Major websites are vulnerable to advanced bots

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Pretty much every top website, in retail, financial services, consumer services, OTA members (Online Trust Alliance), news and media, and top US government agencies, is vulnerable to advanced bots, new research says.

Bot detection and mitigation company Distil Networks, analyzed 1,000 top websites in these verticals, and how they behave against crude, simple, evasive and advanced bots. All of the verticals performed quite well against crude bots, (75 percent in consumer services, 70 percent in government, 65 percent in financial services, 64 percent in news and media, 78 percent in retail and 67 percent in OTA members), but when it comes to advanced bots, one percent is the best result found.


Bots are used, as Distil says, for competitive data mining, online fraud, account hijacking, data theft, vulnerability scans, spam, man-in-the-middle attacks, etc.

"Bots, especially Advanced Persistent Bots (APBs) are evolving in sophistication because of their polymorphic nature, and quick deployment to access sensitive information and reap monetary benefits. Our 2016 Bad Bot Landscape Report found over 88 percent of all bad bot traffic last year was made by APBs, bots that mimic human behavior", says Rami Essaid, CEO and co-founder of Distil Networks.

"OTA’s Trust Audit continues to set the bar for best practices, including evaluation of bot risk. We support OTA’s efforts to promote best practices in the industry and are troubled to find that most companies are failing to keep their defenses up to the sophistication level of today’s advanced and evasive bots. This is concerning, as bots can easily paralyze website infrastructure, pirate entire online directories, and destroy a company’s competitive advantage".

Detection rates by vertical

Vertical Crude Simple Evasive Advanced
Consumer Services 75 percent 18 percent 4 percent 1 percent
Government 70 percent 7 percent 0 percent 0 percent
Financial Services 65 percent 12 percent 0 percent 0 percent
News and Media 64 percent 7 percent .09 percent .09 percent
Retailers 78 percent 11 percent 1.6 percent .08 percent
Members 67 percent 13 percent 1 percent 1 percent

Published under license from, a Net Communities Ltd Publication. All rights reserved.

Photo credit: liuwenhua / Shutterstock

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