Veracity Blog

Monitor your brand website for malicious bots

Monitor your brand website for malicious bots

We’ve talked a lot about bots here at Veracity but all business owners need to be aware of the very real danger they pose for your brand website.

Bots aren’t always a bad thing, they help us order food, they’re used in apps to support customer service, and many of them exist to help the world wide web function and allow the internet to work as it should do.

How are bots used?

Google uses bots to crawl the web and index web pages so their users can find them easily through Google searches. Ad Blocking bots help keep website visitors from being bombarded with unwanted ads.

Malicious bots, on the other hand, can cause real damage not only to your web presence, but also to your business reputation\and can lead to real problems with your brand website.

Attacks from bad bots are often the first indicator of fraudulent activity targeting your brand website. This can come in a variety of ways, from over-the-top surface level bots which are used to validate stolen user credentials or to steal credit card information which is sold on the dark web, or scraping proprietary data which is used to gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.

Bad bots are usually automated software programs designed specifically for a malicious purpose. They can include:

  • Using bots to crawl web pages and steal content;
  • Serving spam, scraping information, and generating fake ad impressions in online marketing campaigns;
  • Driving bad ad placements in fraudulent programmatic platforms;
  • Filling out forms with fake information to create bad leads;
  • Spamming your organisation’s contact or survey forms with bad messages—which can keep you from responding to genuine inquiries;
  • Posting fraudulent reviews on websites to make products and services look better or worse than they actually are to potential customers.

Online fraud evolution

Online fraud has evolved significantly, rendering traditional security tools ineffective.

From client-side attacks that steal sensitive data, to bots that leverage it to commit fraud – as financial incentives grow and attack costs lower, the risk to all organisations and their brand website increases.

  1. More consumers to protect – The pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital payments. With more accounts and transactions to protect, the risk of fraud grows;
  2. Fraud has become commoditised – The ease of purchasing leaked credentials and card numbers online, then leveraging bots to test and verify them against websites has increased the lucrativeness for online fraud;
  3. Bots are getting smarter by the day – The attack techniques used by bots are constantly evolving, allowing them to evade traditional bot mitigation measures and commit online fraud;
  4. Compromised JavaScript exposes sensitive data – Client-side attacks exploit compromised JavaScript to steal sensitive data. That stolen data is then used to feed bots performing automated fraud and account takeovers.

Losses from online fraud are expected to exceed $206 billion across the next five years, driven by identity fraud, fake accounts, and payment fraud.

Detecting and preventing fraudulent brand website activity

Organisations of all shapes and sizes must ensure that they are able to detect and stop fraudulent activity on their brand websites and applications.

According to US cybersecurity experts Imperva, personal employee or customer data accounts for almost half (45%) of all stolen data. This ties in with a second report by Veeam which found that more than 80% of organisations believe their data is not protected well enough.

Allowing bad bots to access systems can be very expensive for organisations in several ways, including:

  1. Loss of revenue associated with brand website downtime and/or performance degradation;
  2. Increased operational expense including infrastructure costs, authentication expenses, and the people cost of the time spent on bot mitigation;
  3. Regulatory penalties such as the huge fines imposed on organisations for breaches of, for example, GDPR or AML regulations;
  4. The intangible (and sometimes tangible) damage to brand reputation resulting from negative publicity and loss of customer confidence.

What steps can I take to protect against malicious bots?

Unfortunately, because there’s no single way malicious bots can attack a website, there isn’t a “single solution”. However, there are a number of steps you can take to help protect your brand from malicious bots.

Collect Data

Making sure you’re monitoring and reviewing in-depth analytics and other request data means you should be able to identify the holes in bots’ disguises. Once you can separate human traffic from bot traffic, you can then dig deeper to identify the purpose of the bots.

Good bots including search engine crawlers from Google, Bing, Facebook etc, can be given access to your website.

Malicious bots can be isolated and blocked.

Evaluate Traffic

Bot traffic can be associated with high bounce rates or low conversion rates. Another strong indication of bots is unexplained traffic spikes or high requests to a particular URL.

On login pages, define your failed login attempt baseline, then monitor for anomalies or spikes. Set up alerts so you’re automatically notified if any occur.

Identifying Risks

Stopping bot traffic begins with identifying potential risks to your website marketing, and eCommerce campaigns bring more bots.

Improved understanding of the ways your site could become a target is key to a successful bot management strategy. Some website functionalities are highly exploitable by bad bots.

Adding login functionality creates the opportunity for credential stuffing and credential cracking attacks, having a checkout form increases the chances of credit card fraud (carding/card cracking). Providing gift card functionality invites bots to commit fraud.

Make sure your website has added security functionality and stricter rules for these pages.

Deploy a threat detection and protection solution

Today, it’s almost impossible to keep up with all of the threats on your own. Your defences need to evolve as fast as the threats and you need dedicated support from experts.

Veracity is a rapidly maturing solution that meets the needs of small organisations with a single application as well as large enterprises with hundreds of them.

The platform detects and deters the most sophisticated bots, engaging in an ongoing game of one-upmanship. While basic bots can be blocked by most defences, more-sophisticated bots use a multitude of techniques to mimic human behaviour and subvert detection.

The criminal gangs involved tweak their bots when they encounter solutions like Veracity, forcing us to continually adapt and instigate defences that thwart bots, confuse their instigators, and increase the cost of the attack to the point where it’s no longer worth it.

Veracity is designed to keep up with ever-evolving attacks, offer a range of reporting options, and enable human end-customers to transact business with little friction or frustration.

Low friction integration

Available as a plug-in service, Veracity is designed to be deployed in minutes and will easily integrate with other core tools that are used by organisations in the security, financial crime, crypto, and e-commerce market sectors.

Find out more:

, , , , , , , , , ,

Award-winning malicious bot protection.

Cyber Award Winner 2021

AI-Enabled Data Solution of the Year – DataIQ Awards 2023 Finalist

Tech Innovation of the Year Winner – Leeds Digital Festival Awards

Cyber Security Company of the Year – UK Business Tech Awards 2023 Finalist

Tech Leader of the Year – Tech Awards 2023 Finalist

Best Use of AI – Tech Awards 2023 Highly Commended