Skip to main content

Nearly 30 percent of all web traffic is sent by malicious bots

bad bots intrnet botstats01
Image used with permission by copyright holder
The amount of data being sent online by bots has just exceeded humans again. Despite all of the videos we’re sharing, more than 51 percent of all traffic is now bots. Even more bothersome, however, is that of those bots, more than half of them are considered malicious.

Produced as part of the annual Imperva Incapsula Bot Traffic Report, the data on the amount of traffic the bots of the world are sending one another paints an interesting picture. In 2015, with the growth of online video sharing, humans took back the top spot in internet traffic, but that started to swing the other way in 2016.

48.2 percent of all traffic was sent by humans that year. The other 51.8 percent were bots, but only 23 percent of traffic was handled by what the report terms “good bots.” Those are traffic monitors, commercial crawlers, search engine robots and feed fetchers. The rest was made up of nasty ones.

More: Think tech tilted the 2016 election? Just wait for 2020

Hacker tools made up a few percent, as did scrapers that are used for extracting data from a network, while spammers – who you might expect to take up a big chunk – only accounted for 0.3 percent of all internet traffic. The big group of nasties today are the impersonators.

These bots try to use fake identities to gain control of accounts, or breach security to gain access for their controllers to protected systems. As the report explains, their most common use though is in DDOS attacks. With millions upon millions of internet of things devices being leveraged at the end of last year, perhaps it’s no surprise, but it does show a worrying trend.

As more and more of the world’s bandwidth is gobbled up by bots, there’s less for humans to use and that doesn’t even address the fact that malicious bot traffic is being used to disrupt the very services we’re trying to use.

The only heartening news is that the bots can be beaten. The more popular a site is, the higher chance that traffic visiting it is positive and human. The biggest websites in the world might receive the most attention from the bots, but their relative percentage is far smaller than on smaller sites.

To collate all this information, Imperva Incapsula used data from 16.7 billion visits to 100,000 randomly selected domain names.

Editors' Recommendations

Jon Martindale
Jon Martindale is the Evergreen Coordinator for Computing, overseeing a team of writers addressing all the latest how to…
Walmart+: Everything you need to know about Walmart’s retail subscription
Walmart logo.

You've heard of Amazon Prime. Maybe you've heard of My Best Buy Plus. But what is Walmart+? Walmart launched its paid membership program last year. If you haven't checked it out yet, it's worth considering before Black Friday sales start. It offers same day delivery on most items and exclusive discounts. It's currently $13 per month or $98 per year, but there is a 15-day free trial you could time with Black Friday. But there's a little more to it than just that. Here’s everything you need to know about Walmart+.

What is Walmart+?

Read more
30 best gift cards you can give friends, family, and coworkers in 2023
google play gift cards launch in uk

Between gifts, birthdays, and holiday, it can be difficult to figure out what to give the people we know and love. With everybody having their own minds about what to get for themselves, the thought of giving a selected gift becomes challenging. What if the headphones you pick our for your brother aren't exactly the best headphones you can buy? Your niece is into gaming, but there's seemingly no way to remember what games she wants. The solution to all of this disarray and individuality could be cash, but different families and groups tend to have frustratingly unwritten rules around cash giving. That leaves one real solution: The gift card.

But that solution quickly brings forth the new problem of trying to figure out which gift card to give. Nearly every company and service offers one nowadays. And different ones give different sentiments. A gift card for a weight loss program's merchandise could be either be the most thoughtful, well-wishing gift of the year or a metaphorical slap in the face. Despite appearances, a gift card is not necessarily the equivalent of cash. What, then, should you choose?

Read more
Over 100 more Best Buy Black Friday deals just went live
Digital Trends Best Black Friday Best Buy Deals

Best Buy is one of the key retailers when it comes to offering fantastic Black Friday deals. That means it's the perfect place to check out awesome TV deals, laptop deals, and even great sales on appliances too. With hundreds of options newly available, we've helped you out by picking out some highlights. Below, you'll find all the best Best Buy Black Friday deals on TVs, laptops, gaming PCs, headphones, appliances, and other items too.

Best Buy Black Friday TV deals

Read more