Chapter 2. Misconceptions of Automated Traffic

As we’ve already discussed, the amount of automated traffic is growing consistently and as it rises so too does the sophistication and complexity of the bot operators. Before discussing the activities of bot traffic in detail, it is worth addressing some of the common misconceptions that website owners may have about automated traffic.

Misconception: Bots Are Just Simple Automated Scripts

While this may have been accurate 15 years ago, the level of sophistication of bot traffic has been increasing massively as both the technology and platforms available to bot operators and the sophistication of defenses in place increases and, most importantly, the gains to be achieved increase.

Modern bots are sophisticated systems that will manage distribution of traffic across large-scale environments or large botnets and via multiple proxies in order to hide their activity among that of human users (even executing requests as a part of a human session). Bots will routinely execute requests from real browsers and execute JavaScript sent to validate users as humans. Detection mechanisms such as CAPTCHA can be bypassed, either by using artificial intelligence or brute-force systems, or by employing farms of human agents to solve them on demand and pass the solution back to the bot. Bots are intelligent enough to integrate with these human services seamlessly.

Botnet

Botnets are networks of compromised computers (usually infected by viruses or ...

Get Managing and Mitigating Bots now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.