A Guide to Choose A Bot Mitigation Solution

Today’s bot represents a new generation of threats, rapidly changing their identities and outpacing the traditional bot security measures to adopt. They put an unmanageable strain on the security staff and resources. Solving the bad bot problem requires more than software, it requires a holistic approach comprised of the most effective technology. An ideal bot mitigation solution should always protect your website, mobile apps, and APIs from all of OWASP top automated threats.

Most Important Features of a Bot Mitigation Solution

  1. Distinguish between good and bad bots - Generally, online bots fall into two major categories, good bots, and bad bots. Good bots are helpful in creating the required visibility of the website on the internet. Bad bots are harmful to most of the online businesses as they have a definitive malicious pattern and are mostly unregulated. An effective bot mitigation solution should be able to distinguish good bots and bad bots accurately.

  2. Daily/weekly reports & visualizations for management and administrators - An efficient bot mitigation solution must regularly send a detailed and actionable report to the management and administrators regarding all the bot activities based on their requirements.

  3. Ability to selectively blacklist and whitelist bots - An effective bot mitigation solution must provide you the capability to blacklist and whitelist specific IP addresses or user agents based on a particular business need.

  4. Protect against every bot threat listed in the OWASP Automated threat handbook - A robust bot mitigation solution should prevent bad bots and protect websites against all possible malicious automation in real-time that are listed in OWASP automated threat handbook.

  5. Prevent bots from running any Google Analytics - Website analytics systems are designed to help understand traffic patterns and user behavior on a website. Bad bots can completely skew your google analytics by showing non-human traffic as legitimate human traffic. An efficient bot mitigation solution should always differentiate between human and non-human traffic and give details of both types of web traffic separately.

  6. Apply detection rule for URLs - An effective bot mitigation solution should be able to apply detection rules for particular domains, URLs, pages, APIs, etc.

  7. Ability to detect bots in real-time - Bot mitigation solution should be able to identify even the most sophisticated bots in real-time that dynamically changes IP addresses, mimic human behavior or hide behind proxies.

  8. Ability to detect traffic through browser automation tools - An effective bot mitigation solution should also be able to identify traffic through browser automation tools such as selenium, phantom JS, etc.

  9. Centralized management interface - The best bot mitigation solution should also have a centralized management interface for stakeholders to define a bot management strategy.

  10. Automated alerts and notifications - An effective bot mitigation solution should be able to send automated alerts and notifications frequently to the management and administrators.

Bot Detection Mechanisms

There are several mechanisms to detect bots in real-time, some of the most effective mechanisms are listed below:

  1. Machine Learning - The best bot detection solution should constantly be evolving and investing in R&D to maintain an edge in the "arms race" of website security. Your bot detection solution should have advanced machine learning capabilities that provide ongoing protection against newer bot patterns, thereby securing your website without adding load on your current security or IT personnel while minimizing false positives.

  2. Behavioral Modelling - By focusing on the behavior of humans, applications, and networks, the bot mitigation solution should be able to detect automated attacks on websites, mobile and APIs with unparalleled accuracy.

  3. Real-time intelligence on bots (feeds) - An effective bot detection solution must be able to provide a real-time intelligence feeds of all kind of bots visiting a website.

  4. HTTP anomaly detection – Bot attacks on web applications remain as a serious security threat. A bot mitigation solution should have the ability to detect any HTTP anomaly in real-time.

  5. Bot directory - With thousands of bots in the market, discoverability is a huge challenge for everyone. Bot directory helps in finding out all types of bots.

  6. IP tracking - IP Tracking in bot detection helps in tracking IP address using the latest IP tracking technique. IP tracker provides you a great power and accuracy which will give you an easy way to lookup, find, track any IP in the world.

  7. Monitoring API clients - When users make requests to your API, cloud endpoints logs information about the requests and responses. Once you have spotted an issue in the metrics, you can start investigating what happened by going to the logs of requests and responses for your API.

  8. Challenge response (Browser validation) questions - This authentication is a family of protocols in which one party presents a question, and another party must provide a valid answer to be authenticated. An effective bot mitigation solution to provide with challenges to the browser for validation.

  9. Device-based rate limiting - A rate limiting algorithm is used to check if the user session or IP-address has to be limited based on the information in the session cache.

Best Deployment Options

There are several deployment options available for bot detection, some of the best deployment methods are given below:

  1. Cloud-based code level integrators – API level bot protection makes integration a quick 5-10 minutes where you need to put a few lines of code on your website.

  2. Web server plugins - Web server plugins are easy to integrate and require no code changes at the web application level. This helps the DevOps team to integrate the bot mitigation solution quickly.

  3. Private On-Premise Deployment - With an on-premise deployment, your software runs on internal servers hosted at locations that you control. Companies often choose on-premise deployment if they want to house their data internally, prefer to have their own IT staff maintain their systems, or if specific customers require it.

Bots are the one that affects all web applications; as a result, many vendors are trying to latch onto this trend by claiming to have the ability to identify and mitigate bots. You can use the details mentioned above that help you to evaluate and differentiate between solutions and to make an informed decision.