Bots Now Make Up More Than Half of Internet Traffic

May 28, 2015 John Patrick Pullen

Photo: Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

The web is at war, and the good guys are losing

The Internet has been described in many different ways over the years. We don’t use the term “information superhighway” much anymore, but a recent report may make you reconsider where and how you cruise around on it, regardless. That’s because a quarter of the cars on this road with you, dear reader, are being driven by mindless bandits looking to steal anything they can. Now, imagine traveling a road like that in the real world. No thanks, I’d rather walk.

Last year was the first time in history that bots outnumbered people on the web. According to research from Distil Networks, almost 60% of 2014’s web traffic consisted of automated bits of code, 23% of which exist to do dirty work for fraudsters and hackers. “It’s getting worse,” says Rami Essaid, Distil’s CEO. “Over the past ten years, they went from just kind of being out there and easy to detect to being really, really sophisticated.”

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About the Author

John Patrick Pullen covers tech, from Apple-related products to smart home gear, for TIME. Based in Portland, Ore., he has also written for Entrepreneur, Fortune, Wired. For more, visit

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