Things That Go Bump in the Network: Part II

Just When You Thought it was Safe to Fly

Airplanes seem like magic: a giant metal bird launching itself off the ground with powerful jets. They travel faster than anything on the ground and allow us to navigate a globe with ease and reliability. But with giant metal power comes giant metal responsibility. For one company, the responsibility came in the form of selling tickets for humans who wish to travel.

One day, this organization learned that the dream of filling seats can turn into a nightmare in an instant.

Humans aren’t the only “people” who wish to travel. The organization discovered, to their horror, that their searches were getting consumed from the inside by automated horrors. Bot domination was upon us!

These robots move faster than humans. They’re capable of performing hundreds of searches in a single minute, vastly outpacing a regular, carbon-based traveler. These clanky tinkerers searched the ticketing site at record speeds, and not just for themselves. They’d search for one, two, and three “people.” Tickets tomorrow, for next week, for… ever!

The organization was lost in a robotic maelstrom. Even when they managed to block offenders by IP, these evil enigmas would simply pop up somewhere else and in greater numbers, like a metal hydra growing more and more heads.

The company tried sniffing out the influx of attackers, but the robots were clever enough and fast enough to sneak past manual log analysis and continue their proliferation. The company was trapped, forced to choose between “send all traffic in the clear” or to “just deal with it.” They were facing the losing end of the bot’s quest for global takeover. Luckily for them, there was a better plan.

The company sought help from ExtraHop, who holds one of the most powerful metal detectors in the world: Reveal(x). At first, they started by manually identifying unwanted “people” from their search, but the robots were swift and evasive. The ticketing site regrouped and transformed Reveal(x) into a bigger, bot-annihilating weapon: They automated their hunt by integrating Reveal(x) into the organization’s load balancer.

Once inside, Reveal(x) was able to see everything in real time, and could simply dump inbound requests from any bot searching more than 100 times per minute. Humans prevailed! The robotic takeover was halted at last!

Before Reveal(x), the company paid a high price for the influx of robots. These metal monsters were filling searches without paying, which caused actual bookings to plummet, costing the org its bottom line. But once they armed themselves with Reveal(x) to fight the vast and ever-growing army of robots, they reclaimed the advantage and defeated their foe.

Got a scary story of your own you’d like to share? Thrill us with your tale and get a treat sent your way!

This post is also available in: English

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