Let’s start by looking into the problem, a high-value target for cybercriminals is businesses in the financial services industry. Attacks in this industry have accelerated recently, thanks to increasingly advanced botnets and other bot attack techniques used by hostile hackers. Credit card fraud, account takeover (ATO) attacks, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, and content scraping from websites that provide financial services are the four most popular uses for botnets among hackers. These attack strategies each have quite distinct effects on the organization they target. 

Let us learn about Bot and Botnet 

Bot Is: 

A bot is a little piece of software that executes web requests automatically for various purposes. Bots are employed to complete activities without the involvement of a human, including everything from scanning website content to testing credit card numbers that have been obtained fraudulently to offering customer service support. A “bot attack” is usually a fraudulent attacker; a bot can be utilized both beneficially and detrimentally. 

Bot Attack 

A bot attack uses automated online requests to trick, deceive, or interfere with a website, application, API, or end user. Beginning as straightforward spamming operations, bot attacks have developed into sophisticated, global criminal organizations with independent economies and infrastructures. 

What Is a Botnet? 

A huge group of computers and internet-connected devices that have been infected with malware and are under the control of a single operator is called a botnet (derived from the word “robot network”). Attackers launch massive attacks using these hacked devices to sabotage services, steal passwords, and gain illegal access to vital systems. The attacker(s) can take over these devices’ activities and control them remotely thanks to the botnet command and control model. The quantity of infected computers in a botnet determines its power. Attackers may remotely manage botnets and download software upgrades from them, which they can then use to instantly change the behavior of the bots. 

What Is a Botnet attack? 

An extensive cyberattack known as a botnet is one that involves remote control of malware-infected machines. For a botnet controller, it transforms infected machines into “zombie bots.” Botnets offer a bigger hazard than typical malware that replicates itself on a single computer or system because they allow a threat actor to carry out a lot of operations concurrently. In contrast to self-replicating malware, botnet attacks are more like having a threat actor operating within the network. 

They can be scaled up or altered on the fly to cause even more harm, making them more complex than other malware attack types. Malware distributed through a botnet frequently includes network communication capabilities that enable attackers to utilize the botnet to communicate with other threat actors over the extensive network of infected machines. Attackers can infect computers, spread malware, and add additional devices to their network by using botnets. A botnet attack may aim to disrupt operations or pave the way for a subsequent attack. 

Bot Attacks vs a Botnet Attack 

Attacks using botnets might be viewed as a particular variety of the more general “bot assault.” Cyberattacks known as “bot attacks” use automated online requests to harm a website, application, or device. 

Initially just spamming, bot assaults have developed into increasingly sophisticated operations meant to trick or control users. The accessibility of open-source botkits, or tools for constructing bots, is one of the causes of this. 

These botkits, which are frequently offered for free online or on the Dark Web, can be utilized to carry out undesirable operations like scraping a website, hijacking an account, abusing form submissions, and creating botnet attacks, including DDoS attacks. 

Data Targeted by Attackers in a Bot Attack? 

Bots are a tool used to launch attacks on APIs and web applications with the goal of stealing or changing sensitive data. Below are typical bot attack scenarios: 

Web Content Scraping 

Fake Search Engine Bots vs. Real Search Engine Bots 

Web scraping bots scrape and copy information from other websites automatically. These search bot imposters can pass for innocent search engine crawlers while they scan information, but they steal content without the knowledge or consent of the website owner. 

Contrarily, legitimate search engine bots employ user agent strings to identify themselves (e.g., robots.txt, googlebot). In order to improve search engine results for users, Google and Bing deploy bot crawlers to index content. 

Types of Scraped Web Content 

The broad category of scraped web material includes text, graphics, HTML/CSS code, metadata, and e-commerce information. This content is repurposed by the attacker for exploitative purposes: 

  • republishing pay-wall news stories or copyrighted television programs 
  • Syndicating blog posts to steal organic traffic and SEO value 
  • collecting information on inventory or product prices to obtain a competitive edge 
  • assembling contact details to market to other companies as sales targets 
  • stealing HTML code in a phishing operation to create a phoney brand website 

Account Takeover (ATO) 

Large dumps of user credentials are frequently made accessible as a result of data breaches and sold to threat actors on the dark web. Then, hackers utilize automated bots to quickly test usernames and passwords in the authentication procedures for user accounts on commercial websites (a technique known as credential stuffing attacks). 

