Some of these automated software tools are malicious

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_71700794_shadowA study by Incapsula suggests 61.5% of all website traffic is now generated by bots. The security firm said that was a 21% rise on last year’s figure of 51%.

Some of these automated software tools are malicious – stealing data or posting ads for scams in comment sections.

But the firm said the biggest growth in traffic was for “good” bots.

These are tools used by search engines to crawl websites in order to index their content, by analytics companies to provide feedback about how a site is performing, and by others to carry out other specific tasks – such as helping the Internet Archive preserve content before it is deleted.

Fuzzy data

To generate its report, Incapsula said it observed 1.45 billion bot visits over a 90 day period.

The information was sourced from 20,000 sites operated by its clients.

Dr Ian Brown, associate director at Oxford University’s Cyber Security Centre – which was not involved in the study – said the figures were useful as an indication of the growth in non-human traffic, even if they were not accurate to the nearest decimal place.

“Their own customers may or may not be representative of the wider web,” he told the BBC.

“There will also be some unavoidable fuzziness in their data, given that they are trying to measure malicious website visits where by definition the visitors are trying to disguise their origin.”

Impersonator bots

Despite the overall growth in bot activity, the firm said that many of the traditional malicious uses of the tools had become less common.

A study by Incapsula suggests 61.5% of all website traffic is now generated by bots. The security firm said that was a 21% rise on last year’s figure of 51%.

Some of these automated software tools are malicious – stealing data or posting ads for scams in comment sections.

But the firm said the biggest growth in traffic was for “good” bots.

These are tools used by search engines to crawl websites in order to index their content, by analytics companies to provide feedback about how a site is performing, and by others to carry out other specific tasks – such as helping the Internet Archive preserve content before it is deleted.

Fuzzy data

To generate its report, Incapsula said it observed 1.45 billion bot visits over a 90 day period.

The information was sourced from 20,000 sites operated by its clients.

Dr Ian Brown, associate director at Oxford University’s Cyber Security Centre – which was not involved in the study – said the figures were useful as an indication of the growth in non-human traffic, even if they were not accurate to the nearest decimal place.

“Their own customers may or may not be representative of the wider web,” he told the BBC.

“There will also be some unavoidable fuzziness in their data, given that they are trying to measure malicious website visits where by definition the visitors are trying to disguise their origin.”

Impersonator bots

Despite the overall growth in bot activity, the firm said that many of the traditional malicious uses of the tools had become less common.





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