Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Threat Intelligence

Battling Bots Brings Big-Budget Blow to Businesses

Fighting off bot attacks on Web applications extracts a heavy cost in human resources and technology, according to a just-released report.

A new report carries the unsurprising news that battling botnet attacks is a way of life for modern business security teams — a way of life that carries heavy costs in both technology and personnel.

"The Critical Need to Deal with Bot Attacks," published by Osterman Research, surveyed more than 200 large organizations with a mean employee count of just over 16,000. All had externally facing Web applications with login pages and were actively working to prevent, detect, and remediate attacks against those applications.

According to the report, the average company surveyed suffers 530 botnet attacks each day, though some organizations see thousands of attacks each day, with some attacks probing millions of potential victim accounts every hour.

The numbers in the Osterman Research report broadly mirror those seen in other security reports issued in 2018. One example is Akamai's "Summer 2018 State of the Internet/Security: Web Attacks Report," which noted that many botnets follow a "low and slow" tactic of probing accounts in at attempt to remain undetected by automated systems, while others floor victims with probes in a strategy of overwhelming defenses and retrieving valued information.

In the face of recent attacks, such as that against Starwood/Marriott, in which the attack's "dwell time" inside the database was roughly four years, the average time to detect a botnet attack reported in the Osterman Research survey — 48 hours — may seem remarkably fast. Add in another 48 hours for remediation, and first attack to remediation is four days. In a public-facing Web application, though, that can mean four days of data exfiltration or four days of reduced application access due to a denial-of-service attack, depending on the nature of the botnet.

And keeping the response time as short as it is requires an organization to devote expensive, precarious resources to the battle. According to Osterman Research, most organizations — three in five — have no more than two staff members devoted to a botnet response, while only one in five devotes four or more staff members to the fight.

Each of those staff members is expensive, with the fully burdened cost of a bot-fighting security specialist averaging more than $141,000 each year. Each of those staff members is kept busy working with multiple pieces of equipment, as 91% report using a Web application firewall, 49% an IPS/IDS, 40% a SIEM, and lower percentages other technology in combination to combat Web attacks.

According to the report, the average organization now has 482 potential applications vulnerable to bot attacks and spends an average of 2,600 person-hours per year managing the threat. In the report's final section, on dealing with the threat, the No. 1 recommended activity is for an organization to understand the full cost of responding to bot-based threats to Web security so that appropriate steps can be taken to battle the automated attackers.

Related Content:

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 11/19/2020
New Proposed DNS Security Features Released
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  11/19/2020
How to Identify Cobalt Strike on Your Network
Zohar Buber, Security Analyst,  11/18/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: A GONG is as good as a cyber attack.
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-25660
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-23
A flaw was found in the Cephx authentication protocol in versions before 15.2.6 and before 14.2.14, where it does not verify Ceph clients correctly and is then vulnerable to replay attacks in Nautilus. This flaw allows an attacker with access to the Ceph cluster network to authenticate with the Ceph...
CVE-2020-25688
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-23
A flaw was found in rhacm versions before 2.0.5 and before 2.1.0. Two internal service APIs were incorrectly provisioned using a test certificate from the source repository. This would result in all installations using the same certificates. If an attacker could observe network traffic internal to a...
CVE-2020-25696
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-23
A flaw was found in the psql interactive terminal of PostgreSQL in versions before 13.1, before 12.5, before 11.10, before 10.15, before 9.6.20 and before 9.5.24. If an interactive psql session uses \gset when querying a compromised server, the attacker can execute arbitrary code as the operating sy...
CVE-2020-26229
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-23
TYPO3 is an open source PHP based web content management system. In TYPO3 from version 10.4.0, and before version 10.4.10, RSS widgets are susceptible to XML external entity processing. This vulnerability is reasonable, but is theoretical - it was not possible to actually reproduce the vulnerability...
CVE-2020-28984
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-23
prive/formulaires/configurer_preferences.php in SPIP before 3.2.8 does not properly validate the couleur, display, display_navigation, display_outils, imessage, and spip_ecran parameters.