The first step in stopping automated attacks on your websites, mobile applications, and APIs is bot identification. Your traffic is divided into requests made by people and those made by bots. Since hostile bots account for at least one-third of all web traffic worldwide, effective bot identification is essential for shielding organizations from risks to their online security.
However, it is now more difficult than ever to identify bot traffic. The majority of businesses still rely on the traditional security measures, but bot developers are continually coming up with new ways to circumvent them.
Bot traffic: What is it
Bot traffic is the total number of bots visiting your websites, mobile applications, and APIs. Both good and evil bot activity exists. Site monitoring bots like WordPress pingbacks and search engine bots like the Googlebot are examples of good bot traffic. Any bot designed to carry out a job that can be harmful to your business or consumers is considered bad bot traffic.
Between good and bad bot traffic, there are many bots at work. For instance, millions of websites, including yours, are crawled by bots for examination by SEO tools like Ahrefs and Moz.
What makes bot identification crucial
The first step in preventing the most serious security dangers in today’s internet environment is bot identification. Certain bot assaults, such price or page scraping and account takeover fraud, might go unnoticed until it’s too late. Effective bot protection requires effective bot detection. If you prevent malicious bots from accessing your websites, mobile applications, and APIs, you will:
- Cut back on IT expenses
- Safeguarding user experience
- Keep a step ahead of your rivals
- Fire suppression should take less time
How can i recognize bots and their traffic
Despite these difficulties, there are a few oblique techniques you may use to spot bot activity. All of these are signs that something undesirable is occurring on your websites, applications, and APIs:
- Pageviews that are unusually high
- High bounce rate compared to average
- Session lengths that are unusual
- Traffic increases coming from unidentified places
- Unreliable conversions
Techniques, tactics, and restrictions to identify bots
In order to stop bots from spamming search engines or forums, CAPTCHAs were developed in the late 1990s. CAPTCHAs, however, are now a concern for two reasons.
First, CAPTCHA limits Internet accessibility. For persons with impairments, the difficulties with speech or image identification are a nightmare. Additionally, they reduce conversions since they can be difficult to resolve and provide friction at key places on your websites or web apps.
Furthermore, CAPTCHAs are no longer very effective in detecting bots. Nowadays, many bots connect through an API to CAPTCHA farms, which can quickly and cheaply tackle any challenge.
Websites or online applications can be protected by WAF (Web Application Firewalls) from well-known threats including SQL injections, session hijacking, and cross-site scripting. They employ a set of criteria to separate the good from the bad bot traffic. WAFs specifically search for requests that include well-known attack signatures.Therefore, WAF are only able to stop known threats. They are inadequate at stopping the sophisticated, constantly evolving bots of today that lack blatant attack signs. In order to control bots, WAFs also primarily rely on IP reputation.
If a request’s IP reputation is negative, it thinks that any action from that IP will be negative. In contrast, if the IP reputation is positive, it is likely to approve of all requests originating from that IP. A WAF is no longer a useful tool for detecting and stopping bots since bot operators can quickly and cheaply cycle high-quality residential IP addresses.
An effective method for protecting a user’s account is multi-factor authentication. You should advise consumers to toggle it if they have accounts on your websites or mobile applications. However, you’ll soon realize that most users won’t bother. There’s just too much friction. Due to this, MFA can no longer be used as a security solution.
Additionally, while MFA helps shield your users from account hacks and credential stuffing assaults, it does not shield your company from other bot attacks that can still do significant harm, including web crawlers or DDOS attacks.
Why is bot identification such a difficult task
Bot detection is difficult for a number of reasons. First, all endpoints are now attacked by bots. They now assault more than just websites. They also target servers, APIs, and online and mobile apps. Additionally, bots increasingly employ the same technology as people. They can employ mobile phone farms to use actual devices rather than simulated ones since their browsers have fingerprints that are very close to those of human browsers. Bot operators have the easy ability to disperse their strikes over space and time. They can assault the API of your mobile app for several days in a range of nations with minimal effort and expense.
Bots have access to millions of pristine, private IP addresses. Frequently, the bot will only submit one or two queries to a single IP before moving on to another. Many security tools, like WAFs, only use IP addresses to differentiate between bots and people. They are rendered useless by this method. Bot management is more crucial than ever, but it is also more challenging. To effectively secure oneself, you need a specialized, cutting-edge bot detection system.