Online shopping is increasingly becoming the norm for many people, and it’s estimated that more than 2.1 billion people will purchase something from eCommerce stores in 2021.
However, as revenue for these eCommerce stores grows, more cybercriminals are now also actively targeting these eCommerce websites with various attack vectors: account takeover attacks, credit card frauds, inventory hoarding, DDoS, and more.
Many of these attacks are performed with the help of malicious bots, and this is why it’s crucial for eCommerce businesses to protect their online infrastructures with adequate anti-bot protection.
Read on, and in this article, you’ll learn more about major bot attacks that might affect eCommerce websites and mobile apps, and anti-bot protection strategies to effectively detect and block malicious bots from negatively affecting your eCommerce store.
Without further ado, let us begin.
How Bot Attacks can Cause eCommerce Losses
Cybercriminals can use malicious bots to attack eCommerce stores in various different ways, but there are three main ways how these bots can cause eCommerce losses:
- Bot attacks can perform account takeover (ATO) attacks to gain access to customer accounts, and use the account to perform various attacks from credit card frauds, chargeback frauds, and others.
- Malicious bots can ruin your advertising investment by performing click fraud on your target websites, increasing your advertising costs
- Bot activities on your site will eat your server’s resources and might slow down your site’s performance and ultimately prevent your store from serving legitimate shoppers in one way or another
Cybercriminals typically do this by executing four major types of bot attacks that we will discuss below.
Four Major Types of Bot Attacks Targeting eCommerce Sites
1. Credit Card Frauds
Credit card frauds, especially carding, are one of the most common types of botnet attacks targeting eCommerce sites for an obvious reason: most eCommerce stores accept credit card payments.
In a carding attack, the cybercriminal uses bots to attempt purchases using a list of stolen credit/debit card information. Plenty of these lists are available on the dark web as the result of various data breaches.
For successful purchases, the carder will then attempt to directly retrieve funds from the credit card or purchase gift cards (which will then be converted into various products).
A variation of this attack is to target the gift card directly, for example by using bots to ding PIN credentials that work for gift card accounts.
Also Read: Best Discord Bots
2. Account Takeover (ATO) Attacks
A key characteristic of eCommerce sites that are often exploited by cybercriminals is the fact that customers’ accounts on the eCommerce site or app typically contain payment information.
This is why many cybercriminals are targeting these customers’ accounts via account takeover (ATO) attacks. Automated bots may be utilized to perform brute force attacks (attempting all possibilities of a password) or credential stuffing attacks (trying a list of known credentials from other sites) in an attempt to gain access to customers’ accounts.
Cybercriminals often mask ATO attacks by rotating between many different IP addresses and using residential proxies to attempt hundreds if not thousands of username-password combinations per minute.
ATO attacks exploit a very common vulnerability: we tend to use weak and/or non-unique passwords for our accounts.
3. Content/Data Scraping
For eCommerce websites in a price-sensitive industry (i.e. hotel reservations, event tickets), price scraping attacks by bots are very common and can be very damaging to the business.
In this type of attack, cybercriminals use bots to spy on your site’s pricing tactics and may leak them to your competitors (or your competitors might be the ones using the bots). Thus, your competitors can undercut your price immediately, which can severely hurt your competitive advantage.
On most eCommerce sites, up to 20% of total traffic comes from these price scraping bots.
4. Inventory Hoarding
In this type of attack, bots are used to purchase all the inventory of selected products, typically newly released or in-demand products. In turn, legitimate shoppers won’t be able to purchase these products, and so the attacker can purchase all of the items and sell them at a higher price later (scalping).
This attack can heavily burden an eCommerce site’s server, often to the point of crashing the site altogether.
Anti Bot Protection Strategy for eCommerce Sites
Now that we’ve identified the four major bot threats to eCommerce sites, how can we effectively stop them?
With malicious, bad bots becoming more sophisticated and advanced than ever, it’s crucial to detect their presence and manage their activities before they can launch their attacks.
However, most bot detection and management solutions can only detect and manage bots after the bots have executed their attacks on the website. Behavior-based analysis methods are required to accurately differentiate between good and bad bots, as well as distinguishing between legitimate users and bot traffic.
With that being said, effective anti-bot protection must be able to perform predictive analysis, where the anti-bot protection will extract and analyze detailed behaviors in real-time to accurately predict which client requests are made by malicious bots and attack tools, and which are legitimate human users and good bots.
AI-based machine learning technologies can perform this predictive detection to accurately and consistently detect the presence of malicious bots and manage their activities before they execute the attack.
This allows to not only accurately predict various bot threats, but also to detection newer types of bots and attack vectors even as they continue to become more and more sophisticated.
The eCommerce industry is one of the industries targeted heavily by cybercriminals due to the nature of the industry that processes a lot of online transactions both in terms of data and financial.
Thus, implementing the right anti bot strategy by investing in an AI-powered bot management solution that can perform a predictive behavioral analysis is essential if you really want to protect your eCommerce business from various forms of bot threats.