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Report Indicates That Malicious Bot Traffic Continues To Grow | DrivingSales News

Report Indicates That Malicious Bot Traffic Continues To Grow

December 23, 2014 0 Comments

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Bot traffic is a significant problem that affects a multitude of businesses and digital marketers. In fact, in its most recent report on the state of the bot, Incapsula found that malicious bot traffic is increasing while “good bot” activity continues to decline.

Botnets are used for a variety of tasks, from legitimate and innocent search engine indexing and RSS feed compilation to mass-scale hack attacks, DDoS floods, spam schemes and click-fraud campaigns. The recently released report indicates that in 2013, bots accounted for more than 60 percent of all traffic flowing through Incapsula-protected domains. The report further indicated that while total bot activity dropped more than 10 percent this past year, the majority of the decline is due to a steady drop in bots that are associated with RSS services.

“Our analysts’ initial assumption was that the shift was related to the Google Reader service shutdown,” the report explained. “Upon further inspection, we saw that the Feedfetcher bot associated with the service was still as active as ever, while the decline in RSS bot activity was across the board. This downward trend is the main reason for the 10% drop in good bot activity and is another indication of the slow demise of RSS services.”

However, impersonator bot volume has continued to grow, increasing by almost 10 percent in 2014 and by over 15 percent since 2012. This includes DDoS bots having browser-like characteristics, rogue bots masked by proxy servers, and those attempting to masquerade as accepted search engine crawlers. The report indicates that this is the only bot category that has experienced consistent growth for three years in a row. Overall, Incapsula found that approximately one in three visitors is a malicious agent.

Malicious bot traffic is a problem for website owners and digital marketers as it affects their bandwidth consumption and, ultimately, their bottom line. However, smaller sites aren’t disproportionately affected when it comes to cyber-risk. “As it turns out, malicious bots pose a categorical threat to all websites, regardless of size,” the report indicated. “The average percentage of bad bots is consistently hovering around the 30 percent mark, regardless of website size or popularity.”

What can businesses and digital marketers do to lessen the burden? Ari Jacoby, CEO of Solve Media, believes the answer lies in utilizing verified human audiences. Jacoby thinks this concept will grow quickly in 2015, as media companies are “demanding to purchase only human ad traffic and viewable ads.” Jacoby continued by explaining just how massive the financial toll is on businesses. If Bloomingdale’s spends $200 million annual in digital, “we estimate $68 million of that could be wasted on bot traffic,” said Jacoby.

Jacoby further explained that the automotive sector, consumer product goods and retail were hit the hardest, due largely to the fact that these industries are the heaviest users of data targeting and retargeting, with a massive amount of money spent on digital advertising. The bots look for signals that assume that the consumer wants to buy a car, rather than survey data, where a consumer tells the brand that they are in the market for a new automobile. It can be easier for bots to simulate the process related to probabilistic data because there is no definitive answer.

About the Author:

Tommy Bay

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