Everything You Need to Know About Bot Detection and Bot Attacks

Fraudsters engage in cybercrime as a means of profit. They are prepared to invest the time and money necessary to carry out an assault in proportion to the potential financial gain. Automation scripts and bots are a useful and affordable instrument that let them launch assaults quickly and in large numbers.

A bot is any automated program or script, both good and bad, that can, to varied degrees, simulate human behavior. They come in all kinds and sizes. According to some estimates, bots currently make up close to 50% of all internet traffic. They may be effective tools for providing online services at scale and at a cheap cost, thus fraudsters who want to make as much money as possible also take advantage of them. Bots are far more scalable than humans due to their capacity to conduct thousands of assaults concurrently. 

The bot attack’s six stages

In order to find gaps in the fraud defenses used by firms, fraudsters examine them. With the use of the necessary resources, they may also modify their attacks to yield the most return on their investment. A bot assault generally proceeds via the following six stages:

First Stage: A site administrator introduces a web security solution and adjusts the processes in the first phase. Due to the default scripts of all existing bots being unable to keep up with the modified process, this update identifies all bots.

Second Stage: Bot operators expand their botnet to thousands of nodes that are housed in cloud providers in several nations in order to get over this most recent obstacle. They can therefore randomize the signature of their HTTP header.

Third Stage: When attempts are unsuccessful, fraudsters reevaluate the process and research the most recent online security measures put in place by the company. They determine what kinds of data the security product gathers and utilize that knowledge to update the bot script with a “good fingerprint.”

Additionally, they attempt to shuffle or randomly alter the data points while analyzing the outcomes. They attempt to harvest them from genuine user sessions and replay them from a botnet if they discover that the security solution employs permanent ID or cookies.

Fourth Stage: Fraudsters try to submit random data to produce an exception if stage 3 efforts are unsuccessful in order to make the product “fail safe” and disable the defense.

Fifth Stage: To update the botnet to a headless browser that can execute JavaScript and imitate keystrokes, mouse movements, and clicks, scammers utilize selenium or headless chrome.

Sixth Stage: If all other methods fail to defeat the updated security solution, fraudsters may turn to human-driven fraud—but only if it is economically viable.

Attacks driven by bots are increasing

In Q1 2020, more than 74% of assaults were reportedly bot-driven. This is largely because customers today do business through a variety of digital platforms, including PCs, laptops, mobile devices, and game consoles. Additionally, APIs have created a new attack vector. As a result, scammers have discovered several access points to exploit. Bots and scripts are inexpensive and readily available online.

Typically, bots are used for card testing, credential stuffing, spamming, and abuse. However, fraudsters may pick the level of complexity of the bots and utilize them in a variety of ways to personalize their assaults based on the protections implemented by the target organizations. These consist of:

High-volume attacks: To scale up the attacks, simple bots are frequently deployed. Fraudsters are capable of stacking their exploits even while employing simple or undeveloped bots. This is due to the volume that these bots enable. Even a small percentage of successful bots can result in significant financial advantage for fraudsters when the volume is enormous.

Attacks that are low and slow: Fraudsters frequently start off by keeping a low profile in order to plan a long-term attack. For the preliminary groundwork, they use bots. In order to avoid bot mitigation techniques, these bots imitate human behavior and forge identifying symbols.

Avoiding detection: Automated scripts that are sophisticated and advanced employ machine vision to evade detection. These bots have a really good degree of accuracy when impersonating actual people. Because of this, scammers utilize them to trick bot mitigation tools.

Hybrid Assaults: These involve the use of both bots and human fraud farms, which employ low-wage workers to initiate attacks on behalf of fraudsters. When fraud-prevention techniques need increasingly complex human interaction and machines can’t get around them, sweatshops take control.

Why do companies need to address this threat

Today, digital is the rage in international trade. Increased fraud is becoming the target of this increased digital contact. This, together with the fact that bots are becoming more affordable, accessible, intelligent, and deployable, creates the ideal conditions for a massive bot-driven onslaught. Even worse, fraudsters are aware of the criteria that companies employ to identify and counteract bot-driven assaults.

They have developed elaborate strategies for manipulating and getting around these protections. They may conceal their real location, impersonate legitimate consumer devices, and utilize the anonymity of the internet to do so. Today’s well-trained bots can quickly get around CAPTCHAs thanks to advancements in machine vision technology. As a result, businesses are more susceptible to bot-driven attacks, and they must take all necessary measures to detect bots in order to safeguard their operations and maintain consumer satisfaction.

Traditional methods’ drawbacks

Businesses have historically used three basic strategies to identify and counteract bot-driven assaults. However, it is challenging to successfully combat the dangers of developing bots because of the inherent limits of these strategies:

  • Blocking Traffic
  • Risk scoring traffic

To succeed in the digital economy, an online company environment that has the consumers’ confidence is essential. Therefore, digital enterprises must provide their clients with a simple and secure online experience.