Outsmarting Sneaky Bots: How to Identify and Block Malicious Traffic

Bots are flooding the modern internet – and many of them are up to no good. Sophisticated bot attacks now threaten the performance, security and revenue of virtually every online business. This guide will outline the growing dangers posed by malicious bots and equip you with practical solutions to protect your critical online assets.

A Rising Tide of Automated Threats

Bots, short for robots, are software programs designed to automate tasks over the internet. Search engine crawlers analyzing web content, social media bots posting updates and chatbots handling customer service queries all demonstrate relatively harmless everyday bot activities.

However, recent studies suggest over 40% of internet traffic now originates from bots rather than genuine human users. Even more alarmingly, over 70% of bots exhibit malicious behavior, aimed at carrying out fraud, theft, cybercrime or vandalism rather than legitimate activities.

These malicious bots pose substantial threats:

✅ Flooding websites with junk traffic to overwhelm servers

✅ Stealing confidential business data and customer information

✅ Hijacking user accounts for financial fraud or resale

✅ Clicking ads or snatching limited inventory to fabricate revenue

The scale of this automated assault continues expanding exponentially. As bots become more advanced, they undermine security defenses, abuse vulnerable code, and drain profits while remaining difficult to detect using standard tools.

Without specialized bot mitigation measures in place, businesses face severe risks including:

➡️ Website crashes degrade user experiences

➡️ Breaches and data theft prompt lawsuits

➡️ Fake traffic distorts visitor metrics

➡️ Inventory scalping causes customer defections

The stakes are high. Malicious bots already cost companies worldwide over $7 billion annually. And projected losses exceed $10 billion by 2023.

So how can we fight back against this invisible army of automated attackers to regain control over technology resources and business operations?

Key Capabilities for Bot Defense Solutions

Bot management security platforms are rapidly evolving to counter the rising sophistication of malicious bots. Core capabilities to secure environments include:

Behavioral Analysis

Looking for patterns like exceptionally high access speeds, odd hour activity spikes and improbable clicks detects automation regardless of source specifics. Combining insights across websites also helps single out bad actors.

Predictive Modeling

By ingesting vast volumes of traffic over time, platforms can train machine learning algorithms to classify the humanity likelihood of all clicks based on subtle statistical deviations malicious bot creators cannot hide.

Device Fingerprinting

The specific combination of machine components, browser attributes, fonts installed and plugins activated acts as a unique fingerprint. The same fingerprints repeatedly accessing resources implicate non-human visitors.

Advanced Captchas

Traditional visual tests are increasingly ineffective against advanced bots. New approaches tracking detailed cursor movements create natural challenges automation cannot yet crack without frustrating real people.

Custom Response Actions

Simply blocking bots entirely risks unintended business disruption. More nuanced options like rate limiting requests, redirecting to decoy sites and selectively delaying responses strategically hamper attacks without blocking legitimate functions.

Now let‘s examine solutions incorporating these capabilities to equip your unique environment.

Spotlight on Leaders in Bot Detection and Mitigation

Multiple specialized vendors now focus exclusively on helping organizations monitor traffic, identify malicious bots, and take precise response actions without blocking vital visitors or functions. I highlight key details on six top platfoms below:

Cloudflare Bot Management

Cloudflare Bot Management dashboard screenshot

How it Detects Bots:

  • Analyzes patterns across 600+ behavioral signals
  • Administers browser integrity challenges
  • Creates unique device fingerprints
  • Leverages insights across 3+ million customer sites

Impact Examples:

  • Blocks inventory hoarding bots targeting limited supply ecommerce
  • Prevents spam bots from overwhelming community sites
  • Stops snippet theft bots stealing content

Unique Capabilities:

  • Machine learning fully automatic without manual reviews
  • Ultra low latency impact through edge network
  • Shared telemetry across entire client base

Pricing: Only available with Enterprise plan. Contact sales.

Customers include: Peloton, Patreon, DraftKings


How it Detects Bots:

  • Machine learning analyzes behavioral patterns
  • Tracks suspicious signals across user session
  • Unmasks IP patterns through proxy networks
  • Adapts challenge difficulty based on risk

Impact Examples

  • Blocks fraud rings creating fake rider accounts
  • Prevents credential stuffing across payment platforms
  • Stops carding bots testing stolen payment data

Unique Capabilities:

  • Real-time attack alerts to security team
  • JavaScript injection for rapid implementation
  • Custom captcha challenges for known violator IPs

Pricing: Starts at $799/month. Offers free trial.

