What Are Bad Bots?

Since bots are used to automate repetitive tasks, they can be programmed to perform a variety of malicious tasks. For example, competitors can write bots to illegally scrape content from websites to increase their readership and subscriptions, or carry out more damaging attacks like identity theft, carding, denial of inventory and much more.

Bad bots work in an evasive manner and are mostly used by fraudsters, cybercriminals, and nefarious parties engaged in various illegal activities. They can be sent by third-party scrapers or your competitors to steal content from your website, such as product reviews, breaking news, product pricing information and catalogs, user generated content on community forms, and so on. When they make thousands of page visits within a very short span of time, they strain Web servers and choke the available bandwidth, slowing down the site for genuine users.

Bots can scrape your content and publish it elsewhere. This can affect your website’s search engine rankings. There have been instances of stolen content outranking the original content on Google search pages. This directly impacts the bottom-line of the websites that have invested large sums to create original content. They can spam community forums with intrusive ads or messages. They can create millions of fake leads on real-estate and classifieds portals, carry out cart abandonment on e-commerce portals, distort marketing analytics, take over accounts to steal stored value in the form of store credits, loyalty points, prepaid wallets and so on.

Bad bots have evolved to become highly sophisticated and human-like in their behavior and can leverage vast computing resources at cloud data centers to carry out their malicious activities, largely evading conventional or in-house bot detection methodologies.

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