The number of malicious bots circulating around the internet and impacting website performance increased by 9.5 in 2017, accounting for 21.8 percent of all traffic, according to a new report Tuesday from bot detection and mitigation firm Distil Networks, based on data collected from its global network.
In 2016, the total share of bad bot website traffic was nearly a full two percentage points lower, at 19.9 percent. The overall share of good bot traffic also went up year over year, from 18.8 percent in 2016 to 20.4 percent in 2017. Meanwhile, humans comprised 57.8 percent of all traffic last year.
Malicious bots can perform any number of sketchy activities, including account takeovers, account creations, credit card fraud, denial of service attacks, gift card balance checking and denial of inventory (by holding in-demand items in shopping carts).
According to Distil's annual “Bad Bot Report," the industry that saw the heaviest percentage of website traffic generated by malicious bots in 2017 (compared to good bots and human traffic) was gambling (53.1 percent of all traffic). "Aggregators relentlessly scrape online gambling companies for the ever-changing betting lines they offer," the report states. "Such aggressive activity causes denial of service problems and sends customers elsewhere. Account takeovers are also a major problem."