Need to hide phone numbers

Discussion in 'HTML' started by Charles Lavin, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. Hi --

    I have a page containing descriptions and contact information for multiple
    groups. The contact information is presented in a table, one table for each
    group on the page. All the tables are identically styled.

    The table data includes name, region, city, email address (link) and phone
    number.

    Right now, every table prominently shows everyone's phone numbers. I want
    the page to render with the phone numbers masked, or invisible, or in some
    other way not legible until the user does something (clicks on a button,
    enters a password, or some as yet undecided action).

    I've been trying to find pertinent information on Google, and I have read
    many posts and articles on making table columns disappear, but I can't
    figure out how to apply them to this.

    Craigslist recently adopted a system to hide the contact email link in its
    posts. But that involves a form with a submit button, that takes the user to
    a page with a Captcha, that then takes the user to a page where the contact
    link is available. I can have up to 100 phone numbers on one HTML page. I
    need a way to quickly mask and unmask them all.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to accomplish this?

    Thanks,
    CL
     
    Charles Lavin, Jul 28, 2009
    #1
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  2. Charles Lavin wrote:
    > Hi --
    >
    > I have a page containing descriptions and contact information for multiple
    > groups. The contact information is presented in a table, one table for each
    > group on the page. All the tables are identically styled.
    >
    > The table data includes name, region, city, email address (link) and phone
    > number.
    >
    > Right now, every table prominently shows everyone's phone numbers. I want
    > the page to render with the phone numbers masked, or invisible, or in some
    > other way not legible until the user does something (clicks on a button,
    > enters a password, or some as yet undecided action).
    >
    > I've been trying to find pertinent information on Google, and I have read
    > many posts and articles on making table columns disappear, but I can't
    > figure out how to apply them to this.
    >
    > Craigslist recently adopted a system to hide the contact email link in its
    > posts. But that involves a form with a submit button, that takes the user to
    > a page with a Captcha, that then takes the user to a page where the contact
    > link is available. I can have up to 100 phone numbers on one HTML page. I
    > need a way to quickly mask and unmask them all.
    >
    > Does anyone have any suggestions on how to accomplish this?


    If the number has already been delivered to the browser, then the user
    can see it in the source, regardless of how you might mask it in the
    display. Further, if the qualification test were to be performed in the
    browser, the user would be able to see how the test works, or could
    replace the test with his own code, and could therefore circumvent it.
    The only secure alternative is to check that user's qualification on the
    server and to deliver the data from the server when the conditions have
    been satisfied.
     
    Harlan Messinger, Jul 28, 2009
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Hi --

    I'm more concerned with bots harvesting these phone numbers than with
    someone trying to hack the page to get them. I want to make them relatively
    easy to access by humans, and nearly impossible to access by bots.

    I figured that at some point, server scripting would be involved. My concern
    is that I have several hundred phone numbers scattered across at least eight
    pages. This needs to be simple to set up and simple to maintain.

    Thanks
    CL

    "Harlan Messinger" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Charles Lavin wrote:
    >> Hi --
    >>
    >> I have a page containing descriptions and contact information for
    >> multiple groups. The contact information is presented in a table, one
    >> table for each group on the page. All the tables are identically styled.
    >>
    >> The table data includes name, region, city, email address (link) and
    >> phone number.
    >>
    >> Right now, every table prominently shows everyone's phone numbers. I want
    >> the page to render with the phone numbers masked, or invisible, or in
    >> some other way not legible until the user does something (clicks on a
    >> button, enters a password, or some as yet undecided action).
    >>
    >> I've been trying to find pertinent information on Google, and I have read
    >> many posts and articles on making table columns disappear, but I can't
    >> figure out how to apply them to this.
    >>
    >> Craigslist recently adopted a system to hide the contact email link in
    >> its posts. But that involves a form with a submit button, that takes the
    >> user to a page with a Captcha, that then takes the user to a page where
    >> the contact link is available. I can have up to 100 phone numbers on one
    >> HTML page. I need a way to quickly mask and unmask them all.
    >>
    >> Does anyone have any suggestions on how to accomplish this?

    >
    > If the number has already been delivered to the browser, then the user can
    > see it in the source, regardless of how you might mask it in the display.
    > Further, if the qualification test were to be performed in the browser,
    > the user would be able to see how the test works, or could replace the
    > test with his own code, and could therefore circumvent it. The only secure
    > alternative is to check that user's qualification on the server and to
    > deliver the data from the server when the conditions have been satisfied.
     
