Bot Management, Mitigation, and Protection

What is Bot Management?

Bot management is the practice of knowing how bots impact your business and understanding their intent, so you can respond appropriately to all incoming bot activity. Not all bots are “bad”, after all. The “good” bots are the ones we rely on—for example, search bots that help customers find what you’re looking for on the web, and chatbots that improve customer experiences. Bad bots are ones that hoard resources, perform account takeovers and credential stuffing, launch DDoS attacks, and steal intellectual property or impact your business intelligence.

At F5, we define bot threats as any automated misuse of functionality or action that adversely affects web apps. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind that the bot itself isn’t the true culprit: it’s the bot operator.

Watch Now: What are Bots?

Managing all bots effectively requires separating the good bots from the bad. This is where bot mitigation comes into play: identifying and blocking only the unwanted and the malicious bot traffic that hits your network, so you can reduce your risk.

What does it mean to “mitigate” bad bots?

Bot mitigation boils down to reducing the risk of a bot related threat and removing any unwanted bot traffic from your network. Bots are the driving force behind automated attacks—automation being the starting point for majority of today’s attacks. But that’s not all—bots also muddy business intelligence which becomes a problem for the entire business. Therefore, it’s critical when looking at your overall security strategy to not only consider how you will mitigate malicious bots but filter out unwanted bot traffic in general.

What are the top business impacts of bad bots?

  • Negatively Affects SEO – Web-scraping bots can copy and extract copyrighted or trademarked data from websites and reuse it—often for competitive purposes—on other websites. Because there are two versions of the content online, this can greatly diminish your site’s search authority.
  • Deteriorates Customer Trust – Bots can fill your customers’ inboxes with unwanted email containing malicious links, write fake product reviews, create fake social media accounts to write false or biased content, inflate views or follower counts, write provocative comments online to stir up controversy, rig votes, and more. These types of activities can frustrate customers, drive them away from your site, and ruin your reputation.
  • Skews Analytics – Attackers can use botnets to launch DDoS attacks that make an application or network unavailable. which can affect traffic metrics. In addition, bots can create non-existent leads by creating and then abandoning online shopping carts on an e-commerce site. The poor metrics that result can lead to poor marketing decisions later.
  • Destroys Advertising ROI – Bots can commit click fraud by automatically clicking on an ad. This skews data reported to advertisers, and costs companies a lot of money because they end up paying for non-human clicks. Even worse, those companies get no revenue from fake “shoppers.” Click fraud can also be used by companies to deliberately drive up the advertising costs of their competitors.
  • Loss of Revenue – Malicious bots can negatively impact the bottom line, whether it be from an unresponsive or flagged website; visitors redirected to a competitor; sales personnel chasing false opportunities/leads; paying more for clicked ads; or simply making poor business decisions based on bad data.

Why Do I Need a Bot Protection Solution to Manage and Mitigate Bot Threats?

A Bot Protection solution should address technical and business challenges that bots create:

  • Proactively mitigate Your Bot Risk
    Protect your applications from automated attacks like account takeover, vulnerability reconnaissance, or denial of service.
  • Optimize Business Intelligence
    Eliminate unwanted bot traffic that skews your legitimate BI data. Focus your time and resources on real customer engagement.
  • Improve Performance, Availability, and Cost
    By dropping malicious or unwanted traffic before it hits your applications, you can have a smaller and more predictable size of your applications’ supporting infrastructure.

F5 Provides Industry-Leading Bot Protection

Automated threats require automated defenses. F5 Bot Protection delivers proactive, multi-layered security that blocks and drops bad bot traffic before it can hit your network, mitigating bots that perform account takeovers, vulnerability reconnaissance, and denial of service attacks targeted at your network or app layer.

Learn more about Bot Management >