Customers include: Reddit, Tripadvisor, Rakuten

HUMAN Bot Defender

HUMAN Bot Management Admin Portal

How it Detects Bots:

  • Analyzes processing speeds for signs of automation
  • Performs predictive modeling unique to each site
  • Creates fingerprints combing 10+ parameters
  • Leverages proxies to observe behind IP patterns

Impact Examples:

  • Blocks spam signups across community platforms
  • Stops web scraping bots stealing pricing data
  • Prevents sniping attacks around limited concert/event tickets

Unique Capabilities:

  • Emphasis on protecting APIs and mobile apps
  • Real-time traffic analytics dashboard
  • Integrates with Kubernetes and serverless

Pricing: Enterprise focused. Contact sales.

Customers Include: Calm, Fiverr, Airtable

Radware Bot Manager

Radware Bot Manager Dashboard

How it Detects Bots:

  • Modeling tracks access patterns indicating automation
  • Checking browser integrity identifies emulators
  • Analyzing intent flags suspicious targeting

Impact Examples

  • Blocks brute force login attacks across platforms
  • Prevents web scraping bots stealing financial data
  • Stops spam bots overwhelming community sites

Unique Capabilities:

  • Emphasis on detecting large scale DDoS bots
  • Auto policy tuning and optimization
  • Native Kubernetes environment integration

Pricing: Contact Radware sales team for quotes

Customers Include: Gaming, travel and finance sectors

Imperva Advanced Bot Protection

Imperva Advanced Bot Protection Dashboard

How it Detects Bots:

  • Analyzes deviations from human patterns
  • Fingerprints combining browser, geo, machine
  • Decoys tempt interaction confirming automation

Impact Examples:

  • Blocks account takeover tools checking stolen credentials
  • Stops web scraping bots stealing pricing data
  • Prevents card fraud testing across ecommerce sites

Unique Capabilities:

  • Leverages global network of 4000+ inspection points
  • Integrated into Imperva WAAP web security platform
  • Captcha system focused solely on accuracy

Pricing: Bundled with Imperva WAAP licenses

Customers Include: Major banks, Fortune 500 retailers

Akamai Bot Manager

Akamai Bot Manager Architecture

How it Detects Bots:

  • Flags traffic deviating from baseline domain profiles
  • Analyzes improbable browser characteristics
  • Identifies unusual HTTP patterns

Impact Examples:

  • Blocks sneaker bot networks snatching inventory
  • Stops spam registrations across community sites
  • Prevents content scraping bots stealing articles

Unique Capabilities:

  • Anomaly detection recognizes new threats rapidly
  • Auto-generated domain traffic profiles
  • Multiple flexible response options

Pricing: Contact Akamai sales team

Customers Include: Fortune 500 brands across retail, media, gaming

This overview surfaces leading options available now to uncover malicious bots and prevent impacts to business critical assets – both on websites and behind the scenes in APIs and applications. Every solution brings unique strengths mapping to particular objectives and risk profiles. Evaluating against use cases and custom requirements remains essential to identify the optimal choice fitting needs and constraints.

No organization remains immune from the threats posed by increasingly sophisticated bots. But armed with insights on the top protection platforms now available, we can eliminate automated vulnerabilities before they morph into headline-grabbing disasters!

Start Securing Critical Assets

Of course technology alone cannot win the war against destructive bots. The most resilient defenses also require updating strategies across teams:

Continuous traffic monitoring – Watch for spikes in blocked traffic or suspicious patterns indicating new bot programs warranting investigation. Consider setting proactive volume alerts.

Allow list partners – Ensure that known benign bots enabling business functions remain classified correctly to avoid unintended impacts.

Extend fingerprint uniqueness – Incorporate more browser attributes like fonts and plugins when constructing fingerprints to raise spoofing difficulty.

Integrate monitoring – Feed bot defense analytics into existing SIEM and analytics platforms for greater context on overall threat landscape.

Engage with your vendor – Collaboration opportunities to tailor policies and learn from collective expertise build momentum. Consider machine learning optimization guidance to focus manual efforts.

Moving forward, a balanced approach is essential – combining specialized security technology with updated best practices, detection norms and response playbooks. Let‘s connect to explore options matching your unique environment constraints and risk profile. The future remains ours to define even as automated threats accelerate!