Internet Bots, What are they really?
The term “bot” comes from the word robot. An Internet bot may also be known as a Web robot or WWW robot. But what do they do really and are they good or bad?
Simply put, An Internet bot, is software that performs automated tasks (scripts) over the Internet. Typically, bots perform tasks that are simple and structurally repetitive, at a much higher rate than would be possible for a human alone. Bots can be used for productive tasks, but they are also frequently used for malicious purposes.
The largest use of bots is in web spidering (web crawler), in which an automated script fetches, analyzes and files information from web servers at many times the speed of a human. More than half of all web traffic is the result of these spider bots. This is how search engines like Google and Yahoo get the information needed to provide results for your search queries.
Chat Bots attempt to provide a lifelike simulation of a human on the other end of your chat session. These are benefiting greatly from the advances in Artificial Intelligence software. These are beneficial in that they can handle a great deal of the level one customer service inquiries a company receives.
Malicious bots are typically involved in identity theft and denial of service attacks. blended threats that come as part virus/worm, part bot and are used in identity theft or to launch denial of service attacks. Especially if multiple bots are coordinated into a botnet, which is a grouping of computers that are all infected with a malicious bot which work together to infect or attack other computers.
Other malicious uses involve bots that harvest email addresses for spam, scrape content or manipulate comments/votes on sites that allow user feedback.
A gray area also exists where bots are used by websites to promote shopping deals. In such cases, a bot will perform much like a search engine spider to index information about products on the Web. Some e-commerce sites take steps to ban shopping bots of this type, while their creators feel that they are simply providing a better service to their own users.
Regardless of their intention, Bots are here to stay and will continue to become more intelligent and impactful. Knowing that they are out there, having good malware/antivirus protection and how they present themselves in your web browsing can limit any negative impact.
Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via This Link to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.
Don Miller is a PMP certified Project Manager located in Greenville, SC. He has come to Teledata Select via Seattle, New York and Washington DC. His experience running small to multi-million dollar projects in the Banking, Software, Telecommunications and Insurance Industries across the US has given him a wide range of business experience.