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Bad Bot Report 2021: The Pandemic of the Internet

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The 8th Annual Bad Bot Report is now available from Imperva. Created using data from Imperva’s Threat Research Lab, it provides a comprehensive look at the bad bot landscape and the impact that this malicious traffic has across multiple industries.

Bad bot traffic amounted to 25.6 percent of all website traffic in 2020. This means that a record-breaking quarter of all internet traffic originated from bad bots last year.

Bad Bod Report Fig 1

Key findings from the 2021 Bad Bot Report:

Bad bot traffic now accounts for a quarter of all internet traffic. Increasing by 6.2 percent from the previous year, bad bot traffic now represents no less than a quarter of all internet traffic. Good bot traffic has risen 16 percent from last year, amounting to 15.2 percent of all traffic. Astoundingly, regardless of the increase in human traffic due to the global pandemic, human traffic decreased by 5.7 percent from last year to 59.2 of all traffic.

Telecom and ISPs were hit the hardest by bad bots. The bad bot problem is a cross industry one. Due to the wide variety of nefarious activities bad bots are capable of, such as account takeover using credential stuffing, to scraping of proprietary data, Grinchbots and more, their targets are varied, too. The top 5 industries with the most bad bot traffic include Telecom & ISPs (45.7%), Computing & IT (41.1%), Sports (33.7%), News (33%), and Business Services (29.7%).

Moderate and sophisticated bad bots still constitute the majority of bad bot traffic. Categorized as Advanced Persistent Bots or APBs, these accounted for 57.1 percent of bad bot traffic in 2020. These are plaguing websites and often avoid detection by cycling through random IP addresses, entering through anonymous proxies, changing their identities, and mimicking human behavior.

Bad bots have taken a liking to mobile identities. While Chrome remains a favorite identity for bad bots to impersonate, its overall share significantly dropped in 2020. Mobile clients like Mobile Safari, Mobile Chrome and others accounted for 28.1 percent of all bad bot requests in 2020. This is a significant increase compared to last year’s 12.9 percent.

Bad bots often originate from the same country they…

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Twitter “bot” purge causes outcry from trollerati as follower counts fall

A number of “alt-right,” pro-Trump, and self-described conservative social media personalities awoke this morning to find that they had a lot fewer followers on Twitter than they had the night before. The apparent cause was the latest culling by Twitter of accounts that in some way violated the company’s terms of service, a Twitter spokesperson told Ars, including “behaviors that indicate automated activity or violations of our policies around having multiple accounts, or abuse.” The sweep has some on the right accusing Twitter of politically motivated censorship.

“Twitter’s tools are apolitical, and we enforce our rules without political bias,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement emailed to Ars. The accounts were targeted as part of “our ongoing work in safety,” the spokesperson said. “We also take action on any accounts we find that violate our terms of service, including asking account owners to confirm a phone number so we can confirm a human is behind it. That’s why some people may be experiencing suspensions or locks. This is part of our ongoing, comprehensive efforts to make Twitter safer and healthier for everyone.”

In response to the sudden culling of accounts, starting at around 1am Eastern Time today, some aligned with “alt-right” figures such as white supremacist Richard Spencer started the #TwitterLockOut and #TwitterPurge hashtags, and some resurfaced Project Veritas’ accusations that Twitter employees were deliberately censoring “right-leaning” accounts. Spencer himself claimed to have lost over 1,000 followers over a few hours overnight; Janna “Deplorable” Wilkinson, who had her own account suspended in October, claimed to have lost 3,500 followers.

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Biz & IT – Ars Technica