The Threat from OTP Bots, and how to Protect your account login paths

‍Understanding OTP Bots and how to prevent OTP bot attacks

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What is an OTP bot?

OTP bots are programmed by hackers to enable the hijacking of  one-time passwords (OTP) tokens sent to user bank and other online accounts as an additional verification check usually by social engineering methods. Hackers deploy bots to hijack the communications flow of one-time-passwords (OTP) between the company and the user, and obtain the passcode tokens themselves to login and comprise the account. Banks accounts often use OTP passwords, so the potential rewards are high, and the victims can lose all of their savings if the bank account is compromised. Victims are often elderly, or those more likely to fall for social engineering.

To understand One-Time Passwords (OTP) and how they work  please visit our article here.

Understanding OTP Bot Threats

Unveiling the OTP Bot Menace

The rise of Multi-factor-Authentication (MFA) has seen a corresponding rise in methods to defeat it. OTP bots not only pose a significant threat to online security, targeting authentication systems to gain unauthorized access, but these OTP bot attacks are on the increase. These sophisticated bots can mimic human behavior, making traditional security measures inadequate. Recognizing the severity of this threat is the first step towards implementing effective countermeasures.

Real-world Impacts

The consequences of a successful OTP bot attack can be devastating. From unauthorized access to sensitive information to financial losses, the implications are far-reaching. It's imperative for businesses to stay ahead of the curve and adopt proactive measures to mitigate the risks associated with OTP bot threats.

How does the OTP Bot attack work?

First let’s look at the normal OTP operation in the diagram. The customer first engages with the brand and attempts to login. The OTP code is generated, usually via SMS message. The customer uses the code and logs into the verified account. 

OTP Flow Diagram

The OTP Bot attacks attempts to hijack this process using bots combined with simultaneous social engineering as shown in the OPT bot diagram. OTP bot attacks will vary according to the authentication and platform, so this is a generalised example.As per usual Bots as a Service (Baas) platform exist to supply all the technology to perform OTP bot attacks, with some boasting of international language support. 

In order to extract the OTP tokens, the attacker already has the target’s “fullz,” personal information such as Social Security number, email and date of birth. In addition they may well need the password, depending on the exact authentication method. (See this article for brute force password hacking.

First bots attempt to login to the account, triggering the OTP to be generated. At the exact same time, the bot is programmed to call the customer. The hackers then take over, and use social engineering to force the unsuspecting victim into giving them the OTP passcode over the phone. Typically, these methods include impersonating a bank security officer, and telling them they are calling because of  suspicious activity on their account. They will be then asked to check their mobile phone, for the incoming message with the OTP. Often the fraudsters will specifically ask the customer to ensure the OTP passcode is kept secure, and ask them to input the digits without revealing to the fake operative on the call! 

OTP Bot Attack Flow Diagram

Of course the telephony software instantly picks up the digits, and the OTP token is stolen. The social engineering methods almost always push a sense of real urgency to panic the victim into compliance.These attacks frequently target older people - the fraudsters have to find someone that actually answers their phone for the fraud to succeed. The fraudsters will keep them on the phone, distracted, while they use the correct OTP token to enter the account and steal the funds. Once the funds have been stolen, the call is then ended, and it’s only when the customer next logs in they will realise what actually happened. The cash will have gone.

Implementing Robust OTP Bot Protection

Although there is a large social engineering element to these attacks, they would be extremely hard to perform without the use of bot to automate the process and find victims. Protecting core accounts paths from bots effectively stops the problem before the bots can login and cause the OTP token.

Multi-layered Authentication Protocols

Incorporating a multi-layered authentication approach is crucial in thwarting OTP bot attacks. VerifiedVisitors used hybrid cloud edge of network AI based protection, which can be hardened specifically for login-paths By combining traditional MFA with advanced behavioral AI defence, businesses can create formidable barriers, making it significantly harder for bots to compromise security in the first place.

Vulnerable Path Protection

For potentially vulnerable paths, such as logins, bot protection can be hardened to include a challenge page, which inspects the client. This is very thorough probe using the AI platform to determine if the visitor is human or bot, from hundreds of different telemetry signals, from mouse movements, to canvas size.

Continuous Monitoring and Analysis

Implementing continuous monitoring and analysis tools allows for real-time detection of suspicious activities. By leveraging advanced algorithms, anomalies indicative of OTP bot behavior can be identified promptly, enabling swift response and mitigation.

Choosing the Right OTP Bot Protection Solution

Evaluating Security Providers

Selecting the right security provider is pivotal in ensuring effective OTP bot protection. Look for solutions that can offer zero trust at the edge of network to prevent the bots from hitting your website and API endpoints using an effective AI platform that learns and dynamically adapts to your traffic.

Integration with Existing Systems

Seamless integration with your existing security infrastructure is key. The chosen OTP bot protection solution should complement your current setup, enhancing rather than disrupting your operations.


In the face of escalating OTP bot threats, fortifying your online security is non-negotiable. This guide has provided a roadmap for implementing comprehensive OTP bot protection, from understanding the menace to choosing the right security solution. At VerifiedVisitors, we are committed to empowering businesses with the knowledge and tools to stay one step ahead in the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity. 

To get protected today, please visit our portal and get started here.

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