Malicious bots are not a new problem. They have just taken different forms over the years.
Most organizations and consumers don’t realize that more than 60% of the traffic on the internet is not coming from humans. It’s coming from bots. Some bots are good and are needed to help humans find things on the internet. But malicious bots are more than capable of committing all kinds of cybercrimes, and they must be controlled.
Years ago, people would man call centers where they spent hour after hour dialing for dollars. The call centers and the companies that ran them would call people’s home phones in an attempt to sell them something. Lists of phone numbers and information about the people who paid for these phone lines were available, and these lists were valuable. Many of the people who were doing the dialing actually became quite good at what they did.
Everything from insurance to consumer goods were often sold in this fashion, and many of these organizations were successful. Fast forward 20 years and today these call centers are no longer manned by humans. They are being manned by bots. As a matter of fact, the number of call centers with humans on the other end of the phone line are getting fewer and fewer.
Another change is that today, most people aren’t getting bot calls on their home phones. They’re getting them on mobile phones. Everything from winning a free cruise, free hotel stays, and free vacations to offers of low-interest loans, details of credit card payoff programs, and lots of phishing campaigns are plaguing mobile phone owners. People report they get more calls from bots per day then they do from family, friends, and coworkers. People also report that many of the bot callers are getting so sophisticated that they can’t tell if the other person on the line is live or a recording that changes based upon how the receiver responds to the bot’s questions.
Those who continue to get more and more infuriated by these daily bot calls have tried to do everything like contacting authorities, signing up for national Do Not Call lists, and blocking them locally on their phones, but sometimes these tactics don’t work. Fortunately, there are other solutions to this problem.
I’ve had the same mobile phone number for over a decade, and my own phone bot problem was getting out of control. I tried everything to stop the calls, and nothing was working. I was seriously thinking about changing my phone number, but I knew that would cause lots of extra work: notifying family, friends, coworkers, and clients that my phone number had changed. Then one day, my mobile provider notified me that there was a new app that I could download. When enabled, the app would block phone bot calls. It would cost me an additional $2.99 per month to use the app on my provider’s network. I was more than happy to pay the small sum of money each month if the app could solve my phone bot problem.
The app is very cool. It notifies me of everyone who is calling, the risk associated with the caller using a risk meter, and if the caller is a known or potential spammer. It also uses the concept of crowdsourcing and allows users to select Mark as Spam on any caller. That mark is sent to the cloud and helps other users know when a caller is nothing more than a spam bot. I truly love this app, and my phone bot problem has consistently been reduced every month from the time I began using it. In addition, since I know when a bot is calling and I do not answer, I believe I’m being removed from some of the call lists that the bots are using.
Similarly, Oracle Dyn has a way to solve the proliferation of malicious bots on the internet. Bot Manager, part of the Oracle Dyn Web Application Security suite, identifies and blocks malicious bots coming to your websites and applications — regardless of where these sites and apps are hosted — while allowing the good bots through. This video explains how the service manages both good and malicious bot traffic:
Bot Manager also includes a real-time dashboard with reporting, analytics, and alerts to provide insights into the bots coming to your websites and applications.