Automated attacks using bots targeting web applications prevail post-pandemic: Report

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on February 16, 2021 Published on February 16, 2021

The top 5 attacks using automated tools were fuzzing attacks, injection attacks, fake bots, app DDoS, and blocked bots

Barracuda Networks, a provider of cloud-enabled security solutions, had identified automated attacks using bots to exploit vulnerabilities in web applications in December last year.

The top five attacks using automated tools were fuzzing attacks, injection attacks, fake bots, app DDoS (distributed denial of service), and blocked bots. These attacks can range from fake bots posing as Google bots to avoid detection to application DDoS trying to crash a site by subtly overloading the application.

Also read: Barracuda Networks launches new version of email threat scanner

Now, Barracuda researchers analysed a sample of two months of blocked data on web application attacks and found a massive number of automated attacks.

Nearly 20 per cent of the attacks detected were fuzzing attacks, trying to find the points at which applications break, to exploit them. Injection attacks were the next at about 12 per cent, and most of the attackers were using automated tools like sqlmap to try getting into the applications.

Bots pretending to be a Google bot or similar accounted for just over 12 per cent of the web application attacks. Application DDoS was surprisingly dominant, making up over 9 per cent of the sample Barracuda researchers analysed.

Meanwhile, only a small portion of attacks (less than 2 per cent) come from bots blocked by site admins.

An overwhelming number of data exfiltration attempts seen in the sample were for credit card numbers and social security numbers, among others. Visa was the clear focus, accounting for more than three-quarters of these attacks.

This was followed distantly by JCB with more than 20 per cent, and Mastercard, Diners, and American Express at much smaller volumes.

Speaking on the threat spotlight, Murali Urs, Country Manager-India, Barracuda Networks, commented: “While analysing the current state of encryption, our researchers identified that even though it can prevent a variety of attacks like man-in-the-middle, and provides one layer of protection for users visiting websites, attacks can still occur within the stream.”

Also read: 25% of organisations say their applications are not fully protected in public cloud: Survey

He added: “Nearly 92 per cent of the traffic Barracuda researchers analysed over the two-month period is HTTPS, whereas less than 10 per cent of traffic is served over HTTP. This is encouraging progress and good news for the state of web application security.”

“Our researchers have also recognised the dominance of Chrome as the most popular browser used for 47 per cent of the traffic, followed by Safari, which accounted for 34 per cent of usage. Surprisingly, corporate systems that preferred Internet Explorer are moving on to Edge while Firefox is losing ground to it,” he further noted.

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Published on February 16, 2021
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