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

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Aviation Faces Increasing Cybersecurity Scrutiny
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  8/22/2019
Microsoft Tops Phishers' Favorite Brands as Facebook Spikes
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  8/22/2019
Capital One Breach: What Security Teams Can Do Now
Dr. Richard Gold, Head of Security Engineering at Digital Shadows,  8/23/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-15540
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-25
filters/filter-cso/filter-stream.c in the CSO filter in libMirage 3.2.2 in CDemu does not validate the part size, triggering a heap-based buffer overflow that can lead to root access by a local Linux user.
CVE-2019-15538
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-25
An issue was discovered in xfs_setattr_nonsize in fs/xfs/xfs_iops.c in the Linux kernel through 5.2.9. XFS partially wedges when a chgrp fails on account of being out of disk quota. xfs_setattr_nonsize is failing to unlock the ILOCK after the xfs_qm_vop_chown_reserve call fails. This is primarily a ...
CVE-2016-6154
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-23
The authentication applet in Watchguard Fireware 11.11 Operating System has reflected XSS (this can also cause an open redirect).
CVE-2019-5594
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-23
An Improper Neutralization of Input During Web Page Generation ("Cross-site Scripting") in Fortinet FortiNAC 8.3.0 to 8.3.6 and 8.5.0 admin webUI may allow an unauthenticated attacker to perform a reflected XSS attack via the search field in the webUI.
CVE-2019-6695
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-23
Lack of root file system integrity checking in Fortinet FortiManager VM application images of all versions below 6.2.1 may allow an attacker to implant third-party programs by recreating the image through specific methods.