Bots have been on the Internet for a really long time. Maybe you weren’t even born, when the first one was programmed to automate a task or pretend to be a real person.
During the time, their role became more and more important. They are the majority of the internet by now. According to the latest studies, the traffic of a random website shows 56% bot traffic and only 44% human traffic. Have you ever thought about this?
Good bots – Bad bots
Behind the scenes, bots hack, spam, scam, crawl and do whatever a human can do, on a bigger and automated scale.
Good bots are little helping hands in our everyday lives. They include search engine crawlers (like Googlebot, that crawls sites and catalog the web), SEO tools or RSS readers.
At the same time, bots are often used as tools for today’s cyber criminals. Over 90% of all web attacks (DDoS, click-fraud campaigns, web application threats, forum spam and contact form spam actions, etc.) are executed by bots nowadays.
Not surprisingly, the distribution of the above-mentioned traffic of an average site is: 44% human, 27% good bots, 29% bad bots.
Researches show that little sites are compromised more often than large enterprise sites. Travel sites, webshops, digital publishing, real estate pages and government sites often have bad bot visitors as well.
Revenue generating websites, working with online advertising models are also targeted by bot traffic. Click-based models, that are designed to be under control and to be effective, ironically fall a prey to their own policies: click-fraud bots can ruin the advertisers’ profitability easily. Only security tools can help them to deal with malicious non-human traffic.
Bots can impact on KPIs
Measuring is a key action in a business’ life. However, bots – either good or bad – can frustrate your efforts to improve your success. Let’s see how.
As we mentioned above, click-fraud bots can boost up your CPC costs in the blink of an eye. Their actions destroy the overall efficiency of your campaigns and finally, you won’t be able to tell which click came from a bot or a human. Your marketing expenses, lost revenue and CTR will also suffer from this.
With ~56% bot traffic on your site, your perceived page views and traffic will appear higher than reality. Spoiling your conversion rate and slowing down your page speed with high volume of requests are real threats when it comes to your organic rankings or page rank.
Hacks can make your days more difficult and less effective. And now we don’t talk only about the marketing mess, detailed above. Just think about the support time (cost) that a brute forced site or a data leakage needs.
Extreme security challenges for IT teams
Planning web security has been quite a neglected area for a long time when it came to building up a web infrastructure for server security. By now, the situation is reversed. (No wonder, news are full of hacker activity headlines.) Prevention became more important than post-treatments which could hardly offer complete solution.
We also advocate this approach, so our team’s developing BitNinja to defend as many kind of web attacks as we can.
Single hackers, crackers can cause huge problems in the operation of a company, but botnet attacks mean the major volume most of all.
Just to see the most popular badbot attack types, BitNinja catches day by day:
- Brute force logins
- Click frauds
- Vulnerability scanning
- Web scraping
- DoS attacks
- Data mining
- Account hijacking
By defending these web attacks, your KPI’s will show improvement and your customers will be happy to be protected from these illegal actions. As a result, your network traffic, server’s load and the incoming spam flood will be reduced dramatically. Your servers will be listed to spamlists less frequently, the spikes from your load statistics will disappear, and the servers’ overall reliability will increase.