A spam bot (or “spambot”) is a program that runs automated tasks over the internet in order to send out spam emails. Sending spam emails overloads servers, causing websites to go offline and often prevents legitimate recipients from receiving important messages. Spam bots are created with the intent of making malicious attacks on your website without human interaction. To make sure you do not become another victim of spam bots, it’s important to understand how they work and what you can do to stop them before they completely take over your business.
How do spam bots work
Why are spam bots so dangerous
A single spam bot can send out thousands of messages within seconds and cause an enormous amount of damage on the internet. Spam bots can not only overload your website, but they also prevent you from reaching your audience since spam is often labelled as junk or off-topic by email providers. This makes it extremely difficult for any legitimate emails to reach their intended recipients. Since spam bots are created with malicious intent, they are typically loaded up with keyloggers that allow the program to steal personal information such as passwords and bank account information which can cause serious financial damage. Spam bots are often accompanied by Trojans, spyware and viruses which harm the recipient’s computer once opened.
What can you do to stop them
There are many different types of spam bots used in attacks on websites, each one targeting a specific vulnerability within a web server. As you can imagine, this makes it difficult to stop all spam bots that are created. The first step towards stopping spam bots is to protect your website against bots that target specific vulnerabilities by keeping up with updates and security patches from the software manufacturer. It is also important to have a secure password for both your website and emails as well as using an email provider that protects its users with spam filters and other anti-spam technologies.
If one of your company’s websites has been compromised, here are a few helpful tips on what you should do:
- Don’t panic – Remain calm, but take action immediately. You will need time to investigate the extent of the damage so don’t waste it panicking about how bad the situation is.
- Get a third party security company involved – You need to remove any virus or spam that was sent out through your website and you may need help from an expert if your website has been compromised beyond repair.
- Remove all spam bots – Spam bot scripts can sometimes be removed by changing configuration settings within your web server software, but this process can be risky and can cause even more damage if not done correctly. It’s safer to use a professional who specializes in bot removal to rid your website of malicious code once and for all.
- Update passwords on all websites associated with your business – Even though one account may have not been affected by the attack, it’s a good idea to change all passwords used by your business. If a spam bot was able to get access to one of the accounts, it is possible that they have access to more than just this one account so updating all related credentials can help you avoid more serious damage down the road.
- Check emails sent from your website – Since spam bots are used for sending out spam and viruses, check any emails send from your company’s domain names on the off chance that malware has been spread through email as well.
- Double-check all links sent from your website – It’s possible that a spam bot has replaced valid links on your site with cyberlocker links in order to distribute illegal movies or music files. Many cyberlocker websites are used as a scam to send visitors to a false site where your computer can be infected with malware or ransomware. This would not only compromise your website, but also the security of every device on which you have saved files from that particular connection.
- Check social media accounts – Spam bots can also cause damage outside of your main website and may use other company social media sites as distribution channels for malware and viruses as well as spam messages. Once again, make sure all passwords related to these accounts are updated immediately in case any spam bot activity has taken place.
Learn more about reporting suspicious online activity here.
Frequently asked questions about spam bots
What damage can spam bots cause?
In addition to using your company’s bandwidth for its own purposes, spam bots attempt to send out emails from your domain names that contain malware or viruses. This is not only damaging to your reputation with customers, but also puts every device you have connected at serious risk of infection due to their ability to spread like wildfire online throughout all of your social media accounts.
How can spam bots be stopped?
Spam bot removal is best left to professional webmasters who have successfully dealt with these types of malicious programs before. While it may be tempting to try and remove bots yourself, doing so without full knowledge of how they work or the tools being used can result in opening up your website to even more security risks down the road. For example, if a spam bot attack has brought an outdated website version onto your page, attempting to correct this issue yourself could cause other problems within the software that you are not aware of.
How do I know if my site has been infected by a spam bot?
Every website is at risk for spamming issues, but common symptoms of a spam attack include mass distribution of emails with no opt-out button or unsubscribe link that leads to suspicious sites, as well as messages being sent through social media accounts from your domain name. These postings often contain links back to malware download pages and can also be used to send out spam messages advertising counterfeit goods or adult entertainment services.
What do I do if my site has been infected?
The first step in getting rid of a spam bot infestation is to find the source. Check all websites on shared servers as well as those owned by companies who share your hosting company. In some cases, it may be possible that your website has been hacked and then used as a distribution point for the spam bot. If you find an infected website, make sure to isolate it from your network immediately in order to prevent any further spreading of the attack.
In some cases, companies may be able to clean up affected webpages on their own using a specialist tool. However, in most situations there is no way of knowing how the spam bot got onto your server so removing it could leave you with vulnerable code that can result in other problems down the road. In this case, finding a professional webmaster who specializes in spam bot removal is the best solution moving forward
What happens after I have removed spam bots?
You will need to have a specialist check your site for other potential vulnerabilities. One way to ensure that the issue doesn’t happen again is by changing all passwords on your website and any accounts connected to it.
Schedule Your Demo
Tired of your website being exploited by malicious malware and bots?We can help
Subscribe and stay updated
Insightful articles, data-driven research, and more cyber security focussed content to your inbox every week.