The dividing line between human and robot behavior is becoming more and more unclear.
Staying indoors has encouraged consumers to change their online habits and usage pattern. With traditional shopping patterns fading, the difference between human and robot behavior is becoming highly blurred. This is now creating unprecedented challenges for the cybersecurity teams – especially to distinguish humans from bots, or good bot actions from the bad ones.
Earlier, businesses have been blocking all bot activities, but that strategy does not work in current times. Now companies are finding a way of navigating the new automation landscape. If not, they would risk blocking good bots as well as legitimate customers. This could even make bots taking over the customer accounts and ruining the brand reputation.
The Setback with Bad Bots
Why are bad bots ‘bad’? Simply put, they have been created by the threat actors to maximize their gain from cyber attacks – with the techniques including card cracking, credential stuffing, etc. and are used across different sectors. The credential stuffing involves utilizing stolen passwords and usernames to take over accounts. After buying a range of leaked passwords, the malicious actors then place the bot with the input on different sites to gain access.
With studies revealing most online users reuse the same password for multiple sites – this is also creating a good possibility of success for the hackers. A robot can try on thousands of credentials every minute, and the hijacked user accounts are found to be used to commit fraud, online scams, etc. For instance, Spotify and Netflix users often become the victim of such attacks.
Furthermore, there are card cracking bots that are used to create fake profiles and buy products with stolen credit card information. While doing this manually is not possible, robots can do such things effortlessly in real-time. These techniques generally cause reputational damage for a brand, even if a business is not subject to a data breach. Besides, it affects consumers’ loyalty and trust, creating a negative brand perception.
As this robotic ecosystem becomes more complex, brands should analyze how a regular user journey looks like. With that, they can infer the unusual activities. For e-commerce companies, customers generally look for stock levels in many different postcodes. However, if a particular user searches for every postcode in the UK – this could be a bot behavior.
Basically, human users may forget their username, password, or the combination a couple of times – and not some ten thousand times! Hence, the “block all bots” strategy cannot work in today’s digitized marketplace. Businesses need to focus on the intent of the website traffic via user journeys. This would help brands to differentiate between the good and bad bot behavior, and also the human and non-human traffic.