Google: Pandemic is causing bot attacks to increase

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As more companies move online as a result of COVID-19, bot attacks are becoming more common.

Google is warning that bots are causing more problems for business. They also point out that many companies are failing to take bots seriously, and only focus on the most obvious types of attacks.

The COVID pandemic has forced many companies to move online and adopt remote working. Digital transformation increased greatly over the past year. Google says that attackers have adapted to these changed conditions and are boosting attacks on newly online businesses. And bots are a preferred tool they like to use. 

Bot attacks can cover anything from web scraping, where bots are used to gather content or data, to bots that try to beat Captchas, to ad fraud, card fraud and inventory fraud.

Distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) are a main concern. This is where hackers direct a massive level of useless traffic at an online service, overcoming its resources and knocking it offline.

Most companies are only defending against fraud, not bots

Forrester Consulting conducted the survey for Google. They surveyed 425 respondents with responsibilities over fraud management, attack detection and response, and the protection of user data.

Forrester found that most organizations are only protecting themselves against card fraud, ad fraud, and influence fraud attacks. “Only 15% of businesses are currently protecting themselves against web scraping attacks, yet 73% face such an attack on a weekly basis,” the researchers say.

Google says that 71% of companies experienced an increase in the number of successful bot attacks. In addition, 56% of companies reported seeing different types of attacks. The problem, according to Google, is that companies are using the wrong mix of technology to protect themselves.

The study showed that although 78% of organizations are using protection against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, less than 20% are using what they call a “full bot management system”. 

“Many businesses focus on the types of attacks that are mostly commonly in the news, rather than the attacks that can cause the most damage to their bottom lines,” Forrester Research concluded.