Are You Dealing With (Bad) Bots? Here’s How To Spot Them: Malicious Bots

Are You Dealing With (Bad) Bots? Here’s How To Spot Them: Malicious Bots
A high probability exists that malicious bots will visit your website in the near future. Is it possible for us to track them down and identify them to mitigate the attempts they are making to steal data and hijack account usernames by finding them and tracking them down?
The Internet bot is also referred to as a software application based on the Internet, or it is a device used to automate tasks through the Internet. Generally, a bot performs simple tasks faster than a human internet user, and the functions that are being performed tend to be simple and easy to accomplish. Using ProxyCrawl, for example, is a program that is used to enable Google to crawl the Internet and index it in order to be able to perform searches on the web. One thing to remember is that some bots are not scams at all. Some bots are malicious, such as those that scan websites to identify software vulnerabilities and execute simple attack patterns against websites.
The good news is that bots differ from humans in their behavior. In addition, the same is true if a bot starts to control an individual’s browser and begins to perform actions on behalf of that individual. Furthermore, it is predicted that there will be a wave of malicious bots that will cause signals and anomalies that anyone will be able to notice, even a rockstar data scientist.

Different Types of Bots

There are a lot of bots on the Internet, both legitimate and malicious, so if you search for them, you will find a lot of them. Here are some examples of common bots.
    • Spider Bots

Web crawlers are automated programs that search the Internet by following hyperlinks to retrieve and index information. Spider bots are also known as web spiders or web crawlers. To process the website’s content, the spiders download HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and images from the site.
If you have several pages on your website, you can create a robots.txt file in the root of your webserver to specify which parts of your site should be crawled and how often and which elements should not be crawled.
    • Scraper Bots

Scrapers are pieces of software that take data from a site, save it offline, and make it available for later reuse. The easiest method would be to scrape the entire content of a web page or to scrape the web page’s content to find a specific data point, for example, the product name and price for an e-commerce site.
According to some, website scraping is a legitimate practice, while website owners may even accredit the practice in other cases. There are also instances where bot operators violate the terms of usage on a website, or worse, they may scrape sensitive or copyrighted content from a website.
    • Spam Bots

A spambot is a computer program designed to gather email addresses from the Internet to use them in spam mailing lists. In most cases, spambots use websites, social networking websites, business websites, and organization websites to collect email addresses, enabling them to exploit the unique format of email addresses.
When hackers acquire an extensive list of email addresses to spam, they are not only able to spam those addresses, but they can also use them for other nefarious purposes and spamming.
    • The Cracking of Credentials

It is essential to pair your emails with shared passwords to prevent unauthorized access to accounts.
    • Forms of Spam

Typical examples of this process include the automatic insertion of spam content, such as advertisements or malware links, into forms on popular websites, such as feedback forms or comment forms.
In addition to the direct effects of spam campaigns on end-users and organizations. A spam campaign can cause immediate damage to end-users and organizations who receive it. Despite this, they can also cause server bandwidth issues and drive up the expense of Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
    • Social Media Bots

These days there is extensive use of bots in social media networks. Several automated messages are generated by these websites, including promoting ideas, following users, and providing false profiles in order that those users can gain more followers. There have been estimates that social bots control between 9-15% of Twitter accounts.
An example of a social bot is a program that spreads specific ideas among a group of people using social media. Even though they are not strictly regulated, social bots play a crucial role in forming public opinion on the Internet, even if their activity is not strictly regulated.
In addition, social bots can also be used to spread the user’s message, amplify the message, and generate fake followers and likes on social media (although it is becoming increasingly difficult due to the sophistication of many social networks today). There may be a challenge in identifying and mitigating social bots because they exhibit very similar behavior to real humans.
    • Download Bots

As a general rule, download bots are automatically generated programs that can be used to download software or mobile applications automatically. Their services can be utilized in several ways to influence download statistics, including gaining more downloads on popular app stores and helping to position new apps higher in the rankings on these stores. The malware may also launch a Denial-of-Service attack (DoS) by creating fake downloads that will then be used to establish fake downloads on download sites.

4 Ways to Spot Malicious Bot Activity on Your Site

Here are four indicators that you can use to decide whether malicious bots might attack your website and determine whether you need to take action:

1.   More attempts to log in have failed

It is quite common for bot networks to be used in ATO attacks. Your bot networks will attempt to gain control of your users’ accounts by looking for combinations of user names and passwords that have already been published elsewhere. The botnet will likely be able to validate your account if it attempts to validate millions of reports per day as part of such an attack.
It is a classic sign that a bot has been used to manipulate the server due to all the failed login attempts that resulted from this activity. In creating reports highlighting the spikes in login attempts over time, you can easily do so based on Google Analytics or your access logs, which can be easily accomplished with analytics tools like Google Analytics.

2.   An increase in gift cards with invalid numbers

Among the most popular targets for fraudsters are stealing the value of legitimate gift cards and stealing gift cards. The companies that attempt to hijack a gift card balance do not ask for the account holder’s name, billing address, or any other personal information. Consequently, gift cards have become a target for fraudsters due to this fact. Especially when it comes to gift cards, these are particularly vulnerable to brute-force attacks as they attempt to find good combinations of the card number and the pin code by rapidly trying out different combinations.
These attacks are typically carried out by fraudsters using bots that they control—the inserting of a pair of characters that is not valid results in error notification. There is a possibility that if the rate of gift card validation failures suddenly increases or spikes, it indicates that someone is trying to steal your customers’ gift cards and sell them on the dark web.

3.   Pages are viewed irregularly

As a rule, a human customer will visit a website’s home page, search for what they want, click on a product page, and then check out. There is no way a human visitor will visit every product page on your site – or even half of them. Scrapers scrape your website to get at your product pages, which is why they scrape your site.
There is also the possibility that the bot will return to the search page numerous times during a session. It is very likely that session patterns that resemble bot attacks, such as unreasonable searches, result from an attack by a bot. It is important to note that another indication that the scraper is a bot is that it downloads large volumes of content during irregularly long periods.

4.   Traffic from unexpected sources

There are many scenarios in which bot operators would exploit a cheap hosting service or compromise a hosting service, or host malware-infected servers and use those servers to run their bots on affordable hosting services. Your website may have been targeted by a bot if, for example, most of your customers are located within a specific geographic area, such as Europe or the United States, so if suddenly you notice traffic from countries where you do not offer services, like Vietnam or Chile, you have most probably been targeted by a bot. If you take a look at the coordinates of your visitors, you will be able to tell whether they are bots or party crashers who are not browsing or shopping on your website.

Concluding Remarks

The most important thing to remember is that all the above are only rough indications that bots are at work. It is possible for the data you receive from your web analytics to be contaminated by sophisticated malicious bots, including those that generate realistic user-like signatures.
Although bots are not stupid, they are not considered human either. It is recommended that you use a dedicated bot management solution to get a complete picture of the traffic generated by the bot in real-time. Look carefully for signs of strange behavior, and you should almost always be able to tell the difference between abnormal behavior and expected behavior.

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