Bad Bot! Why Botnets are the Next Big Headache for Cybersecurity Teams


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The imagery has been etched in our minds for decades. Thieves and vandals riding into town on the back of their horses with one mission in mind: robbing a bank to steal your cash. This is the bad actor archetype, and it has stayed much the same for years. But the problem is, Hollywood’s depiction of those events are no longer accurate in today’s digital world. Nobody is physically robbing banks anymore, because they don’t have to.

“If you're a bad guy, you rob a bank and you're going to get caught immediately. And that person is definitely getting caught. But if you look at what cyber attackers are doing now, they're looking for ways to digitally impersonate someone or get to your employees. From there, they can get to your network, or your data. So then they can hold you hostage without really physically harming you, and you could lose tons of money.”

Fleming Shi, the CTO of Barracuda Networks, a security software platform that is designed to prevent those robbers from accessing your accounts or your business. On this episode of IT Visionaries, Fleming discusses the evolution of cyber attacks and how botnets are infiltrating your system much like a virus finds its way into your body, and why fighting off those attacks is the biggest challenge facing cybersecurity teams today.

Main Takeaways

  • Built with a Security Mindset: As cybersecurity threats become more advanced and personalized, the onus to protect the user should no longer fall solely on security teams. Instead, application developers must start building their cloud applications with security in mind. If they don’t, the bad actors will continue to find vulnerabilities within systems based on the way they are built.
  • Not All Bots Are Good Bots: Bad bot personas are bots that are identified as malicious based on their pattern of behavior. These bots often disguise themselves as user-agent bots, which search sites in order to rank them, then infiltrate your network and mine for your data.
  • How to Spot A Thief: One of the most effective ways to spot “bad bots” is to follow their behavior patterns. Typical bot activity peaks during the early morning and late at night, which may indicate if that bot is a safe bot or a cybercriminal.

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