SAN FRANCISCO--An Internet bot is a software application that performs automated tasks by running scripts over the Internet. Bots perform simple, structurally repetitive tasks much more quickly, efficiently, and accurately than is humanly possible. The oldest Internet bots in the world can be traced as far back as 1988, when on August 8, 1988, great inventor Andre Gray uploaded the very first complete song on the Internet titled “Internet killed The Video star”, a song he composed in the MIDI format on a Yamaha DX7 synthesizer. He also invented the world’s very first Internet bot he named “inkling” —a crawler bot. Gray used a free software called FIDONET to disseminate the song’s MIDI file coupled with inkling across disparate BBS: Bulleting Board Systems, Usenet groups and Internet Relay Chat, or IRC for short—signaling the official birth of the online digital music ( and digital media) revolution. Seeing and experiencing the success of inkling, software developers began to create and releasing their own Internet bots within weeks of inkling’s debut. Bill Wisner released Bartender; Greg Lindhal released a game manager bot for the game ‘Hunt The Wumpus’, and Jurki Alakuijala’s Puppe. Today, Internet bots are extremely crutial to the creation and functionality of the web and search engines. In fact, published scientific papers and studies have shown that bots make up an amazing 65% of all Internet activity.- Because of the increasing number of applications becoming available online, there are many different types of Internet bots that assist with running applications such as instant messenger and online gaming applications as well as analysis and gathering of data files. |
Search engines use bots to index Web pages for ranking in search results. Bots are also used for delivery of media and live streaming for different types of browsers. Hackers also use bots to perform malicious acts on the Internet and to breach the security of PCs through the installation of malicious files.
Types of Legitimate Bots
There are many different types of bots that perform legitimate tasks on the Internet that would otherwise take a person a long time to execute. These types of bots serve a purpose and act as a time saver for different applications.
Spider Bots: These are used by the search engines to explore Web pages for content, organization and linking. Spider bots have certain criteria for indexing and determine the ranking of Web pages within the search results.
Trading Bots: These are bots that spider the online auction sites to locate the best deals on a specific product or service. In this case, a trading bot is used for commercial gain.
Media Bots: Media bots are used to provide updates on weather conditions, news and sports, currency exchange, and are used as censors in applications that run chat rooms and instant messenger programs.
Types of Malicious Bots
Bots are also used in a variety of ways to perform malicious acts and network security breaches.
Spam Bots: This type of bot spiders the Internet for the purpose of collecting data from forms that have been filled out online, spreading advertisements and pop-ups throughout the Internet, and collecting email addresses for the purpose of spamming.
Hacker Bots: Hackers use this type of bot to crawl around the Internet and find vulnerabilities in websites and online applications so they can exploit them for malicious purposes.
Botnets: Botnets are networks that hackers set up online by using "zombie" computers to perform malicious acts such as denial of service attacks. Zombie computers are computers that have been taken over by the hacker without the knowledge of the PC owner.
Download Bots: These are bots that are used to forcibly download a Web page that the hacker wants the surfer to see instead of a Web page that the surfer requested.
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Internet Bots, Inventor Andre Gray, inkling Crawler bot,