2 min Analytics

Bots are responsible for half of all internet traffic

Bots are responsible for half of all internet traffic

Bots are responsible for 50 percent of global internet traffic, according to research by Barracuda Networks. Three out of five of these are classified as bad bots, which are intended for nefarious purposes such as DDoS attacks and data theft.

Overall, then, bad bots account for 30 percent of internet traffic, a significantly smaller share than the 39 percent measured in 2021. 72 percent of these types of bots originate in the United States, mainly because they tend to reside on public clouds such as AWS and Azure. Both services are about equal in popularity among bot creators. As it happens, it’s relatively easy for network administrators to block bots originating from AWS and Azure as they fall within a specific datacenter IP range.

One-third of bad bots are said to emanate from residential addresses. This can be explained by a cloaking strategy of bot creators, who try to hide them through proxies with an inconspicuous IP address.

‘Good bots’

The widespread presence of bots on the internet is not too surprising. For example, they are used for search engines, copyright checks, the monitoring of website metrics or to scour the internet for AI chatbots.

While, in principle, those functions are not classified as malicious activity by a party like Barracuda, certain uses can certainly be controversial. Since August, it has become public knowledge what bot OpenAI uses to scrape information from the internet to collect training data. Nowadays, website administrators can block this bot to prevent their content from being appropriated for commercial purposes.

Not A Bot

Bots don’t have the greatest reputation in general, despite their vast amount of uses. This is in part because of their ability to generate misleading traffic numbers around a public person or page. Elon Musk, for example, has spoken out several times this year against the presence of bots on social media platform X. In New Zealand and the Philippines, X is now testing a subscription for $1 a year to sign up as a new user. It is part of a larger “Not A Bot” program, which Musk previously explained in conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.