    Charles Lavin, Jul 28, 2009
    #3
  4. Gazing into my crystal ball I observed "Charles Lavin" <> writing
    in news:XNvbm.158863$:

    Please do not top post. See below.

    >
    > "Harlan Messinger" <> wrote in
    > message news:...
    >> Charles Lavin wrote:
    >>> Hi --
    >>>
    >>> I have a page containing descriptions and contact information for
    >>> multiple groups. The contact information is presented in a table,
    >>> one table for each group on the page. All the tables are identically
    >>> styled.
    >>>
    >>> The table data includes name, region, city, email address (link) and
    >>> phone number.
    >>>
    >>> Right now, every table prominently shows everyone's phone numbers. I
    >>> want the page to render with the phone numbers masked, or invisible,
    >>> or in some other way not legible until the user does something
    >>> (clicks on a button, enters a password, or some as yet undecided
    >>> action).
    >>>
    >>> I've been trying to find pertinent information on Google, and I have
    >>> read many posts and articles on making table columns disappear, but
    >>> I can't figure out how to apply them to this.
    >>>
    >>> Craigslist recently adopted a system to hide the contact email link
    >>> in its posts. But that involves a form with a submit button, that
    >>> takes the user to a page with a Captcha, that then takes the user to
    >>> a page where the contact link is available. I can have up to 100
    >>> phone numbers on one HTML page. I need a way to quickly mask and
    >>> unmask them all.
    >>>
    >>> Does anyone have any suggestions on how to accomplish this?

    >>
    >> If the number has already been delivered to the browser, then the
    >> user can see it in the source, regardless of how you might mask it in
    >> the display. Further, if the qualification test were to be performed
    >> in the browser, the user would be able to see how the test works, or
    >> could replace the test with his own code, and could therefore
    >> circumvent it. The only secure alternative is to check that user's
    >> qualification on the server and to deliver the data from the server
    >> when the conditions have been satisfied.

    >
    > Hi --
    >
    > I'm more concerned with bots harvesting these phone numbers than with
    > someone trying to hack the page to get them. I want to make them
    > relatively easy to access by humans, and nearly impossible to access
    > by bots.
    >
    > I figured that at some point, server scripting would be involved. My
    > concern is that I have several hundred phone numbers scattered across
    > at least eight pages. This needs to be simple to set up and simple to
    > maintain.
    >


    This is very simple. I have a document that I include in all pages.
    This is a snippet from that page.

    <?php
    //file name = defaultinclude.php
    session_start();
    if(isset($needslogin))
    {
    //check that the user is logged in
    if(!$_SESSION['loggedin'])
    {$_SESSION['returnto'] = $_SERVER['SCRIPT_NAME'];
    header('Location:login.php');
    exit;
    }
    }


    On all the pages that have phone numbers:

    <?php
    $needslogin = true;
    require "defaultinclude.php";

    //run your sql to get the records and loop through as usual

    ?>

    Then on your login page, after verification, you can do something like:

    <?php

    $_SESSION['loggedin'] = true;
    if(isset($_SESSION['returnto']))
    {header('Location:$_SESSION['returnto'];}
    else
    {header('Location:menu.php';}
    ?>
    --
    Adrienne Boswell at Home
    Arbpen Web Site Design Services
    http://www.cavalcade-of-coding.info
    Please respond to the group so others can share
     
    Adrienne Boswell, Jul 28, 2009
    #4
  5. OMG!!!!!! :)

    I just built something very similar on my own ...

    I'm hooking it into a reCaptcha call that will toggle a session variable on
    to enable the phone numbers to be displayed.

    I recoded the phone numbers on the page like this:

    <?php phone("305-555-1212");?>

    With the function:

    <?php
    session_start();
    function phone($number){
    if ($_SESSION['DISP_PHONE'] == "ON") {
    echo $number;
    }
    else {
    echo "<a href=\"mincap.php\">Click here</a>";
    }
    }
    ?>

    I had it working with two dummy PHP pages to toggle the session variable,
    and now I'm trying to work the reCaptcha call into this.

    Thanks!

