Skip to main content

You're probably chatting with a bot every day

Fun fact for you: only 41 per cent of all online traffic comes from humans. No, the rest is not aliens, the rest are bots, and some of them are pretending to be humans in order to avoid security measures, which seriously freaks me out.

Those are the results of a report by Distil Networks, a bot detection and mitigation company. The second annual Bad Bot Landscape report (opens in new tab) shows that more than 22 per cent of all web traffic comes from bad bots. Small websites are at the greatest risk of brownouts, as they tend to have less robust web infrastructure than larger sites. Digital publishers, as a group, are hit hardest by bad bots, while Firefox and Chrome are nearly tied for bad bot traffic originators.

Bots are the key culprits behind web scraping, brute force attacks, competitive data mining, brownouts, account hijacking, unauthorised vulnerability scans, spam, man-in-the-middle attacks, and click fraud. Bots tax IT security and web infrastructure teams across the globe and their variety, volume and sophistication wreak havoc across online operations big and small.

Mobile bots are no longer an “emerging” threat, as bad bots represent more than eight per cent of mobile Web traffic. The report also shows that, for the first time, a mobile browser (Android Webkit Browser) is included in the list of user agents leveraged by bad bot launchers to obfuscate their bots.

“Perhaps one of the most surprising aspects of this report is the rise in mobile bots,” said Distil Networks CEO and Co-founder Rami Essaid. “For the first time in history, mobile bad bot traffic makes up a significant portion of overall bad bot traffic, having increased tenfold over the past year. Right now mobile bots make up less than 10 per cent of the total bots, creating a greenfield of opportunity for the bad bot landscape to more than double very quickly.”

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.