Bots – applications that run scripts on the Internet – are frequent enemies of IT teams. Although they can be used to perform recurring tasks, bots are often used with malware functions. According to the Ponemon Institute, 79% of cybersecurity leaders cannot distinguish with assertiveness between robot and human traffic on websites under their management.

The problem is that this type of application can be used for a series of malicious actions, such as denial of service attacks, data mining, online scams, theft of privileges, data, spreading spam, among others.

However, there are some clues that may help you identify whether your website was visited by one of these applications:

Failed login attempts

A common way of bot’s malicious activity is brute force attacks. Scripts can test endless combinations of login and passwords to access private systems, granting cybercriminals access to sensitive data whenever successful.

One way to identify this type of activity is to monitor rates of success and failure to access private accounts. Although brute-force technique is relatively simple and certain bots are sophisticated, there will still be a high number of login failures, which indicates attempts to steal privileges.

Many visits from the same IP

Assess your server logs is critical to identify suspicious activity. Any request made to your server will return some kind of information. By studying the logs of the connections, it is possible to identify if there is bot action.

Regular visits to your address, several times in a very short interval is an indication of suspicious action. Therefore, if the same IP appears in logs, the chances of bots are high. Another way is to investigate if the IP is blacklisted and for what reason it is in a list of low reputation.

Unknown messages

Messages sent from email accounts can also be one of the resources to identify these robots. If you identify drafts, sent messages or even bounced messages that you did not write, it’s an important alert. A bot may attempt to use your credentials to reach your contacts, either to distribute other malicious applications or to steal new credentials.

Website is slow or crashes

There is a reason that bots are used in DDoS attacks. They move very quickly and in hoards, performing many requests per second to the server, which can cause overload that results in slowness and even inactivity.

 

How to protect against the action of bots?

As we have seen in the tips above, bot action can be identified from evaluating suspect patterns of activity. Therefore, it is vital to constantly analyze the status of your network. BLOCKBIT recommends adopting a layered strategy to protect your network environment and reinforces the importance of integrated intelligence signatures for the following products:

  • Signatures for predicting websites vulnerable to scripts and bot techniques (BLOCKBIT VCM);
  • Signatures for detecting attempts of access and invasion (BLOCKBIT IPS);
  • Signatures for detecting and blocking improper access of known or public bot servers (BLOCKBIT ATP);
  • Signatures for malicious traffic detection of bots installed in the application’s local network (BLOCKBIT UTM);
  • Signatures of Data loss prevention (DLP) for email servers (BLOCKBIT SMX)
  • Finally, BLOCKBIT NGFW mediates the traffic between the private network and the internet, with granular configurations fundamental to identify patterns of suspicious activity;

 

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