(NBC) – Consumers may think they’re avoiding the crush this holiday season by shopping online, unaware that as they’re trying to get through the digital doors, so too are hordes of bots. And they’re throwing elbows.
Up to 97 percent of all online traffic to retailer login pages this holiday shopping week comes from bots, largely operated by organized gangs of cybercriminals, according to estimates by cybersecurity firm Radware.
The bots fill out online forms and navigate retail sites faster than a real person can, and try to swiftly purchase limited supply gifts before you’ve even filled up your cart. The items are then sold for a higher price on third-party sites. The cyber thieves also crack into accounts, drain accounts of rewards and other digital currency, conduct credit card fraud, and more, said Ron Winward, a Radware spokesman.
“Website operators are seeing uptick in bot activity leading up to Cyber Monday from people trying out their bots,” said Winward. “People are really competing with automated infrastructure and bots to get hot holiday items.”
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