CarBoat Beats Scraping and Form Spam with ShieldSquare
CarBoat Media, 79th largest French group as per Nielsen and a part of Axel Springer group, connects 8.6 million buyers and sellers every month. The platform enables individuals and businesses to buy and sell cars, motorcycles, and boats. Given to its widespread popularity, CarBoat is the prime target for competitors and cyber attackers.
CarBoat serves hundreds of thousands of visitors every day and helps them find the best deal through its portals such as LaCentrale. Lately, CarBoat has been a target of bad bots. These bad bots scraped unique listings and advertisers contact details.
CarBoat recognized that there is an issue and its investigation showed that it is originated with malicious bots targeting their properties. Perturbed by such attacks, CarBoat decided to stop bad bots. CarBoat constituted a two members team to scan bots and prepare a list of their IPs. This team then manually entered the noted bots’ IPs into a Web Application Firewall. However, the mitigation was limited to simple bots but ineffective against constantly mutating bots. Not to mention, it required a lot of manual work that costs time and money.
The more sophisticated bad bots mimicked human behavior and connected through thousands of IPs to evade IP-based detection. It didn’t take long for CarBoat to realize that their solution to combat bad bots is costly and cumbersome. CarBoat then evaluated various options to restrain bad bots and finally decided to deploy a dedicated bot management solution. CarBoat picked ShieldSquare for securing its perimeter.
CarBoat uses various technology stacks on their portal, and they needed various integration modules to integrate ShieldSquare bot management solution. CarBoat used various integration options (PHP, Java, NodeJS, Cloudfront) provided by ShieldSquare to integrate our solution seamlessly.
Once deployed, the company was particularly impressed with the ability to take custom action against different bot types and the ability to feed fake data to competitors’ bots. ShieldSquare also provided CarBoat with end-to-end managed service with minimal intervention on their part.
Through ShieldSquare’s feed fake data mechanism, CarBoat now provides fake pricing information to competitors’ bots attempting to scrape prices. One of CarBoat competitors was optimizing its pricing with the information scraped from CarBoat’s portal. Now with feed fake data mechanism, CarBoat is feeding inflated pricing to this competitor's bots. For example, CarBoat is feeding inflated pricing for Audi A3 cars (as shown in figure 1).
Figure 1: Competitor Bots Now Receive Inflated Price on Audi 3
Also, with the help from ShieldSquare, CarBoat is now able to stop bots before they scrape advertisers’ details. In Q4 2018 alone, bots made 596,000 attempts to obtain advertisers’ detail (as shown in figure 1) but were thwarted by ShieldSquare.
Figure 2: Form Spam Attempts to Obtain Advertisers’ Contact Details
Benefits After ShieldSquare Roll-Out
- 50% reduction in bot management cost.
- 17% increase in unique listings.
- Accurate analytics helped in restoring advertisers’ confidence.
- Ad listings and advertisers' contact details are duly protected now.
AT A GLANCE
- Scraping of unique advertisements
- Scraping of advertisers details
- Fake leads
- Poor user experience
- Skewed analytics
- Intent-based Deep Behavior Analysis (IDBA) helped CarBoat understand the intent behind sophisticated automated attacks
- End-to-end managed service with minimal intervention reduced the operational burden for bot management
- Feed fake data mechanism allowed to beat competitors in their own game
“Soon after deploying ShieldSquare bot management solution, the presence of bots on our portal reduced drastically. ShieldSquare’s team has been very supportive throughout the deployment time and till date.”
Francois Emmanuel Piacentini
CTO, CarBoat Media, France