Bad Bots are Real. Here’s how Hayneedle Fought Them

November 15, 2016

The online-only retailer’s system engineering team used to spend 20% of its time trying to stop malicious bots. A new system from e-commerce vendor Distil Networks now automatically stops them.

Battling bad bots is an issue that online retailer Hayneedle.com has been dealing with for years, says Brian Gress, director of information technology systems and governance for the merchant of home decor and furniture.

Some of those malicious bots attempt to flood Hayneedle.com with traffic so that legitimate shoppers encounter a sluggish site, other bots attempt to make fraudulent transactions. Bots from competitors also attempt to scrape the Hayneedle site for prices or product data to use for their own competitive advantage, Gress says.

“We would see a really heavy amount of traffic from one IP address and block it,” Gress says. Or Hayneedle would encounter bots with stolen credit card numbers trying to guess the CVV number many times over. “We were in a cycle of back and forth, trying to stay on top of them,” Gress says. CVV numbers refer to card verification values, typically a three-digit code on the back of a payment card. The number helps e-retailers verify that a payment card is in a consumer’s possession during a card-not-present transaction.

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