If you use the internet, you’ve run into a bot. You may not even have known it at the time. Has a website ever asked you, “Are you a robot?”

Have you ever wondered why they ask that? It turns out that it’s pretty likely you are a robot.

According to the 2022 Imperva Bad Bot Report, only 57.7% of internet users last year were human! That means 42.3% of internet traffic was some form of robot, with 27.7% being “bad bots” and “good bots” making up 14.6%.

A good bot is one that does not cause harm, while a bad bot poses a threat.


What Are Bots?

Bots are computer programs that run automatically, performing tasks that are typically simple and repetitive. They can be used for various purposes, and much like other technologies, they can be used for good or evil.

Businesses commonly use bots to manage online conversations or carry out other automated tasks. Developers customize bots to meet their needs. Bots can be used to test a business’ new product features to find any issues. Bots can also be used for more creative endeavors like creating art or music!

But it’s not all fun and games… Cyber criminals have figured out how to use bots for their own purposes — often using them to carry out malicious activities, such as stealing personal information or launching denial-of-service attacks.

Whatever their purpose, bots are an integral part of the internet landscape. And the number of bots on the internet continues to grow.


What Are the Most Common Bot Uses?

Most commonly, bots are used to automate tasks. For example, a bot might be used to send out automated messages when someone mentions your brand on Twitter.

Bots can also be used to monitor conversations and help keep them organized. Chatbots are often used on company websites to interact with a person by presenting predefined prompts for that individual to select. The chatbot will provide information based on the questions asked by the customer with the goal of solving their problem. The chatbots are available 24/7 and can help increase customer service employees' availability.


How Are Bots Created?

Bots are created using a variety of programming languages, depending on their intended purpose. For example, bots that are designed to scrape data from websites typically use Python or Ruby. Bots that are used for malicious purposes might use C++ or Java.

Bots can be created by anyone with the necessary skills and knowledge. However, some tools and services make it easier to develop bots. For example, the Botpress platform allows users to create bots without needing to write any code.


How Do Cyber Criminals Use Bots?

Bots can be a serious threat to cybersecurity and to both individuals and businesses. It is important to be aware of the ways in which they can be used and to take steps to protect yourself from bot-related attacks.

There are numerous types of malicious bots, including spam bots that harvest email addresses and bots that crack passwords.

Cyber criminals often use bots to steal personal information or launch denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. A DoS attack is an attack meant to shut down a machine or network, making it inaccessible to its intended users. A DoS attack floods the target with traffic or sends it information that crashes it.

Bots can be used to take over user accounts, send out spam messages, infect computers with malware, or create false reports or reviews.


What are the most common bot attacks on businesses?

The top three most common bot attacks in 2021 were Account Takeover, Scraping, and Scalping.

Account Takeover:

They program bots to attack the login endpoints of websites with valuable user accounts. The bots very rapidly test all the stolen login-password combinations (“credential stuffing”).

How Can this Harm Your Business?

Hackers get access to accounts created with reused credentials. If successful, you could face account lockouts, financial fraud, and increased customer complaints affecting customer loyalty and future revenues.

Content Scraping:

Bots are programmed to sift through databases and websites to extract information. The scraper can then replicate the entire website elsewhere to sell goods or copyrighted content.

How Can this Harm Your Business?

If your content appears on other sites, your SEO rankings drop. Aggressive scrapers usually cause unexplained website slowdowns and downtime. Customers unknowingly make purchases from illegitimate websites and do not receive the product — damaging your reputation.


Scalping bots are programmed to buy sought-after products, such as limited editions of sneakers, concert tickets, designer clothing, or hot toys. They set up fake accounts that browse product pages and execute checkouts to increase their chances of success.

How Can this Harm Your Business?

Customer reputation can be damaged, and website performance can be slowed down — leading to revenue loss.


What Industries Suffer Bots Attacks Most Often?

Financial Services were targeted by just over a third of all Account Takeover attacks (34.6%), followed by Travel (23.2%), Business Services (11.4%), and Retail (8.1%).

However, all businesses should take measures to protect themselves from malicious bot attacks, especially since these attacks are becoming more and more prevalent each year.


How To Protect Yourself From Bots

You can do a few things to protect yourself from cyber criminals using bot attacks.

  1. Be aware of the ways in which bots can be used to harm you.
  2. Use strong passwords and security measures to protect your accounts.
  3. Consider using a bot detection tool to help identify and block malicious bots.

Are There Any Bot Regulations?

At present, there are no specific regulations governing the use of bots. However, this area will probably change in the future as bots become more widespread and their use increases.


What is the future of bots?

Bots are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and their use is growing every day. It is likely that bots will become even more prevalent in the future, as they are an efficient and cost-effective way to carry out a variety of tasks.

It’s important to understand the cybersecurity risk bots post to businesses so you can protect yourself. Having a robust cybersecurity strategy that includes blocking malicious bots will lower your risks of a bot attack.

If you have further questions about bots and how you can avoid a bot attack, set up a time to chat with one of our cybersecurity experts.