Nearly half of all airline website traffic comes from bad bots

March 30, 2018

Malicious bots steal data and content and wreak havoc on websites, and airlines have the second-highest proportion of traffic from these bots, according to a new report.

Cybersecurity firm Distil Networks analyzed hundreds of billions of bad bot requests, anonymized over thousands of domains.

For airlines, bad bots accounted for 43.9% of all traffic on their websites in 2017. That puts the airline sector second to only gambling websites, which had 53.9% of their traffic from bots.

And it's more than twice as much as the average across all industries -- 21.8%.

Bots are used to automate a variety of harmful actions such as web scraping, competitive data mining, personal and financial data harvesting and digital ad fraud.

Distil Networks' senior director of security research, Anna Westelius, says airlines are also being targeted with a newer form of attack known as denial of inventory.

"This problem is huge in airlines because there are a lot of bots going in and holding airline seats for specific flights," she says.

"They are reselling them on other websites or holding them for competitive purposes. That does not only impact that airline badly because you end up with unsold seats or a bad user experience, but it's also a consumer problem because the airline prices increase."

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Bad bots are eating the internet, now accounting for 21.8% of all website traffic
Bad bots are eating the internet, now accounting for 21.8% of all website traffic