By Brian Dordevic – Bot traffic is considered any non-human traffic on a website. Although not every bot’s appearance is negative (Siri, Alexa, Facebook, Googlebot), most bots are related to malicious activity. However, today’s posts will be dedicated to those harmful bots that damage websites and businesses. Stopping bot attacks is a challenging and complex task that forces companies to look for ways to manage bad bots on their websites. Therefore Alpha Efficiency has provided a comprehensive article on the techniques that can help you prevent bot access on your website.
Even though you might have experienced the harmful effects of the bots’ presence on your website, the damages bots can cause are probably way more severe than you think. Let us provide you with a little more detailed look at bots sabotaging abilities:
- Scraping private information on your website for potential illegal use. This applies to website data but also the sensitive website`s user data. Stealing your user`s data can cause you legal penalties and harm your business reputation.
- Duplicating your website content and posting on other sites
- Setting extra burdens on your server or disrupting the host service, which can decrease the site`s speed and increase the traffic load. This technique is called DDoS attacks (distributive denial-of-access attacks). Those negative effects on site speed will, in the long term, decrease SEO ranking and reject users.
- Creating credential stuffing attacks
- Spambots can spam all user-generated captures such as comment sections, various form inputs, and other areas. Additionally, they can integrate fake links that could cause Google penalties and a bad reputation.
- Bots can generate fraud clicks which increases your advertising costs. Bot traffic in advertising falsely increases traffic, encouraging ad publishers to charge more for advertising space. Additionally, bot traffic harms your reputation.
- Bots can collect your business data and forward them to your competition, eliminating your advantages over the competition.
1 – CAPTCHA
This method can detect basic bots, and its efficiency is not general. CAPTCHAs are considered a starting step in blocking bots. CAPTCHA is convenient for companies with a streamlined target audience, however, the CAPTCHA-only method is disadvantageous when it comes to genuine users. CAPTCHA obliges users to perform certain actions which help to identify bots from human users. Usually, bots can not perform these tasks, unless they impart written correct action in their script. This feature prevents bots to finish the assigned tasks and proceed further.
2 – Static based approach
This method considers bot management software that analyses the user`s fingertips, signatures, IP address, OS, browsing, or other data and compares them with data in the database. This way, the software can detect and distinguish a bot from a human user.
3 – Dynamic based approach
This method is also called behavioral because it analyses users’ behavior such as typing patterns, mouse movements, and other activities that distinguishes humans from bots.
4 – Use hidden fields
One of the many malicious bots functions is fake registration and spamming form. To avoid these issues, the good practice is to implement hidden/dummy fields (with good CSS) for the purpose to trap and stop bot spam. The hidden fields method functions by providing fields that genuine users don`t see but bots tend to fill. However, there are sophisticated bots that can determine and ignore hidden fields and finish spamming forms. The disadvantage of this method is that the Search Engine penalized the usage of hidden fields and consider it as bad.
5 – Log files
Log files are another way to partially stop bots. As every request on the site uses its IP address, recording these addresses in log files can help you track, check and block suspicious IP addresses. However, this method can be disadvantageous, as you can get many clicks, in a short period from the same IP address due to open public networks. Therefore. Blocking those IPs can be potentially harmful as you can block genuine users who connect from the same address.
6 – Honeypots
Honeypots are not so well known way to successfully stop bots. Honey trap operates as bots recognize websites that use honeypots as dead, fake, or irrelevant, allowing the bot to operate as usual but providing them fake content or directing them to a page with fake content. However, this approach has a big disadvantage. Namely, website ranking can considerably fall, so implementing honeypots should be used with precaution.
7 – Automated bot prevention
Automated anti bot solution engages robust algorithms to detect and distinguish malicious bots from genuine users and block them.
8 – Stay up to date
Keeping your website and its software up to date prevents bots with older versions to enters your site. What`s more, most platforms demand the latest updates and force users to auto-update, in order to achieve security.
9 – Paid service
If you have persistent bot issues that you alone are not capable to manage look for a bot blocker service. This is also a kind of long-term solution. These services offer integrated solutions that stay on your website and inform you when problems emerge.
10 – Constant monitoring
Blocking bots is not a one-time fix, it requires ongoing surveillance for bot attacks that continuously emerge. Looking for signs of bot activity and wide-scale attacks is the only way to prevent bots as their approach becomes more and more sophisticated.
As bot technology becomes increasingly sophisticated, having a good bot prevention management strategy has become a requisite. While we have described ways to protect your website from bot attacks, you might consider forming a security infrastructure or hiring an agency to ensure the website’s safety.
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