It’s hard not to love the idea of a bot that simplifies ecommerce, enhances messaging, or even arranges your vacation travel end-to-end, from transport to the airport, booking a flight, reserving a hotel, and back again. However, there is another class of bots — bad bots, which you should be very wary of. They’ve been around for years, but with the rapid embrace of chatbots, the security threat they pose has increased. In fact, about 40 percent of all bot traffic is malicious, according to security firm Distil Networks.
That means for every cool new weather or shopping bot, there is probably a sinister equivalent being hatched somewhere. “Bots are the centerpiece of a hacker’s toolkit,” says Rami Essaid, CEO and cofounder of Distil Networks, a 5-year-old company specializing in bot detection and mitigation for a broad range of customers from AOL to Staples to StubHub. Last summer, the San Francisco-based firm raised $21 million in a series B round led by Bessemer Ventures, bringing its total capital raise to about $35 million. Earlier this year the firm released its 2016 Bad Bots Landscape Report.