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Report says 20% of all 2018 web traffic came from bad bots

Not all bots are bad, but there are definitely more of the harmful ones that we thought.

According to The Next Web, software company Distil Networks published its annual Bad Bot Report this week. Its findings regarding the current state of bots were interesting, to say the least.

This year’s Bad Bot Report broke down the sources of all web traffic in 2018. While it probably wasn’t surprising that bots (good and bad) had accounted for 37.9% of all web traffic last year, it is a bit startling to know that the traffic from bad bots had outpaced the good bots by just under 3%. Overall, bad bots had accounted for 20% of all web traffic last year

While bad bots managed to still outperform good bots last year, it’s still worth noting that overall, bots, in general, experienced a decrease in traffic and human traffic actually increased. Good and bad bots experienced reductions in traffic by 14.4% and 6.4%, respectively. Web traffic from humans has increased by 7.5% to reach a total of 62.1%.

The 2019 Bad Bot Report also broke down the main sources of bad bots. Notably, the report states that while Russia is the most blocked country for being suspected as an origin of bad bots, the United States is the No. 1 source of bad bot traffic at 53.4%. Russia’s traffic percentage doesn’t even make Distil’s list of the top five countries responsible for bad bot traffic, but Russia is the most blocked country at 32.6%. The U.S. was the fifth most blocked country at 6.6%.

According to the report, bad bots are labeled as such because they essentially steal data from websites with the intent to either “gain a competitive edge” or do worse things like commit fraud and theft. The top five industries to be affected by bad bot traffic were: Financial, ticketing, education, IT and services, and marketing and advertising. The financial industry was the hardest hit as 42.2% of its traffic had come from bad bots. The report went on to note that the financial industry mostly suffered “from bad bots attempting to access user accounts.” Among the industries noted by the report, the education sector seemed particularly unusual. However, the education industry experienced bad bots as 37.9% of its overall traffic and apparently the bad bots deployed in this industry usually search “for research papers, class availability, and to access user accounts.”

Though their traffic has reduced, bad bots truly are everywhere. Many of them are even impersonating your favorite browsers and online retailers: 49.9% of bad bots impersonate the Chrome browser and 18% of them have used an Amazon ISP.

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Anita George
Anita has been a technology reporter since 2013 and currently writes for the Computing section at Digital Trends. She began…
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