Most comment spam traffic is generated by 28% of attackers

Imperva released its June Hacker Intelligence Initiative report, which presents an in-depth study of how a relatively small number of attack sources are responsible for the majority of comment spam traffic.

Identifying comment spammers quickly and leveraging IP reputation management to block their attacks will prevent most of their malicious activity.

“Comment spam attacks can cripple a website, impacting uptime and compromising the user experience,” said Amicahi Shulman, CTO of Imperva. “Our Application Defense Center research team reveals that a relatively small number of attack sources create the majority of comment spam, oftentimes leveraging automated tools to reach a maximum number of targets. Quickly identifying the source of an attack and blocking comments from the source can greatly limit the attack’s effectiveness and minimize its impact on your website.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • 80 percent of comment spam traffic is generated by 28 percent of attack sources.
  • 58 percent of all attack sources are active for long periods of time.
  • Identifying the attack source as a comment spammer early on and blocking their requests prevents most of the malicious activity.
  • IP reputation helps to solve the comment spam problem by blocking comment spammers early on in their attack campaigns.

The report is based on data collected through monitoring of more than 60 web applications by Imperva’s ThreatRadar Reputation Services, and it provides information on the anatomy of comment spam from both an attacker’s and victim’s point-of-view. For example, the research examines the stages an attacker follows to produce comment spam and the various ways that comment spam can be automated to allow attackers to scale their efforts.

From a victim’s perspective, the research shows that over time, comment spammers increase the velocity of their attacks against a website once a commenting system is shown to be vulnerable to attack, showing just how important it is to identify and take steps to stop comment spam in its early stages.

The report also features case studies that describe comment spam’s attack patterns and traffic flow. It concludes with details on how websites can defend themselves against comment spam attacks using a number of mitigation techniques.

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