The Impact of Bad Bots on Telecommunications

The primary threat to telecommunications security is credential stuffing, or account checker bots, which take lists of leaked user credentials and test them against a website login page. After finding a match, attackers use the account details for whatever purpose they require – including email spam, identity theft and fraud.

Login pages are attacked heavily on telecom websites due to the vast amount of valuable customer data they protect. The most efficient way to hack individuals is to go through their primary email account. As telecoms often provide email services to customers, adversaries attempt to access accounts through these email addresses so that they can reset passwords on other accounts associated with that individual.  

Many telecoms providers offer their customers access to extras like streaming services, which are also a popular target for bots. Hackers can sign up to such accounts via hundreds of stolen profiles, and then sell the account details for the streaming service on for a profit.  

Almost a third of telecom businesses surveyed by Netacea said they had been attacked by credential stuffing bots in 2020, and over half estimated that they have cost them 3% of their online revenue. 

Sniper bots are automated bots that monitor time-based activity online and submit information at the very last moment, removing the opportunity for genuine users to respond to that action. A common problem for telecommunications, 38% of businesses surveyed by Netacea said they had been attacked by a sniper bot in 2020.  

Although sniper bots are mostly seen on retail and auction sites like eBay, and often cause a problem for eCommerce businesses, snipers also target telecom websites and target short-term offers and limited-edition launches such as the latest mobile phones. As a result, 73% of businesses said sniper bots had a known financial impact on their business last year.

Price scraping is an illegal competitive price monitoring tactic used to track other valuable information. Competitors use this strategy to attract price-sensitive buyers by setting their prices lower than standard prices in the marketplace. 

Telecom websites are scraped for all sorts of content, but price scraping from competitors is a major problem, with 28% of telecom businesses surveyed by Netacea saying they were targeted by scrapers last year. Almost 30% of telecom businesses said competitive scraping had affected their customer satisfaction by up to 10%, and 36% said they’ve lost up to 10% of business to competitors. 

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