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I run an ecommerce site where users need to sign up in order to make bookings for our transportation services. From time to time, we receive lots of obviously fake user submissions: they all use "123456" as phone number, and come from domains like asdfemail.com, rtotlmail.com, etc.

Does anyone have any idea of what they are up to? Our site doesn't have any forum, or any place where the user can post content. Are these bots that just look for any user registration page and sign up, in the hope that they can then post spam, or are they looking for something more nefarious and specific to our site?

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The internet is wide open to anyone to do anything. Some of those are tests by crackers to see how far they can get with your site. Some are hobbyists playing with software just to see what happens. Who knows?

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  • Sure. I was just wondering if someone else had found this particular spambot, and if he could share any insight on whatever they are ultimately up to. – PaulJ Oct 19 '16 at 14:28
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Bots and spammers find sites and forms by crawling and looking for known software. Usually a snippet of text or a meta tag or any consistent identifier. This usually applies to blog and forum software.

humans in poor parts of the world under cheap labour also look for forms that are easily exploitable as well as bots and adds them to a database. This usually applies to custom registration and contact forms.

All of this information is usually sold by spammers for money.

Bots/automated tools can try so many forms in a short period of time for free so it makes sense for them to target absolutely everything. Basically, any form is a potential target to bots and spammers as is any page that accepts user input.

You can prevent them by tricking the bot within the form by using a fake field that only bots will see. Then once this has been submitted you can ignore it.

Another way you can prevent them is by adding a question to the form or a bot field question such as "Click the image that contains a car". Something only a human can answer in order for the form to be submitted.

You can also look at repeated submissions from the same IP address and block/ ignore these forms as well.

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