Access and Feeds

Security: Bad Bots Use Increasingly Sophisticated Techniques to Impersonate Humans

By Dick Weisinger

Malicious bots are on the prowl on the internet. A report from Distil estimates that more than one-fifth of internet traffic is from “bad bots.”  Up nearly 10 percent over last year.  “Good bots” also account for another fifth of traffic.

The report found that the bases for bot attacks is data centers.  More than 82 percent of attacks from bad bots originate from cloud and data centers, up twenty percent from the previous year.  Low cost cloud computing is driving the rapid growth. The biggest targets of bad bots are ecommerce, healthcare and ticketing sites, especially online gambling and airline sites

Distil analyzed the level of sophistication of the bots being deployed and found that nearly three-quarters were relatively sophisticated in order to impersonate human behavior, like sending mouse movement and mobile gestures.

Gambling companies and airlines suffer from higher proportions of bad bot traffic than other industries, with 53.1 percent and 43.9 percent of traffic coming from bad bots, respectively. Ecommerce, healthcare and ticketing websites suffer from highly sophisticated bots, which are difficult to detect.

Distil Networks’ senior director of security research, , says airlines are also being targeted with a newer form of attack known as denial of inventory.

Anna Westelius, said that “this problem is huge in airlines because there are a lot of bots going in and holding airline seats for specific flights. They are reselling them on other websites or holding them for competitive purposes. That does not only impact that airline badly because you end up with unsold seats or bad user experience, but it’s also a consumer problem because the airline prices increase.”



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