March 15, 2012, 11:19 AM —
Most web-site owners or managers consider increases in web traffic to be a good thing, but few take into account how much of that traffic comes not only from sources that are not human, but non-human sources that are also malicious.
Fifty-one percent of all web traffic comes from bots, software agents and other non-human sources, according to a study released yesterday by security and performance-management web-service company Incapsula.
About 20 percent of a site's total traffic comes from "good" non-human sources including search-engine spiders and other software agents collecting information for legitimate purposes that ultimately increase human traffic, according to the study, which analyzed traffic records from one thousand Incapsula customers, each of which received between 50,000 and 100,000 visitors per month.
The bad news for web-site owners, privacy advocates and security specialists is that almost a third – 31 percent – of all the traffic to an average site came from "bad" bots that insert spam messages into comment fields, scrapers that steal content to be reposted for profit on someone else's site, automated hacking tools and an array of spy tools designed to give the site's competitors a detailed view of its operations.
Malware-ish sources such as those are simple enough to block, but only for site managers who realize how high the volume of bad traffic is and who have the tools to filter it out, according to the report, from a company which sells a service designed to filter exactly that kind of traffic.