A bot is short for an Internet Bot(robot).
It is a computer program designed to automate certain tasks(scripts) that operates as an agent for a user or other program or to simulate human activity. These tasks are normally repetitive, simple, and routine. The use of a bot can perform or replace a repetitive task quicker and more efficiently. Bots can run without specific instructions from humans. In other words, a bot is a software helper that supports, simulates, and sometimes replaces human work.
Botnet — A bot network is a large number of computers that are infected by the bots.
Good bots and Bad bots
The good bot will not harm the system but used to gather information. Eg. web crawlers. They are also used to automate the interaction with instant messaging, instant relay chat, or assorted other web interfaces. Also, good bots can be used for Dynamic interaction with websites
Bad bots are the bots that can pose threats and can harm the system. This can also be defined as self-propagating malware that infects the host and connects revert to a central server or servers. The server functions as a “command and control center” for a botnet, or a network of compromised computers and similar devices. Bad bots have the ability to self-propagate like a worm. They can also be used to :
- Gather passwords
- Log keystrokes
- Obtain financial information
- Relay spam
- Capture and analyze packets
- Launch DoS attacks
- Open back doors on the infected computer
- Exploit back doors opened by viruses and worms
Types of bots
All kinds of bots have their own unique goals and tasks. Some common bots are:
Chatbot – A program that can simulate talk with a human being.
Social bots – A bot that can operate on social media platforms.
Shopbot – A bot that shops around the web on your behalf and locates the best price for a product you’re looking for.
Knowbot – A software program that collects knowledge for a user. This can be done by automatically visiting Internet sites to fetch information that meets particular specified criteria.
Web crawler – Also known as Spiders or crawlers. These bots are used to access web sites and gather their content for the indexes in search engines.
Web scraping crawlers – Bots are used for data harvesting and extracting relevant content.
Monitoring bots – They are used to monitor the health of a system or website.
Transactional bots – A program used to complete transactions on behalf of a human.