If you’re a frequent internet browser, you are likely to have come across many warnings about keeping your information safe online and to avoid clicking unknown links from suspicious contacts. There is good reason for warnings like these, as phishing scams and malicious bots are becoming a major threat on the Internet. According to a report by CXOtoday, the top four industries that have been attacked by malicious bots recently were e-commerce, travel, media, and online marketplaces.
Increase in cyber-attacks during the pandemic
During the pandemic, e-commerce site traffic and purchases broke records. With this, came an increase of online fraud. Between January and June last year, there was a 74% increase in phishing scams according to HMRC. Phishing scams are a form of cyber-attack which fool victims into installing malware or handing over sensitive information. Often, phishing scams come in the form of emails or texts that appear to come from a trusted sender, but on closer inspection will highlight a suspicious sender address or link.
What is a malicious bot?
A bot (short for robot) is a typically a software application which helps to perform tasks across the internet faster than a human could. Google, for example uses (good) bots to index all the websites they can find to produce their search results.
On the other hand, cyber criminals often use malicious bots in order to obtain sensitive information such as customer records or bank details, or in more serious cases to breach tough security measures and take over user accounts. They can cause errors on websites to disrupt a site’s availability, or exploit vulnerabilities within applications and APIs. Bots can also be used by businesses to directly target competitors – in rare situations such bots will scrape web content to aggregate the likes of product prices and names.
What is the threat to e-commerce websites?
Reports have highlighted there has been an increase on attacks from malicious bots within the e-commerce industry, with account log-in pages in particular being a key target. In order to evade detection, bots are becoming even more sophisticated in order to imitate human user behaviour as closely as possible. Because of this, they can bypass some common website security controls especially if a password or username is weak.
From data scraping to payment fraud, advanced bots could cause devastating damage to e-commerce websites. This, in turn, can cost businesses thousands, if not millions of pounds due to damages and losses incurred by cyberattacks. In 2020 a survey by Kount highlighted that two-thirds of businesses said a single attack from a malicious bot cost their company almost £100,000 in lost revenue. It is therefore crucial that businesses have tough cyber security measures in place to protect themselves and their customers.
How do you combat malicious bots?
It is important to try to stay on top of up-to-date technology that scammers and cyberattacks are using in order to steal sensitive information. We are likely getting to a point where Web Application Firewalls (WAFs) are becoming as essential to websites as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates. A web application firewall is a specific form of application firewall that filters, monitors, and blocks specific traffic to and from a web service.
Cyber security is now as important as hosting, web design, and domain management. It is essential for the safety and security of your online business; the increase in scams, and attacks from malicious bots, identifies how crucial it is to keep your website secure.
Sometimes as business owners, technical website elements can slip past the radar. At teclan, we ensure that your website is protected and prepared — whether you’re building an entirely new site or looking to migrate an existing website, we work hard to ensure your site is as secure as possible. Our Gatekeeper packages go a long way to ensure your website is protected against malicious attacks while our web-mastering services make sure your site is kept updated and in great shape. We can also help you obtain a Business Security Accreditation so that you and your audience have peace of mind that all aspects of your online business are carried out with maximum attention to security.