Bot management enables organizations to distinguish the good bots from the bad so they can identify and block unwanted and malicious bot traffic.
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 they’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 distributed denial-of-service (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.
Bot mitigation boils down to reducing the risk of a bot-related threats 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 to consider how you will mitigate malicious bots but also to filter out unwanted bot traffic in general.
How Can Bad Bots Harm Your Business?
- 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 or leads, paying more for clicked ads, or simply making poor business decisions based on bad data.
Why Do You 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 business intelligence 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.
How Does F5 Protect Against Bot Attacks?
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.