- Content delivery network operator Akamai has acquired Cyberfend, a developer of bot-related security and detection solutions that will help Akamai grow its existing bot management and mitigation services for a variety of industries, including retail. Financial details were not disclosed.
- Akamai, which has retail clients such as Best Buy and Home Depot, launched its own Bot Manager services earlier this year, and the addition of Cyberfend's tecnology brings solutions that help retailer fight bots and related attack tools that use stolen consumer passwords and other credentials to log in to e-commerce sites.
- Akamai commented that "Cyberfend's robust, machine learning-based real-time detection capabilities — which are already in use on some of the world's most heavily trafficked web properties — will be instrumental to Bot Manager's continued differentiation as the solution that can best meet complex customer requirements."
Retailers have spent the better part of 2016 becoming intimately familiar with bots — the good kind, at least, i.e. chatbots that potentially can help them sell more products via social media and create more positive, enduring customer experiences.
The bots that Akamai and Cyberfend are intent on fighting come from the Dark Side (requisite "Star Wars: Rogue One" reference). They have been circling portions of retail and related marketing and advertising sectors for several years, serving a variety of purposes. Nowadays, in many cases, criminals can create bot armies, or botnets, deployed to maliciously use valid (but stolen) identification and payment credentials to attack e-commerce sites to bring them down, or perhaps create diversions or gaps in security that allow parties to make fraudulent purchases.
The technologies that the companies are bringing to bear could have tremendous appeal for the retail sector heading into 2017. With efforts to reduce fraud at in-store payment terminals getting a boost from the EMV adoption, retail now faces growing threats to e-commerce security. Akamai is not the only party trying to fight off malicious bots, so don't be surprised if we hear a lot more about the rollout of new bot detection and protection offerings from other sources as 2017 plays out.