Bad Bots Running Wild Online

March 17, 2017

Nearly every website containing a login page is under attack from bots looking to access the site, a new report has revealed.

Distil’s 2017 Bad Bot Report, which looks back at 2016’s bot activity, found that 96% of websites with a login elements were hit by bot activity, while 97% of sites with proprietary content and/or pricing were hit by unwanted scraping. Around one-third (30%) of websites containing forms were hit by spam bots. Nine out of 10 websites were hit by bots that got behind the login page, which means they could have accessed sensitive data.

Overall what makes websites attractive to bots includes: unique content and/or product and pricing information; sign-up, login, and account pages; payment processors; and web forms, such as contact, discussion forums, and reviews.

In total, 40% of all internet traffic recorded in 2016 came from bots, with bad bots accounting for half of that traffic, a 7% increase on the previous year. Bad bots are increasingly hitting larger websites, the report said. These bad bots can be used by rival companies looking for a competitive advantage via inventory levels or pricing information, or they can be used to cyber-criminals for fraud, data theft, brute force attacks or account hijacking, for example.

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