How to Detect Non-Human Traffic on Websites
What is Non-Human Traffic?
Non-human traffic refers to the automated web traffic generated by bots, unknown browsers, and automated impressions. Bot traffic can have most nefarious actions or entirely business benefiting actions.
Not all non-human traffic is bad for your website; there are crawlers and search engine bots which help your site to rank higher in the search engine results. But, malicious non-human traffic affects your website metrics and business negatively. Malicious non-human traffic hurts performance by engaging in several automated threats that work against the profitability of an online business.
Impact of Non-Human Traffic on Online Businesses
- Price Scraping : Price scraping bots access your website to gather your product prices to possibly resale on other sites and to undercut your dynamic pricing. This could be done by competitors who are checking prices on your site to make sure that they have the most competitive prices to beat you in online sales.
- Skewed Analytics : Website analytics gets polluted by the presence of non-human traffic on websites. Now product intelligence on your site will not be available. Incorrect metrics would lead to wrong marketing decisions.
- Account Takeover : Hackers use bots to gain access to an account to make unauthorized transactions and purchases on websites by using application layer brute force attack.
- Reduced Performance & Infrastructure Downtime : Unwanted queries from bots can spike page requests, which leads to unnecessary server costs. Several queries by bots spamming your website can overload your server and slow down your site.
How to Detect Malicious Non-Human Traffic on Websites?
Identifying non-human traffic and filtering the malicious traffic is a difficult task. Nearly all automated attacks have advance persistent bots performing functions on a website in ways that a human also could. Newer and more versatile bots are much harder to detect, as they are running on real users' browsers or devices, hiding behind real people's activity by shadowing their legitimate sessions and injecting hidden actions of their own. Here is how to detect bots.
There are few well-known prevention methods used for bot detection on websites.
CAPTCHA is a traditional technique that is used to ensure that your customers are real humans and not bots that are written to skew your website analytics? The main drawback of enabling CAPTCHA is that it frustrates legitimate customers and highly advanced bots can even bypass CAPTCHAs.
2. Web Application Firewall (WAF):
Firewall is the most common security solution for online businesses, to protect against non-human traffic. But, in recent years there are advanced persistent bots that have been designed to bypass the firewalls by mimicking human behavior. Having a WAF is not enough to protect against the complex nature of OWASP Top 20f Automated Threats to web and APIs.
3. Rate Limiting:
It is the process of monitoring network traffic for spikes in page requests from an IP address to identify the non-human traffic. The main disadvantage of rate limiting is it takes a lot of time for monitoring each IP address.
4. Bot Mitigation Solution:
A bot mitigation solution is by far the most efficient and accurate way to detects and mitigate against the most advanced persistent bots and disables them in real-time. InfiSecure’s advanced signature-based systems, is the best available method for detecting bots, look for specific patterns in a web request and block all bad bots.
Traditional methods like deploying a WAF as a defense against automated attacks fail because the increased sophistication of bots allows them to duplicate a real user's behavior and environment convincingly, and they make requests that are indistinguishable from those caused by humans. With advanced bot fingerprinting detection systems, companies can distinguish bots from humans.