Web Bots vs Humans: We’re Losing
51% of all web site traffic is non-human. If you’re reading this, you’re in the minority. Unless you’re a machine (check your ports — if they’re warm and moist, you’re probably OK).
The study was undertaken by Incapsula, a website security company. While we haven’t quite reached the point where Skynet becomes self-aware and dispatches Terminators to wipe us out, it does appear that the web would continue to operate happily without us.
Data was collected from a sample of 1,000 websites which use Incapsula services. The report concluded that web traffic is generated from:
- 49%: people browsing the web
- 20%: search engines bots indexing pages
- 19%: spy-bots collecting competitive intelligence
- 5%: website scrapers
- 5%: automated hacking tools searching vulnerabilities
- 2%: automated comment spammers
It’s easy to be cynical about these reports, especially when they’re conducted by a security company which could enjoy commercial benefits from scare-mongering. That said, it does indicate a significant volume of hacking activity even if the report is somewhat skewed or exaggerated.
If you or your clients aren’t concerned about security, perhaps it’s time to evaluate that policy. If we assume Incapsula report is over-estimated by a factor of 300%, malicious activity will still account for one in ten website requests. That’s equivalent to the average number of all IE6, IE7, Firefox 3.x and Opera users combined. Nasty.
Humans may be losing the web war, but at least we can win a few battles.
Do you believe Incapsula’s report? How does it compare with your website statistics? Have you successfully defeated a major hacking attempt?