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What are bad bots and how to stop bad bot traffic

Latest Update: 16/04/2024

What are bad bots and how to stop bad bot traffic

According to a recent report by Analytics Insight, bot traffic now accounts for nearly two-thirds of all internet traffic, with over 40% of that being bad bot traffic. This is a significant increase from previous years, indicating that hackers are increasingly using bots to carry out malicious activities. Join VNETWORK to learn how to effectively prevent bad bot traffic attacks and improve security for businesses in the following article.

Learn about Bad bots

What are bad bots ?

Bad bots are computer programs designed to perform automated tasks on the internet with the aim of causing negative consequences for users or business systems. Hackers and adversaries often carry out various harmful activities and attacks on enterprise systems by deploying bad bots on websites, mobile applications, and application programming interfaces (APIs).

Purpose of bad bot attacks

Bad bots pose a serious threat to both users and business systems. They can be used to attack users and systems to achieve various objectives, including:

Data theft

Bad bots often focus on gathering sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, bank account details, and other personal information. The purpose of collecting this information is to exploit it for fraudulent activities, scams, or selling on the black market.

Below are some examples of how malicious bots can be used to steal information:

  • Bad bots can be used to send phishing emails to deceive users into clicking on harmful links or providing login information.
  • Bad bots can be used to create fake websites to trick users into entering sensitive personal or financial information.
  • Bad bots can be used to track users' activities on the internet to collect sensitive information, such as browsing history or credit card information.

DDoS attacks (Distributed Denial of Service)

DDoS attacks are network attacks aimed at making a website, online service, or network system unavailable to normal users. The goal of DDoS attacks is to disrupt business operations or cause economic damage and harm to a company's reputation. Bots can be used to send traffic to a website or online service, increasing traffic and overloading the business's system.

Fraud and asset theft

Bad bots can be utilized for fraudulent activities and asset theft through various common methods, including:

  • Sending phishing emails: Phishing emails often impersonate trusted organizations such as banks or governments to request users to provide sensitive personal or financial information (credit card numbers or passwords).
  • Creating fake websites: With the appearance of a trustworthy organization's website, they are often used to collect personal or financial information from users.
  • Conducting phishing attacks: Phishing attacks are a form of online fraud that uses emails or text messages to deceive users into clicking on a link or downloading a malicious file.

Distribution of malicious code

Distributing malware through bots is a method of using bots to spread malicious code to multiple computers for purposes including:

  • Controlling infected computers: Distributing other malware or conducting denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
  • Stealing sensitive data: Financial information, personal information, or confidential data.
  • Encrypting data for ransom decryption.

Impact on user experience

Bad bots can harm the user experience in various ways, such as reducing the performance of websites or online services by performing actions such as:

  • Unauthorized scraping: Bad bots may be used to collect data from websites without permission, slowing down the website or damaging the data.
  • Causing data loss: Bad bots may be used to delete or modify data on the website, resulting in loss of information or user accounts.
  • Diminishing user experience: Bad bots may perform unwanted actions on the website, such as sending spam messages or advertisements, making it difficult for users to use the website or service.

Common types of bad bots

Bad-Bots@4x.png Common types of bad bots

Web Scraping Bots

Web scraping is the process of extracting data from websites using software or automated bots. Through this method, hackers can utilize web scraping bots to gather personal information from websites, such as names, email addresses, phone numbers, and credit card numbers.

This information can be used to carry out fraudulent attacks, identity theft, or other criminal activities. Additionally, web scraping bots can also be used to search for security vulnerabilities within websites. These vulnerabilities can be exploited to gain control of the website or access sensitive data.

Credential Stuffing Bots

Credential stuffing bots are computer programs created to automate the process of attempting login using compromised password lists. They can simultaneously attack a large number of accounts, causing difficult-to-control attacks. Hackers use this technique to access user accounts using leaked login information.

The consequences of this can include unauthorized account takeover, opening doors for potential misuse and exploitation of users' personal information. Once an account is compromised, hackers can perform various fraudulent actions, including altering personal information, carrying out unauthorized transactions, or even scamming other users.

DDoS Bots

DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) Bots are computer programs designed to autonomously conduct DDoS attacks. The objective of such attacks is to render a website, online service, or network system inaccessible to regular users by amplifying traffic. This is often achieved by utilizing a large number of computers (commonly referred to as a botnet) to generate a massive volume of requests directed at a specific target.

Hackers may employ DDoS Bots to incapacitate a business's website or service, preventing customers from accessing it. This can lead to revenue loss and damage to reputation. Additionally, a DDoS attack can result in data loss or leakage, causing financial harm to the business.

Spam Bots

Spam Bots are computer programs designed to automatically create and distribute spam content on the internet. They typically utilize automated scripts to generate and post messages, comments, or other forms of unwanted content on forums, blogs, websites, or social media platforms.

Spam Bots may contain malicious links or lead users to counterfeit websites, where hackers can carry out fraudulent actions such as stealing personal information, bank account details, or passwords.

Risks from bad bots

The risks posed by bad bots can affect both businesses and individual users. For businesses, bad bots can cause issues such as:

Impersonation

Impersonation is one of the most significant risks associated with bad bots. These bots can use stolen personal information to infiltrate sensitive accounts, such as bank accounts, social media accounts, or email accounts. Once a bot gains access to a sensitive account, it can perform actions such as transferring funds, posting malicious content, or sending spam emails.

Malware infection

Bad bots often utilize deceptive links that appear to be from legitimate websites or organizations. These links can be disguised as images, videos, or text files. When a user clicks on a fraudulent link, they may download malware, such as viruses or spyware. This malware can allow the malicious bot to control the user's computer.

