It is All about the Money! 3 Key Phases to Stop the Bot Attacks on Financial Services by CDNetworks’ Bot Shield


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Finder estimates that there are roughly 2.19 billion online banking users worldwide in 2022, which accounts for nearly half of all worldwide internet users. As astonishing as this figure might be, it does not represent the traffic of real users, as it includes traffic from malicious bots. Hackers deploy bots as part of email phishing attacks, account takeover (ATO) attacks, scalping attacks, and content scrapings from financial services websites.

Wherever There is Money, There are Bots Trying to Get It

Malicious bots mimic human behavior on the internet to steal sensitive information. Bot attacks initiated by cyber fraudsters result in data breaches, damage to a business’ reputation, interruption of business operations, and customer dissatisfaction. It also results in a number of multi-dimensional security threats such as:

  • Data Security Threats

    Hackers use bots to steal batches of sensitive information about financial products, currencies, transactions, marketing, investments, and research, and then sell this information on the dark web for nefarious purposes.

  • Account Security Threats

    Hackers launch account takeover fraud to gain access to bank accounts. They also initiate smishing attacks to dupe consumers into providing personal information, and use spam-registration attacks to disrupt online banking sites.

  • Scalping as a Fraud

    Hackers conduct rapid-fire, automated purchases of popular ticket items as soon as they become available, and then sell them at grossly inflated prices.

  • Credit Card and Loan Fraud

    Hackers use fake identification to apply for large numbers of credit cards to obtain illegal loans from banks.

  • Phishing Websites Threats

    Based on scraping data collected from official bank websites, phishing websites with similar domains or URLs are used to steal personal information and commit fraudulent activities.

  • Website Evasion Threats

    Hackers set up bots to scan the source code of a web page and the web elements of financial platforms, and then search for potential server vulnerabilities to penetrate further into an organization.

  • Downtime Threats

    Bot attacks disrupt normal business traffic at a targeted server, service, or network by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of Internet traffic.

Bots are programmed to mimic human behavior while interacting with a website or app, and continue to evolve with each daily scraping. This makes malicious bot attacks hard to identify if you simply implement basic bot solutions. The key to combatting bots is being able to differentiate malicious bot traffic from that of real users.

Making Sense of AI algorithms

Because bot attacks are constantly changing and mutating, with the number of malicious bot attacks doubling over the last three consecutive years (ref: CDNetworks State of Web Security 2021), a sustainable and effective bot management solution is required that has smart defense mechanisms to counter ever-changing attacks.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has proven to be an effective tool in fighting bot attacks. The CDNetworks’ security platform has exposed AI algorithms to massive (terabyte-scale) attacks on a daily basis. By analyzing machine learning models dynamically, CDNetworks found AI effective in differentiating between legitimate human activity and malicious bots.

CDNetworks’ Bot Shield Solution provides unprecedented bot-fighting AI capabilities. Integrated Watson Machine Learning (WML) algorithms empower Bot Shield with defensive strategies such as multi-dimensional access controls, CAPTCHA challenges, and human-interaction verification to identify and block malicious bots in real time. Best of all, machine learning is updated to address the altering nature of bot attacks.

We are lucky enough to have Bot Shield to block the malicious bots, as it benefits us in revenue, costs and the reputation as well.

An Anonymous Fund Administrator


3 Key Phases to Achieve an Overwhelming Victory

The following example describes how Bot Shield is protecting a publicly funded management company that was taking charge of hundreds of funds. The company’s online services came under bot attack nearly as soon as the services became available.

Bots scraped announcements published on the company websites or in apps and attempted to use malicious traffic to slow or bring down the websites. Worse, the scraping contents were often used for fraudulent purposes. The fund management company explored traditional methods to stop the bot attacks using tools that focused on the granularity of IP, but quickly learned that this approach blocked legitimate users while allowing the malicious bots to rapidly adapt to the IP-based solutions and continue crawling the company’s site. Traditional solutions also have limited effects on low-frequency attacks. Consequently, the fund management company demanded a more dynamic and smarter solution to shield its financial services.

CDNetworks then provided the ideal bot management solution Bot Shield for the fund management company, by using AI to successfully identify and block rogue bots throughout following 3 phases.

Phase 1: Observation and Analysis

As a global leading CDN and Edge Service provider, CDNetworks collected enormous amounts of attack and defense samples. In combination with various analyzing strategies that used attributes such as JavaScript and cookies, CDNetworks’ Threat Intelligence Library recognized and remembered good bots, and allowed them access without affecting search engine results for end-users. Bot Shield filtered suspicious IP addresses, user agents, and devices, and implemented unique client-side fingerprinting for each device. The result was a significant decrease in traffic from rogue bots.

Phase 2: Blocked by AI

Using the leading Threat Intelligence Library and fingerprinting capabilities, CDNetworks’ AI algorithms monitored the workflow of key requests directed at the fund management company’s websites. From this monitoring, abnormal behavior models were generated along with access-control strategies for further detections.

A Normal Visiting Workflow


A Suspicious Visiting Workflow

Using the abnormal behavior models, AI identified and blocked all malicious bots accurately, offloading malevolent traffic from the origin and accelerating data transmissions. At the same time, legitimate users were no longer mistakenly blocked from accessing the websites and now enjoy a superior experience while visiting the fund management company’s online platform.

Phase 3: Continuous Protection

To be frank, the battle with malicious bots will never be won. Determined hackers will always find ways to upgrade attack strategies, schemes, and methods. As hackers intensify their fight, the CDNetworks’ AI algorithm will be there, studying the latest analytical models of bot attacks and continuing to build a comprehensive security umbrella to safeguard sensitive and critical information. For the fund management company, the algorithm is blocking over 1 million bot attacks each day.

Increasingly Menacing Security Threats

According to CDNetworks’ State of the Web Security 2021, the CDNetworks’ security platform monitored and blocked 847.71 billion bot attacks. This number well surpassed the previous record of 236% in 2020, posing an increasingly menacing security threat to organizations regardless of industry, shape, or size.

With over 2,800 global points of presence, the CDNetworks platforms carry enormous amounts of Internet traffic and process terabyte-scale log data daily, including massive samples of attack and defense data. CDNetworks’ Bot Shield solution makes use of these worldwide networks and resources and, combined with AI machine learning, protect enterprise businesses. With updated and multi-leveling defense rules, CDNetworks’ Bot Shield boasts a successful track record of blocking different types of bots accurately and effectively. CDNetworks has protected data for organizations covering a myriad of industries, including Finance and E-Commerce, real estate, transportation, and Gaming.

To learn more about how we can help your company, please contact us to get a free trial of CDNetworks Bot Shield.

About CDNetworks

As a global-leading CDN (Content Delivery Network) and Edge Service provider, CDNetworks delivers fully integrated cloud and edge computing solutions with unparalleled speed, ultra-low latency, rigorous security, and reliability. Our diverse products and services include web performance, media delivery, enterprise applications, cloud security, and colocation services — all of which are designed to spur business innovation.



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