Anti-bots, as the name implies, are a set of technology deployed to stop bad bots. They are programmed software codes, methods, processes, and applications meant to identify, tamper with, and block bad bots.
It pays to understand what a bot is in this case – a bot is any software coded to perform repetitive tasks of any kind on software platforms. Bots can be launched through emails, social networks, or individual websites.
They can be targeted at servers, individual website users, or even personal computers. They can be used to steal data or launch malicious activity on these platforms. Bots are automated and modern ones use machine learning algorithms to identify attack opportunities and launch attacks.
For that reason, not every bot has malicious or bad intent. There are many types of bots you would want to have on your website – for instance, those used by search engines to crawl websites for SEO ranking. Others are used by web-owners to chat with and assist users, help in the transfer and exchange of data with e-commerce platforms, and instruct users.
However, anti-bots are carefully designed to stop bad bots attacks. Bad bots are those launched on websites to steal data, overwhelm traffic on the website, submit spam forms and comments, and illegally increase or block traffic to deny your human users access to the website services.
How Anti-Bots Work?
Antibots work by first identifying malicious bots. They use machine learning algorithms that enable them to do so. The algorithm is updated regularly to identify the most recent cases of bots and threats. An anti-bot will identify cases of bot infection by analyzing the network, website traffic, or even individual machines and servers. The analysis is conducted by comparing suspected threats with pre-identified threats. This is known as a classification technique because all an anti-bot has to do is to classify bots as per identified threats.
However, anti-bots do not have to rely only on databases of pre-identified threats. Modern ones can flag suspected threats based on the nature of the activities a bot is undertaking. Modern bots conduct the analyses and identify threats automatically and in real-time. They can be customized to the user’s needs concerning which activities to flag and stop.
Once an anti-bot identifies a threat, they will flag and/or block the bot related to the threat. Hence they will protect the user information from being stolen on the website. You may understand already that a bot may be launched on a website to collect user information and other user data. Bot owners, who could control a botnet remotely, target to use this information maliciously. They can collect login information on one website and try logging into financial platforms using the set of logins. Hence anti-bots protect the financial interests of your website users.
Since some bots work by infecting user browsers with malicious code to then copy website content, anti-bots prevent the owner’s website from being copied. This protects the website owner’s investments. The website owner could lose income if his web users are diverted to log into a malicious website copied from the original website.
Botnets can also infect websites and plugins with infectious code and gain access to servers on which they can do other damage. They could delete data, plugins, and change information. Botnets can hence deny users important services. They can temporarily or permanently lead to the failure of websites and services.
Anti-Bot Use Cases
- Protecting websites from poor SEO rankings – When bots submit spam comments with promotional URLs or links on them, the web owner risks having their website ranked poorly by search engines. When search engines crawl and find spammy comments posted by the spambots, they treat the website as spammy and drop its ranking. Anti-bots prevent this situation by identifying and blocking spam comments.
- Brute force attack protection – Brute force attacks on websites are launched by first compromising devices and creating zombies or a network of compromised devices. The attacks are launched using applications and scripts as the tools. Basically, these tools will try out numerous combinations of passwords to bypass authentication. They can also search for the right session IDs to attack websites. The attack can be as simple as trying to log in by guessing passwords or as complicated as trying password variations and using a pre-computed table for reversing cryptographic hash functions.
These attacks target accessing sensitive data stored on websites. The intention is to steal information, disrupt service, or infect it with malware. Anti-bots protect users against these attacks by blocking the involved bots.
- Bot in IoT Applications – Insecure interconnected IoT devices are easy to spread malware and bots with. The malware and bot can simply be launched on one device and it will spread to others. Hence it becomes easier for attackers to steal user information on multiple devices. Anti-bots prevent bots from exploiting vulnerabilities on one device and also prevent the spread of the bots on others.
- Darkweb applications – Attackers sometimes steal user information on websites and then trade it on the darkweb for many other motives. For instance, businesses target buying such information even on legal data marketplaces to personalize their marketing campaigns. This is so where such information contains consumer buying preferences, for instance.
Darkweb users also trade personal information to other attackers to steal money using the same information. Hence anti-bots prevent users financially by preventing the stealing of their financial information.
Where to find antibots
Anti-bots can be bought ready to use, or coded from scratch. It can be in the form of plugins, extensions, or programs, or just included as part of anti-malware, or other applications.
In conclusion, Anti-bots identify and block bots before they can launch or stop further damage. Protecting a website with anti-bot techniques is very helpful. Anti-bots prevent your website and your users’ financial information. They will also protect the user’s device from being damaged by malware. As such, they can improve the trustworthiness of your website by making it more secure for users. They will protect users from wasting their time and bandwidth when browsing your website.