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How Malicious Bots Could Evolve in 2023

Malicious bots, are automated software programs that are designed to carry out malicious activities online. These activities can include spreading spam, conducting denial of service attacks, scraping content from websites, and launching phishing attacks.

Antoine Vastel, Head of research, DataDome, shared how he thinks malicious automated software programs could evolve in 2023:

  • Scalping will intensify. While scalping used to affect mostly concert tickets (cf what happened with Taylor swift concert tickets), it has spread to more and more products: sneakers, gaming consoles, GPUs, luxury items. I predict that with the current product shortages & supply chain challenges, scalping will intensify and expand across industries to new items/products, as there is a potential for resellers to make money.

  • Scraping will increase by at least 25%. We see more and more tools that make it really easy to make advanced bots. Whether it is open source libraries that enable attackers to forge their fingerprints, or bots as a service that make the creation of advanced bots as easy as making an API request, we think this will favor the creation of scraper bots. Moreover, we also see an increase of platforms used for price monitoring, of proxy providers etc, which suggests we will continue to see a growth of scrapers.

  • Bots will become more and more mainstream. Whether through a browser extension, a bot as a service, or through code, a lot of people will make bots. We already started to see this shift lately where a lot of individuals made their own bots to monitor housing price changes, monitor the availability of gaming consoles, scrape marketplaces with browser extension. We don't see this stopping, as making advanced bots is becoming increasingly easier.

Why Automated Malicious Software is Becoming More Widely Used by Threat Actors and Scammers

In recent years, there has been a trend towards the use of malicious bots as a service, in which cybercriminals rent out access to their botnets to other individuals or organizations. This allows even those with limited technical expertise to carry out large-scale malicious campaigns.

One of the primary drivers of this trend is the increasing availability of "booter" or "stresser" services, which allow individuals to launch distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks for a fee. These services make it easy for anyone to launch a DDoS attack, regardless of their technical expertise.

Another factor contributing to the growth of malicious bots as a service is the increasing sophistication of these tools. Many modern malicious bots are capable of evading detection by security systems, and can even mimic the behavior of human users to avoid detection.

The use of malicious bots as a service has significant implications for both individuals and organizations. For individuals, it means that their personal information and devices are at risk of being used in malicious campaigns without their knowledge or consent.

For organizations, the threat of DDoS attacks can disrupt business operations and damage their reputation.

To protect against the threat of malicious bots, it is important for individuals and organizations to implement strong security measures, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and anti-virus software. It is also important to be vigilant and to avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources. By taking these precautions, individuals and organizations can reduce their risk of falling victim to malicious bots. ###


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