Robot Librarians Are Fighting Robot Thieves For Control Of The Internet
DID you know that 61% of all web traffic is created by robots? A new report from web security company Incapsula says robots read the web more than humans. The company spotted at 1.45 billion bots from 20,000 websites over three months. Of the 61% robots, 31% are malicious.
Dr Ian Brown, associate director at Oxford University’s Cyber Security Centre, tells the BBC:
“Their own customers may or may not be representative of the wider web. There will also be some unavoidable fuzziness in their data, given that they are trying to measure malicious website visits where by definition the visitors are trying to disguise their origin.”
Frederic Lardinois ponders:
At first glance, this sounds like this means the number of nefarious attacks is up, but Incapsula actually notes that the bulk of growth in this number is due to what it calls “good bots.” Visits from certified agents from search engines and similar tools increased from 20 percent to 31 percent, for example. According to Incapsula, many search engines have lately increased their sampling rates. In addition, the SEO tools that try to help websites rank higher once they are crawled, also now often visit sites more often than ever before.
Alexis Madrigal wonders what robots buy and contribute:
The point is: It’s so easy to build bots that do various things that they are overrunning the human traffic on the web. Now, to understand the human web, we have to reckon with the logic of the non-human web. It is, in part, shady traffic that allows ad networks and exchanges to flourish. And these automated ad buying platforms — while they do a lot of good, no doubt about it — also put pressure on other publishers to sell ads more cheaply. When they do that, there’s less money for content, and the content quality suffers. The ease of building bots, in other words, hurts what you read each and every day on the Internet.
Jamie Frevele reaches out:
That’s nearly a third of the entire internet out to destroy the internet. Creepy. Well, in the spirit of making nice with our robotic overlords, here is a friendly greeting in binary:
They invade at dawn.