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The Surge in GPTBot Traffic Poses Security Threat to E-commerce Platform

TL;DR

  • GPTBot traffic hit 90% on Black Friday, a security threat for e-commerce.
  • GPTBot caused 204M malicious attacks on online stores in November 2023.
  • Retailers need better security and collaboration to combat holiday cyber threats.

As the holiday season approaches, e-commerce platforms face a formidable challenge in the form of a surge in GPTBot traffic. Recent Black Friday sales saw GPTBot traffic on these platforms reach a staggering 90%, raising significant security concerns for online shops and consumers. 

Security provider Qrator Labs from the Czech Republic has reported a substantial increase in cyber threats targeting e-commerce platforms during this period, highlighting the vulnerability of these platforms during the holiday sales season.

The rise of GPTBot

GPTBot, a website crawling tool released by OpenAI in August 2023, has become a primary instigator of malicious attacks on e-commerce platforms. Its core function is to crawl websites and gather content to train OpenAI’s proprietary large language models, including GPT-4 and GPT-5. 

While OpenAI has issued recommendations to restrict GPTBot access, many market players have yet to update their configurations, exposing them to potential security breaches.

During the Black Friday sales, online shops specializing in home goods, construction materials, and repair items were at the forefront of these cyberattacks. Qrator Labs reported that approximately 75% of the attacks were directed at backend APIs and mobile apps, with the remaining 25% targeting websites directly. 

The malicious bots displayed a particular interest in disrupting account authorization on online platforms and tampering with loyalty services, such as bonus points and special discounts.

Impending Threats for Christmas Sales

As the holiday season progresses, Qrator Labs has warned that similar attack patterns may resurface during Christmas sales. The increase in malicious traffic during holidays has been an established trend, supported by various research. 

The emergence of “Grinch bots,” a term coined to refer to bots that track trending retail items during holiday periods and purchase online inventory in bulk, has also added to the challenges retailers and consumers face.

The growing dominance of GPTBot poses concerns not only for online retailers but also for consumers who may experience disruptions in their shopping experiences. Heightened security measures and prompt configuration updates are now imperative as the holiday shopping frenzy continues.

Strengthening security measures

Online retailers are urged to prioritize implementing robust security measures to counter the rising threat of GPTBot. It is essential to promptly adopt OpenAI’s recommendations for restricting GPTBot access and ensure that configurations are updated to establish a resilient defense against potential cyberattacks.

In the face of evolving threats, collaboration between security providers and e-commerce platforms becomes essential to avoid cyberattacks. Proactively sharing information and strategies is crucial in maintaining the integrity of online transactions and creating a secure digital shopping environment.

Consumer vigilance

Consumers are advised to remain vigilant during this holiday shopping season. Employing strong authentication measures and promptly reporting suspicious activities to the respective online retailers can help protect their online shopping experiences.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Benson Mawira

Benson is a blockchain reporter who has delved into industry news, on-chain analysis, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), Artificial Intelligence (AI), etc.His area of expertise is the cryptocurrency markets, fundamental and technical analysis.With his insightful coverage of everything in Financial Technologies, Benson has garnered a global readership.

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