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What in the world is a "Bot" ?

"Bot" is the way the English say "Bat". You know, the stick that baseball players hit a baseball with? As in, "it's the bottom of the ninth inning, the score is tied, and mighty Casey steps up to bot with the bases loaded and two outs".

Now all you English and Aussies out there don't get your britches all worked up. We're teasing - really!

A bot is the common name for a software program or script that interacts with network services, web sites, web servers, and people using the internet as if it were a person. Bots are often used to gather information. The term "bot" is derived from the word "robot".

Some malicious and unfortunately common bots are those that covertly install themselves on people's computers. These are also called "zombies". These bots, once installed can be used as remote attack tools. When malicious bots are installed on millions of computers - making the computers "zombies" they can be used in concert to attack a specific web site in what's called a denial of service attack.

But bots have good uses as well. They are generally used as web software agents that interface with web pages. Web crawlers or spiders are bots that gather information on web pages. For instance Google's "GoogleBot" automatically scans the content of billions of web pages and sends the data back to Google who then stores it in its databases. This is how search engines work. .

Bots can be used for both good and bad purposes - like almost anything else in the cyberworld.


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