‘Bad bots’ make up a huge amount of all internet traffic

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Bad bots - computers and applications hijacked by criminals to do their bidding, now make up roughly two-fifths of all internet traffic, a new report from Barracuda claims.

Analyzing traffic patterns over the first six months of the year, the company found that bad bots are usually basic web scrapers and attack scripts, but there are also advanced persistent bots. Such advanced units try to evade standard defenses and try to keep a low profile as they conduct various malicious activities. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, of all the data centers, two of the biggest ones - Amazon Web Services (opens in new tab) and Azure, account for most bot traffic. Barracuda believes that data centers are a popular choice among criminals as it’s easy to set up a free account with either provider, and then use the account to set up the bad bots.

Bad bots usually target e-commerce (opens in new tab) applications and login portals. Of all the bad bot traffic, more than two-thirds (67%) happens in the US, and originates from public data centers.

Rest on weekends

The report found that Europe contributes 22% of all bad bot traffic, and unlike the US most of this doesn’t come from data centers, but rather hosting services and residential IPs. Bad bot traffic coming from Asia makes up 7.5% of all bad traffic.

Most of the time, bad bots follow a standard workday and rest on the weekends.

“While some bots like search engine crawlers are good, our research shows that over 60% of bots are dedicated to carrying out malicious activities at scale,” said Nitzan Miron, VP of Product Management, Application Security, Barracuda. “When left unchecked, these bad bots can steal data, affect site performance, and even lead to a breach. That’s why it’s critically important to detect and effectively block bot traffic.”

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.