Bots Can Change Our Politics

By Michael Wambua
iHub Marketing
  Published 26 Apr 2018
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Politibots, a swelling force in global elections that cannot be ignored

Bots and their relatives, botnets, bot armies, sockpuppets, fake accounts, sybils, automated trolls, influence networks are a dominant new force in public discourse. To have influence in the public domain one has to have influenced both physically and digitally. So how do bots work? They can attack a web server clicked vast amounts of information and create spam comments on new stories they interact with humans and sometimes trick them into believing they humans.

So how do they account for more traffic on the web and humans? The word bot is derived from a robot. Bots are automated software designed by humans to do tests on the web. The range of things a bot can be designed to do is enormous. It ranges from tasks that are repetitive and simple like watching and re-watching the YouTube clip to boost its viewer rate or unpredictable and complex like manipulating public opinion on Twitter.

Most AI bots are self-learning software systems that understand the human language without requiring human assistance. In our case, most bots have mastered our 68 languages (I bet you thought we had only 42 right!) and can interpret a conversation and respond in whichever language.

Bots can be used to threaten activists, swing elections, and even engage with high officials. Bots are the hip new media. Donald Trump himself has said he wouldn't have won without Twitter, where, researchers found, bots massively amplified his support on the platform. Google Nicole Mincey one of the most famous Trump supporter but might be a BOT.

So since we can see how effective they are, do we have countermeasure of controlling or curbing Bots within our net space? Can bots end up being used against us? And if they can’t be prosecuted (they are just software) can their developers be prosecuted in our justice system? Like if a dog bit your neighbor’s child do you punish the owner as well?

As we ponder, there are a few ways to separate good or bad bots using intelligent bot management solutions. Bots generate a large amount of internet traffic. Although a large percentage of bots are malicious, many bots perform vital functions on the internet. Criminal bots sniff out vulnerabilities, infect and control vulnerable machines, launch denial of service attacks, steal data, commit fraud, and more. At the same time, the internet would grind to a halt without the beneficial bots that power search engines and digital assistants.

So let's build some trust on our blog or customer care portal or your forum, adopt some of this control measures:-

1: CAPTCHA
This challenge is intended to differentiate between computers and humans. In general, scripted bots are unable to solve the CAPTCHA and repeat the words and numbers used, while this is easy for humans to do. But they are getting smarter as well so its important to always consider newer CAPTCHA methods.

2: Human Interaction Challenge
Identifies normal usage patterns for each web application based on legitimate user/ visitor behavior analysis, and provides customizable security postures for bots that deviate from the standard usage behavior, activity, or frequency.

3: JavaScript Challenge
This technical challenge is sent to every client, attacker and real user. Legitimate browsers will pass the challenge without the user’s knowledge while bots, which are typically not equipped with JavaScript, will fail and be blocked.

4: Device Fingerprinting
Generates a hashed signature of both virtual and real browsers based on 50+ attributes. These proprietary signatures are then leveraged for real-time correlation to identify and block malicious bots.

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