'Grinch Bots' Are Here to Ruin Your Holiday Shopping - NBC Chicago

'Grinch Bots' Are Here to Ruin Your Holiday Shopping

Didn't catch that hot item online? That may be because you're competing with bots programmed to sweep up the best deals

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    In this Nov. 27, 2017, photo illustration, a Cyber Monday ad is displayed on a laptop computer in San Anselmo, California.

    Consumers may think they’re avoiding the crush this holiday season by shopping online, unaware that as they’re trying to get through the digital doors, so too are hordes of bots. And they’re throwing elbows, NBC News reports.

    Up to 97 percent of all online traffic to retailer login pages this holiday shopping week comes from bots, largely operated by organized gangs of cybercriminals, according to estimates by cybersecurity firm Radware.

    The bots fill out online forms and navigate retail sites faster than a real person can, and try to swiftly purchase limited supply gifts before you’ve even filled up your cart. The items are then sold for a higher price on third-party sites. The cyber thieves also crack into accounts, drain accounts of rewards and other digital currency, conduct credit card fraud, and more, said Ron Winward, a Radware spokesman.