Report: Bot attacks going mobile

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Bad bot attacks are on the rise and bad bot networks are at work in six of the major US mobile ISPs according to new data out from Distil Networks. Fraudsters are using mobile devices, which aren’t always picked up by website defense systems, to commit fraud, steal data, and commit DDoS attacks, and because of the large number of cellular gateway requests, can be hard to identify and then block.

According to the report about 8% of bad bot traffic is now coming from mobile devices, and nearly half (44%) of mobile ISP gateways have been used in bad bot attacks. On average, about 15 bad bot devices are making requests on each cellular gateway IP each day.

Mobile bots can be anonymous, hiding amongst the large number of legitimate requests that a website receives, and they can switch IPs regularly making the bots harder to identify. These bots use malware on phones, sometimes from email attachments and sometimes embedded in legitimately downloaded apps, and are used to infect mobile devices.

What can businesses do to protect against bad bot attacks?

First, protect exposed APIs and mobile applications, in addition to a brand’s website, and share the blocking information between different systems.

Second, evaluate all traffic sources, checking for high bounce rates, low conversion rates, and strange spikes of activity.

Third, monitor failed login attempts and set up alerts to watch these instances of activity.

Fourth, monitor the “failed validation” of gift cards as increases of these failures can be a sign that a bot such as the GiftGhostBot is trying to steal gift card balances.

The full Distil Networks report can be accessed here.



Kristina Knight is a freelance writer with more than 15 years of experience writing on varied topics. Kristina’s focus for the past 10 years has been the small business, online marketing, and banking sectors, however, she keeps things interesting by writing about her experiences as an adoptive mom, parenting, and education issues. Kristina’s work has appeared with, NBC News,, DisasterNewsNetwork, and many more publications.