BOTS HAVE become part of the daily lexicon, but it's causing a silent war to rage in the underbelly of the internet.
So-called 'bad bots' now account for one in five net requests - 20.4 per cent of internet traffic. That's up 20 per cent in two years.
The bots are used by everyone from hackers and fraudsters, to governments, to companies trying to scupper rivals and can cause downtime, data theft, spam and transaction fraud.
Not all bots are bad, but the proportion of ‘good bots' has actually decreased in the last year to 17.5 per cent.
The vast majority (73.6 per cent) is what is known as Advanced Persistent Bots (APB) which indiscriminately try IP addresses until they find a vulnerable one, and implant themselves within, ready to cause mischief, including impersonating a real person at the other end.
Almost half (49.9 per cent) of bad bots are either using or mimicking Google Chrome as their user agent, whilst mobile browsers have increased 3.5 to 13.9 per cent.
So where is all this traffic coming from? The biggest source seems to be Amazon Web Services, which accounts for 18 per cent of traffic.
The vast majority comes via US servers (53.4) but in fact, Russia and Ukraine boast nearly half of IP block requests - 48.2 per cent, suggesting there may be some spoofing going on.
The most targeted sectors are pretty much as you'd expect - financial services top the list at 42.2 per cent, followed by ticketing (events, travel etc) at 39.3 and in third Education, which is often used to swipe research papers amongst other things.
E-commerce is much safer, relatively, at 18 per cent, with much of the bot activity based around screen-scraping data, rather than attacking credit card data - but that's not a reason to rest on laurels - that's still a heck of a lot of potential misery for shoppers.
We've only scraped (arf) the surface of this report that was made up from the analysis of billions of packets of web traffic during 2018. If you want to learn more, you can check out the ‘Bad Bot Report' from Distil Networks' Research Lab here. μ
'Some of us like the misery'
That'll surely affect its credit score