Saturday, December 26, 2015

What is a Spambot ?

A Spambot is an automated program used for sending spams. Using this type program a spammer sends spam emails, automated posts to various forums or even social networking sites like twitter.

Spambots are widely used by the attackers to send spams to email accounts. They are even used to send spam comments to online forums and social networking sites like twitter.

Email Spambots :

Email Spambots are widely used to send spam emails to various email accounts.

Firstly, attackers use automated web crawlers to collect email addresses of people from various websites, newsgroups, chat room and forums. And, after collecting enough number of email addresses, they use automated scripts to send spam emails to those email accounts.

Forum Spambots :

Sometimes malicious users apply illegitimate techniques to increase search engine ranking of their websites. They make automated scripts and start posting to various forums, blogs and wikis. Those automated posts are not meant for human reading. They contain hyperlinks to their websites, exploiting which they illegitimately increase the search engine rankings of those websites. These types of Spambots are called Forum Spambots.

Twitter Spambots :

Sometimes malicious users use Spambots to produce automated posts in social networking sites like Twitter. These Spambots can automatically follow other users, post comments or even re-tweet and all these are done for malicious purposes. These are called Twitter Spambots.

Countermeasures of Spambots

We can take a couple of steps which can prevent us from these Spambots. To name a few :

  • Do not write your email address in any webpage as it is. Instead apply the technique of address munging. Just to give an example, if your email address is, you can write it as john [AT] example [DOT] com. Normally, these Spambots use the concept of regular expressions to collect email addresses from webpages. If you follow address munging like this, it will prove difficult for them to collect your email address for spamming.
  • Some Spambots are quite smart and they use techniques to counter address munging. They modify their scripts to take care of commonly used address munging techniques. So, to outwit their techniques some other methods are used. You can display part of your email address as an image. This will again make their life more difficult.
  • To prevent Spambots from posting automated posts to your forum, you may use security questions or ask a submitter to email few lines confirming her intention. As Spambots give fake email addresses in posts, this type of confirmation will prove difficult for them.
  • And you can always mark an email as spam when you get one. Remember, email service providers normally use machine learning to detect spams. So, the more you mark emails as spams, the more efficient the software becomes to detect future spams.

This was just an introductory article to keep you informed about Spambots. Hope it solved its purpose.

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