Human beings on the internet are now a minority, the BBC reports:
A study by Incapsula suggests 61.5% of all website traffic is now generated by bots. The security firm said that was a 21% rise on last year’s figure of 51%.
Some of these automated software tools are malicious – stealing data or posting ads for scams in comment sections. But the firm said the biggest growth in traffic was for “good” bots.
These are tools used by search engines to crawl websites in order to index their content, by analytics companies to provide feedback about how a site is performing, and by others to carry out specific tasks – such as helping the Internet Archive preserve content before it is deleted.
To generate its report, Incapsula said it observed 1.45 billion bot visits over a 90 day period. Dr Ian Brown, associate director at Oxford University’s Cyber Security Centre, said the figures were useful as an indication of the growth in non-human traffic.