Bots, or Internet robots, are also known as spiders, crawlers, and web bots. While they may be utilized to perform repetitive jobs, such as indexing a search engine, they often come in the form of malware. Malware bots are used to gain total control over a computer.
One of the typical “good” bot uses is to gather information. Bots in such guises are called web crawlers. Another “good” use is automatic interaction with instant messaging, instant relay chat, or assorted other web interfaces. Dynamic interaction with websites is yet another way bots are used for positive purposes.
The New York Times has reported the largest known collection of stolen Internet credentials by a Russian crime ring. These hackers reportedly amassed 1.2 billion username and password combinations, and more than 500 million email addresses from 420,000 websites through botnets (computers that have been infected with and controlled by a computer virus). The sites ranged from small sites to larger household names. Many of the targeted sites are still vulnerable.
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