Cybersecurity

Bot attacks soar in first half of 2021 — Barracuda

Traffic from bad bots is exploding which led to the spike in automated attacks against organizations, this is one of the major findings of a new report from Barracuda, a provider of cloud-enabled security solutions.

The report “Bot attacks: Top Threats and Trends Insights into the Growing Number of Automated Attacks” saw bots make up nearly two-thirds or 64% of internet traffic and 40% is from bad bots. Bad bots are malware bots are used to carry out malicious attacks (hacking, spamming, spying) on websites while the “good” bots are instrumental as search engine crawlers, social network bots, aggregator crawlers, and monitoring bots.

“While some bots like search engine crawlers are good, our research shows that a much larger number of bots are dedicated to carrying out malicious activities at scale,” said Nitzan Miron, VP of product management, application security, Barracuda. “When left unchecked, these bad bots can have serious consequences for businesses and ultimately lead to a breach. That’s why it’s critically important to be prepared to detect and block these attacks.”

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The report explores emerging traffic patterns, live examples of bot behavior and detection, and the steps IT teams should take to protect their businesses. Barracuda researchers have analyzed the traffic patterns measured by Barracuda application security solutions over the first six months of 2021.

Analyzing internet traffic patterns over the first six months of 2021, the report reveals that only a quarter (25%) of all traffic is good bot activity, while bad bot activity makes up almost double this, ranging from basic scrapers used to steal data from applications to inventory hoarding, account takeover attacks, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and advanced persistent bots that seek to evade detection.

Results reveal that most of the traffic analyzed in the report came from AWS and Microsoft Azure public clouds, which Barracuda researchers report may make it easy for threat actors to set up accounts for their malicious bot activity.

According to the report, North America accounted for 67% of bad bot traffic, followed by Europe (22%) and Asia (8%). And although automated, these attacks are designed to follow a normal workday, which allows them to blend into other traffic.

When it came to targets, Barracuda found that e-commerce apps and login portals are the most common target of advanced persistent bots — which are harder to detect as they closely imitate human behavior.