Bots Surf Web More Than Humans: If You're On The Internet, Chances Are You're Not Human
Well, Android's logo is making a lot more sense. "Bots" are slowly overtaking the interwebs: A new study from Cloud-based "application delivery program" Incapsula attests that the virtual task-robots now account for 61.5 percent of web traffic, which indeed means that the majority of internet 'users' aren't human. Bots are basically tools designed to crawl around and collect analytical data and index content — doing a human job, but in a really fast and completely non-human way.
The bots — which aren't physical forms at all (although that would be cooler) are lines of code designed by companies to carry out these helpful tasks. Last year, the human-to-bot ratio was at 49 percent human, 51 percent bots. As more and more of them are created for use in internet housekeeping, it's likely that the ratio will eventually become even more bot-heavy than this year's.
In order to gather their data, Incapusla researchers monitored 1.48 billion visits by bots across 20,000 of its clients' websites. The increase, they figured out, is attributable to two things: More bots from a great number of companies specializing in search engine optimization (SEO, aka how websites and content gets noticed on Google,) and a general increase in bot traffic.
However, there is a little leeway in the data — though not enough to distract from the overall results, said Dr. Ian Brown, the associate director at Oxford Unversity's Cyber Security Center. "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."
What he's referring to is the dark side of the website-trawling world, where five types of bad bots exist. "Scrapers" do things like steal email addresses for spam, "hackers" sprinkle malware around, "impersonators" crash websites, and "spammers" just spam, a.k.a. annoy the crap out of everyone. Luckily the increase in bots this year is largely of the "good bot" variety: About half of bots are bad ones, and there's fewer spammers than ever out there.
But there's a darker side to the dark side: This year saw an eight percent increase in "Impersonators," bots that can't be classified into one category, because they're constantly trying to pose as a kind of good bot to bypass security on websites and wreak havoc from there. There are also a bunch on Tinder, so your online crush may, actually, be a robot. Happy online dating!
Goodness. Bravo needs to make this stuff into a reality show.