While it’s well known that bots were used to exploit social media sites in an attempt to influence political dialogue and elections, the real motivation behind the majority of bad bots is more simple — money. So, not surprisingly, an industry breakdown of bad bot attacks shows that financial services organizations suffer the highest proportion of traffic, at 42%, which typically manifests as bad bots attempting to access user accounts, according to a report by software firm Distil Networks.
“Bad Bot Report 2019: The Bot Arms Race Continues” investigates hundreds of billions of bad bot requests from 2018 over thousands of domains to provide deeper insight into the daily automated attacks wreaking havoc on websites, mobile apps and APIs. The findings suggest that bot attack sophistication continues to evolve, as advanced attackers learn to adapt their techniques in order to invalidate existing defense tactics.
Bad bots are used by competitors, hackers and fraudsters and are the key culprits behind account takeovers or hijacking, web scraping, brute-force attacks, competitive data mining, transaction fraud, data theft, spam, digital ad fraud and downtime. Produced by the Distil Research Lab, a team of dedicated analysts who examine the most sophisticated automated threats for some of the world’s most attacked websites, this report underscores the increasing pervasiveness of bad bots, revealing that no industry is safe from malicious bot activity.
Also, the financial investment sector deploys bots to scrape for information such as inventory levels and pricing data. Sometimes known as alternative data, this information is used by hedge funds to make investment decisions. A recent report estimated that 5% of all web traffic is attributable to investment-scraping bots.