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Imperva: Bad bots polluting web traffic pose security risks to websites

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Last year, 40.8% of all web traffic requests were not human, underscoring the growing scale of bot traffic across the Internet, Imperva Research Labs, a research group within security software and services company Imperva, said after an in-depth analysis of Internet traffic across every industry.

Above: In 2020, bad bot traffic reached a record high, amounting to 25.6% of all web traffic. Combined with the proportion of good bot traffic, 40.8% of all internet traffic last year was not human.

If you couldn’t find a new gaming console to purchase online in late 2020, this report explains why. Through an analysis of billions of bot requests collected from Imperva’s global network, Imperva Research Labs’ 8th annual Bad Bot Report provides an in-depth look at the bot problem that now spans every industry and every region.

Whether it’s a bot hoarding gaming hardware or a bot scraping for data as a means to collect and share helpful information with the public, when a site is polluted with automated traffic, it slows web performance and makes it harder for legitimate users to access the information or services they need.

While some bot activity may appear benign, Imperva’s report shows that bot activity can be a business risk. Last year, 34% of all login attempts originated from malicious bots – those that closely mimic human behavior and are harder to detect and stop. This particular breed of bots should be a concern for businesses as they are most often responsible for content scraping, account creation, account takeover, denial of service and denial of inventory.

The issue of bad bots is unlikely to slow down in the future. In 2020, bad bot traffic reached a record high — 25.6% of all web requests — while human traffic decreased by 5.7%. This is not a traditional security risk; it’s a 24/7 abuse of business’ websites, mobile apps and APIs.

Read more in Imperva’s full report Bad Bot Report.

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