As developers sometimes we forget that there are bad people out there. Nefarious people waiting for you to mess up, just so they can exploit your weaknesses. One of the biggest problems with the internet today is the use of bots. If you have ever run a publicly open site like a blog, forum, or contact form then you know what I mean. You get flooded with junk that you didn’t even know existed. This can be a huge problem, because it essentially makes the data coming in hard if not impossible to sort. So how do you stop these advanced monsters from reeking havoc on your public facing site?
We first have to understand how they exploit your site. You probably have some kind of form on your site. It is there for anyone and everyone to use, just like you intended. You spent hours meticulously crafting this form with valid HTML and readable labels. There is your first problem. Bots traverse your page looking for FORM tags. Then they proceed to look for INPUT tags which match their criteria. If you use a popular CMS or Blogging engine then you are already at a disadvantage. These systems are known by bots and there are no surprises on how your system works. Then the bots proceeds to submit the form. All this occurs in a matter of nanoseconds. Remember computers are fast, even when they are evil. Now the bots have a choice, leave your defenseless site in search of another or proceed to submit your form mercilessly until your site collapses and your inbox is filled with worthless junk.
The popular solution to combating bots