Malicious bots can be used to carry out a range of cyber threats like account takeovers and DDoS attacks, making bot protection an increasingly important defense for web-facing assets.
The main purpose of bot protection is to ensure the security and integrity of online systems and to prevent harmful activities such as spamming, click fraud, scraping, API attacks, credential stuffing and brute force attacks. Bot protection can be implemented through a variety of methods, including CAPTCHA tests, IP rate limiting, behavioral analysis, and machine learning algorithms.
Malicious bot traffic is now 30% of all internet traffic, according to Imperva, making bot protection solutions critically important for organizations that depend on web-facing assets. We offer our picks for the top bot protection products, followed by advice for those in the market for a bot protection solution.
See the Best DDoS Protection Service Providers
Six top bot protection solutions:
- Akamai – Best for CDN use
- DataDome – Best for advanced profiling capabilities
- Imperva – Best for advanced behavioral analysis
- Radware – Best for multi-layer protection
- Cloudflare – Best for CDN and WAF integration
- Vercara (formerly Neustar) – Best for advanced machine learning algorithms
- Choosing a Bot Protection Solution
- Key Features of Bot Protection Software
- How Bot Protection Works
- Who Needs a Bot Protection Solution?
- Bottom Line: Bot Protection
|Bot Protection Company||Key Feature||Pricing||Best Used For|
|Akamai||Static Content Caching||Request a quote from their Product Page or choose from their available products at Azure Marketplace.||CDN use|
|DataDome||Advanced bot detection and mitigation||$3,490/month to $8,190/ month||Advanced profiling capabilities|
|Imperva||Behavioral Analytics, AI-powered bot detection||Starts at $27,750 for a three-year annual subscription||Advanced behavioral analysis|
|Radware||Real-time bot detection and mitigation||Starting at $12,000 on CDW.||Multi-layer protection|
|Cloudflare||Bot management, CAPTCHA, threat intelligence||Starts at $200 a month for business plans||CDN and WAF integration|
|Machine learning-based bot detection||Price is upon request via their homepage.||Advanced machine learning algorithms|
Best for CDN use
Akamai offers three purpose-built cloud solutions for comprehensive end-to-end DDoS defense. Combining Prolexic, Edge DNS, and App & API Protector provides the highest level of DDoS and bot mitigation to protect applications, data centers, and internet-facing infrastructure. These solutions effectively mitigate all types of application-layer DDoS/DoS attacks, including resource exhaustion, vulnerability exploits, application logic flaws, API infrastructure compromise, and bot-based attacks. With Akamai, organizations can ensure the continuity and security of their online operations.
- Static Content Caching
- Dynamic Content Routing
- Cache purging
- Adaptive, self-tuning security
- Bot visibility and mitigation
- Advanced API capabilities
- Simplified onboarding
- Integration with DevOps
- Automatic updates
- DOS and DDoS protection
- Custom rules
- Firewall protection against unwanted traffic and DDoS attacks
- Bot management for detecting and preventing malicious activity
- Safeguarding API availability and dependability for clients
- Real-time insights into API traffic through the Security Center
- Quick identification of unusual or suspicious activity
- Rapid response to potential threats and WAF configuration changes
- Ensuring API security and reliability
- Staging environment for functionality testing and issue resolution before production deployment
- Configuration and maintenance can be complex for large API ecosystems
- Can require dedicated resources and expertise
- Risk of false positives flagging legitimate traffic as threats
- Dependency on a third-party provider for API security
- Potential downtime or other issues that may impact API availability
Akamai’s product pricing is not displayed on their website but you can request a quote through their Product Page. There’s a free trial of Akamai’s App and API Protector, and Azure Marketplace supports a wide range of Akamai products.
Best advanced profiling capabilities
DataDome is a bot protection company that helps online businesses protect their websites, mobile apps, and APIs from bot attacks. The company offers real-time detection and mitigation of bots using behavioral analysis and machine learning algorithms. DataDome’s bot protection solution stands out for its advanced user profiling capabilities, which allow for more precise bot detection and mitigation. The vendor also offers a range of features to protect against a wide range of bot attacks, including credential stuffing, content scraping, and account takeover attacks.
