KZero Staff
Oct 18, 2023

Spambots are a specific type of software that is programmed to send unwanted messages, threats, and scams. There can be different types of software, with specific purposes and defined possibilities. These bots often first scan the web and look for addresses to be entered into databases that will be used to send spam messages.

Spambots are usually used by bad actors on the web, such as hackers trying to conduct a phishing attack. As mentioned, the main function of a spambot is to send spam or create the conditions to do so. There are many web crawlers available on the web—which scan large quantities of internet pages and allow bad actors to generate lists to be contacted via email.

In order to prevent these bots from affecting your business or website, one of the best techniques is to use CAPTCHAs (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart). CAPTCHAs are elaborate systems that require human activity to decipher a string of text or obtain a specific piece of information.

Because some spambots have advanced to the point of allowing you to use OCR technologies to view and interpret text over images, some CAPTCHA models also evolved. A good example would be Google’s reCAPTCHA which requires the identification of specific objects.

Another option is the so-called address munging, a technique that allows you to manipulate the e-mail address to make it unrecognizable to the bot while still being understandable for human beings. Here is an example of how that would work:

  • info@yourwebsite.com
  • info [at] yourwebsite [dot] com

The use of parentheses and text elements instead of the classic symbols of an email address allows you to deceive the less sophisticated bots that are programmed to act if they recognize certain patterns.

Others simply use images of email addresses, but this is not always the most effective solution because of the use of OCR by the most advanced spambots.

KZero Staff

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