Incapsula reports that web bots now account for 61% of web traffic

Dec 13, 2013 by Bob Yirka report
Credit: Incapsula

(Phys.org) —Cloud based application delivery platform provider Incapsula is reporting via blog post that web bots now account for 61 percent of all web traffic, an increase of 21 percent over last year.

Web bots, are of course, programs that are run on connected computers that scour the Internet looking for . What they do once they find them depends on what their programmers have in mind. Some are considered "good" such as the bots run by Google or Amazon to provide listings for search engines or to track visitor stats, while others are considered bad or malicious because they are used to scrape (steal data), hack (add malware), spam (leave spam in comment sections) or impersonate legitimate users.

On a positive note, Incapsula reports that the proportion of good bots is rising—their tests indicate that they now make up 31 percent of traffic (up from 21 percent last year). They also suggest that the majority of the increase in bot activity is likely due to more activity by existing bots rather than the introduction of new ones.

One area of concern the company found is an 8 percent uptick in the number of impersonator bots—those that try to fool websites into believing they are ether good bots or legitimate users. They are generally the worst sort of bot because their purpose is generally to cause harm to the web site itself, generally through denial of service attacks.

To come to these conclusions, Incapsula captured data from every visit to every one of its 20,000 client web sites over a 90 day period (amounting to 1.45 billion visits) and then analyzed the results. It should be noted that Incapsula offers its clients security services, thus the numbers it is reporting may not be a fair representation of the world-wide-web in general. What is also not clear are what other impacts bots may be having on the web, such as whether they cause slowdowns or if their sheer numbers are causing a skewing of the metrics they deliver. If over half of all visitors to sites are bots, for example, how does that play for those that are receiving advertising revenue for site visits?

While it's not clear just how many bots there really are compared to real users, what is apparent from the Incapsula report is that bots have become a major part of and that they are becoming more sophisticated, which suggests perhaps, that maybe an organization should be set up to monitor, track and perhaps work with law enforcement to identify those seeking to do harm, before they cause serious problems.

Explore further: reCAPTCHA eases up on the human eye

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

reCAPTCHA eases up on the human eye

Oct 28, 2013

(Phys.org) —Google, assuming you are human and reading this, wants you to know that CAPTCHAs are more readable. There will be easier days ahead than having to put your face against the screen, struggling ...

Spot a bot to stop a botnet

May 01, 2012

Computer scientists in India have developed a two-pronged algorithm that can detect the presence of a botnet on a computer network and block its malicious activities before it causes too much harm. The team ...

Computer scientist looks for bad guys in cyberspace

Feb 11, 2013

(Phys.org)—The weakest link in many computer networks is a gullible human. With that in mind, Sandia National Laboratories computer science researcher Jeremy Wendt wants to figure out how to recognize potential ...

Tweet timing tells bots, people and companies apart

Jul 03, 2013

Tweet timing can differentiate individual, corporate and bot-controlled Twitter accounts independent of the language or content of a tweet, according to research published July 3 in the open access journal ...

Recommended for you

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

Apr 18, 2014

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Researchers uncover likely creator of Bitcoin

Apr 18, 2014

The primary author of the celebrated Bitcoin paper, and therefore probable creator of Bitcoin, is most likely Nick Szabo, a blogger and former George Washington University law professor, according to students ...

White House updating online privacy policy

Apr 18, 2014

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

alfie_null
1 / 5 (1) Dec 14, 2013
Is scraping bad or good? Depends on your perspective. Are you a site owner, or are you a potential customer?

More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...