Published: 10/06/2022

Bot management risks: the biggest online threat to your business

From product scalping to search engine indexing, bots perform all kinds of automated tasks on your website, mobile app, or API. But malicious bots far outweigh good bots — so these automated programs pose a threat to all kinds of businesses.

Find out if your business is vulnerable to bot management risks, and how to choose the right bot management solution for your business.

Why bot attacks are on the rise

Many businesses — particularly SMEs — believe they’re not at risk from bot attacks. But as more business is conducted online, criminals are making bigger profits from automated fraud and other cyberattacks — so targeted online threats are only going to get more serious and complex.

In 2021, bot attacks more than doubled from the previous year. Cybercriminals frequently use bots because:

  • Automated actions are much faster than manual actions
  • They’re hard to detect with traditional security systems
  • They can mask other kinds of online threats
  • They can steal data and money without identifying the attacker.

Who is at risk from malicious bots?

Large and small businesses alike can be affected by unwanted bots. Certain sectors are targeted more than others, such as:

Bad bot traffic is responsible for many different types of cyberattack, including:

  • Account takeover — attackers hack into customer or staff accounts and lockout the account owner, stealing data, funds, or reward points from the account
  • Credential stuffing — attackers use bots to find and verify log in details for customer accounts as part of an account takeover or credential selling scam
  • Card cracking — attackers use brute force techniques to verify payment card details, which are then used or sold on the dark web
  • Web scraping — attackers use bots to steal content from your website, such as pricing, product details, betting odds, or customer data, which they can then use to strategize against you
  • Scalping — bots automatically buy up stock of limited edition or in-demand products, which scalpers resell for a profit.

The risks of ignoring malicious bot traffic

Unwanted bot traffic causes serious problems for businesses. If you’re subjected to sustained or significant threats, you could lose millions of dollars in revenue, fines, and staffing resources. The most common consequences of bot attacks are:

  1. Data breach fines

Under modern privacy laws, you can be hit with unlimited fines for negligent security practices that lead to data theft. In 2019, Facebook was fined $5 billion for neglecting customer privacy — so governments are seriously cracking down on data protection.

  1. Reputation or brand damage

Everything from data theft to limited inventory can make customers lambast your business on social media or review sites. Fake account creation is also a huge risk for brand reputation. Word travels fast on social media, so it’s essential to mitigate the risk of negative brand exposure.

  1. Website downtime

Site downtime is a common consequence of sustained bot traffic, whether it’s intentional or not. It’s estimated that website downtime costs businesses around $350,000 per hour — with large companies reporting losses of more than $5 million.

  1. Disruption for legitimate users

From DDoS attacks to annoying CAPTCHA forms, there are many ways bots can damage your customer experience. Sustained or repeated disruption often makes customers turn to competing sites.

  1. Loss of revenue

Ultimately, each of these risks has an impact on your bottom line. This puts growth, jobs, and profits at risk — so it’s essential to find a way to protect your revenue from bots.

Most businesses that experience severe bot attacks face multiple consequences, adding up to significant losses. So how can you secure your website against bad bots?

Why traditional cybersecurity systems fail against bots

Web application firewalls (WAFs) and human verification methods are widely used — but they’re not effective against aggressive automated threats.

WAFs are only as effective as their most recent database update. They require regular manual updates to protect even against known threats. Human verification methods like CAPTCHA and MFA, meanwhile, are easy for sophisticated bots to bypass.

These measures also compromise user experience. WAFs can reduce site performance, while CAPTCHA is estimated to decrease conversions by up to 40%.

In 2022, it’s unacceptable to lose business because of your outdated security measures. That’s why it’s essential to invest in an effective bot management solution.

Do you need a bot management system?

The only way to eliminate unwanted bot traffic without compromising your UX is to use a best-of-breed, purpose-built bot management system. Any business that sees even moderate levels of bot activity should consider investing in bot management software.

Even good bots can cause problems with skewed marketing data, so it’s essential that you can recognize and filter out all bot traffic from your data, while allowing good bots and human users to browse your website freely.

Choosing the right bot management system

All businesses have different budgets and requirements when it comes to cybersecurity — but it’s important to choose a bot management solution that delivers on its promises.

The best bot management solutions include:

  • AI and machine learning capabilities — minimizing the need for manual input and updating
  • Scalable pricing and effectiveness — so it continues to protect your website as it grows
  • Excellent return on investment — helping you save money on staffing resources, fines, downtime, and lost revenue
  • User experience protection — offering agentless server-side technology that doesn’t compromise site performance
  • Multi-layered protection — providing automated bot protection that’s backed up by experienced human threat intelligence.

See how to choose the right bot management system for your business.

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