April 1, 2018
2017 was the year “bot” became a household word, according to a new report on bad bot activity from Distil Networks. While bad bots are employed for a wide variety of nefarious purposes, several of the problems addressed in Bad Bot Report 2018: The Year Bad Bots Went Mainstream directly affect online merchants. Account takeover, account creation, carding and gift card balance checking are all activities at which bots excel and are being used in large numbers to defraud merchants.
Bad bots make up a significant amount of traffic in many industries. For online gaming sites, bad bots account for more than 53 percent of their traffic. For airlines, it is nearly 44 percent. E-commerce retailers are in better shape, but bad bots still account for nearly 22 percent of the traffic on those sites, exacerbating many of the problems detailed above that merchants are experiencing more and more.
Account takeover, which has exploded in the e-commerce world over the past three years, is a type of fraud bots are especially adept at perpetrating. Fraudsters are able to automate the process of trying login credentials across a wide variety of sites. As the report said, sites endure account takeover attacks at a rate of 2-to-3 per month on average. But after a security breach, that number jumps to nine times per month “as bot operators know that people reuse the same credentials across multiple websites.”
According to the report, e-commerce sites are facing the most sophisticated bots of any industry. Nearly 22 percent of the bad bots arrayed against them are considered sophisticated.