What is a Spam bot?

What is a Spam Bot

What is a Spam Bot?

A spam bot, also known as a bot, is a type of automated program that can enable or deliver spam, including junk emails, irrelevant comments and posts on user-fillable forms and discussion forums, and variations of these spamming activities. The Open Worldwide Application Security Project® (OWASP) defines the activity of spamming as “malicious or questionable information addition that appears in public or private content, databases or user messages.”

How do Spam Bots Work?

Spammers frequently send out large volumes of emails to try to install malware or steal account information via phishing attacks. They may also use spoofed email addresses to make it appear as though the messages originate from a legitimate source that the recipient may know or use. Spammers utilize bots to post spam in forms or user-generated comment forums by looking for and posting in discussions that may not require an account. If an account is required to post comments, spam bots can also create fake user accounts and post comments.

Spam bots are widespread on social media platforms like Twitter and messaging applications like Telegram. These bots are programmed to spam users and groups with messages or posts that promise freebies, discounts, sexual content, or other (usually suspicious) offers. Social spam bots typically employ fake accounts or hijacked user accounts, and they can even copy a real user profile photo to seem to be authentic.

Form spam is one of the chief types of spam targeting real estate portals, classified ad listings, job search sites and businesses with web forms. It constantly posts spam that affects user interactions and makes it hard for marketing teams to get accurate lead generation information.

Infographic: How Spam Bots Work Infographic: How Spam Bots Work

What Can Spam Bots Do?

Reduce User Engagement and Traffic
Websites and applications that have high volumes of comment and form spam usually encounter lowered user engagement and harm to their brand and user loyalty.

Skew Traffic Analytics
Spam on forms hinders websites and marketers from getting accurate data on traffic statistics, which leads to difficulties in decision making and developing effective strategies.

Slow Website and Application
Spam bots can reduce the performance of websites and applications by overloaded servers and increasing page and application load times. Spam botnets have also been known to create conditions similar to a DDoS attack.

Increase Infrastructure Costs and Waste of Resources
Increase Infrastructure Costs and Waste of Resources Spam bot traffic generally leads to higher infrastructure and network expenditure, leading to wasted time and effort to filter spam leads and manually block spammy accounts.

Lower Search Engine Rankings
Search engines consider spammy websites and applications less useful to their users. They regularly downgrade their search rankings or even remove these web pages from search results.

Fake Registrations and Leads
Spammers use spam bots to post form spam, i.e., junk information on lead generation forms commonly used by marketers to solicit inquiries.

How to Identify and Protect Against Spam Bots

Despite many advances in the long-running battle against form spam, spam bot developers are constantly upgrading bot programs to make them exhibit certain human-like patterns to evade detection by conventional security systems.

Recommended actions to stop spam include:

Bot Mitigation Solutions

Bot Mitigation Solutions

Currently there is no substitute for a specialized bot management solution when it comes to preventing form spam and other bot attacks. A dedicated solution like Radware Bot Manager can detect and block even the most sophisticated bots from entering the network. Experts typically recommend specialized bot management solutions because they usually feature capabilities such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, intent and behavior analysis, collective bot intelligence and more.

Crypto Challenge (CAPTCHA-less mitigation)

Crypto Challenge (CAPTCHA-less mitigation)

Using Radware’s Crypto Challenge mitigation, users can enjoy a seamless browsing experience without having to solve a CAPTCHA. Machines that run bots are presented with increasingly difficult challenges to solve. This effectively turns the tables on attacks due to the high computing cost of trying to maintain a bot attack against such a bot mitigation system.



CAPTCHAs and variations such as Google reCAPTCHA are now widely deployed to validate genuine users during form fills. However, tests that differentiate between bots and humans can also be solved or bypassed with the help of software tools, browser extensions and outsourced teams of solvers who are paid based on how many CAPTCHAs they solve.

Web Application Firewalls (WAFs)

Web Application Firewalls (WAFs)

WAFs can stop basic bots that are more programmatic in their function and can be easily detected. On the other hand, WAFs are not designed to reliably detect the latest, most sophisticated bots that are programmed to exhibit human-like behavior to evade detection.

Field Validations

Field Validations

Some web forms have built-in field validation that can help control fake submissions to some extent. This helps automatically reject invalid email IDs and those known to carry out form spam.


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