Bots Outnumber Humans for Web Traffic

It has finally happened, the bots have taken over. While robots have yet to enslave humanity, bots have taken over the Internet, accounting for 62% of all web traffic. Is the bot takeover something you should be concerned about?

To clear things up, Internet bots are much different than the cold-hearted steel-exoskeleton robots armed with lasers, as seen in your favorite science fiction movies. Internet bots are software applications built to perform automated tasks over the web. You may have heard about these bots before when hearing SEO experts talk about “Google’s bots crawling your website.” This doesn’t mean that Google has nanobots physically crawling around the inside of your PC (yet); instead, “crawling bots” refer to applications scanning the content of your website.

Determining the Internet’s bot-to-human ratio was done with a study from Internet security company Incapsula. In this study, 20,000 sites on its own network where looked at over the course of 90 days. During this 3 month period, their sites where visited 1.45 billion times by bots. While not a complete study of the Internet’s web traffic, it does give us an accurate picture of what the traffic on the web looks like and tells us how many humans actually use the Internet and what the intentions of the bots are.

Not every bot on the Internet is programmed for global domination. Statistically speaking, you only have to worry about half of the bots on the net. Half of the Internet’s bots are “good bots,” which are useful tools that improve user’s browsing experience. The other half of the Internet’s bot traffic comes from “bad bots.” These are bots with malicious intentions. In the good-and-bad-bot divide, each side accounts for just under 31% of all web traffic, which is slightly less than the 38.5% web traffic from flesh and blood human beings.

While it’s difficult that know what the intentions of humans visiting your website are, you can use security software to determine if a bot scanning your website is good or bad. The good bots primarily stem from analytics companies and search engines that index your website in order to provide Internet users with better search results. According to the Incapsula study, the use of good bots has gone up a whopping 55% in the past year. This can be attributed to the growing demand for search engine accuracy, which means that sites are being scanned more frequently in order to provide more timely results.

The bad bots making up 31% of web traffic are the bots that you should be concerned about. Bad bots have been programmed for malicious purposes, like scanning your website to look for vulnerabilities. There are four bad bots in particular that are most common.

  • Scrapers: Steals content from your website and email addresses.
  • Spammers: Spreads spam and other irrelevant content.
  • Hacking Tools: Steals sensitive information and injects malware.
  • Impersonators: DDoS attacks that steal your bandwidth and resources.

With all of the bad bots trafficking the web, you will want to make sure that your business has a reliable network security solution in place that will protect your website and your company’s files. A Unified Threat Management security tool from 4it is the strongest defense on the market. UTM keeps bad bots out with a bulletproof firewall, and it can provide your business extra protection with content filtering, which filters the human traffic on your network from accessing malicious websites. To protect your business and take the Internet back from the bots, call 4it at (305) 278-7100.

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