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Berserker Bing bots bring down Perl network

When spiders attack!

Misfiring Microsoft search bots managed to render a site used by Perl Testers almost unusable last week.

A post on the CPAN Testers' blog reports that its servers were being scanned by "20-30 bots every few seconds", resulting in what developers likened to a denial of service attack. The IP addresses of the bots - which failed to follow house rules defined in the site's robots.txt file - were traced back to Microsoft.

The behaviour of the bonkers Bing bots contrasted with the good manners of other search engine agents from the likes of Google, prompting site administrators to post an "msnbot must die" rant on Friday before banning Microsoft's search spiders of doom.

In fairness, it ought to be pointed out that a Bing product manager took time out from the Martin Luther King holiday weekend to respond to these concerns on Saturday, posting a comment on the CPAN Testers' blog offering to help in resolving the problem.

CPAN (Comprehensive Perl Archive Network) runs a worldwide archive of Perl scripts, source code and other resources aimed at web developers. ®

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