Bot Detection: How to Find & Stop Bots

The act of evaluating all traffic to a website, mobile application, or even the bot detection API is known as “bot detection,” and it aims to identify and restrict dangerous bots while allowing access to reputable visitors and partner bots that have been given permission.

Protecting sensitive data, halting bot operations including content scraping, account takeover, financial fraud, denial of service assaults, API abuse, scalping, ad fraud, and other malicious actions, all depend on identifying and blocking problematic bots.

Understanding the bot problem

Understanding how bots operate is the first step in identifying them and preventing them from being used. Bots may be used to automate chores to enhance a user’s interaction with your website since they are intelligent. For instance, some businesses utilize bots for active monitoring or automated quality assurance. Sadly, the same technology may be misused to cause evil. Companies must consequently be able to distinguish between good and malicious bots, which may be challenging.

Good bots: What are they

As previously stated, not all bot traffic is dangerous or fraudulent. Bots may assist with a variety of tasks that help businesses become more productive and efficient. The following are some advantageous bot capabilities:

  • Social media and search engine crawlers.
  • Automation of processes that would often take a long time, including browser add-ons that automatically insert discount codes during a user’s online purchase.
  • Proprietary partnerships with integrations (e.g., aggregators and online travel agencies, such as when bots scrap prices, making for quick searches).

So, although you want to identify and stop harmful bots, you also don’t want to simultaneously target good bots.

Bad Bots: What are they

Generally speaking, the most basic harmful bot assaults send traffic to a website that isn’t truly originating from genuine people. This may harm not just your analytics but also your general security and the credibility of your website in the eyes of visitors. The following are some instances of malicious bot traffic:

  • Using false information to fill out contact forms and spam your business.
  • Creating the impression that your website is more popular than it actually is.
  • Falsely making you believe that you have leads when you don’t.
  • Interacting with rivals on social media.
  • Posting automatically-generated criticisms or reviews.

How to spot a bad bot on your website or app

As artificial intelligence advances, bots are becoming more advanced. For instance, material has been produced by bots to advance very real political objectives in digital and social media spaces, which has had effects in the real world.The good news is that bad bots are growing more intelligent as well, which is progress.

Bots are getting simpler to see and avoid, thus they might not be as big of a security danger as other issues. As previously noted, bots may be found manually by identifying patterns like:

  • Very high page views.
  • Referral traffic that is unfamiliar.
  • Traffic originating from locations or things that otherwise wouldn’t engage with your website.
  • Grammatical and punctuation errors.

However, manual detection becomes impractical as businesses grow. Therefore, businesses require more efficient means of having a bot detection system that is current. A bot detection solution should be capable of handling the full range of bot behavior and incorporate numerous detection methods, such as:

  • Abnormalities in device and network attributes (e.g., user-agent, referrals).
  • Useful speeds (e.g., abnormal traffic volumes from specific IP addresses).
  • Abnormal human behavior, ( keyboard and mouse interactions.)

Getting rid of bot traffic

Consequently, your bot detection tool has assisted you in finding bots. The following step is to stop them from doing harm. Starting off, a crucial condition is added when going from “detection” to “prevention”: real-time detection. In essence, businesses must be able to identify bot traffic as early as possible and stop bots from doing the harm they intend.

Prior to doing this, it’s critical to understand that prevention necessitates taking user experience into account inside your organization. In order to maintain the seamless user experience that genuine users want, detection accuracy needs to be sufficiently advanced. Bad bots are the only ones that need to be stopped; if real people are mistaken for bots, you’ll have additional issues on your hands.

There are a number of sophisticated bot protection strategies, which is excellent news:

Method 1 of bot prevention: Traffic blocking

Blocking traffic that has unquestionably come from bots is an extremely efficient tactic. However, you should only do this if you are convinced that you are dealing with a bot. Keep in mind that if you presume that everyone is a bot, you risk denying access to the network to real users.

Method 2 of preventing bots: Adding a challenge

Adding a challenge in the form of a CAPTCHA, one of the most popular approaches, is a second way to stop bots. A CAPTCHA has undoubtedly been encountered by the majority of users. By forcing people to easily solve a task that would be exceedingly challenging for a computer, CAPTCHAs are excellent at providing the correct level of friction for users. Examples include a grid that appears with a variety of pictures that you must recognize.

Method 3 of bot prevention: Use an MFA solution

Incorporating an MFA solution for your business and consumers is the third and final bot prevention strategy. When you think a bot is attempting to log in to an account, especially one that uses credential stuffing to steal account information and try to get access, you may employ forcing MFA to prevent it. MFA not only significantly reduces this, but it also won’t hinder authorized users.

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