February 6, 2023

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Unlimited Technology

Inside the battle against bad bots – GeekWire

F5 CEO François Locoh-Donou on display right after a digital recording of the GeekWire Podcast, in his business office at the F5 Tower in downtown Seattle this 7 days. (GeekWire Photograph / Curt Milton)

For any one examining the news about Ticketmaster and Taylor Swift, or Twitter and Elon Musk, the trouble of malicious bots could possibly appear to be insurmountable.

These automatic programs can snap up concert tickets in the blink of an eye, or pose as individuals on social media, amid plenty of other mischievous tasks. Undesirable bots are a massive trouble, accounting for a single-quarter to as a lot as one-50 % of global net site visitors, or even more, by diverse estimates.

But they are not invincible.

Which is the evaluation of F5 CEO François Locoh-Donou. Seattle-based F5 is a person of a increasing range of tech firms that give solutions to detect, deter, and defeat bots. Many others involve Akamai Technologies, Cloudflare, Google, PerimiterX, Imperva, Datacom and quite a few many others.

“You conquer that automation — that poor automation from bad actors — with superior technology, and that much better know-how does exist currently,” he says.

Locoh-Donou joins us to examine the concern on this week’s GeekWire Podcast. He claims he cares about the subject matter not only due to the fact F5 is in the organization of battling bots, but due to the fact of the risk they pose to rely on in the digital globe.

“The prevalence and sophistication of bots, around the final quite a few many years, has enhanced exponentially because of the availability of the technological innovation, and availability of human talent that is employed to ability bots,” Locoh-Donou states.

“A variety of vendors and undoubtedly social media organizations haven’t truly understood or grasped the motivation of the men and women who are making these bots, and the sophistication of these bots, and the way that they are distorting the info that we are looking at,” he additional. “So that is why bots have come to be these types of a huge challenge in the digital earth.”

Lots of providers handle the battle in opposition to bots as a “DIY challenge,” choosing their possess engineers to tackle the problem, or leaving it to their inside stability groups to offer with it, which Locoh-Donou described as a miscalculation.

To be guaranteed, F5 has a vested desire in that viewpoint. Its stability goods and providers contain Distributed Cloud Bot Defense, which resulted from the company’s $1 billion acquisition of Shape Safety three yrs back.

Even so, there is a developing consensus in the tech marketplace that battling bots does demand specialized technology.

“Organizations are starting to realize that firewalls, denial of company assault prevention, and community stability attributes … are inadequate to address bot challenges,” stated Aite-Novarica Group, a fiscal expert services research and advisory organization, in a September 2022 report. “Purpose-developed bot management options are a should to protect against today’s advanced bots and nefarious operators that speedily ‘out tool’ bot detection.”

The current market is “reaching crucial mass,” at an approximated $860 million general this year, on monitor for a market measurement of $1.2 billion in 2025, Aite-Novarica estimates.

Aite-Novarica put F5’s bot detection and protection know-how in the class of “best in class” in its report. Forrester Investigate categorized F5 as a “contender” in the bot administration market, in an April 2022 report.

“Bad bots continue to consume methods and overwhelm corporations,” the Forrester analysts wrote. “Modern bot management resources must preserve up with ever-evolving attacks, give a assortment of out-of-the-box and customizable stories, and enable human stop consumers to transact organization with very little friction or stress.”

It’s section of a burgeoning small business for F5, the publicly traded Seattle-centered enterprise tech business, which specializes in parts which includes software supply and stability, networking, and multi-cloud management. Protection earnings at F5 reached $1 billion in its newest fiscal yr, or 37% of over-all once-a-year earnings.

Locoh-Donou suggests F5’s anti-bot technological innovation analyzes hundreds of signals, searching for telltale styles that indicate the existence of bots on their sites and applications. It then leverages artificial intelligence and machine discovering for a 2nd-stage assessment, searching at historical designs and other knowledge, in a technological arms race with attackers.

When Locoh-Donou reads tales these types of as the Ticketmaster bot issue, he suggests he feels sad and frustrated wondering about the thousands of authentic admirers — including his own little ones — who want good accessibility to acquire tickets.

“I come to feel annoyed when I see that, since it is a distortion of the digital globe. And I know that there are there methods to solve that,” he said. “Companies have a responsibility to take this issue, this prevalence of bots, additional seriously.”

So Ticketmaster’s bot challenge could be solved with the correct engineering?

“Yes,” he explained. “100%”