15 Nov

Security Analysis reveals Bad Bots = 53% of iGaming Traffic

Bad bots make up 53% of the biggest online gambling websites traffic.

Twenty years ago, if you heard “bad bots” would become a major problem, you’d probably think the Terminator movie was coming true, or that the Decepticons might finally take down Optimus Prime. But this is no science fiction screenplay. Bad bots are real, and they’re taking over the world wide web.

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According to the 2018 Edition of Distil Network‘s annual security analysis white paper, the online gaming industry is the biggest target by far. And why not? Bad bots are directed at the most lucrative online industries. Gambling tops the list, followed closely by airlines, financials, healthcare, ticket sales, etc.

What are Bad Bots Exactly?

In the online sector, a “bot” is an automated program that travels the world wide web similarly to a human, but with a more specific purpose. There are good bots, such as search engines, which are beneficial to websites. A “bad bot”, however, is one that, either intentionally or consequently, causes a negative impact on the website or websites that it visits; in some cases, intending harm on the organic visitors to those websites.

Bad Bot vs Good Bot and Organic TrafficUnfortunately, the data shows more bad bot activity than good. The silver lining is that more than half (57.8%) of all internet traffic is organic (real humans); at least for now.

The most common type of bad bots targeting online gambling sites have no other purpose but to interrupt service. They send and request so much information at once that organic users cannot get a response from the server. The website begins to lag until, eventually, it becomes so overwhelming that the server crashes. These are what the industry calls Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

If you’ve ever been in an online poker tournament, suddenly got kicked out, and were unable to log back in for at least a few minutes (if not a few hours), that’s a DDoS attack. You can imagine how devastating this is to the biggest online poker sites; especially during a major 6- or 7-figure guarantee.

Rival brands can also use bad bots in trying to one-up the competition. They can scrape betting line data from major sportsbooks, swipe effective content, execute electronic arbitrage, create uneven fields, etc.

In the worst cases, bad bots can be used in an attempt to grab hold of any unsecured information that may travel between the iGaming website and its customers. For the most part, internet security is strong enough to deter these types of bad bots. But as they become more sophisticated, and clog up server processes, one minuscule breach could become a catastrophic nightmare.

Bad Bots = 53% Traffic of Biggest Online Gambling Websites

The report from Distil Networks reveals that bad bots now make up an alarming 53% of online gambling traffic. That’s a very disturbing number—especially when you figure the biggest websites are taking the brunt of the hit. Their toll could easily be 75% or more.

Obviously, iGaming operators must remain extremely vigilant. They must stay on top of the security market, and one step ahead of the parasitic fraudsters and criminals that seek to feed off the success of the world’s biggest online gambling websites.

It’s not just iGaming operators who are suffering, either. Every major online business is feeling the impact. The more money that moves between them and their clients, the bigger the target on their back.

The following data graph depicts the top 10 online industries impacted by this problem, and the rate of bad bot, good bot, and organic traffic.

Bad Bots make up More than Half of Biggest Online Gambling Websites Traffic

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