How to detect and prevent bots on your website?

Bots are used as a way for humans to automate often repetitive and time-consuming tasks. While bots can be used without causing harm, they can also be accused of undermining a company’s analytics and security. Companies should therefore be vigilant and ready to mitigate any bot-related risk. Here’s how.

Understanding the bot problem

The first step in detecting and protecting against bots is to understand how they work. Bots are intelligent and can be used to automate tasks to improve a user’s interaction with your site. Unfortunately, this same technology can also be used to do harm. It is therefore necessary for companies to be able to tell the difference between good and bad bots, which can be tricky. What are good bots? Bots can help perform many tasks that enable businesses to become more efficient and productive in crawling search engines and social media, automating tasks and integrating exclusively with partners. So, if you want to detect and prevent bad bots, you need to make sure that you are not targeting good bots at the same time. What are bad bots? In general, the most basic attacks of bad bots generate traffic to a website that does not come from real users. This can negatively impact not only your stats, but also your overall security and the trustworthiness of your site for customers.

The worst bots can even fully automate attacks on your network if not detected early enough. These attacks can include breaking into user accounts to perform fake transactions or steal data. Overloading servers to completely shut down a network, which can be detrimental to a company’s reputation and finances.

How to detect bad bots on your site or application?

Bots are becoming increasingly sophisticated as artificial intelligence develops. The good news is that the intelligence that helps fight bad bots is also getting more and more sophisticated. Since bots are becoming easier to detect and prevent, they may not pose as serious a risk as other security issues. But as businesses grow, manual detection becomes impossible. Companies therefore need more efficient ways to have an up-to-date bot detection solution. This solution must be able to process all bot activity, and must use several detection techniques, such as anomalies in device and network attributes, usage speeds and behavioral anomalies.

The next step is to prevent them from causing damage. To begin with, moving from “detection” to “prevention”, a very important requirement is added: real-time detection. Essentially, businesses need to be able to detect bot traffic as early as possible and prevent bots from causing the damage they intend to do. Before that, it’s important to recognize that prevention also means your business will need to consider user experience. Only bad bots should be stopped; if legitimate users are mistaken for bots, you’ll have more trouble on your hands. The good news is that there are several high-level prevention techniques:

Traffic blocking: Effective method which however must be used when you are very certain of being in the presence of a bot. Typically, specific solutions for bot management are able to block bot traffic. However, these solutions may not be very effective in combating other types of fraud and can be a drain on resources.

Add a challenge in the form of a CAPTCHA: Most users have probably come across a CAPTCHA before. It is very useful for creating an appropriate degree of friction for users by asking them to easily overcome a challenge that would otherwise be very difficult for a bot. Of course, it is true that sophisticated bots can circumvent a CAPTCHA relatively easily by simulating human mouse interactions. That said, the use of CAPTCHA is a very accessible solution that can detect certain bots.

Integrate an MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) solution: You can force MFA when you suspect a bot is trying to log into accounts, especially bots that use credential stuffing to steal credentials. account information to attempt to gain access. MFA not only drastically mitigates this, but also avoids friction for legitimate users. MFA lets you ensure your users are who they say they are, while keeping bots at bay.

A final way to mitigate the risks associated with bots would be to get inside the mind of the attacker. We must first think about the motivations of the attacker. Then, to the technologies they would use to carry out the bot attack. Bots can also create a large number of new accounts to commit large-scale fraud. In general, by looking at session characteristics, identity professionals can determine whether a user is human or not. To do this, they can look at specific technologies that attackers might be using, and then the implications of those technologies. This means they can be easier to detect and prevent. Similarly, the more advanced the bots, the more targeted the intended attack, and therefore the more difficult it can be to detect and prevent them.

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How to detect and prevent bots on your website?

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