Bots are ones of the most popular consumer technology trends in the industry. From chatbots to digital assistants, bots are an important enabler for user-computer interactions. As a result, bots have been increasingly becoming the target of cyber-security attacks. As a new technology trend, many of the attacks and malicious techniques in bot technologies are relatively unknown to cyber-security platforms.

Considering that bots rely on mechanisms such as natural language and voice interactions as the fundamental user interface mechanism, they pose some serious security challenges to users in ways we haven’t seen before. As a result, many of the traditional cyber-security protection techniques need to be adapted to the bot world. In order to be efficient in the bot space, cyber-security platforms will have to address some of the following challenges:

— Unpredictable Behaviors: By leveraging natural language processing techniques, attacks on bots can exhibit almost infinite combination of behavior that are conducive to the same malicious result. That characteristic contrasts with the rather predictable behavior of most malware code.

— Impact in the Physical World: Bots that attack technologies such as digital assistant can have an immediate impact in the physical world. Imagine a bot that can infect Amazon Echo devices with malicious code to start altering sensors or home-devices connected to the assistant.

— Many Forms of Attack: Cyber-security attacks targeting bots can leverage many interaction mechanisms depending whether they are using voice or textual interaction models or whether they are executing on messaging platforms or IOT devices. That characteristic makes the task of cyber-security platforms extremely hard.

As you can see, many of the aforementioned areas are uncharted territory for most cyber-security technologies. But, what are the top forms of cyber-security attacks on bots? Here is an initial list:

1-Bot Virus

Bot viruses are a type of attack that will leverage natural language interactions to inject malicious code into a host such as a messaging client runtime. These type of attacks could simply use variations of existing viruses that leverage bots as a transmission mechanism.

2-Bot DDOS

Denial of service attacks on bots will infect popular bot hosting platforms such as Amazon Echo in order to launch new attacks to online of physical targets. We’ve seen some example of this type of attacks in recent months.

3-Bot Phisher

Bot phishers are a type of attacks in which a fake bot will leverage natural language interactions to obtain critical information about a user such as credentials, SSN, credit cards and other relevant information about its target. by leveraging natural language processing techniques, bot phishers can impersonate many actors in order to obtain the target sensitive information.

4-Bot Spyware

Bot Spywares are a version of that traditional cyber-security attack adapter to the bot world. In essence, a bot spyware will infect a client such as a messaging tool and use it as a host to obtain sensitive information about a user.

5-Bot Sniffer

bot Sniffers are focused on intercepting user-bot communications in order to track sensitive data. considering that most of the communication between users and bots uses natural language in the form of text or voice, bot sniffers techniques can obtain a lot of meaningful data.

CEO of IntoTheBlock, Chief Scientist at Invector Labs, I write The Sequence Newsletter, Guest lecturer at Columbia University, Angel Investor, Author, Speaker.

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