The recent launch of self driving taxi’s from Uber has certainly caught the imaginations of the public and journalists. It certainly does steer mankind in the direction of further automation. In most cases this is a very positive development, however there are also some negative side effects.
If we take this opportunity to focus our attention to the internet and the growing use of automated bots on the internet, the story doesn’t look all that promising. Especially if we take into consideration that 48% of all internet traffic consists of bots, and of that over 30% of that are malicious.
This roughly translates to over, 30% of all the traffic coming to your website, is nothing more than a time wasting, resource consuming malicious automated bot. We have previously posted the top 5 reasons why bots are bad for your business website
Bad Bots steadily increasing
According to our recent research, it has become apparent that during the the 4 year period 2012 – 2016, the use of malicious bots has steadily been increasing.
- malicious bots are often employed by individuals or small criminal groups, not organizations. As a result, their growth is more closely tied to the increase in Internet human population.
- For every Internet user in the developed world, there are two in developing countries. Industry reports repeatedly highlight these countries as the hubs of botnet activity. Research indicates that this can be attributed to wider availability of under-secured connected devices.
- DDoS tools and DDoS-for-hire services are widely available. This lead to a 125% percent increase in the amount of DDoS bots, categorized here as ‘Impersonators’. This is also the only bot group that has displayed consistent growth over the last four years.
Combating Spam Bots
Individual website operators can counter malicious bots with security solutions, like our own Stop Web Crawlers, which offer protection from application layer attacks. These include automated hacking attempts, scraping, spamming and DDoS attacks. However, this is nothing more than treating the symptoms rather than a cure for spam bots. In order to totally eradicate spam bots will require the collaboration of the entire internet community.
As a community we should all promote security awareness and individual responsibility and apply it to all aspects of online activity.
Industry standards should be applied to enforce hardened security of connected devices, the negligent handling of which often leads to the creation of botnets that spawn malicious bot traffic. On the other end, legal action and consumer movements could promote a no-negotiation policy with cyber-extortionists, taking away one of the main motivations for hacker activity.