Traffic from malicious bots, the report finds, has increased by nearly 10 percent in the past year to 21.8% of all internet traffic. In some industries the percentage of traffic coming from bad bots accounts for half of all visitor traffic.
The report defines malicious bots as those that "scrape data from sites without permission in order to reuse it (e.g., pricing, inventory levels) and gain a competitive edge," as well as "nefarious ones [that] undertake criminal activities, such as fraud and outright theft."
Malicious bots can, among other things, steal credentials, cause denial of service, create fake accounts to flood services, scrape prices and content, cause denial of inventory by holding items in shopping carts, and perform mass credit card fraud.
Contrary to popular belief that bad bots are originating from overseas, nearly half of all malicious bot traffic originates from data centers in the United States. The percentage of traffic coming from data centers continues to grow in large part due to cloud hosting, which is an excellent way to disguise bot traffic and hide the identity of the originator.