Bad Bots on the Rise – What Risks Do You Face?

April 26, 2017 Stephen Singam

While the internet population continues to grow, there has also been an increase in bots as well.

In 2016, approximately 185 million new internet users came online, with the vast majority of these coming from nations like India. This represents a huge increase in the market. However, while the internet population continues to grow, there has also been an increase in bots as well. The word ‘bot’ covers a wide variety of automated programs: while some source data for search engines and help people match their queries with the most appropriate websites, others are not so helpful.

In the past year, bad bots accounted for 19.9 per cent of all website traffic—a 6.98 per cent increase over the same time in 2015. Bad bots interact with applications in the same way a legitimate user would, making them harder to prevent. However, the results are harmful: for example, bad bots can take data from sites without permission while others undertake criminal activities such as ad fraud and account theft.

Bots enable high-speed abuse, misuse, and attacks on websites and APIs. They enable attackers, unsavoury competitors and fraudsters to perform a wide array of malicious activities, including web scraping, competitive data mining, personal and financial data harvesting, brute force login and man-in-the-middle attacks, digital ad fraud, spam, transaction fraud, and more.

 

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About the Author

Stephen Singam

Stephen Singam is Managing Director of Security Research at Distil Networks. He's a veteran Information Security & Technology Management professional with extensive experience in the Financial Services, Healthcare, Media & Entertainment and Cybersecurity Consulting industries, having held senior cybersecurity positions at Hewlett Packard (Asia Pacific & Japan), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (Sydney), 20th Century Fox/News Corporation (Los Angeles), Salesforce.com (San Francisco), IBM Corp (New York City & Singapore) and Nokia (Helsinki, Finland).

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