How to Block Automated Threats on Web Applications

The nature of website attacks on the internet has changed dramatically over the recent years. Today when competitors and hackers think to bring down a business, the best and most efficient way is to launch an automated attack. Automated attacks on websites and APIs are driven by online bots that can destroy your business. Automated threats have become so severe that OWASP, the worldwide not-for-profit organization focused on improving the security of software published the first Automated Threat Handbook in late 2015. This was done specifically to help organizations better understand and respond to the notable worldwide increase of automated threats from bots.

We have listed the most severe threats that automated traffic on the web poses to online businesses.

Types of Automated Threats

1. Account Takeover

Account Takeover fraud is a form of identity theft in which the fraudster or hacker gets access to a victim's account, (either bank or credit card accounts) through malware, phishing or data breach, and makes unauthorized transactions. Brute force attacks and credential stuffing are the two most common techniques used by fraudsters for account takeover.

Impact of Account Takeover on your Business

  • Unauthorized Account Access – Fraudsters employ bots to target the user accounts programmatically, they use stolen credentials to gain access to the account and make illegal transactions.

  • Financial Losses – The stolen cards are used to make fraudulent purchases and unauthorized transfer of virtual currencies such as reward points, wallet money, air miles, gift cards, etc.

  • Loss of Brand Reputation – Fraudulent attempts on user accounts, on an online portal, will damage customer loyalty efforts. Account takeovers weaken the customer confidence in your services and may hurt your business revenue.

Account Takeover Prevention

InfiSecure is the most accurate bot mitigation platform that provides real-time protection for your website and the users against account takeover and other automated threats. Our bot detection engine uses in-depth user behavior analysis, device fingerprinting, centralized intelligence and machine learning algorithms to spot even the most advanced account takeover attempts and other online frauds.

2. Web & Price Scraping

Web scraping is a process of extracting website content, pricing data and other useful data from websites and publishing it elsewhere. Competitors employ scraper bots to continuously crawl your web pages for information about your pricing and content, to undercut your dynamic pricing and to duplicate your unique content.

Impact of Web & Price Scraping on your Business

  • Losing Unique Content – Fresh and unique content is always considered to be an asset to the websites. When your content is scraped and published in a matter of seconds, your genuine website traffic will be severely affected.

  • Loss of SEO Ranking – When your content is duplicated on some low domain authority sites, it significantly affects your SEO ranking. Scraper bots can even outrank your website and destroy your SEO strategies.

  • Undercutting your Pricing – Scraper bots continuously crawl your web pages for pricing data, which define your business strategies in the marketplace. Bad bots can undercut your dynamic pricing and extract product catalog information from your site.

  • Skewed Analytics – Having more bad bot traffic on your website will skew your site analytics. If they are not appropriately detected then they may seem to be coming from the genuine sources. This way, your analytics get skewed and based on which wrong marketing strategies are made, also results in low conversion rates and business revenue.

  • Bad User Experience – Bad bots crawl continuously on your website and may overload your server and network bandwidth with multiple page requests in a short period. This significantly increases the server load time and resulting in a bad user experience

Web & Price Scraping Prevention

Prevent web and price scraping bots from extracting your unique content and pricing data with InfiSecure’s bot protection solution. InfiSecure detects scraper bots in real-time and blocks them before they could cause harm to your content and pricing data.

3. Form Spam

Malicious bots cause form spam by posting unsolicited messages or unwanted information on your website forms. They may display some malicious links that can steal the user's private data even if accidentally clicked. Form spam can damage your website's user experience and brand reputation.

Impact of Form spam on your Business

  • Fake Account Creation – Businesses use forms to collect user information, (email & phone number) but spam bots can generate fake accounts and fill those forms. Your sales team follow up these fake leads and mark them as dead leads, translating to reduced conversion rates.

  • Comment Spam – Malicious bots may spam your comment feed by hijacking the thread on blog post and forums. These bots post malicious links that direct to phishing websites when clicked, this may frustrate your genuine customers.

