What are Bots? – Uses, What are the Types, and More
What are Bots?
Bots (robot) are a software or computer program that performs repetitive tasks over the Internet, simulating a human’s behavior.
These tasks are usually sending messages, emails, activating reminders, posts on social networks, or merely offering answers when we use a voice search engine.
A person who seems to be inside our phone or computer is a bot, and to give this type of answer needs some intelligence. They are primed to be smarter, or at least faster and more effective than humans.
What are the Uses of Bots?
- Now that you know what bots are, we can say these computer programs mainly use to make our lives a little easier.
- Tasks that could take us hours, days, or years, they do almost instantly. But beware, not all bots are created to help us.
- Malicious users have taken advantage of bots’ ability to endanger our security on the Internet.
- That is why, depending on their use and the tasks they perform, we must differentiate between two types of bots: the good ones and the bad ones.
What are the Types of Bots?
Types of bots: good and bad bots
Yes, I know they could do a little more in calling them, but it is much easier to understand it that way.
Some bots help us in our day-to-day life, and others create damage to our security on the web or even our business. We could say that the good or the bad is behind this software, but we better leave this topic for another post.
1. Good Bots
We start with the bots that do not harm us, making our lives a little easier.
These bots have their own rules for classifying or positioning information for a specific search term. Each search engine has its bots or spiders with a particular algorithm.
For example, the laws that Google uses when ranking content are not the same as those used by Yahoo or Bing.
- Chatbots or messaging bots are already part of our day today. The chatbots of a few years ago no longer have anything to do with those of now.
- Currently, they incorporate artificial intelligence that allows a conversation to help almost as if it were a human.
- Many web pages add them through a plugin or similar tool to offer quick answers to general questions.
- In fact, on Facebook, it is a prevalent practice and easy to configure if you have a page for your business.
Bulk Mailing Bots
- Can you imagine how many people a transport company would need to send notifications of an order status change manually?
- Or, if you have an online store, would you have time to send all the order confirmation emails or password changes manually? I assure you not.
- Bots allow you to send mass emails to hundreds or thousands of accounts at once, schedule them, or send reminders or notices for scheduled tasks.
- It is efficient at the user level since the receipt of the email after a request is practically automatic, as when you manage your own business.
Bots in Social Networks
- Although we have just seen an example of how Facebook chatbots work, there are also other types of bots that serve to publish content automatically in social networks.
- We already explained how to connect WordPress with Facebook, but it can do with almost all CMS and any social platform (Telegram, Twitter …).
- In this way, every time you issue a post on your blog or launch an offer, the bot automatically announces it on your social profile to keep all your followers informed.
- The advantage? Mainly the time savings that this implies. Of course, this does not get nasty that you can neglect your social networks.
- Even if you automatically publish publications, you have to be aware of comments, suggestions, or reviews that they may leave about your company.
Web Monitoring Bots
- In recent years, many tools developed to analyze your website to detect any problem or monitor performance or traffic metrics.
- These web monitoring tools are nothing more than a system of bots that work continuously.
- It has all the relevant information about your website at the click of a button, and you can focus on other features of your business.
- Another type of bots that can help you in your business’s day-to-day running is the feed collectors or feed fetchers.
- The operation is simple. You subscribe to these programs which pages you want to follow, and they are in charge of gathering and showing you the updated content of each of them.
- In this way, you are always up to date with the news related to your sector without reviewing web by web what they publish.
- It will also help you get ideas to develop your content. Feedly is an excellent example of a feed reader.
2. Bad Bots
The glass is not continuously half full, but sometimes you have to be a little careful with the use that some users give to the bots.
These malicious robots’ primary objective is to attack a website’s security or visitors who browse it. Here are several examples of bad bots:
- Spambots or spambots are computer programs designed to carry out mass spam submissions.
- These bots are responsible for collecting email addresses that are published on the Internet automatically.
- It uses them to send advertising or even malicious content, as in the case of phishing.
- Although many email managers work tirelessly to curb these practices, many times, these emails create in such a way that they pass the anti-spam filters and slip into your inbox.
- These bots also use to massively leave comments on blogs or web subscriptions, which could compromise your page’s security and that of those who visit you.
- Some studies reveal that between 9% and 15% of Twitter accounts have a typical behavior.
- It means that some social network traffic is false and creates to modify or influence public opinion somehow.
- How do they do it? These bots are responsible for creating fake profiles to follow a person or brand’s account to spread their message more widely.
- In politics or advertising, it is a fairly common practice, although ethically quite dubious.
Vulnerability Search Bots
- Another type of bots that can quarantine your website’s security is those dedicated to looking for errors or failures in specific software to sneak into a system or carry out an attack.
- As you know, any computer program is susceptible to vulnerabilities, so it is advisable always to keep it updated.
- The versions that are released are responsible for correcting security flaws that could put your business at risk.
Cyber Attack Bots
- When we talk about bots in computing, we can never forget those robots destined to damage a system or access it by circumventing security measures.
- The DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) carried out massive and constant requests using a computer network distributed by several countries.
- It does not make unkind that hundreds of thousands of people are trying to bring down a server.
- Instead, they use a network of bots that attack continuously until the service is completely inaccessible.
- That is why the hosting plan’s security measures in which you have your website hosted is essential since it must have specific characteristics to mitigate these types of threats.
- For example, we use Imunify360 in our hosting plans, including Elastic Hosting and Reseller Hosting plans.
Brute Force Attack Bots
- Whenever we can, we talk about creating secure and robust passwords for your applications, and the explanation is this.
- There are bots with a dictionary of keys capable of testing thousands of combinations in just a couple of minutes.
- Even if they don’t have your username, they often try to do so with some personal information or even at random.
- That is why the more difficult the combination you use, the more difficult it will be for the bot to guess it.
- Also, many online services or websites use a captcha-type recognition system to avoid these problems.
- This type of bots uses to collect personal data from web pages to sell them for advertising later.
It was born to make our lives much more comfortable, both at the user level and if you have a business.
Some tasks even having all the time in the world we would be able to do if it weren’t for them. Depending on the use of these, it is necessary to distinguish between good and malicious bots.
For example, those who help us send notifications to our clients can classify as good, but those that only serve to put our security at risk can complicate us a lot.
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