is, are there any files that I can edit and add some code to prevent "https" being used in the username/name, for example, where the user's are actually installed?

2 Answers 2


Joomla 3.6.0 is a highly vulnerable version. It is very likely that the site is compromised, since hacks appeared in masses a day after the security release. Hackers could find the unsafe code easily by comparing the changes between the versions.

A security fix for the vulnerability was introduced with 3.6.4, the vulnerability is present for Joomla versions between 3.4.4 through 3.6.3.

Having a site with core alterations, commonly referred to as core hacks, that can not be updated, is against all rules of ecommerce. It should be only done by skilled personnel if there is constant maintenance of the code. In most cases, this is not given.

Joomla and VirtueMart are made in a way that almost all changes can be made in overrides or with plugins. There are no core alterations necessary anymore that would make an update impossible. The rule: Never use core alterations.

The advice for this site is to make a copy of the site, run malware scans on the copy. Only if sure the site is clean procede to update the site to the latest versions and remove the core alterations and exchange them with plugins.

If it is not sure, the installation is free of malware it is best to set up a new Joomla - VirtueMart installation and migrate the old shop with a migration tool. Only pull the necessary data into the new shop to avoid introducing compromised files or database entries. This is the recommended way.


Did you checked Admin Tools Pro ?

With this you can block any direct template url request

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  • I have tried installing that plugin before but I was looking for different settings at the time (that didn't end up being there on the version compatible with my Joomla website). I shall take another look Oct 30, 2020 at 14:21
  • Is not a plugin, but a component, and I strongly advice you use it. IMO, is one of the best of his type. Oct 30, 2020 at 19:36

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