Hackers are another group that use bad bots to carry out their crimes and there are a lot of different ways they can do this. Getting you to click a link and download malware onto your computer gives them an easy way in, and they will often use chatbots for this.
Credential stuffing bots can also be used to repeatedly try known login information on websites to crack into people’s accounts. The bots do this much faster than any human could (as it often requires testing millions of credentials to find those that are reused across websites), so they make it much easier for hackers to succeed and get at your private information.
Vulnerability scanning bots are designed to scan websites and applications to find any weaknesses in security software. Again, automation is beneficial as it allows for the scanning of hundreds/thousands of known vulnerabilities towards a particular website. This information will then be reported back to the hackers so they have a list of easy targets.
Bad bots are not just used by hackers that want to steal personal information. They can also be used to interrupt business operations with DDoS attacks and then extort money from companies. A DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack is when a website is overloaded with traffic from bad bots posing as real users, so it crashes. The hackers will then contact the company and demand a ransom before stopping the attack. Other times, hackers can then try other exploits while the business is distracted and their guard is down during a DDoS attack. Bots can also be used to add items to a basket on an ecommerce site, causing real users to get an ‘out of stock’ message when they attempt to order the product. Again, hackers will use this as a way to demand a ransom from businesses. It is crucial that businesses have a bot management system in place to avoid these kinds of attacks.