Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

12/10/2013
02:42 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

'Imposter' Bots On The Rise

A whopping 61.5 percent of all website traffic is attributed to bots of all types, new report finds

Both good and bad bots are frequenting websites, but, overall, the traffic they generate makes up more than half of all site traffic.

A new study by Incapsula based on 1.45 billion bot visits to some 20,000 websites worldwide in a 90-day period found that these code-based visitors account for 61.5 percent of all website traffic, an increase of 21 percent over 2012.

The good news is that most of that growth comes from good bots -- search engine crawlers, SEO services crawlers, and other types of legitimate software agents, for instance. And spam bots are down from 2 percent in 2012 to 0.5 percent this year. Much of that is due to Google's efforts to discourage comment-spamming SEO methods as well as link-spamming.

"We've noticed a 75 percent reduction in comment spammers, and that's really significant," says Marc Gaffan, co-founder of Incapsula.

The bad news is that 31 percent of bots are malicious. There was an 8 percent increase in unclassified bots with hostile intentions, according to Incapsula. Those are bots posing as legit agents, such as search-engine or browser user agents. The aim of these "impersonators" is to bypass the website's security, and they are typically built for specific malicious activity, such as automated DDoS agents or Trojan-activated browsers.

"The increase in impersonation is obviously a bad sign ... and it's also a bad symptom of increased malicious activities," Gaffan says. These automated bots also can be used to scan websites for holes or to impersonate a Google bot, he says.

"Sixteen percent of all websites had some type of good impersonation going on," he says.

The key to combating unwanted impersonator bots is to benchmark legitimate ones, and to get the proper visibility into their presence and activity, he says. "You want to make sure you don't block some of the good bots. Blocking Google bots by mistake can be hazardous" to your SEO investment, for example, Gaffan says.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Sodinokibi Ransomware: Where Attackers' Money Goes
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  10/15/2019
Data Privacy Protections for the Most Vulnerable -- Children
Dimitri Sirota, Founder & CEO of BigID,  10/17/2019
7 SMB Security Tips That Will Keep Your Company Safe
Steve Zurier, Contributing Writer,  10/11/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: The old using of sock puppets for Shoulder Surfing technique. 
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
2019 Online Malware and Threats
2019 Online Malware and Threats
As cyberattacks become more frequent and more sophisticated, enterprise security teams are under unprecedented pressure to respond. Is your organization ready?
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-17513
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-18
An issue was discovered in Ratpack before 1.7.5. Due to a misuse of the Netty library class DefaultHttpHeaders, there is no validation that headers lack HTTP control characters. Thus, if untrusted data is used to construct HTTP headers with Ratpack, HTTP Response Splitting can occur.
CVE-2019-8216
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-17
Adobe Acrobat and Reader versions , 2019.012.20040 and earlier, 2017.011.30148 and earlier, 2017.011.30148 and earlier, 2015.006.30503 and earlier, and 2015.006.30503 and earlier have an out-of-bounds read vulnerability. Successful exploitation could lead to information disclosure .
CVE-2019-8217
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-17
Adobe Acrobat and Reader versions , 2019.012.20040 and earlier, 2017.011.30148 and earlier, 2017.011.30148 and earlier, 2015.006.30503 and earlier, and 2015.006.30503 and earlier have an use after free vulnerability. Successful exploitation could lead to arbitrary code execution .
CVE-2019-8218
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-17
Adobe Acrobat and Reader versions , 2019.012.20040 and earlier, 2017.011.30148 and earlier, 2017.011.30148 and earlier, 2015.006.30503 and earlier, and 2015.006.30503 and earlier have an out-of-bounds read vulnerability. Successful exploitation could lead to information disclosure .
CVE-2019-8219
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-17
Adobe Acrobat and Reader versions , 2019.012.20040 and earlier, 2017.011.30148 and earlier, 2017.011.30148 and earlier, 2015.006.30503 and earlier, and 2015.006.30503 and earlier have an use after free vulnerability. Successful exploitation could lead to arbitrary code execution .