- Advanced bot detection: DataDome uses machine learning algorithms to detect bots in real-time and block them from accessing websites.
- Behavioral analysis: The technology analyzes bot behavior to distinguish between legitimate traffic and bots, preventing false positives and ensuring a seamless user experience.
- Comprehensive protection: DataDome protects against all types of bots, including credential stuffing, web scraping, and account takeover attacks.
- Dashboard and reporting: The dashboard and reporting system enables customers to monitor bot activity and track the effectiveness of their bot protection measures.
- Accurate bot detection and mitigation
- Behavioral analysis ensures a low false positive rate
- Comprehensive protection against all types of bots
- Easy-to-use dashboard and reporting system
- Can be expensive — but DataDome is more transparent about pricing than competitors
|$3,490/Month||$6,190||$8,190||Get a Quote|
ML-Powered Advanced Bot Detection
Training & Support Available
Up to 100M Requests/Month
|Everything in Business Plan
Named Support Team 24/7
Named Customer Success Team
Up to 200M Requests/Month
|Everything in Corporate Plan
Named Customer Success Team
SOC Services (Crises, Ad Hoc Events)
Up to 300M Requests/Month
|Everything in Enterprise
Threat Intelligence Services (Workshops & C-Suite Briefing)
Best for advanced behavioral analysis capabilities
Imperva is a cybersecurity company that offers a range of products, among them bot protection solutions for applications and data. Imperva’s Advanced Bot Protection technology uses machine learning algorithms to detect and block bots, protecting online businesses from fraud and other forms of attack. Imperva’s bot protection solution is known for its advanced behavioral analysis capabilities, which allows for more accurate bot detection and mitigation. Imperva Advanced Bot Protection also offers a range of features, including advanced threat intelligence, customizable security rules, and real-time reporting and analytics tools.
- Advanced bot detection: Imperva’s bot management technology uses machine learning to detect and block bots in real-time.
- Cloud-based protection: Imperva’s bot management solution is cloud-based, which means it can scale to meet the needs of any sized business.
- Analytics and reporting: Imperva provides analytics and reporting tools to help customers monitor bot activity and track the effectiveness of their bot protection measures.
- Advanced customization: Advanced Bot Protection can be customized to meet the specific needs of individual businesses.
- Strong bot detection and mitigation
- A cloud-based solution that can scale to meet the needs of any size business
- Analytics and reporting tools make it easy to monitor bot activity
- Advanced customization options
- Can be more expensive than other bot protection solutions
- Some customers report difficulty setting up and configuring the solution
Imperva doesn’t display pricing; you can request a quote through their pricing page. Advanced Bot Protection can be deployed via Imperva’s Cloud Application Security platform or a Connector to popular technology stacks. Imperva Advanced Bot Protection can also be found on Azure and AWS, and we found Connector MSRP pricing starting at $27,750 for a three-year annual subscription and 100 million monthly page request allotment.
Best for multi-layer protection
Radware Bot Manager uses behavioral analysis and machine learning algorithms to detect and block bots in real-time. Radware’s bot protection solution provides multi-layered protection against all types of bots, including sophisticated attacks. Advanced analytics monitor bot activity and track bot protection effectiveness.
- Advanced bot detection: Radware’s bot management solution uses behavioral analysis and machine learning algorithms to detect and block bots in real-time.
- Customizable protection: Radware offers a range of customizable options to meet the specific needs of individual businesses.
- Analytics and reporting: Analytics and reporting tools help customers monitor bot activity and track the effectiveness of their bot protection measures.
- Multi-layered protection: Radware’s bot management solution provides multi-layered protection against all types of bots, including credential stuffing and account takeover attacks, across websites, mobile apps and APIs.
- Reliable bot detection and mitigation
- Customizable protection options
- Analytics and reporting tools make it easy to monitor bot activity
- Multi-layered protection against all types of bots
- Some customers report difficulty setting up and configuring the solution.
Radware doesn’t display its pricing; you can request a quote through their contact page. We found pricing as low as $12,000 on CDW, and similar pricing for up to 50 million requests/month can be found on AWS.
