What you need to know about modern bot management — and why it matters

What you need to know about modern bot management — and why it matters

Bots are often thought of as inherently bad. However, bots can also work to your advantage to improve web experience. These automated scripts perform tedious yet essential tasks, such as indexing web pages, and improve operational efficiency by answering basic questions via online chat.

Approximately 50 percent of internet traffic comes from bots, but only 18 percent are "bad". Aggressive or inaccurate bot filtering can create catastrophic consequences as bots are increasingly the middle man between a business and its customers.

Web activity contains many examples of good bots. For example, Googlebot is used to scan through the content of web pages and create a database of various keywords or phrases that powers Google’s search engine and helps millions of businesses promote their products.

The true impact of bad botsRelated Infographic

While bot traffic used to be easier to spot, it has become extremely difficult to identify malicious traffic as bots become more sophisticated. Bad bots are evolving to disguise their activities or circumvent protections put in place with the growing focus on blocking unwanted activity. Many companies use CAPTCHAs to detect and block bots, but CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA-breaking bots have existed since 2017. More importantly, CAPTCHAs create a conversion barrier. Only 62 percent of users successfully complete a CAPTCHA on their first try.

An advanced bot management system can prevent user frustration, improve security, and reduce costs. Unfiltered traffic from bad bots not only skews marketing data and inflates advertising clicks with 93 percent of web performance trackers affected, but it can leave your business open to other security risks, such as data exfiltration.

Most companies don’t have the time or resources to develop a bot management solution sophisticated enough to recognize the highly sophisticated bots of today’s threatscape. They rely on outdated technology and hope for the best — leading to poor customer experience and making the business an easy target for cybercrime.

Eighty-nine percent of companies have suffered some form of bot attack. Common types of bad bot attacks include:

  • Distributed denial of service (DDoS)
  • Data theft and ransomware
  • Resource hoarding (ticket sales, the inventory of a competitor)
  • Account takeover through credential stuffing attacks
  • Price scraping
  • Malware distribution
  • Clicks that skew ad reporting
  • Fraudulent transactions – resulting in bank chargebacks

How to choose the right bot management solution

Finding a tool that solves all of your problems can feel impossible. Here’s what you should be looking for: 

1. Advanced user and browser validation

Sophisticated bots can mimic human actions such as mouse movement and multi-page navigation, plus they leverage real browsers that can run JavaScript and store cookies. Bad bots today are nearly impossible to detect using server-side approaches alone. Choose a bot management solution that develops fingerprints about the environment, browser, user input, and more to identify real customers and stays one step ahead of bad bot technology.

Instart Bot Management collects signals from both the browser and the edge in order to differentiate human traffic from even the most sophisticated bots. Bot Management is able to run along side the website in the browser and as a result interrogate the browser environment, as well as analyze JavaScript execution as the website loads and monitor user interaction behavior. The result is unmatched detection and protection against extremely human-looking bot attacks while ensuring a frustration-free experience for authentic customers.

2. Real-time security and analytics

A modern bot management solution should include advanced filtering and actionable analytics. With Instart, incoming traffic is scrubbed at our edge and all security events are logged and aggregated to improve the detection accuracy of your security rules.

3. API protection

Simple filtering such as blocking older browsers can block up to 10 percent of bad bots, but legacy web application filters (WAF) don’t extend to the browser and can’t protect against layer 7 DDoS attacks or your API. Choose a solution that is able to extend beyond the edge and collect real-time behavior directly in the browser.

4. Cloud-based, low-latency

You shouldn’t have to choose between a fast site and a secure site. Look for a cloud-based solution with a globally-distributed network to minimize latency. Instart maintains a massive global network and all requests terminate on our edge to prevent direct access to your origin.

On-demand webinar3 reasons to protect your website against bad botsWatch now

Intelligent bot management from Instart

Instart Bot Management enables companies to extend their security perimeter and take a proactive approach to bot management. Defend against the most common and most sophisticated forms of bad bot attacks including: 

  • Server-side and client-side protection: Detect bots at the web server and client to filter bot traffic and block bad bots from accessing resources.
  • Credential stuffing attack prevention: Automatically detect and block repeated login attempts from automated environments..
  • Inventory holding attack prevention: Block automated bots from accessing your shopping cart page or check out page where they can hold inventory and prevent real customers from buying it.
  • Botnet DDoS attack prevention: DDoS attacks attempt to send large volumes of traffic to a target so as to overwhelm its resources, forcing it to crash or stop responding to legitimate traffic. Instart detects and blocks these requests at the edge.
  • Gift card fraud prevention: Similar to credential stuffing, bots try thousands of random numbers in the ‘check gift card balance’ form until a legitimate number is found. Instart detects these events, blocks the attack, and flags these requests.

Take the first step to securing your website against sophisticated bad bots!Request a demo