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Bot Submissions: Solution Options & Recommendations

Hackers use bots to submit forms on a website for many reasons that include Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, content spamming, Data Scraping, testing to identify vulnerable websites for future attacks, and conducting cyber attacks, all of which can cause nuisance and fill a database with junk records that may result in wasted time and low trust in Marketing data. 

The following five options are ways that a marketing team can consider for preventing bot submissions.

  • Option 1 – Manual Suppressions

Bot-submitted data are usually junk, so they are easily identified in reviews. For low submission volume, a business IT team can simply review suspicious data on a periodic basis and manually suppress bad records. In addition, a business could accept form submissions only from business domains (ex: no Gmail, Hotmail, etc.)

  • Option 2 – Traditional Captcha

Captcha is an automated challenge-response test that is designed to determine if the response is human or bot. Captcha depends on the premise that an automated bot will not be able to recognize the challenge and will not be able to respond to it correctly, thereby identifying it as coming from a human. There are many Captcha implementations available such as simple text puzzles, image-based, and picture puzzles, with hundreds of creative variations of the same. However, most sophisticated bots now use A-I driven machine learning algorithms to defeat such Captcha implementations.

  • Option 3 – Honeypot

Honeypot is a hidden field added to a web form that is invisible to humans. A human submission will leave the field blank or with the default value. Most bots will fill in the hidden field with junk values, and the system can then automatically suppress all records with entries in the hidden field.

  • Option 4 – Google reCaptcha V2

A business can implement Google’s reCaptcha V2, which prompts visitors to check a box like the one below, indicating they are not robots. The reCaptcha uses the customer mouse behavior in the form page and clicking in the field as well as an optional Google Server-side validation to identify and prevent most bots.

  • Option 5 – Google reCaptcha V3

Google’s invisible reCaptcha (V3) is completely hidden and does not show anything to the end user. Visitors do not have to do anything. Instead, they are automatically scored for validity based on complete mouse movement on the website. “Real” users are allowed to submit the form, and “bot” users are prevented from submitting. 

Many organizations face increased amounts of bot traffic for various reasons. Averting bot submissions can be achieved using any of these available options that are easily implemented and provide effective results. The honeypot option has open-source versions available for quick integration. Determining the best method for suppressing bot submissions depends on the frequency of bot traffic and available resources.

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