What is Bot Mitigation?
Bad bots are bad for business. They flood your site, tax your infrastructure and slow performance, driving up operational costs and reducing efficiency – and that’s before the real destruction begins. A successful bot attack can damage your brand reputation, reduce consumer trust and cause financial losses.
Some of these insidious web bots use stolen payment data to make fraudulent purchases or log into accounts with stolen credentials. Others buy prized goods on e-commerce sites and resell them at inflated prices. Still others scrape away your intellectual property and product information to gain a competitive edge.
So, you’re probably wondering how to prevent bot attacks and protect your business. First, let’s go back to the basics: what is bot mitigation?
Bot mitigation is the process of reducing the risk of automated bot attacks and stopping them from abusing your websites, mobile apps and visitors. This involves distinguishing bots from real people, separating bad bots from good bots, and dealing with the malicious activity. And this doesn’t just mean blocking. Other tactics include proactive measures to prevent bot attacks and redirecting the malicious web traffic elsewhere.
Bot mitigation involves the use of technologies to enforce policies that protect against bot attacks. This means using intelligence signals to detect malicious bot behavior at the onset of attacks and adopting a strategy for appropriate mitigation approaches. Bot mitigation solutions stop malicious bots before they impact your websites, mobile applications and APIs.
Why is Bot Mitigation Important for Businesses?
Here’s the reason companies care about bot mitigation: once you start doing business on the internet and start getting the visitor traffic you want, bad bots come with it. Bots account for 50 to 70% of all web traffic, with bot attacks targeting e-commerce applications and login pages most often.
Bot mitigation addresses an entire class of threats that trigger adverse business effects. Bad bots flood login pages, shopping carts and payment forms. They tax your infrastructure, slow performance and increase your costs, which drives up operational expenses. Many efforts to thwart bad bots – such as CAPTCHAs and multifactor authentication (MFA) – frustrate human users and lead to abandonment.
Bad bots flood login fields with stolen credentials as cybercriminals try to gain unauthorized access to your users’ accounts. Malicious bots load shopping cards with high-demand goods in denial of inventory attacks. Bots make modest purchases with stolen credit cards to determine active, viable accounts for future fraud.
When you can’t tell bot traffic from human consumer traffic, it skews business analytics. Faulty analytics lead you to misinterpret trends and make costly mistakes. Effective bot mitigation stops the bots that start these cascading adverse effects, reducing your risk.
Types of Bots and Botnets
Carding bots test stolen credit and debit card details on your checkout forms and pages. These bots confirm active cards by attempting to make modest purchases on e-commerce sites. If the payment goes through, the card number is validated and marked for future use. Most commonly, fraudsters use validated cards to buy gift cards, which are then used to make high-dollar purchases such as laptops, smart TVs, and smartphones with little scrutiny from card companies. The cybercriminals finish laundering the money by selling the goods online.
Credential stuffing bots
Credential stuffing bots attempt logins across popular sites using lists of stolen usernames and passwords. When the credentials work, malicious hackers gain unauthorized access to user accounts. They can use this access to make fraudulent purchases with stored payment data, steal gift cards and loyalty points, submit fake credit applications, post fake reviews or sell the credentials to other criminal hackers on the dark web.
Scalping bots use fake accounts to snatch up high-demand goods, such as limited edition sneakers, concert tickets and rare collectibles. Once the bots deplete your inventory, the cybercriminals resell the items at a high markup on third-party sites or the dark web.
Scraping bots routinely crawl the internet at scale, analyzing and copying product descriptions, images and prices from your sites for malicious purposes. Your rivals can use the data to compete with you on price, robbing you of profits. They may even republish your original images and content explicitly, which can lower your position in search engine rankings.
How Does a Bot Mitigation Solution Prevent Bot Attacks?
A bot mitigation solution prevents bot attacks using advanced detection and prevention techniques. These include behavioral analysis, intelligent fingerprinting and predictive analysis to identify malicious bots in real time. Detection triggers enforcement technologies that block, rate-limit or redirect bot attacks to decoy sites.
Here are some of the ways that bot mitigation solutions identify bots:
- Turn behavioral signals from users, browsers, and networks into dynamic behavior profiles that tell a story of how users interact with your business online.
- Use fingerprinting and behavior modeling to identify bots when they visit your site.
- Analyze keystroke rhythm, cursor movement, course and speed to look for anomalous behavior.
- Log IP addresses, session duration, bounce rate and pageviews to find abnormal browsing and request patterns.
- Enable proof of work tactics to make it difficult and expensive to conduct automated attacks at scale.
When a bot mitigation solution detects bots, it can trigger a range of enforcement actions:
- Limit how often someone can repeat an action, such a login attempt, within a certain time frame. This is known as rate-limiting.
- Use deception techniques and honeypots to redirect bot traffic for in-depth analysis using forensic tools and techniques.
- Serve a challenge-response test, such as a CAPTCHA, that only humans can pass. One caveat is that CAPTCHA-solving bots are not deterred by this technique.
- Trigger multifactor authentication and ask users for additional verification.
- Block access to the page or site.
Bot mitigation solutions may also provide analytics and insights to aid forensic investigations and to enable customized reporting. This ensures that bots do not skew your data and allows you to make intelligent business decisions.
How Does PerimeterX Help with Bot Mitigation?
PerimeterX Bot Defender detects malicious bots with unparalleled accuracy. The solution uses a combination of intelligent fingerprinting, behavioral analysis and predictive methods to identify bad bots and trigger an appropriate mitigation action. Bot Defender leverages machine learning algorithms that evolve and become more sophisticated in real time to keep pace with morphing bot behaviors.
Bot Defender leverages Human Challenge, a user-friendly human verification system that weeds out bad bots without frustrating real human users. Human Challenge stops CAPTCHA-solving bots, accelerates human solve times and reduces shopping cart abandonment. Furthermore, the solution is low-latency and does not impact page load performance.
The specialized PerimeterX Hype Sales Protection solution separates hype sale-related traffic from regular traffic, and enforces additional, aggressive detections only on users trying to purchase limited-edition items. It incorporates a checkpoint page that gives customers a familiar waiting room feel while allowing e-commerce vendors to throttle traffic and maintain performance.
With over 40+ integrations, Bot Defender works with your existing infrastructure, preserves your application performance and extends bot protection across all your web and mobile applications, and API endpoints. It makes it faster and easier for developers to work in their organization’s hybrid environment. This includes seamless integrations with a wide range of content delivery networks (CDNs), load balancers, web and application servers, as well as leading analytics platforms to provide tailored analytics for your web properties.
Bot Defender forms a robust and layered barrier against bots attacks, wherever they happen along your users’ digital journey.