Specialists from Kasada, a company specializing in protection against bot attacks, said that in the run-up to the season of sales and holidays in the network increases the activity of Freebie Bot. These bots look for products and services with the wrong prices on store sites and then purchase them in large quantities before the error is corrected.
According to analysts, more than 250 retailers have already been affected by these bots, with more than 7 million messages sent to Freebie communities each month.
For example, members of one popular community used Freebie Bot to purchase nearly 100,000 items in one month, for a total retail value of $3.4 million. Researchers say that the value of Freebie Bot users’ merchandise was only $882, but some people were able to generate more than $100,000 in profits in a month with these purchases.
The most popular items bought for next to nothing with Freebie Bot included cheap dresses, facial cleansing masks and Apple MacBook Air laptops. Pricing errors most often occurred due to incorrect placement of the decimal separator, which resulted in “discounts” of up to 99% of the normal cost of goods.
Using the automation and speed of the Freebie Bot to quickly purchase more items at erroneous prices, fraudsters then resell such items at huge profits.
Kasada says that such bots directly affect retailers’ revenues, as they are forced by law to fulfill orders even if an error has been made in the price of an item.
“It’s become very easy for anyone to purchase and use a bot, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for retailers to identify and stop them,” says Sam Crowther, founder and CEO of Kasada. – Online shoppers can get hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise for next to nothing and then make huge profits from reselling it. Combined with the rising costs of the infrastructure needed to support bot-generated traffic, these attacks are taking a toll on the balance sheet of retail companies.