Almost half of today’s online traffic comes from bots both malicious and helpful, making accurate bot detection critical for online businesses.
What is bot mitigation?
Bot mitigation is a critical security priority and involves identifying bot traffic, evaluating the nature of it, and lowering risk.
Today the internet is made up of a wide range of different bots, some that are helpful, which allow internet services to operate correctly. While others can be used for malicious activities.
Bad bots can pose a number of serious security threats. They can perform account takeovers, commit intellectual property theft, hoard resources, engage in credential stuffing, and launch DDoS attacks.
Bot mitigation techniques identify bad bot traffic, enabling you to block it effectively and reduce risk.
Bots are a favored method of attack by cybercriminals because of the scale they offer. Bots can carry out a massive amount of requests and in the right hands can be highly sophisticated, allowing them to look and act like a human, evading traditional methods of detection.
Typically, financial gain is what motivates people to leverage bots with malicious intent.
Examples of how bots can be used to attack certain industries
To give you a better understanding of the motivation behind using bots, we are going to take a look at some incidents whereby bots may be used.
Financial institutions are frequent targets of bot-related attacks, both at the mobile-based app level and online. More sophisticated and newer bots can fly under the radar of older bot detection solutions leaving online channels that are using those solutions vulnerable to credential stuffing and other malicious attacks.
Gaming websites are frequently targeted with credential stuffing and other attacks that aim to take over accounts. A successful hack enables the attacker to get access to the players’ in-game assets and their sensitive data, such as payment information. Scrapper bots can also gather betting information giving the bot operator an unfair advantage when placing wagers.
Ticketing and limited supply product sites
Businesses that sell items with limited supply are highly targeted by bot operators, due to the scarcity of the product of service. Ticketing and high-demand, low-supply products such as limited release sneakers or gaming systems like the PS5 have massive resale value. Creating an opportunity for bots to hoard the available inventory and then sell those items at a markup when supplies run out.
How can bad bots have a negative impact on your business?
There are many different ways that bad bots can negatively impact your business. This includes the following:
- Bad bots can cause a loss in revenue – Malicious bots can have a detrimental impact on a business’ bottom line, whether this be from making poor business decisions based on bad data, sales personnel chasing false leads or opportunities, visitors redirected to a competitor or a flagged or unresponsive website. In fact, a recent survey found that 77% of security professionals say they have lost at least 6% of revenue due to bot attacks.
- Bad bots can drive up cost – Bots are cheap and easy for attackers to operate, incentivizing them to run as many bots as possible to increase the likelihood of a successful attack. This means that when a bot operator targets your online channel, you receive a massive increase in requests, that if are not blocked, drive your infrastructure cost up.
- Bad bots skew analytics – An attacker may use a bot to launch a DDoS attack, which makes a network or application unavailable. This can impact traffic metrics. Furthermore, bots can create non-existent leads by generating and then abandoning e-store shopping carts on e-commerce websites, or drive down conversion rate, by viewing multiple product pages, but never making a purchase. The poor metrics that result can cause poor marketing decisions later down the line.
- Bad bots deteriorate consumer trust – Bots can deteriorate customer trust by hoarding inventory, making those items unavailable to legitimate customers, forcing them to pay high markups on third party sites in order to purchase the item. Bot can also rig votes, write provocative comments online to stir up controversy, inflate follower counts or views, create fake social media accounts to write biased or false content, write fake product reviews, and much more! All of these activities can cause frustration amongst your customers and you may end up being deemed an untrustworthy brand, which is the last thing that anyone wants.
- Bad bots have a negative impact on SEO – Web-scraping bots are able to copy and extract trademarked or copyrighted data from sites and then reuse it on other websites, often for competitive reasons. As there are then two versions of the online content, this can have a considerably negative impact on the search authority for your website.
Why bot mitigation has become essential
Today, a huge amount of the traffic on the web consists of malicious bots. Bad bots are responsible for some of the most severe threats to companies and organizations today.
Implementing a bot mitigation strategy is critical for any online business, as this helps to make sure your website, APIs, and mobile applications are fully protected.
