The e-commerce industry is not unfamiliar with online shopping bots. While bots are used by stores to provide better customer service, malicious bots can be devastating for a business. Both consumers and e-commerce sellers are exposed to cybersecurity risks.
Many customers use shopping robots to automate tasks based upon a set instructions. For example, log onto the website and search for a specific product. Add it to your cart. Then click on Check Out. Shopping bots almost all have an unfair advantage. If a user wants to wait manually for their favorite items such as collectible trading cards or tickets to sporting events, they will have to be at their computer all day to refresh their browser manually.
Shopping bots can do this for them. The software could be programmed to search for specific strings on a particular website. The bot will then add the product to the shopping cart, check out, or notify an email address. The sought-after product sells quickly when shopping bots are working together correctly.
Cybersecurity risks that shopping bots can pose
A shopping bot’s general impression is that it sells. What could be the problem with shopping bots?
Although bots are generally good, they can also be dangerous, especially when used in the wrong way. A survey found that more than $100,000 of revenue has been lost to a bot attack.
Bad shopping bots can attack e-commerce websites. This is not a new phenomenon. The following statistics were presented by the Imperva report:
- Bots account for 30.8% of all traffic to ecommerce websites
- 17.7% of all traffic to ecommerce websites comes from bad bots
- These bots are nearly 23.5% qualified as sophisticated bots.
How can you distinguish a good from a poor bot? Online retailers and customers can be more vulnerable to certain types of bots than others.
These bots pose as customers to interact with the system. They use real identities obtained from the internet or purchased from the dark net. These bots can compromise passwords and gain user credentials. This can be email addresses, credit card numbers, and other information. These adversaries can launch cyberattacks such as phishing and business email compromise. These bots can compromise the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data within systems. This could lead to a company’s reputation being damaged.
Denial of Inventory
Sometimes it’s impossible to buy a product online as it is already sold out. Inventory denial bots could be responsible for this. They mimic human traffic and allow users to shop online. This trick tricks the system into believing that inventory is sold out. It causes customers to post negative feedback about the target brand on social media. These malicious bots are not intended to purchase items immediately. They sell them on other websites at higher prices. The bot will complete the transaction by offloading the carts and helping the malicious actors make a profit.
Scalping bots scan the internet looking for products with limited availability. These bots add items to your cart automatically when they become available. They also autofill purchase forms and complete checkout quickly so that real customers can’t buy them. Scalping bots not only cause financial loss for the business but also rob it the opportunity to identify its true customers. These bots stop the business selling other products to customers and encourage them to purchase additional merchandise.
Scraper bots scan web pages to find vulnerabilities and items that can be scraped into a dark Web library. These bots can place orders and make transactions without having to navigate e-commerce websites like humans. They act as inventory denial bots, causing website crashes and sell-outs. These data are used by malicious actors to lower the prices of genuine retailers and undercut their deals.
Staying Ahead of Shopping Bots
Shopping bots can damage a company’s reputation by damaging brand image, crashing websites and increasing support costs. They also jeopardise business deals, cut off customer relationships, and adversely affect crucial decision-making processes. These bots also contain valuable data that their adversaries can profit from.
Another reason why retailers need to take the right cybersecurity precautions. Keep up-to-date on the latest threat actors and how they can infiltrate your information assets using these bots.