How to reverse-engineer a form? Warning -- contains moral dilemma!
Posted on 1997-12-27
Let's say hypothetically that there's an online competition on the web.
I would like to enter this hypothetical competition more than once. This seems to be entirely within the rules.
If I have the source code of the form which one fills in to enter the competition, can I in some way automate the process of entering the competition?
For instance, can I automatically write a number of text files and submit them, for instance as email, as if they were generated by the form?
Or can I write a perl script or a local HTML file which mimics the action of the online form and have it churn out entries?
You'll have to trust me on this, but I am interested in the mechanics alone. The (hypothetical) competition prize is actually randomly awarded, but the competition entry consists of a "vote" for a favourite item -- let's say it's a movie of the year.
To enter the competition 100 times would merely increase my statistical /chance/ of winning the prize, but to "vote" 100 times might substantially improve the (hypothetical) movie's rating.
I'm concerned that (hypothetically) unscrupulous companies might already be influencing the results unfairly. Of course they could do this just by employing a minimum-wager to sit in front of Netscape 8 hours a day "voting" -- but is it possible they did something more sophisticated? I'm very suspicious of last year's results...