    CL


    "Adrienne Boswell" <> wrote in message
    news:Xns9C55F100D92DAarbpenyahoocom@85.214.113.135...
    > Gazing into my crystal ball I observed "Charles Lavin" <> writing
    > in news:XNvbm.158863$:
    >
    > Please do not top post. See below.
    >
    >>
    >> "Harlan Messinger" <> wrote in
    >> message news:...
    >>> Charles Lavin wrote:
    >>>> Hi --
    >>>>
    >>>> I have a page containing descriptions and contact information for
    >>>> multiple groups. The contact information is presented in a table,
    >>>> one table for each group on the page. All the tables are identically
    >>>> styled.
    >>>>
    >>>> The table data includes name, region, city, email address (link) and
    >>>> phone number.
    >>>>
    >>>> Right now, every table prominently shows everyone's phone numbers. I
    >>>> want the page to render with the phone numbers masked, or invisible,
    >>>> or in some other way not legible until the user does something
    >>>> (clicks on a button, enters a password, or some as yet undecided
    >>>> action).
    >>>>
    >>>> I've been trying to find pertinent information on Google, and I have
    >>>> read many posts and articles on making table columns disappear, but
    >>>> I can't figure out how to apply them to this.
    >>>>
    >>>> Craigslist recently adopted a system to hide the contact email link
    >>>> in its posts. But that involves a form with a submit button, that
    >>>> takes the user to a page with a Captcha, that then takes the user to
    >>>> a page where the contact link is available. I can have up to 100
    >>>> phone numbers on one HTML page. I need a way to quickly mask and
    >>>> unmask them all.
    >>>>
    >>>> Does anyone have any suggestions on how to accomplish this?
    >>>
    >>> If the number has already been delivered to the browser, then the
    >>> user can see it in the source, regardless of how you might mask it in
    >>> the display. Further, if the qualification test were to be performed
    >>> in the browser, the user would be able to see how the test works, or
    >>> could replace the test with his own code, and could therefore
    >>> circumvent it. The only secure alternative is to check that user's
    >>> qualification on the server and to deliver the data from the server
    >>> when the conditions have been satisfied.

    >>
    >> Hi --
    >>
    >> I'm more concerned with bots harvesting these phone numbers than with
    >> someone trying to hack the page to get them. I want to make them
    >> relatively easy to access by humans, and nearly impossible to access
    >> by bots.
    >>
    >> I figured that at some point, server scripting would be involved. My
    >> concern is that I have several hundred phone numbers scattered across
    >> at least eight pages. This needs to be simple to set up and simple to
    >> maintain.
    >>

    >
    > This is very simple. I have a document that I include in all pages.
    > This is a snippet from that page.
    >
    > <?php
    > //file name = defaultinclude.php
    > session_start();
    > if(isset($needslogin))
    > {
    > //check that the user is logged in
    > if(!$_SESSION['loggedin'])
    > {$_SESSION['returnto'] = $_SERVER['SCRIPT_NAME'];
    > header('Location:login.php');
    > exit;
    > }
    > }
    >
    >
    > On all the pages that have phone numbers:
    >
    > <?php
    > $needslogin = true;
    > require "defaultinclude.php";
    >
    > //run your sql to get the records and loop through as usual
    >
    > ?>
    >
    > Then on your login page, after verification, you can do something like:
    >
    > <?php
    >
    > $_SESSION['loggedin'] = true;
    > if(isset($_SESSION['returnto']))
    > {header('Location:$_SESSION['returnto'];}
    > else
    > {header('Location:menu.php';}
    > ?>
    > --
    > Adrienne Boswell at Home
    > Arbpen Web Site Design Services
    > http://www.cavalcade-of-coding.info
    > Please respond to the group so others can share
    >
     
    Charles Lavin, Jul 28, 2009
    #5
  6. Charles Lavin wrote:
    > "Harlan Messinger" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> Charles Lavin wrote:
    >>> Hi --
    >>>
    >>> I have a page containing descriptions and contact information for
    >>> multiple groups. The contact information is presented in a table, one
    >>> table for each group on the page. All the tables are identically styled.
    >>>
    >>> The table data includes name, region, city, email address (link) and
    >>> phone number.
    >>>
    >>> Right now, every table prominently shows everyone's phone numbers. I want
    >>> the page to render with the phone numbers masked, or invisible, or in
    >>> some other way not legible until the user does something (clicks on a
    >>> button, enters a password, or some as yet undecided action).
    >>>
    >>> I've been trying to find pertinent information on Google, and I have read
    >>> many posts and articles on making table columns disappear, but I can't
    >>> figure out how to apply them to this.
    >>>
    >>> Craigslist recently adopted a system to hide the contact email link in
    >>> its posts. But that involves a form with a submit button, that takes the
    >>> user to a page with a Captcha, that then takes the user to a page where
    >>> the contact link is available. I can have up to 100 phone numbers on one
    >>> HTML page. I need a way to quickly mask and unmask them all.
    >>>
    >>> Does anyone have any suggestions on how to accomplish this?