Best for CDN and WAF integration
Cloudflare is a web performance and security company offering a range of products, including bot protection solutions. Cloudflare Bot Management uses machine learning algorithms to detect and block bots, protecting online businesses from fraud and other forms of attack. Cloudflare’s bot management solution is integrated with its Content Delivery Network (CDN) and web application firewall, which allows for more comprehensive protection against bot attacks. Cloudflare offers a range of security and performance solutions, including DDoS protection and website optimization.
- Advanced bot detection: Cloudflare’s bot management technology uses machine learning to detect and block bots in real-time.
- Cloud-based protection: Cloudflare Bot Management is cloud-based and can scale to meet the needs of any size business.
- Bot intelligence dashboard: Cloudflare’s dashboard provides real-time visibility into bot traffic and identifies which bots are good and which are bad.
- Customizable security rules: Cloudflare allows custom security rules to prevent bot attacks and protect their online assets.
- CDN integration: Cloudflare’s bot management solution is integrated with its Content Delivery Network (CDN), providing additional performance and security benefits.
- Comprehensive bot detection and mitigation
- Cloud-based solution can scale to meet the needs of any size business
- Bot intelligence dashboard provides real-time visibility into bot traffic
- Customizable security rules and CDN integration
- Less expensive than some competitors
- Some customers report false positives and difficulty customizing the solution.
- Limited customization options for smaller businesses.
Cloudflare application services pricing starts at $200 a month for business plans, while the company doesn’t publish pricing for network services. Cloudflare can also be found in the Azure Marketplace.
Also read: Cloudflare Blocks Record DDoS Attack as Threats Surge
Best for advanced machine learning algorithms
Neustar recently rebranded as Vercara. Its bot protection solution is known for its advanced machine learning algorithms, which allow for accurate bot detection and mitigation. The company also offers a range of additional cybersecurity solutions, including DDoS protection, web application firewalls, and DNS services.
- Advanced bot detection: Vercara’s bot protection solution uses machine learning algorithms to detect and block bots in real-time.
- Advanced analytics and reporting: Advanced analytics and reporting tools help customers monitor bot activity and track bot protection efforts.
- Multi-layered protection: Vercara’s bot protection solution provides multi-layered protection against all types of bots, including credential stuffing and account takeover attacks.
- Customizable security rules: Vercara allows customers to create custom security rules to prevent bot attacks and protect their online assets.
- Advanced bot detection and mitigation technology
- Advanced analytics and reporting tools
- Multi-layered protection against all types of bots
- Customizable security rules
- Can be expensive
- Some customers report difficulty setting up and configuring the solution
Vercara doesn’t display pricing; you can request a quote based on what you need through their homepage.
Choosing a Bot Protection Solution
Web scraping, content theft, bogus account creation, spamming, credential stuffing, credit card stuffing and distributed denial of service (DDoS) are just some of the many malicious attacks perpetrated by botnets. Uncontrolled bot traffic can have a negative effect on online business by slowing down websites, stealing content or data, lowering the accuracy of statistics, and damaging reputation with customers.
When choosing a bot protection solution, there are a number of important things to consider:
Protection and detection
Bot attacks are becoming more frequent and complex. A robust bot protection solution can detect and prevent bots from infiltrating your website or application, safeguarding your data and reputation. With the potential for lost revenue, customer trust, and even legal consequences resulting from a successful bot attack, selecting a comprehensive and reliable bot protection solution is an investment in the long-term security of your business. A bot protection tool must defend against the types of threats specific to your business.
Having a solution that can adapt and respond in real-time or to the evolving behavior of bots is essential. In addition to responding quickly and effectively, a good bot protection solution must also be able to differentiate between legitimate users and bots. This is crucial to avoid blocking genuine users from accessing your website or application while still preventing bot attacks. A solution that can intelligently adapt to new bot behaviors and attack vectors is critical.
