Anyone can easily fall into a honeypot trap. Honeypot traps are links that direct the user to fake data, thus making gathered research data unusable. While using a reliable proxy server provides both security and anonymity, you may still be at risk for these traps. Let’s talk about how to avoid honeypot traps.
Programming your bots
Some websites have honeypots to detect web scraping. Since such links are invisible to humans, following unfamiliar links that you have not properly assessed may lead you into a trap. Verify whether a link has the “display: none” or “visibility: hidden” CSS properties set. If the link has either of these properties set, avoid it. Although implementing this method requires quite a bit of programming, it’s worth the effort.
Email honeypots are the most common traps you’ll encounter. To avoid these traps, start by building, rather than buying, your own email lists to make sure you have a safe list. Clean up your email quarterly and remove inactive subscribers. Another great tool is double opt-ins, which sends a new subscriber an email to confirm their subscription to ensure they are genuine.
Along with the need for programming bots to avoid certain links, it’s important to follow only links from trusted sources. You can also check forums such as Reddit for information on certain sites. Although this does not offer a fool-proof guarantee, you’ll be in a better position to judge the safety of websites. Doing your due diligence can save you problems later on.
Avoid public Wi-Fi
Most people have connected to a public hotspot at airports, coffee shops or the mall at one time or another. Cybercriminals are fully aware of this, so they set up hotspot honeypots. Unsuspecting people connecting to the free-to-join networks are vulnerable to having any confidential information shared stolen. Also, using online payment platforms makes you vulnerable to criminals capturing your data. Regardless of how convenient payment platforms may seem, it’s best to avoid going online until you’re on a secure network.
Honeypots have been around for a long time. Educate yourself about the risks involved, and familiarize yourself with the various methods you can use to avoid honeypot traps.