    >> If the number has already been delivered to the browser, then the user can
    >> see it in the source, regardless of how you might mask it in the display.
    >> Further, if the qualification test were to be performed in the browser,
    >> the user would be able to see how the test works, or could replace the
    >> test with his own code, and could therefore circumvent it. The only secure
    >> alternative is to check that user's qualification on the server and to
    >> deliver the data from the server when the conditions have been satisfied.

    >
    > Hi --
    >
    > I'm more concerned with bots harvesting these phone numbers than with
    > someone trying to hack the page to get them. I want to make them

    relatively
    > easy to access by humans, and nearly impossible to access by bots.
    >
    > I figured that at some point, server scripting would be involved. My

    concern
    > is that I have several hundred phone numbers scattered across at

    least eight
    > pages. This needs to be simple to set up and simple to maintain.


    Since bots see the pure source, not what the page looks like in the
    browser, anything in the source that associates phone numbers with
    individuals will be visible to the bots regardless of any masking you
    employ on the graphical page.
     
    Harlan Messinger, Jul 28, 2009
    #6
  7. On Tue, 28 Jul 2009 01:13:24 -0400, "Charles Lavin" <> wrote:

    >Hi --
    >
    >I'm more concerned with bots harvesting these phone numbers than with
    >someone trying to hack the page to get them. I want to make them relatively
    >easy to access by humans, and nearly impossible to access by bots.
    >


    Put the information in a picture "page1.jpg" per example. Human can
    read it, bots cannot read it.
     
    Raymond Schmit, Jul 28, 2009
    #7
  8. Raymond Schmit wrote:
    > On Tue, 28 Jul 2009 01:13:24 -0400, "Charles Lavin" <> wrote:
    >
    >> Hi --
    >>
    >> I'm more concerned with bots harvesting these phone numbers than with
    >> someone trying to hack the page to get them. I want to make them relatively
    >> easy to access by humans, and nearly impossible to access by bots.
    >>

    >
    > Put the information in a picture "page1.jpg" per example. Human can
    > read it, bots cannot read it.


    *Most* humans can read it.
     
    Harlan Messinger, Jul 28, 2009
    #8
  9. Gazing into my crystal ball I observed Harlan Messinger
    <> writing in
    news::

    > Raymond Schmit wrote:
    >> On Tue, 28 Jul 2009 01:13:24 -0400, "Charles Lavin" <> wrote:
    >>
    >>> Hi --
    >>>
    >>> I'm more concerned with bots harvesting these phone numbers than
    >>> with someone trying to hack the page to get them. I want to make
    >>> them relatively easy to access by humans, and nearly impossible to
    >>> access by bots.
    >>>

    >>
    >> Put the information in a picture "page1.jpg" per example. Human can
    >> read it, bots cannot read it.

    >
    > *Most* humans can read it.
    >


    Not to mention, some phones understand a text phone number, and will
    allow you to call it. They would not be able to do that with a graphic.
    It goes without saying that a speaking browser would not be able to
    speak it at all.

    --
    Adrienne Boswell at Home
    Arbpen Web Site Design Services
    http://www.cavalcade-of-coding.info
    Please respond to the group so others can share
     
    Adrienne Boswell, Jul 28, 2009
    #9
  10. Charles Lavin wrote:

    > I'm more concerned with bots harvesting these phone numbers than with
    > someone trying to hack the page to get them. I want to make them
    > relatively easy to access by humans, and nearly impossible to access
    > by bots.


    Irony has become impossible, it seems.

    Years ago, when it many people eagerly asked how to reduce the usefulness of
    their pages and cause problems to other people, especially disabled people,
    I used to say that "spam-protecting" email addresses was comparable to the
    idea of munging phone numbers...

