Bad Bot Report 2021: The Pandemic of the Internet

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…


Myanmar junta limits internet, seizes satellite TV dishes


Internet Security Hardware Market Key Players, Volumes, and Investment Opportunities 2021-2026

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Internet Security Hardware Market Key Players, Volumes, and Investment Opportunities 2021-2026

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Regional segmentation: North America, Europe,…


Myanmar’s Internet Shutdown Is an Act of ‘Vast Self-Harm’

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From June 2019 until this February, 1.4 million people in Myanmar’s Rakhine state dealt with the longest government-mandated internet shutdown in history, targeted at the Rohingya ethnic minority that makes up most of Rakhine’s population. The connectivity blackout finally ended at the beginning of February, days after Myanmar’s military deposed democratically elected officials and seized control of the country. But the reprieve was short-lived. 

Over the past two months the military junta has continued to use the mechanisms for digital control put in place by Myanmar’s previous regimes, escalating platform-blocking and digital censorship across Myanmar and initiating different combinations of mobile data and wireless broadband outages, including various overnight connectivity blackouts for 46 consecutive days. On the 47th night, this Friday at 1 am local time, the government mandated that all telecoms cut wireless and mobile internet access across the entire country. More than 24 hours later, it has not returned.

“What authorities are doing in the online environment is a reflection of their crackdown in the offline environment,” says Oliver Spencer, adviser to Free Expression Myanmar, a domestic human rights group. “They’re destroying businesses, conducting raids, arbitrarily rounding people up, and shooting people. Their objective is to spread so much fear that the unrest, the opposition, just dies, because people’s fear overtakes their anger. Shutting down the internet is meant to be just one demonstration of their absolute power. But it’s a vast self-harm.”

Authorities have left hardwired internet access available so banks, large corporations, and the junta’s own operations can retain some connectivity. But the overwhelming majority of Myanmar’s 54 million citizens, as well as its small and medium-sized businesses and gig economy, rely on mobile data and wireless broadband access for their internet. Physical phone, coaxial cable, or fiber optic hookups are rare in the country. 

In addition to stifling speech, communication, and digital rights, the indiscriminate internet blackouts are destroying Myanmar’s economy, halting pandemic-related remote schooling, and disrupting…