Scalper bots target everything you dream of for Christmas and make it impossible to buy

With Black Friday and Christmas just around the corner, some things will be close to impossible to buy as scalper bots are snapping merchandise in high demand faster than humans.

Well, not impossible. The purpose of scalper bots is to grab popular items faster than humans and then resell them for a much higher price.

Scalper bots, also known as sneaker bots or grinch bots, target merchandise that is of high demand or limited supply and snap it up faster than human users. The items are then sold for higher profit. Increasingly, these bots are easily available to the public and not just to experienced hackers with access to the dark web.

For example, the most popular merchandise snapped by bots in Q3 was Nike LeBron 18 Low Wile E vs. Roadrunner Space Jam sneaker, according to the Netacea Threat Research Team. Its retail price was around $200, which more than doubled ($457) in the resale market. Jeezy Slide Pure footwear with an original price of $60 was being traded for $649 in the resale market.

Netacea Threat Research Team published an overview of the top scalper bots in Q3 2021. Here are the top five merchandise items snapped by the scalper bots over the last quarter:

Xbox X Series, PS5 & Nintendo Switch OLED market price varied from $100 to $499, while on the resale market, it was $400-$2000.

“The demand [for the PS5] has generated a global shortage, and attackers are aware of this – where there is still demand for the PS5, the scalpers will continue to target the restocks. With the busiest eCommerce period around the corner, scalper groups are aware that such consoles will be a big seller over the festive period as they continue to jump on “hot drop” presents,” Netacea report reads.

Scalper bots also started snapping non-fungible tokens (NFTs). “Over the course of 2021, we have observed the buying of NFTs early, in the hope they will become as valuable as Bitcoin in the near future. As with all digital, commodifiable trends, scalpers too are getting ahead in bidding on and buying NFTs faster than any human is able. Their aim is to resell the unique,” Netacea said.

The RTX 3060 graphic card comes in fifth. With demand from video gamers and crypto miners, scalpers target top-end graphics cards for mining and gaming, leaving genuine gamers empty-handed. Its retail price was $369, and aftermarket price - up to $800.

With Christmas and Black Friday coming up, the Netacea Threat Research Team predicts that scalpers will be out in droves, likely continuing to target consoles and graphics cards but also taking advantage of the demand for luxury items such as watches and handbags as prices drop during the sales season. The team has also identified one-off toys like the brand-new LEGO Titanic model.

Depending on stock levels and demand, the team expects scalpers to set their sights on the newest technology releases, including the iPhone 13, VR headsets, and other advanced equipment used for competitive gaming.

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