Bot management includes both the identification of bots and the banning of unwanted or dangerous internet bot traffic, all while preserving access to online APIs and characteristics for valuable bots. To lessen the danger and harm from bot assaults, it could use features like allowing and blocking lists, rate restriction, and bot traps.
Comprehensive bot management offers the best protection against a variety of automated threats, including application-layer distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, SQL injection dangers, and spam campaigns that can hurt business applications, as internet traffic becomes more and more bot-driven.
Why is bot management needed
The same underlying characteristics that make excellent bots so helpful also make poor bots dangerous.
A bot may automate a wide range of tasks, from crawling for search engine indexing to assisting real-time customer care interactions. However, scalable and extremely successful cyberattacks may also be conducted using this effective automation. Typical illustrations include:
- DDoS attacks: A coordinated botnet is capable of receiving and carrying out commands to bombard its targets with unwanted traffic. Bots that seem to be sending valid requests are used in advanced Layer 7 DDoS assaults.
- Malicious bots may continually check for vulnerabilities in web apps and APIs that are accessible through the internet. Any vulnerability can be used by cross-scripting (XSS), SQL injection, and related bot-dependent attacks once it is discovered.
- Account takeover: Attempting to break into accounts via brute-force guessing, bots may be employed in credential stuffing and password spraying assaults. This is a job that bot-driven automation is well suited for.
- Malware and Spam Distribution: Distribution of spam and malware is automated via a botnet, which may support enormous spam campaigns that send malware to innumerable email inboxes. Using botnets that can transmit billions of these messages daily, phishing assaults can be scaled.
What are the steps in managing bots
Modern bot management solutions are compatible with several bot detection methods, including:
- File and profile signatures for bots: A bot management software keeps an active, current list of well-known bots and their signatures, which may be linked to bot profiles for more dependable bot defense. Using this data, bot management systems may then recognize unusual bot behavior on the network and stop it before it reaches and assaults crucial apps and/or APIs.
- Transactions per second (TPS): TPS is capable of identifying bot activities.
- Banning malicious IP addresses and monitoring IP reputation: How can the danger posed by a particular bot and its demands be appropriately scored? Making this considerably easier is the continuously updated list of rogue IP addresses in bot management programs. IP reputation research also reveals whether a bot comes from a dangerous site that has a track record of being used in cyberattacks.
- Technology fingerprinting: You may use a variety of behavior-based bot detection and control techniques, such as device fingerprinting, with bot management. Using information from the client’s IP address, screen resolution, browser settings, HTTP request headers, and loaded fonts, a device fingerprint may be used to identify the client as a distinct entity. This fingerprint may then be used to stop bad bots that are malicious yet appear to be legitimate when appropriate.
- Bot traps: To detect harmful bot activity, a trap URL may be set up. Although the URL is promoted in the client response, only excellent bots may access it; it is not accessible to human users. Bot traps are frequently used to capture malicious bots that have disregarded the robots.txt file on a website and are attempting to scrape content or send spam traffic.
With the assistance of various methods, these bot detection approaches enable bot management systems to control and log bot traffic in line with bot policy regulations.
Rate limiting and associated traffic management
Even if malicious bots have evaded other detection measures, they can still be stopped from accessing the network by setting limitations on specified bot traffic using the traffic control capabilities of a bot management tool. For instance, a bot that is unknown and not included on either an allow list or a block list might have its rate reduced to prevent it from swamping an API or microservice architecture. As soon as any of the aforementioned detection methods flag bot traffic, bot control systems may also reroute and block it.
A CAPTCHA may be enforced by bot management software to control traffic entering a domain. The usage of CAPTCHAs can assist in stopping the flow of automated harmful bot activity that can compromise web applications and APIs by identifying whether traffic is being directed by humans or hostile bots. Traffic that does not successfully complete a CAPTCHA may be discarded or subject to extra verification procedures, such as block and allow lists.
Deployment of allow and block lists
Setting up allow lists and block lists for certain bots is an excellent way to make sure that good bots can access web apps and APIs while malicious bots are kept out. You may decide if the origins of a bot are acceptable by customizing each allow list or ban list to contain certain IP addresses, subnets, and policy expressions.
Monitoring and taking action
A bot management solution can offer insights on the typical bot transaction requests per second, the bot-to-human ratios for virtual servers, the severity ratings and geographic origins of the bots, as well as the event logs of the times the bot signatures were added and altered. This knowledge is useful for honing the scope of overall operations in a bot management plan.