‘Bots’ is the shortened term for ‘Robots.’ Individuals or organizations utilize them to do specific tasks, which are usually repetitive and pre-defined ones. The bot’s automated feature allows it to finish these tasks faster than humans, resulting in many tasks being accomplished daily. Not only do these bots can work unsupervised, but they also promote time efficiency and increase work productivity.
However, there are instances of bots acting against how they are programmed. This is called ‘malicious bot activity. Since these bots are programmed to run on your website, their malicious actions can significantly affect it. This led to the innovation of Anti-Bot Systems. They are created to combat these malicious activities and protect your website from further damage. To expound on how implementing an Anti-Bot System is a big help for your website, continue reading on because, in this article, we will be discussing the Anti-Bot Technology Software.
What is an Anti Bot?
Basically, anti-bot systems are used to prevent bad bots from gaining access to a website. Their main feature is distinguishing whether a user is a human or a bot which a variety of verification methods can determine. Anti-bot systems have two crucial components, the Anti-Bot Technology, and the Anti-Bot Verification. By utilizing machine learning algorithms, they filter which bots have a good intent from those who don’t and block them from gaining access to website data.
Good Bots Vs Bad Bots
Bots are programmed, meaning they only work as told. Therefore, bots are not inherently good or bad. However, it depends upon the user if they will be utilized with good or bad intent. This is where an anti-bot system comes in handy— filtering whether a user is good or bad. But how do we distinguish good bots from bad ones?
Good bots go through the real purpose of bots, which is to help individuals in performing repetitive tasks. While bad bots, also referred to as ‘malware bots,’ bring risks to the website.
The good bots are web scrapers, search engine spiders, chatbots, tracking, and machine learning software. These bots automate customer service, replace communication initially done by humans, and optimize the search engine.
On the other hand, bad bots are intentionally programmed to cause harm to websites. They are used to hack, spam, spy, and interrupt website operations. They can also install viruses on your software.
According to a report by Security Week, the number of intelligent bots programmed by cybercriminals to cause harm to websites is increasing. 1 out of 4 registrations of new accounts are fake, and 80 percent of the attacks are credential thefts.
Methods to Implement Anti Bot System
Now that we’ve discussed what an anti-bot system is and its purpose, here are the different methods on how to implement it on your website.
This is the most common method of Anti-bot systems companies use to combat bot attacks. CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. If you’re wondering why a Captcha suddenly pops out when you’re browsing, now you know that it’s the anti-bot software doing its job. Captchas can be provided as ReCAPTCHA, NuCaptcha, etc. However, they all share a similar feature wherein they give a question or challenge to the user that will verify if they are human or not. The most common examples of Captchas are picking which of the provided images is being asked or translating a distorted text and typing it into the correct format.
The use of Captchas has been proven effective in preventing bad bots from gaining access to a website. They continuously update Captchas to keep up with technology advancements and be user-friendly.
2. Spam Honeypots
The Spam Honeypots provide protection against spambots by implementing a concealed field on the forms. This determines if a user is a spam bot or not. The concealed fields are not to be seen by humans. Therefore, if a value is entered on the concealed forms or if the form was completed in a matter of five seconds or less, it’s an indication that the user is a spam bot. The user is then automatically blocked from gaining access to website data.
3. Proof of Work
This method will require a user to solve a mathematical puzzle. Bots don’t have the ability to utilise scripting language, which will be needed to compute the given puzzle. Therefore, bots won’t be able to gain access since the user will need to run a programming language first that will enable the bot to accomplish the mathematical puzzle. The struggle to access the site provides a strong defence against bots.
4. Blacklisting IPs
Blacklisting IPS means that you will be filtering addresses that can gain access to your website. In this case, you will block unfamiliar, illegitimate, or malicious IP addresses from accessing your website.
IP Blacklisting can be set up and modified to add new addresses that will be automatically blocked from your site. This prevents bot attacks from malicious traffic. However, IP Blacklisting is not considered foolproof. This means that your website is not fully secured and is still prone to risks. Hackers have already innovated a number of ways on how to go through blacklisting policies. These ways include changing their IP addresses, IP spoofing, Botnets, and such.
That being said, while IP Blacklisting can add additional defense to your site, it’s not a reliable source of protection.
5. Lockout Time
Bots are programmed to finish tasks quickly. This method detects bots by providing a hidden lockout time in form submissions. Bots will tend to submit in a short period of time, whereas humans will do at a slower pace. This method prevents bots from spamming your website with requests and reduces their efficiency.
While this method doesn’t entirely stop bots from entering your website, it provides an overall strong defense against bots if implemented with other methods.
Bots are not easy to make. They require skill and broad knowledge of technical matters. However, there are people who use their skills to harm other people instead of utilizing them to innovate things that can be of more use in the future. Nevertheless, there is no way of stopping these people. The only thing we can do is educate ourselves on this topic in order to protect our websites from them. In that case, we hope this article helped you in building and strengthening your website’s security.