Misunderstanding Bots Attacks

Bot attacks are on the rise. Across 693 websites, 2.1 million bot attacks were blocked on the AppTrana WAF last month. 

Even though bot attacks are more prevalent than ever, there are some unproven myths around them. 

By understanding these myths, you’ll be better equipped to protect your site from potential damage and keep your customers happy. Here are seven of the most common bot myths and their truths.

  1. Firewalls will stop sophisticated bot attacks

73% of businesses think that legacy WAFs will protect them against bot attacks.  

WAF is one of the first lines of defense to protect web apps. It covers the most critical risks, including but not limited to OWASP Top 10

WAF can be used to stop malicious bots by creating WAF rules. Its basic mitigation actions include applying rate limits to manage suspicious IP block bot attacks.

However, it didn’t take long. Hackers figured out a way to bypass WAF defenses. 

Further, many bots attack websites by targeting the “business logic.” 

A bot, for example, can find an item and place it in a cart while reselling it on another website. Once the other transaction is completed, the sale is finalized. It does not take advantage of any flaws in the code. 

To protect against bot attacks, you need a bot management solution that evolves with the evolving threats. 

  1. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection will secure businesses from bots

77% of businesses believe this is possible – however, this is a false assumption.  Of course, automation is the common denominator for all automated attacks. 

Let’s see where the confusion starts: a DDoS attack involves botnets (a collection of connected devices comprising servers). This overwhelms the website with traffic and ultimately takes it offline. 

The end goal of the bot attack on the website differs. They take advantage of the working site to carry out their malicious activities. So that it does not completely shut down the victim system.  Most DDoS protection solution depends on rate limiting strategy. 

Most bots evade the protection by conducting low and slow attacks. 

  1. Attack bots are prominently from China and Russia.

A shocking 62% of businesses think that risks associated with bot attacks come from China and Russia. That’s not true. Though many attacks originate from these regions, bot attacks on websites come from worldwide. 

Over 51% of the threats come from the USA. The bot attacks that businesses need to be wary of are the local ones that aim to make a profit. Preventing traffic based on the country alone is not sufficient in the long run. Bot attacks can also impersonate legitimate users from another country, making the restriction pointless.

  1. Captcha alone is enough for bot protection

Captcha only adds a manual step to distinguish bots and humans. Bots today are more sophisticated and can easily bypass traditional captcha. Captchas have accessibility issues and add friction to the customer journey. 

You need a robust bot management solution that accurately protects your site. At the same time, it must allow your users to go about your business without the troubles of solving CAPTCHAs.

  1. Bot purchases are only made on the dark web.

62% of businesses believe that bots can only be bought in places like the dark web. Today, however, we find bots and databases of usernames and passwords available to everyone on the public web.

It’s simple to find a bot for sale, especially if you want to gain access to hard-to-find or limited-edition commodities like jewelry or sneakers, which are openly sold to consumers. Another way people can launch bot attacks is by hiring professional hackers to launch bot attacks. This means more people will be able to sabotage websites, take over accounts, utilize scalper bots, and disrupt businesses.

  1. Most bot operators are criminals

Bot developers are not necessarily spammers. Some attackers are driven by financial gain and revenge.   It might be a regular person trying to access a highly coveted online product.

When buying goods for resale, using a bot is not a crime. However, in the US and UK, the proposed legislation is in play to ban it and has not yet been approved. 

  1. Bot attacks are most frequent during the holiday shopping season

The holiday shopping season is a critical time for the eCommerce industry. So, bot attacks always ramp up during this season to undermine retailers’ bottom line. 

However, it is equally important to understand that bot attacks can strike your business at any time of the year. It may be driven by a new product launch. 

How To Stop Bot Attacks on Websites?

Let’s look at a few proactive steps you can implement to prevent bot attacks:

  1. Evaluate and monitor incoming traffic and its sources: Does your website have high bounce rates? Do you notice bulk traffic coming from a single source? Identifying and categorizing bot traffic through sophisticated tools and human expertise is necessary to notice signs of bad bot traffic.
  2. Block or capture outdated user agents/browsers: Many tools and scripts’ default configurations provide user-agent string lists that are mainly outdated. Though this risk is low with modern browsers forcing auto-updates, analyzing, and blocking CAPTCHA browser versions is important.
  3. Monitor failed login attempts: One way you can do this is by setting up a failed login attempt baseline. This baseline can then be monitored for any abnormalities or spikes. You can set up alerts so that you are notified immediately if they occur.
  4. Protect all bot access points: Disabling access from these sites may deter attackers from attacking your website, API, and mobile apps.


It is important for businesses to stay educated on the latest threats that bots pose. Debunking the myths can help provide a clear understanding of the risk associated with malicious bot behavior. This will help you and your team create the best road map to help your organization get real-time visibility to stay bot-free.

Vinugayathri is a Senior content writer of Indusface. She has been an avid reader & writer in the tech domain since 2015. She has been a strategist and analyst of upcoming tech trends and their impact on the Cybersecurity, IoT, and AI landscape. She is a content marketer simplifying technical anomalies for aspiring Entrepreneurs.