    --
    Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
     
    Jukka K. Korpela, Jul 28, 2009
    #10
  11. I can't do anything that will break accessibility. And making those phone
    numbers graphics breaks accessibility. Plus, it makes maintenance of that
    set of pages a nightmare every time someone needs to change a phone number.

    The people who would want to have access to this data already do, so I'm not
    concerned with someone already having access to this site harvesting
    information that he already has access to. But these are people's home
    numbers for the most part, and I just want to take every sensible precaution
    to not leave them freely available to any Tom-bot, Dick-bot and Harry-bot
    trolling in cyberspace.

    The pages have been recoded in PHP, and what the default unauthenticated
    page shows is a hyperlink where each phone number should go. If I'm not
    mistaken, that should prevent crawlers from seeing the phone numbers at all,
    because the page they receive from the server doesn't have them. If there's
    a way for a crawler to get the raw PHP file, that's another thing ...

    CL


    "Brian Cryer" <not.here@localhost> wrote in message
    news:...
    > "Charles Lavin" <> wrote in message
    > news:XNvbm.158863$...
    >> Hi --
    >>
    >> I'm more concerned with bots harvesting these phone numbers than with
    >> someone trying to hack the page to get them. I want to make them
    >> relatively easy to access by humans, and nearly impossible to access by
    >> bots.

    > <snip>
    >
    > Having written harvesters for people, I'm aware how easy it can be to
    > harvest information from a page. A login only stops people who aren't
    > registered, and most of the harvesters I've written have been for people
    > who were registered with the site that they wanted to harvest information
    > from. So anything that relies on a login won't stop everyone.
    >
    > Why not replace all your phone numbers with graphics? humans can still
    > read them but that will stop most bots in their tracks. That said, blind
    > people using speech readers would have a problem too...
    >
    > Or you could change how you do it and not display the information, but
    > provide a send-by-email link that when clicked will generate an automatic
    > email containing the details to the email address you have on file for the
    > user.
    >
    > What type of bots are you trying to stop? The likes of google or something
    > else?
    > --
    > Brian Cryer
    > www.cryer.co.uk/brian
    >
     
    Charles Lavin, Aug 8, 2009
    #11
  12. On Fri, 7 Aug 2009 21:48:30 -0400, "Charles Lavin" <> wrote:

    >I can't do anything that will break accessibility. And making those phone
    >numbers graphics breaks accessibility. Plus, it makes maintenance of that
    >set of pages a nightmare every time someone needs to change a phone number.
    >
    >The people who would want to have access to this data already do, so I'm not
    >concerned with someone already having access to this site harvesting
    >information that he already has access to. But these are people's home
    >numbers for the most part, and I just want to take every sensible precaution
    >to not leave them freely available to any Tom-bot, Dick-bot and Harry-bot
    >trolling in cyberspace.
    >
    >The pages have been recoded in PHP, and what the default unauthenticated
    >page shows is a hyperlink where each phone number should go. If I'm not
    >mistaken, that should prevent crawlers from seeing the phone numbers at all,
    >because the page they receive from the server doesn't have them. If there's
    >a way for a crawler to get the raw PHP file, that's another thing ...
    >

    Could you show us a very small example ?
    I think that evenwhile the php contains the phone numbers, he will do
    an echo on the html page. Therefore a bot read the sensible info
    easely.
     
    Raymond Schmit, Aug 8, 2009
    #12
  13. Gazing into my crystal ball I observed "Charles Lavin" <> writing
    in news:pP4fm.53709$:

    > The pages have been recoded in PHP, and what the default
    > unauthenticated page shows is a hyperlink where each phone number
    > should go. If I'm not mistaken, that should prevent crawlers from
    > seeing the phone numbers at all, because the page they receive from
    > the server doesn't have them. If there's a way for a crawler to get
    > the raw PHP file, that's another thing ...
    >
    >


    I don't know if I would want to do that. Bots will want to follow those
    hyperlinks, and they could be doing that for a very long time (probably
    not smart bots, but others who are the sharpest tool in the shed).
    Perhaps one link in the caption element that would be to a login page,
    eg: <caption>List of Names <?php if(!isset($loggedin)){?><a
    href="login.php">Login to view phone numbers</a><?php }?></caption>


    --
    Adrienne Boswell at Home
    Arbpen Web Site Design Services
    http://www.cavalcade-of-coding.info
    Please respond to the group so others can share
     
    Adrienne Boswell, Aug 9, 2009
    #13
    1. Advertising

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