False Positive Handling
One of the challenges faced by bot protection solutions is minimizing false positives, which occur when legitimate users are mistakenly identified as bots. This can lead to frustrated users being unable to access your website or application, resulting in lost revenue and reputation damage. A reliable bot protection solution must be designed to handle such instances with ease and accuracy, ensuring that genuine users are not inadvertently blocked. The solution should differentiate between bots and humans accurately and provide mechanisms for users to prove their identity and authenticity quickly. A sophisticated bot protection solution will also continuously learn from its mistakes and adapt to new patterns to further minimize the number of false positives, providing the best possible user experience while maintaining a high level of security.
Transparency and reporting
It is important to have a clear and concise understanding of the types of bot attacks that your system is facing and how your solution is handling them. This includes the ability to identify and categorize bots effectively and provide detailed reports on the actions taken to mitigate threats. A transparent bot protection solution can help you quickly and easily identify any vulnerabilities in your system, enabling you to take swift action to strengthen your defenses. A comprehensive solution must provide detailed and customizable reporting capabilities, including real-time reports and historical data analysis. The reports should be clear and easily understood, helping you to identify trends and potential vulnerabilities.
A reliable solution should ideally provide easy and flexible deployment methods, whether it’s on-premises, cloud-based, or a hybrid solution. This allows you to choose the deployment option that best suits your business needs and infrastructure. The solution should also be easy to install and configure, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free deployment and integration process.
A bot protection solution is an important component of your security infrastructure, and it is important to have access to professional services to help manage the solution effectively. These services should include consulting, implementation, and ongoing support, ensuring that you have the required expertise and assistance to use the solution effectively. Managed services can help you to optimize the solution’s performance and maximize its value, allowing you to focus on your core business activities.
Cost is always a consideration when it comes to selecting a bot protection solution. Ideally, you need a solution that fits your budget while still providing a strong level of protection. This includes licensing fees, support, and any additional costs associated with implementation and management. A well-priced solution provides a balance between affordability and protection, ensuring that you get the best value for your investment.
Key Features of Bot Protection Software
There are a number of key features a bot protection solution should include to protect your web-facing assets.
- Bot detection and classification: Advanced algorithms to detect and classify different types of bots, including credential stuffing bots, web scraping bots, and other malicious bots.
- Traffic analysis: Real-time analysis of web traffic to identify patterns of suspicious behavior, including sudden spikes in traffic, unusual patterns of clicks, and other indicators of bot activity.
- Rate limiting: The ability to limit the number of requests that can be made to a website or application, reducing the impact of automated attacks and mitigating the risk of server overload.
- Behavioral-based blocking: Sophisticated analysis of bot behavior to identify and block malicious bots while allowing legitimate traffic to pass through.
- Bot management dashboard: A user-friendly dashboard that provides real-time visibility into bot traffic, with detailed analytics and reporting tools to help identify patterns and trends.
- Integration with other security solutions: Bot protection software should be able to integrate with other security solutions, such as WAFs, firewalls, and SIEM systems, to provide a comprehensive defense against cyber threats.
- Support for different deployment models: Bot protection software should be flexible enough to support different deployment models, such as on-premises, cloud-based, or hybrid environments.
How Bot Protection Works
Bots are automated software programs and networks that can perform tasks faster than humans and can be used for a variety of purposes, including data scraping, spamming, and fraud. A bot protection solution uses a set of techniques and other steps that aim to prevent bots from accessing and using online resources inappropriately. There are different ways to implement a bot protection solution at different levels, which includes the network, application, and user levels.
Captchas help distinguish humans from bots. They typically involve presenting users with a task that is easy for a human to solve but difficult for a bot, such as identifying jumbled letters or selecting correct images from a set of options. As machine learning algorithms become more advanced, bots are becoming better at solving captchas, which has led to the development of more complex and challenging captchas. Some of the newer types of captchas even use machine learning algorithms themselves to adapt and evolve in response to new bot behavior, which helps keep them effective at distinguishing humans from bots. Some bot protection solutions are moving beyond Captcha technology where they can, as the challenges can frustrate users.
