Bot mitigation refers to the measures that are put in place to reduce the risk to applications, backend services, and APIs that malicious bots and bot traffic may cause. It implies that there is a complete elimination of bad bot traffic. The risks that bots pose include DDOS attacks, credential stuffing attacks, and vulnerability probing. Bot mitigation solutions leverage various bot detection methods to identify and stop malicious bots while allowing the good bots to continue operating as intended. They also prevent malicious bot traffic from overwhelming your network and cause a denial of service. By using bot mitigation techniques, you prevent the bots from ever reaching your site let alone harming it.
Why Is Bot Mitigation Critical?
Because bots or botnets help malicious actors scale the attack, a majority of threats originate from them. Because of the evolution of bot technologies, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, the threats they pose have also become complicated. Therefore, it is crucial to consider how you will manage the malicious bots when you consider the overall security strategy for your business. The higher the monetary gain by industry, the higher the potential for being targeted by malicious bots. They include:
Banks and Other Financial Institutions
Nowadays, banks and other financial institutions are grappling with the increase in fraudulent activities in their web-based and mobile applications.
Gambling sites are full of targets for various attacks like account takeover through credential stuffing.
Airline and other ticketing sites deal with denial of inventory and resource hoarding attacks by bots that aim to deny seats or tickets to actual customers.
The other reason bot mitigation is critical is because of the increase in bot-driven traffic online. Today we estimate that out of the total internet traffic, 40% comes from bots. Bots can do varying things like filling out forms, conducting real-time conversations, and other malicious deeds like layer 4-7 DDoS attacks on an online business and checking for cross-site scripting vulnerabilities within a website. In a nutshell, there is an increase in data breach acts caused by bots. To effectively thwart a bot attack, a mitigation plan should:
- Detect risky traffic caused by bots through detection methods like device fingerprinting, filtering IP addresses, and using allow and block lists with minimal false positives.
- Apply rate-limiting and dropping traffic to curb any subsequent actions of overburdening your infrastructure supporting the microservices, web, and mobile applications by bots.
- Keep the bot signatures updated while providing analytics that reveal past and present trends for bot attacks and activities.
How Does a Bot Mitigation Solution Work?
A bot mitigation solution uses multiple bot detection and management techniques. If the attack is more sophisticated, the mitigation solution can leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to ensure continuous adaptability depending on how bots grow. To provide the most comprehensive solution, a layered approach combines the bot management solution with web application firewalls, API gateways, and other security measures. Below are various ways to mitigate bots.
Allow and Block Lists
These lists are defined by IP addresses, policy expressions, and subnets to represent what bot origins are acceptable and unacceptable. If you include the bot in the allow list, it can go past the bot detection measure. Unlisted bots need subsequent checking against a block list, transactions per seconds (TPS) monitoring, and rate-limiting.
IP Address Reputation Analysis and Blocking
Many bot mitigation solutions maintain a list of known IP addresses where bots originate. The said addresses may be static or dynamically updated by adding new risky domains as the reputations of IP grow. It allows them to block the malicious bot traffic.
Signature Management and Device Fingerprinting
The signature of a bot is its identifier based on unique attributes such as the patterns in its HTTP requests. The device fingerprinting, in addition, reveals if a bot is connected to browser properties if the request headers have an association with malicious bot traffic.
Transactions Per Second and Rate Limiting
A bot management solution can throttle bot traffic from unknown sources. Rate limiting ensures that one client cannot send too many requests to an API turning the network down. TPS sets a time interval for a user’s traffic requests and can even shut down the user (in this case, bot) if the number of connections and requests violates the set baseline.
Using a CAPTCHA
Any internet user has some experience with CAPTCHAs. They are praised for being effective in stopping bots from accessing your site and allow just human or legitimate users only. With the development of technology, CAPTCHAs are designed in a way that helps them differentiate a legitimate user from a malicious bot.
Feeding the Bots Fake Data
As the saying goes, if you cannot beat them, join them, or in this case, call it a draw. One option you can use when you realize bot traffic on your site is feeding it with fake traffic, for instance, giving it incorrect prices on items. This way, you can make the bot believe whatever you want it to believe. Though it may take up some of your time, it is at the least satisfying.
Enlisting a Bot Mitigation Solution
Bot mitigation solutions are advanced measures provided by cybersecurity companies. They use the most recent technologies in the detection and mitigation of bot traffic. They provide real-time tracking and analysis of bots and bot traffic, ensuring that your online infrastructure is kept under real-time protection. Bot mitigation software protects you from threats like DDoS attacks, scraping of the content, and account takeover.
Bots are not going anywhere soon; instead, their traffic is skyrocketing. Therefore, you need to protect your long-term business interests. Having various bot mitigation methods is one way to ensure that the business keeps its online presence, and the traffic generated by legit users can help the business make the correct decisions. The mitigation helps protect both the business and user data from malicious bots. And GDPR can save you the cost of lawsuits and penalties because of a data breach in your company. Therefore, investing in a bot mitigation solution protects your business’s existence and protects the financial gains that you may have made.