Internet Bots

Nowadays you may read a lot about traffic bots, like bots, view bots or comment bots on the internet. In 2015 most of the web traffic was created by bots, and so is expected to happen also in 2016, 2017 and later on. In this post we will give an overview of how internet bots work, different bot types and their features.

All the bots aren't created equal. There are smart bots and dumb bots. If you use the wrong bot you can get banned from the service that you are using the bot on. The basic idea behind all the bots is to simulate the human actions. Some bots achieve this by simulating the network requests that the user makes. Some other kind of bots achieve this by simulating the actions that the user performs on the website or software interface. The bot makes the same clicks and text inputs as the user. 

Traffic Bots

Traffic bots come in a variety of ways. These kinds of bots are used to generate traffic for different websites. There are bots that generate organic traffic from Google ,Bing, Yahoo and other search engines. There are other bots that I call "stupid" bots which only visit your website. The best kind of traffic bots should support many features in order to stay fully undetectable and act as humans. I give the list of the bot features below:

  • Support proxy lists
  • Support different user agents
  • Support different resolutions
  • Support random and different timings
  • Support smart proxy usage
  • Support geo targeting
  • Support referral traffic
  • Should visit at least one link after loading the website in order to keep the bounce rate low

Of course, all the bots that we at BitStorm Software offer support these features. Traffic bots work by sending HTTP / HTTPS request to the website server in the same way as humans do. By using the features that I listed above the bot can be fully undetectable easily! 

View bots share the same features as traffic bots, so I will not be explaining them.

Like Bots

Like bots can be used for increasing Facebook likes, YouTube likes, Instagram likes or any other website that offers a rating feature. These kinds of bots are harder to be programmed because the programmer needs to find exploits in the proprietary website. The kinds of exploits that can be found are:

  • Poor security for the requests send from the browser to the website. There are not enough tokens and other security features to prevent the bot simulating legitimate like requests.
  • Bad website API. The API can be easily exploited in order to like.
  • Bad website  HTML markup and javascript code. If the html is simple enough, it can be exploited to simulate user actions. The same goes for poor javascript code.
  • If you have enough time, you can just use pattern matching to create bots for anything. This is like brute force, it is slow but it always works.

Comment Bots

Comment bots are the most difficult ones for being coded. There are comment bots for YouTube, Facebook and other popular websites. They can be very profitable if used for advertising. These bots can be made to look as real humans if the bot supports some special features. As a minimum, comment bots should have the same features as the like bot. Really good comment bots offer text spinning too. You don't have to load hundred of comments yourself, the bot creates different variations by its own. By loading a lot of comments and using spinning the bot will always comment different texts with the same meaning. To code these kinds of bots you have to find same type of exploits as in the like bots.

Conclusion

Internet bots are widespread and they will be spreading more. In this blog post I explained the most general bot types. There are also specific bot types for a specific website. For example I was asked once to code a bot for buying cheap tickets for movies. Another time I was asked to code a bot which extracted information from a website such a proxy list website. If you want some specific custom bot you can contact us.

So, as you can conclude yourself some type of bots are a real threat to the internet and some others aren't. Bots that automate jobs such as information extracting, website testing are very handy and useful.

In my next posts I will write about one of the following topics: How to code an internet bot or How to protect your website, software from bots.

Leave a comment about what you want to read next.