The saying goes: “On the internet, nobody
knows you’re a dog.” But the more apt expression in this day and age might be
“nobody knows you’re a bot.”
Bots are becoming increasingly human-like,
which presents a significant challenge to security professionals, website
owners and social media network operators seeking to distinguish malicious and
inauthentic bot activity from the genuine article.
At the 2020 RSA conference, SC Media sat
down for a podcast interview with Tamer Hassan, CEO and co-founder of
anti-fraud and bot mitigation company White Ops, to discuss the growing
underground market for bots-as-a-service, which can be used to spread
disinformation, distribute spam containing malware, or even snatch up prized
sneakers from e-commerce sites before real customers have a chance.
“If you can look like a million humans,
what can you do? And the answer is: a lot of things, and it ranges from
everything from account takeover and financial fraud to changing the popularity
of something,” said Hassan. Bots have even been known to listen to (or feign
listening to) music online, he added.
Hassan also discusses how he has been able
to apply lessons from his time as a decorated combat search rescue helicopter
pilot in the U.S. Air Force toward his current role at White Ops, and also
explains why he thinks “Battlestar Galactica” is a perfect metaphor for bots
that over time behave increasingly like their human counterparts.