Bots account for nearly 40 percent of online traffic today — and many of those bots are out to damage organizations like yours. From content scraping to inventory hoarding to credential- stuffing, malicious bot actors are growing more complex and sophisticated every year.Many are even able to bypass CAPTCHAs and other simple user verification tests.
What’s more, while some bots sharpen their tactics to target specific types of businesses, a single bot or botnet can threaten many different types of organizations.
For this reason, no single tactic can stop every bot, and prevent it from harming your users and your brand. The only effective approach is to stay alert for a diverse range of telltale bot warning signs — and respond to each by gathering data and then deploying targeted responses, pattern detection, predictive analytics, and other complementary strategies.
Warning Signs of a Bot Problem
1.Higher infrastructure costs with no increase in business
All traffic to your website carries some cost. No matter who or what accesses your content, you’ve got to foot the bill for storage and compute. But bad bots can increase your traffic-related costs without providing any revenue to your business. While good bots are used by search engines to index content on your site, and thus support your SEO rank, bad bots run up significant excessive bandwidth charges every year.
2.Unusual purchases of low-volume, high-demand inventory
If you notice that you’re selling a suspiciously high percentage of your inventory to a surprisingly small subset of buyers, inventory-hoarding bots may be the culprits. While some of these bots will simply fill and abandon shopping carts in order to block legitimate customers, others will actually buy your inventory with the goal of reselling it for a higher price on other sites.
3.Increase in failed login attempts
Every customer mistypes their password now and then — but if you see a sudden rash of failed login attempts, you’ve very likely got a bot problem. While some credential-stuffing bots try to access legitimate customer accounts via stolen credentials, a simpler and more common technique is to launch a brute-force attack, in which bots attempt many rapid-fire logins using dictionaries of thousands of popular usernames and passwords.
Tactics for Fighting Bots
Just as no two bot attacks are alike, you’ll usually need a combination of multiple tactics to stop them all in their tracks. Consider some of the following strategies:
1.Block bad bots as soon as you catch them
The most self-evident response to a bot is also one of the most effective: simply block all traffic that you’ve identified as coming from malicious bot activity.
2.Whitelist all the good bots you’re aware of
Even as you detect and block bad bots, it’s crucial to make sure good bots from search engines and partners are still able to scrape your site. This not only ensures that your SEO ranking remains solid, but also keeps legitimate customer traffic flowing smoothly from third-party services that refer traffic to you.
From content scraping to inventory hoarding to credential stuffing, malicious bots actors are growing more sophisticated every year. Many can even bypass CAPTCHAs and other simple user verification tests.
In the Malicious Bot Playbook, you’ll learn the telltale signs of bad bot activity — and how gathering data, pattern detection, and predictive analytics can help you deploy a targeted response.
Download this guide to learn:
- 11 warning signs of bad bot behavior
- Why you need to employ diverse bot detection and mitigation methods
- 7 ways to stop bot attacks before they damage your site or application