If you do not have a solid bot mitigation approach in place, your company is going to be at risk of a number of different OWASP threats, including scalping, scraping, credential stuffing, and account takeover.
Effective yet simple bot detection and mitigation services will enable you to do the following:
Proactively mitigate your bad bot risk
With the use of a reliable bot detection and mitigation service, you will be able to protect your applications from automated attacks, like denial of service, vulnerability reconnaissance, and account takeover.
Improve cost, availability, and performance
By dropping unwanted or malicious traffic before it hits your applications, you will be able to have a more predictable and smaller size of applications needed to support your infrastructure.
Optimize business intelligence
As eluded to earlier, bots can skew business data. By getting rid of unwanted bot traffic, you can improve the quality of your business intelligence data. Allowing you to make more informed business decisions so you can concentrate your resources and time on genuine customer engagement.
Bot mitigation approaches
Now that you know why bot mitigation is important, let’s take a look at some of the different approaches that can be used. Of course, not every approach will be applicable to your business. Moreover, a multi-layered security solution is always needed, as there is never one magic solution when it comes to dealing with the sophisticated cyber threats of today.
The great thing about human traffic is that it is pretty predictable; we click on things, we move our mouse, and so on. Therefore, you can use this to your advantage by setting up a system where you can expect actions to happen. If they do not, this could mean you have a bot on your hands, and you can then kick them out. This is successful in the sense that your user experience is not going to be impacted. This is not something we would rely on alone, though, as sophisticated bots can end up bypassing this.
At Kasada, we go one step further, using advanced cryptographic challenges to cleverly deter bot traffic altogether. This makes it too expensive and arduous for bots to continue with their attacks while being imperceptible to the end-user and requiring no action on their behalf.
Implement 24-hour monitoring
Closely monitoring your network for any unusual activity is essential. This is going to be much more effective if you have a better understanding of your usual traffic and how everything will behave ordinarily. You should make sure you are monitoring your network on a 24-hour basis. Use data collection and analytics solutions so that anomalous behavior, such as bot attacks, can be detected with ease.
At Kasada, we look for immutable evidence of automation from the first request. We don’t simply use historical data, which means we can’t stop attacks from the very beginning. Instead, our proactive approach ensures we can prevent bots from the first-page load before they are ever allowed to access your infrastructure.
Stop relying on outdated techniques like CAPTCHAs
As an Internet user, we are sure that you will have had plenty of experience with CAPTCHAs so far. This is the box that you tick that will tell the website that you are human. We’re sure you have all been there; you are waiting in a queue to try and grab tickets to a concert, and then you need to click on all of the images of trains or traffic lights. Annoying, right? Especially as they don’t even work! Sophisticated bots can easily bypass CAPTCHAs, so this safety measure is not going to be enough. Rather than making humans do the work, making the bot do the work is the only way to deter these attacks from happening, both now and in the future.
Last but not least, feeding fake data is another approach you can use. This is the old “if you can’t beat them, join them” approach. For instance, you can feed bots the wrong product prices. You can make the bot believe whatever you want them to believe. Of course, this can be quite time-consuming, but it is also quite satisfying as well.
Work with a bot management company
As you can see, there are a number of different approaches that can be used when it comes to bot mitigation, yet they all have their limitations and drawbacks. This is why it is critical to work with an experienced bot management company that can increase security considerably.
Using advanced bot mitigation technology, a bot management business, like Kasada, can help to prevent and stop malicious behavior before it has had the ability to infiltrate your system.
A lot of the solutions on the market today are not able to keep up. Legacy bot detection solutions need to let automated requests in so that suspicious activity can be found. By this point, it is already too late.
Instead, at Kasada, we have a modern approach that will effectively and accurately identify and prevent malicious automation before it is ever allowed to get into your infrastructure.
Bot detection and mitigation services
So there you have it: an insight into bot detection and mitigation services. We hope that this has helped you to get a better understanding of how to detect malicious bots and why it is important that you do so.
If you have any further queries about bot detection, or you would like to find out more about our complete solution for bot detection and mitigation and how it can benefit you, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today for more information.