Bots are a permanent and growing part of the internet. Estimated at 40% of all internet traffic, they perform a variety of both critical and criminal operations. And increasingly, the ability to identify and manage these bots is essential for businesses. But the sophistication of emerging bots is creating problems for traditional detection tools.

According to a recent report from Atomik Research commissioned by fraud and account protection company Kount, 81% of businesses often or very often deal with issues related to malicious bots. More than half of businesses encountered more than 50 bot attacks in the last 12 months, according to the 2020 Bot Impact and Landscape Report.

Survey results reveal that while 96% of businesses depend on good bots, 80% have lost revenue to bad bots. The tension between these numbers is affecting the industry response to bot detection. Businesses eager to reduce eCommerce friction for customers and automate internal operations are also wary of attacks that target and disrupt those same systems.

Yet, 80% of respondents say there has been an increase in financial loss within their organization because of more complex and sophisticated bot attacks. One in four say a single bot attack has cost them $500,000 or more in the past year, and two in three say a single attack has cost $100,000 or more.

In response, 93% of businesses surveyed report plans to implement tools within 12 months. One possible reason is that responsibility for defensive tools often falls on IT, security and cybersecurity teams. These teams typically focus on infrastructure protection, and have less visibility into bot attacks on payments, brand reputation and inventory.

The survey focused on online retail and eCommerce business employees in the United States who had full-time roles related to fraud prevention, customer experience, payments and management.