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94% of all websites experienced a bot attack in 2016
Bots continue to account for more online traffic than humans but, according to new figures released by Imperva Incapsula, the positive news is that, despite a slight rise in bot activity, that increase is attributed to good bots.
Bot operators, and the non-human traffic they generate, are becoming more sophisticated. The Interactive Advertising Bureau reported last year that digital fraud costs advertisers around $8.2billion each year.
The 614 Group/Distil Networks survey of 40 of the comScore 250 publishers, such as Hulu, Thomson Reuters, Univision and AccuWeather, found that nearly three-quarters (74%) say traffic quality issues are part of pre-sales discussions and more than two-thirds (68%) have been asked to provide information with non-human traffic thresholds.
The latest data in Imperva Incapsula's Bot Traffic Report reveals that, in 2016, bot traffic accounted for more traffic (51.8%) than humans. While that figure is up on last year's report, in which bots accounted for 51.5% of all online traffic, the good news is that the increase is due to good bot activity.
According to Imperva Incapsula, good bots now account for 22.9% of all bot activity (up from 19.5% in their last report) and bad bots account for 28.9%, a very slight increase of 0.1% from the previous report.
Good bots assist with automated tasks, including data collection and website scanning, while bad bots are responsible for malicious activity. For the fifth year in a row, impersonator bots, most often used to launch DDoS attacks, were the most active, accounting for 24.3% of all traffic on Imperva's network.
Perhaps the most shocking statistic in Imperva Incapsula's report is that 94.2% of all websites experienced a bot attack last year.
"Often, these assaults are the result of cybercriminals casting a wide net with automated attacks targeting thousands of domains at a time," says the company. "While these indiscriminate assaults are not nearly as dangerous as targeted attacks, they still have the potential to compromise numerous unprotected websites. Ironically, the owners of these websites tend to ignore the danger of bots the most, wrongfully thinking that their website is too "small" to be attacked. It is this ostrich mentality that helps bot attacks succeed, motivating the cybercriminals to keep launching bigger and more elaborate automated assaults."
Just this week, one of the most significant moves ever made to tackle online ad fraud occurred with the first-ever JICWEBS industry seals awarded to companies who have been verified their processes reduce the risk of fraudulent ads being served.
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