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What Does Spambot Mean?

A spambot is a computer application designed to send spam emails automatically in large quantities. It automatically collects email addresses from various sources on the Internet. Using the large number of email addresses collected, a spambot creates mailing lists and sends junk mail, also known as spam. Spambots may be used by hackers, also known as spammers, to carry out certain attacks on a website or servers. Spambots create fake accounts and send unsolicited messages through them for purposes which could include advertising, hacking or even fraudulent businesses. Many websites and hosts try to protect their websites from spam by using anti-spam programs.


Techopedia Explains Spambot

Spambots are automated computer applications that are capable of sending huge numbers of emails to a large mailing list. Spammers use these spambots for various purposes. A spam mail may contain a virus attachment and spread malware. It may also be used to post demeaning content onto somebody’s inbox or as a method of advertisement.

Spambots can be classified broadly into the following types:

  • Email spambots — These are the most common spambots. They are easy to code and are able to identify email addresses based on their format. These spambots are web crawlers that can collect email addresses from various sources such as newsgroups, forums, websites, chat rooms and Web posts.
    There are many techniques used to counter the actions of these spambots. One of the most popular techniques involves altering the email addresses in a way spambots are not able to recognize, such as "me [at] mydomain [dot] com."
  • Forum spambots — These spambots look into guestbooks, wikis, blogs, forums and other types of Web forms to submit fake details. The CAPTCHA technique used in many websites is helpful in thwarting these spambots.
    Spam messages sent by these spambots may also include hyperlinks posted in websites to boost a site's search engine ranking.
  • Twitter spambots — Also known as twitterbots, these bots are used to make automated posts on the social media site Twitter. It can be used to retweet a tweet repeatedly and post replies to posts.

Anti-spam programs are used to monitor for any bot activity and block mails coming from a particular source.


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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.