Bots are cheap and effective. One startup trolls them into going away

TechCrunch | 2/5/2019 | Staff
TitanSwimr (Posted by) Level 3
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Bots are ruining the internet.

When they’re not pummeling a website with usernames and passwords from a long list of stolen credentials, they’re scraping the price of hotels or train tickets and odds from betting sites to get the best data. Or, they’re just trying to knock a website offline for hours at a time. There’s an entire underground economy where bots are the primary tools used in automating fraudulent purchases, scraping content and launching cyberattacks. Bots are costing legitimate businesses money by stealing data, but also hogging system resources and costly bandwidth.

Approach - Whac-A-Mole

Clearly, the existing approach of playing bot Whac-A-Mole isn’t working.

“Until now you just had to suck it up as a cost of doing business,” said Johnny Xmas, director of field engineering at Kasada, an anti-bot startup that strikes at the heart of the bot economy itself by frustrating bots with complex tasks.

System - Bots - Xmas - Noise - Internet

Their system is simple enough. Bots, said Xmas, are the “white noise” of the internet. Once a bot is started, they keep going until they’re told to stop or their job is done. Kasada tricks bots into thinking that their job is never done. By serving up a small but difficult math puzzle before the site even loads, it tricks the bot into spending its time solving the puzzle and not scraping the site as it thinks it’s doing.

Weeks earlier, Xmas tweeted a photo of Kasada’s proprietary platform Polyform. A single bot made close to four million requests to a website in a single day. Instead of loading the target website, Kasada pushed its randomly generated JavaScript code that loads silently in the browser to the bot instead. For more than 24 hours, the bot was sinking all of the cloud processing resources into trying to solve an impossible math challenge.

Guy - Bill

“This guy’s [cloud] bill is going to be...
(Excerpt) Read more at: TechCrunch
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