Spam

Spam is another prevalent issue associated with bad bots. They can be used to send spam emails or text messages, flooding users' inboxes with unwanted messages. Spam can be annoying and inconvenient, and it can also serve as a vector for malware distribution. Additionally, spam can be used to deceive users, such as tricking them into providing sensitive personal or financial information.

Financial losses

DDoS Bots are a type of bot used to attack a website by sending a large volume of requests to overwhelm it. These requests can come from various sources, such as malware-infected computers or computers controlled by a botnet. When a website is under DDoS attack, it may become overloaded and unable to handle all the requests, causing the website to slow down or become inaccessible. DDoS attacks can cause several problems for businesses, including loss of revenue, disruption of operations, and damage to reputation.

Data leakage

Credential-stealing bots are a type of malware designed to gather user login information from websites and applications, often distributed through phishing links or malicious software. After stealing login information, it can be used to log into websites and applications that the user has registered for, allowing actions such as online shopping, money transfers, or accessing personal information. Credential-stealing bots can also be used to check stolen login information across multiple websites.

How to effectively stop bad bot traffic

CAPTCHA implementation

CAPTCHA is a widely used security measure aimed at preventing automated bot attacks, standing for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart." CAPTCHA is designed to require users to perform tasks that only humans can complete, helping to distinguish between users and bots. There are various types of CAPTCHA, but they all rely on a common principle. Some common types of CAPTCHA include:

  • Text-based: Requires users to enter a piece of text or letters appearing in an image.
  • Image-based: Requires users to identify objects in an image.
  • Activity-based: Requires users to perform an action, such as clicking on an image or dragging a slider.

While not a foolproof security measure, CAPTCHA can be an effective means to prevent automated bot attacks.

Rate limiting and Throttling requests implementation

Rate Limiting and Throttling Requests are techniques employed to manage the volume of traffic that users can access on a website or API. Rate Limiting imposes restrictions on the number of requests a user can make within a specific timeframe, while Throttling Requests slows down the processing speed of requests. These methods can be configured to restrict the volume of requests originating from a single IP address within a designated time frame. If an IP address exceeds the defined threshold, any additional requests from that IP address will be blocked until the subsequent minute.

Web Application Firewall (WAF) implementation

WAF stands for Web Application Firewall, and it serves as a powerful security tool to protect web applications from various threats, including bot attacks. It achieves this by filtering and monitoring HTTP/HTTPS traffic between a web application and the internet. WAF operates based on a set of predefined security rules to identify and block malicious requests. These rules can include detecting and preventing attacks such as:

  • SQL injection: Occurs when an attacker injects malicious SQL code into a web application, used to access or modify sensitive data.
  • Cross-site scripting (XSS): Occurs when an attacker injects malicious HTML or JavaScript code into a web application, used to steal personal information or perform unauthorized actions on behalf of victims.
  • Cross-site request forgery (CSRF): Occurs when an attacker tricks a victim into making a request they did not intend to, which is then used to perform unauthorized actions on behalf of the victim.

Bot detection software and policy management

Bot detection software is a cybersecurity tool designed to protect websites and web applications from bot attacks, preventing both known bot traffic and new bots. It has the capability to update information from known bot lists to effectively combat the latest bot attacks.

Furthermore, implementing bot management policies helps businesses have more control over how bot traffic is accessed and handled. Bot management policies may include listing suspicious IP addresses in a blacklist based on criteria such as request rate, access time, and geographic location. Bot management also helps in identifying legitimate bots more easily and allows legitimate bots access by placing them on a safe list. This ensures that bots associated with useful services and safe interactions are not blocked.

VNIS - Comprehensive security solution against DDoS attacks and Bad bots

With VNIS security solution, VNETWORK commits to helping businesses maintain stable operations against any network security incidents or threats. The VNIS security solution is designed to safeguard the digital activities of enterprises from increasingly complex and large-scale cybercriminal attacks. As a result, businesses can rest assured that any potential attacks will not affect the performance of their websites or disrupt access for visitors and customers through:

Mô hình bảo mật toàn diện của VNIS VNIS comprehensive security model

  • The Multi-CDN system within the VNIS platform boasts a staggering capacity of up to 2,600 Tbps, enabling business websites, apps, and APIs to operate smoothly against any DDoS attacks, regardless of traffic volume.
  • The Multi WAF system, with multiple clusters of Cloud WAF globally, is ready to leverage dense cloud infrastructure to swiftly mitigate threats when website traffic experiences sudden surges. Accompanied by the network monitoring system WAF (Scrubbing Center), which coordinates the activities of Cloud WAF clusters across multiple countries, it effectively counters Layer 7 DDoS attacks.
  • The intelligent load balancing system (AI Load Balancing) combines Real User Monitoring (RUM) capabilities to analyze detailed attack sources, report real user interactions with the website, automatically detect the shortest path between servers and users, and route traffic quickly. Additionally, the AI Load Balancing system enables load balancing across multiple servers with options such as IP hash, round-robin, or failover switching.
  • The SOC expert team is always ready to respond to cybersecurity attacks 24/7, ensuring the enterprise's system is safe and minimizing damage when attacks occur.

Conclusion

Safeguarding websites from bad bot traffic is a top priority for businesses in today's digital age. However, with VNIS comprehensive security solutions, enterprises can rest assured that their websites are protected from risks posed by malicious bot traffic, ensuring optimal performance and maximum security for their business operations. For detailed consultation and quotation, please contact VNETWORK at: Hotline: +84 (028) 7306 8789 Email: contact@vnetwork.vn

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