Bots Compose 42% of Overall Web Traffic; Nearly Two-Thirds Are Malicious – Global Security Mag Online

Akamai Technologies, Inc.’s latest State of the Internet (SOTI) report, titled “Scrap

Akamai Technologies, Inc.’s latest State of the Internet (SOTI) report, titled “Scraping Away Your Bottom Line: How Web Scrapers Impact Ecommerce,” sheds light on the security and business threats that organizations face due to the proliferation of web scraping bots. A striking revelation from the report is that bots account for 42% of overall web traffic, with 65% of these bots being identified as malicious.

The ecommerce sector, highly dependent on web applications for revenue, experiences the most severe impact from high-risk bot traffic. While certain bots can offer benefits, the use of web scraper bots for competitive intelligence, espionage, inventory hoarding, and the creation of impostor sites poses significant challenges. These activities not only harm a company’s bottom line but also degrade the customer experience. Complicating matters, the legal framework does little to curb the use of scraper bots, and their detection is increasingly difficult with the advent of AI-driven botnets. However, strategies exist to mitigate these risks.

Patrick Sullivan, CTO of Security Strategy at Akamai, emphasizes the widespread challenges bots present. “Bots continue to be a major issue for app and API owners, leading to pain points such as data theft and the creation of impersonation sites. The landscape of scraping is evolving with technologies like headless browser technology, necessitating a sophisticated approach beyond traditional JavaScript-based solutions to manage bot activity,” Sullivan explains.

Key Insights from the Report:

  • AI Botnets: These botnets can target and scrape unstructured data, using business intelligence to amplify decision-making processes. This includes the collection, extraction, and processing of data.
  • Phishing Campaigns: Scraper bots can create sophisticated phishing schemes by stealing product images, descriptions, and pricing to build counterfeit stores or phishing sites, aiming to capture credentials or credit card information.
  • Account Opening Abuse: Scraper bots also play a role in facilitating abuse in the creation of new accounts, a significant source of fraud losses, making up to 50% according to recent studies.
  • Technical Impacts: Regardless of the bots’ intentions, being scraped can lead to numerous issues for organizations, including degraded website performance, site metric pollution, compromised credentials through phishing, increased computing costs, and other setbacks.

The “Scraping Away Your Bottom Line” report not only highlights the threats posed by scraper bots but also offers mitigation strategies. It features a case study demonstrating the improvements in website speed and efficiency that can be achieved with proper defenses against these bots. Additionally, the report outlines compliance considerations, underscoring the necessity for businesses to adopt strategies in light of increasing attacks.

This year, Akamai celebrates a decade of its SOTI reports, which offer expert insights into cybersecurity and web performance landscapes. These reports draw on data gathered from Akamai Connected Cloud, providing an invaluable resource for understanding the digital threats of our time.

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