Bots roaming the internet now account for nearly two thirds of all web traffic, according to a recent study.
Research carried out by Incapsula has suggested that around 61.5% of all traffic on the web is now generated by autonomous figures – a figure that represents a rise of 21% against data from 2012.
However, while some of the programs are considered malicious, Incapsula asserted that the most significant growth in traffic was generated by ‘good bots’ – which include tools that search engines use to seek out websites and index their content. Similarly, website marketing specialists and analytics firms may rely on friendly bots to determine how well a site is performing.
Incapsula observed more than 1.4 billion bot visits in 90 days while compiling the report, sourcing information from 20,000 different websites.
Although the use of bots increased overall, Incapsula said that many of the malicious uses of the software have become less common.
For instance, the firm said the frequency of spam links being posted automatically had dropped by 75% – pointing to the continued efforts of Google to improve its search engine results pages.
Additionally, the study pointed to a 10% drop in the activity of hacking bots, but also said that there has been a rise of 8% in the use of what it called ‘other impersonator bots’ – a category that includes applications masquerading as software from a legitimate agent, such as a search engine.
Incapsula also found that ‘good bot’ activity has grown significantly (by 55%) since last year.