Rate limiting limits the number of requests that can be made by a user or an IP address over a given period. This helps prevent bots from overwhelming a website or an application with too many requests. For instance, it can be set up to limit the number of requests per minute, hour, day, or any other set timeframe. Additionally, the limit can be set on a per-user basis or for all users accessing the resource. Rate limiting can be used in conjunction with other bot protection measures such as Captchas to provide an extra layer of defense against bots. By combining rate limiting and other techniques, the effectiveness of the bot protection solution is increased, which minimizes the risk of bot attacks.
User and Entity Behavior Analysis (UEBA)
User and entity behavior analysis (UEBA) is a technique used in bot protection to detect abnormal or suspicious user behavior. UEBA is a type of machine learning-based security that uses algorithms to analyze user behavior data and identify patterns that deviate from expected behavior. UEBA is widely used in enterprise security solutions and can also be used to detect a wide range of maliciou activity.
See the Top UEBA Solutions
IP blocking can be used in conjunction with other bot protection techniques to provide a comprehensive defense against bot attacks. Rate limiting and IP blocking can also be combined to restrict the number of requests made by a bot and prevent it from accessing a resource altogether. It is important to be cautious when using IP blocking, as it can also affect legitimate users who may be using a Shared IP address. Threat intelligence feeds that can be integrated into a bot protection tool can help identify malicious domains to block.
Device fingerprinting involves analyzing a user’s device and browser to create a unique profile that can be used to identify bots. This technique can detect whether a user is using a virtual machine or an automated tool, which are common indicators of bot activity. Device fingerprinting can also help detect fraudulent activity, such as fake account creation or payment fraud by identifying patterns that deviate from normal user behavior. Additionally, device fingerprinting can be used as a complementary technique to other bot protection measures, such as Captchas and rate limiting, to provide an extra layer of defense against bots.
Machine learning analyzes large amounts of data and detects patterns that are associated with bot activity. By using machine learning, bot protection systems can adapt to changing bot behavior and learn to identify new types of bots that may be more sophisticated or stealthy.
Behavioral biometrics can also be useful in detecting bot activity in situations where other detection methods may not be effective. By analyzing unique patterns in user behavior, such as mouse movements or typing speed, behavioral biometrics can provide a more accurate and reliable means of identifying bots and preventing unauthorized access.
Web Application Firewalls (WAF)
WAFs can be configured to provide a customized defense against bots, using a range of techniques such as deep packet inspection, traffic analysis, and signature detection. By deploying WAF, organizations can protect their web applications against a wide range of bot attacks, including those that are specifically designed to evade traditional security measures.
See the Top Web Application Firewalls
Honeypots are fake resources that are designed to attract bots and gather information about their behavior. By analyzing the data collected, bot protection systems can gain a deeper understanding of bot behavior and develop more effective strategies for detecting and preventing bot attacks.
See the Top Deception Tools
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
2FA is a proven security measure that can help protect against a wide range of cyber threats, including bot attacks. By requiring users to provide two forms of authentication, such as a password and a security token, 2FA can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access to online accounts and other resources.
Bot protection requires a multi-layered approach that involves a combination of these techniques and measures. These methods can effectively create more robust protections against bots and other types of automated attacks. Paying careful attention to application security controls can also help protect against web threats.
Who Needs a Bot Protection Solution?
A bot protection solution can be beneficial for any organization that operates online and is at risk of bot attacks. This includes businesses of all sizes, government agencies, financial institutions, healthcare providers, e-commerce companies, and more.
With the prevalence and sophistication of bot attacks increasing, having a dedicated bot protection solution can help organizations stay ahead of emerging threats and protect against attacks that may not be detected by traditional security measures. By implementing a bot protection solution, organizations can help ensure the integrity and availability of online services, protect against financial loss, and maintain the trust of customers.
Bottom Line: Bot Protection
Businesses with a significant online presence — particularly those with important customer-facing applications — should have a bot protection solution.
A bot protection solution can protect against the risks of DDoS attacks and fraudulent activities such as account takeover, payment fraud, and site scraping. They can help organizations comply with regulations that require them to protect customer data and prevent unauthorized access.
And customers that experience a consistently good and secure web experience are more likely to become repeat customers, one more reason that a bot protection solution can be a good investment.