Bot Threats
August 2, 2023

OTP Bots? How to stop them.

Now that most sites are using multi-factor-authentication, it’s no surprise the cybercriminals are fighting back hard to get their slice of the action.

Enter one-time password (OTP) bots, which are automated scripts used by attackers to extract one-time authentication passwords from your poor unsuspecting users. These bots employ deceptive tactics, tricking people into revealing authentication codes received via email, SMS, or authentication apps. Once the fraudster gains access, they can execute unauthorized actions, such as unauthorized transactions, on Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) protected accounts.

The Growing Popularity of OTP Bots

The popularity of OTP bots is soaring, largely due to the widespread adoption of multi-factor authentication by most websites. Despite the enhanced security offered by MFA, OTP bots can insert themselves into the account authentication chain, rendering this protection ineffective. Attackers use OTP bots to intercept, redirect, or even spoof authentication codes, making it a cost-effective method, as they stand to gain large potential profits. Consolidation in the big banks means that the cybercriminals can target 70% and more of an entire population with spoof messages from just a few banks. Cybercriminals obtain the stolen information about their potential victims - including the bank details (see the articles on Fullz) so the targeting is very precise. They even clone entire web sites to make them look like the real bank. The bank is cloned by using bots, that crawl the entire public content, and replicate it.

OTP Bots

Understanding the Modus Operandi of OTP Bots

OTP bots operate by exploiting the standard process of obtaining a one-time password for online authentication. They deceive victims into believing they are legitimate entities, often posing as well-known companies, such as banks.

Here's how OTP bots carry out their malevolent activities:

  • The fraudster provides the victim's information to the OTP bot.
  • The OTP bot contacts the victim, requesting the account OTP.
  • The unsuspecting victim, assuming the request is legitimate, provides or enters the OTP for the bot.
  • While the victim is distracted, the fraudster gains unauthorized access to the account.
  • Subsequently, the fraudster can siphon money or steal card information from the victim's account.

Scaling the Operation of OTP Bots

Typically, social engineering tactics are time-consuming when attempting to trick individuals into divulging their authentication codes. However, OTP bots can automate this process when they possess the correct contact information of the victim. This automation allows them to intercept a large number of OTPs, increasing the number of victims and ultimately the fraudster's potential profit.

Combatting the Threat of OTP Bots

Preventing OTP bot attacks requires a proactive approach to safeguarding user accounts and personal information. Encouraging users to periodically review account activities and change passwords regularly is essential for maximizing security. Additionally, users should refrain from providing sensitive information or account details over public networks or unsecured internet connections. However, as we have seen countless times, user education and training is a constant challenge. The cybercriminals know that success is just a numbers game, a percentage of users will fall victim.

The most effective strategy to counter OTP bots is to deploy a robust bot management system that allows you to deploy zero trust at the network edge.

Such a system can identify malicious bots and block their requests even before they reach your endpoints.

By implementing cloud based bot protection, users can be safeguarded from the outset, eliminating the need for additional security measures on their end to ensure the safety of their accounts on your platform. Investing in advanced bot management is an indispensable measure in today's threat landscape, where the sophistication of cyberattacks continues to grow.

In conclusion, the rising threat of OTP bots underscores the importance of staying vigilant and proactive in maintaining online security. By understanding their tactics and adopting effective countermeasures, individuals and businesses can safeguard their digital assets from the menace posed by these malicious bots.


How can I prevent OTP Bot attacks on my company website?

OTP bots, are just another form of bot attack. Selecting a capable bot detection platform to identify and remove the bot activity from your site is critical. Protecting users Personal Identifiable Information and making it extremely hard to automate any attacks is an essential step.

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