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Bots are damaging businesses, both directly and indirectly. Bot traffic costs businesses millions each year, whether they are scraping content, buying up goods before anyone else or using stolen passwords to take over accounts. New research from Netacea shows that bots cost businesses an average of 3.6% of their online revenue, but the problems run deeper.

If businesses cannot determine the difference between real customers and bots, this can make marketing analytics data useless. Businesses have burned through marketing budgets and made poor decisions based on bad marketing data. Despite a lower profile, this is just as big a problem as ad fraud. To fight an enemy, you must understand it. We wanted to know what businesses knew about bots — and what myths they still believed.

Many are confused as to what techniques and technologies are effective against bots, where these bots are being used, and who uses them.

Of most concern is that over two-thirds of businesses think that web application firewalls (WAFs) and distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection will keep them secure against bot attacks. These tools are valuable and recommended, but they are not effective against sophisticated bots — leaving businesses vulnerable to attacks that may be the difference between profit and loss.

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Bots are being “democratized” and offered as a service, so the assumption that large nation states are behind all bot attacks and are bought and sold on the dark web are completely out of date.

In the battle between businesses and bots, bots have the upper hand thanks to a lack of understanding. To beat bots, better knowledge of the enemy is needed — and that means busting these persistent myths.

Netacea interviewed 440 businesses based in the U.S. and U.K. in ecommerce, telecommunications, entertainment (including online gaming and streaming), travel and financial services markets. Netacea conducted this survey in collaboration with independent B2B research specialist Coleman Parkes. The businesses surveyed had turnovers ranging from $350 million to over $7 billion.

Read the full report by Netacea.

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