As more employees continue to work from home, bots are becoming far more prevalent. Social media outlets have been fighting bots for some time, with Facebook shutting down more than 5.4 billion fake accounts in 2019 alone. Although the danger of bots trolling users on social media seems far from threatening to many businesses, the reality is bots are a growing and very real threat to organizations of all sizes.
Bots are using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to become better at mimicking humans and smarter at discovering vulnerabilities that result in attacks and data breaches. Bots can pose as competitors, customers, or even your company, making it difficult to know who and what is real and trustworthy in the cyberscape.
Bots are set to overtake more than 50% of web traffic this year, according to industry experts, making it that much more difficult to detect and block fraudulent activity. Using the same techniques they employ to manipulate social media platforms, bots work to attack businesses by amplifying reviews, both positive and negative depending on the objective, spreading misinformation, and scraping content. In the latter case, bots crawl company networks looking for any and all information that could be used to either spread misinformation or enable additional attacks—product prices, employee names and titles, API data, research and proprietary data, etc.
Cybersecurity data shows that bots are relentless, with armies of them attacking in waves to access and then leverage any data, regardless of whether it’s behind traditional security protections. Companies must fight fire with fire, employing bot management tools that employ AI and ML as well as behavior analytics to determine bot versus human activity and take action accordingly. In addition, penetration testing can help identify vulnerable gaps in a company’s security posture, revealing potential bot attack vectors and providing guidance on how to best protect your organization from the wrath of bots.