  • Sever Overload and Infrastructure Cost – Bad bot traffic can slow down your website speed and increase bandwidth costs. When millions of bots spam your site with excess requests, the website consumes more time to load. Slow loading time may frustrate genuine users, and they may end up in visiting your competitor's site.

  • Loss of Brand Value – Form spam causes a negative impact on your user experience and brand reputation, as your users may choose to go to your competitor’s website due to slower loading time.

Form Spam Prevention

InfiSecure bot protection solution protects online businesses from form spam and other automated threats. Prevent form spam and enhance your brand competitiveness by blocking spam bots from your website.

4. Carding Fraud

Carding fraud occurs when hackers or bad actors run thousands of small purchases with stolen credit card numbers and resell them at a much higher price. This will result in poor merchant history, chargeback penalties and even worse.

Impact of Carding on your Business

  • Loss of Brand Reputation – Accepting stolen credit cards leads to penalties and chargebacks. Excessive penalties may result in termination of merchant’s account. Online businesses struggle to prevent carding attacks because if such attacks go unnoticed can cause harm to its security measures and brand reputation.

  • Ineffective Loyalty Points – Loyalty points are the primary targets for fraudsters, as they can be easily converted to cash or used to book tickets or purchase goods. Loyalty points are being attacked by bots performing brute force attacks.

Carding Fraud Prevention

InfiSecure's fingerprinting technology validates if there is a human behind the browser. Carding bots that mimic human behavior cannot escape from InfiSecure's bot detection engine. It provides real-time protection from all carding frauds to your website.

5. OWASP Top Automated Threats

Automated threat on a website opens up many industries such as airlines, ecommerce, travel sites to bot abuse. If these threats are not detected and blocked correctly, then businesses may put a dent in the bottom line. Automated threats are those undertaken by malicious bots.

OWASP (The Open Web Application Security Project) is a worldwide not-for-profit organization focused on improving the security of software. OWASP released Automated Threat Handbook that provides actionable information and resources to help defend against automated threats to web applications. This handbook is a standard reference guide that is grouped into four major categories namely Account credentials, payment cardholder data, vulnerability identification and other automated threats.

Account Credentials is targeted to steal confidential user data and is subcategorized into account aggregation, account creation, credential cracking and credential stuffing. Payment Cardholder data is an automated threat that is targeted to abuse payment methods, steals user credit card data to make unauthorized purchases. It is subcategorized into carding, card cracking, and cashing out threats. Vulnerability Identification scans for loopholes in the web application through different ways like footprinting, vulnerability scanning and fingerprinting. And then other Automated Threats include website threats like ad fraud, CAPTCHA Bypass, Daniel of Service, expediting, scalping, scraping, skewing, sniping, spamming, Token cracking and Inventory exhaustion threats.

Impact of OWASP Automated Threats on your Business

  • Unauthorized Account Access and Online Fraud – Fraudsters use stolen credentials to make unauthorized transactions, transfer rewards and wallet money. They may also reuse the same credentials on multiple sites and applications. This leads to financial losses to online businesses.

  • Excessive Penalties and Loss of Brand Reputation – Carding and payment fraud may impose excessive penalties for accepting the stolen credit cards. Your customers may lose confidence in your brand and may choose your competitor’s site for future transactions.

  • Bad Customer Experience – Unwanted bot traffic can ultimately slow down your website and increase bandwidth costs. Slower loading pages result in poor customer experience and loss in business revenue.

OWASP Automated Threat Protection

InfiSecure bot protection gives real-time protection against all OWASP automated threats. With its advanced technologies like bot fingerprinting, user behavior analysis and machine learning algorithms, InfiSecure blocks even the most advanced persistent bots.

Automated threats are there to stay and rise in terms of attack patterns and sophistication. Online businesses need to have accurate and real-time bot detection capabilities to stay protected against OWASP Top Automated Threats.