Threat actors take control of website accounts after discovering valid user credentials and lock out legitimate users. Attackers access those accounts to steal personally identifiable information (PII) and saved payment methods, which they then use to carry out a variety of fraud schemes, including opening new credit card accounts and using the stored payment information to make transactions. 

Form Submission Abuse 

Due to widely documented JavaScript security flaws, website forms are a target for bot attacks. Hackers frequently exploit it as a doorway to get access to server-side data or infect end users with malware. Furthermore, they might use these forms for SQLi, scanning, or posting offensive stuff. 

Why Does a Botnet Attack Happen? 

More botnet assaults are possible due to the increase in connected devices. IoT devices are after all widely used. Globally, there are more than 31 billion IoT devices in use, including smart home and business gadgets. Home appliances, lighting, door locks, cameras, thermostats, smart plugs, digital assistants, and other gadgets can all be controlled by consumer IoT devices. Critical infrastructure and the healthcare industry both have their own collections of connected devices. Any internet-connected gadget has the potential to be used by zombie bots. Preventing an attack on these is the first step in defending against one. 

Any device that uses the internet is vulnerable, after all. Increased IoT security exposes a larger attack surface by enabling quick access to lots of devices. 

IoT device configuration errors and inadequate security configuration protocols are factors in the rising prevalence of botnets. Another contributing cause is the rise in employee remote access to business networks using their own devices and home networks. 

What Are the Most Common Types of Botnet Attacks? 

1. Brute Force Attack 

When an attacker doesn’t know the target password, they will decide to perform a brute force attack (s). This attack technique takes advantage of a repetitive, quick password guessing technique. Malware directly communicates with the impacted service during a brute force attack to receive real-time feedback on password attempts. Leaked credentials or personally-identifying information may also be used in a brute force attack to try passwords. 

2. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks  

An extremely frequent botnet attack is a DDoS attack. DDoS in this instance floods a service with web traffic in order to bring it down and halt service. In 2016, the Mirai botnet shut down Dyn, a provider of domain name services, in two stages, degrading performance and resulting in outages of important client websites including Twitter and Soundcloud in some areas. 

3. Spam and Phishing 

Phishing attacks by attackers use email spam to deceive employees into disclosing sensitive data or login credentials. Phishing is also used to expand the botnet by gaining access to other devices. 

4. Device Bricking 

Attackers launch bots to brick devices throughout the course of several phases. When a device becomes bricked, malware that deletes its contents often does so to erase evidence of a main attack. A brick device is one that has stopped functioning and is therefore worthless. 

The Solution: 

AuthSafe is a tool for identity protection and informs you about the fake login information in your applications. A fully automated, simple-to-install tool that aids in locating accounts that may have been compromised using cognitive engine modelling, predictive fraud research, and suspicious account behavior. 

AuthSafe identifies and avoids account takeovers without impacting the client experience, AuthSafe works with companies that provide banking services, SaaS solutions, and online digital goods. It assists in keeping track of the user’s IP address, location, time, and data accessed. You must incorporate AuthSafe into your web application before you can proceed. 

The AuthSafe analyses devices in detail, employs more than 25 signals, filters out problematic devices, and renders a decision with a challenge in real-time. Every consumer relies on Authsafe Fraud Detection to keep their information secure. In order to give our clients, the finest service possible, we have a team of professionals who are constantly trying to enhance our detecting capabilities. 

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13 replies on “Everything You Need To Know About Malicious Bots”

  • […] can identify and reduce bots at all website entries with the help of bot management technologies. However, the cost of this […]

  • […] The policy should be set to a reasonable value based on the security level of your application and the frequency with which users will need to log in. In case you want your users to be able to change their passwords, you may want to consider disabling this feature until they have proven that they are not being attacked by someone else (like a bot). […]

  • […] bot is a program that runs automated tasks over the internet. These bots can be programmed to perform simple tasks, like posting on social media or replying to emails, or […]

  • […] management is a way to automate the removal of malicious bots from your website, social media accounts, and other online properties. It’s a proactive […]

  • […] Honeypots are a great way to ensure you don’t get attacked by bots. […]

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