Internet infrastructure

Bots make up 42% of internet traffic – report


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Bots make up 42% of internet traffic – report
Akamai's report says that of the 42.1% of bot traffic, some two-thirds of it was considered malicious

Web services company Akamai, in a report last June 25, said 42.1% of overall online traffic came from bots, adding that within that percentage, approximately two-thirds of the bots were considered malicious.

The Akamai report categorized malicious bots by their main functions or uses: web scraping, traffic, spam, social media sharing, scalping, file-sharing, download, DDoS botnets, and credential-stuffing. 

Benevolent bots, on the other hand, were primarily designed to help users navigate a site or ease usability. Web-scraping is a function that can be beneficial or malicious depending on the owner of the bot. 

Web scraping, according to Forbes, refers to the automated extraction of data, including images, contacts, and details, from a site. It provides a holistic perspective of the information embedded within the website. 

On the malicious end, such types of extracted data can be misused to set up phishing scams aimed at stealing people’s credit card information. Meanwhile, the information can also be used to improve aspects of the internet, such as search engines and the like. 

The report mentioned that with the improvement of AI technology, scraping has become easier than before. AI botnets can collect and extract cluttered data, eventually processing it. 

This story is somewhat aligned with the “Dead-internet Theory,” explained by Kaitlyn Tiffany from The Atlantic. With roots from 4chan, it believes “the internet has been almost entirely taken over by artificial intelligence,” as Tiffany wrote. Despite the ridiculous premise, there is a hint of reality in the conspiracy theory, especially given the explosion of AI technology over the past few years. 

Studies as far back as the late 2010s found a high number of botted accounts disseminating disinformation, as reported by The Conversation. The bots were caught spreading unreliable articles and contributing heavily to the discussion surrounding politically charged events. 

The state of the internet mirrors the same image of the past, maybe even worse, with AI being utilized for political messages.

A Kremlin-based network previously employed AI to promote an anti-Biden video on social media, resulting in millions of views.

NBC’s story about the viral sensation “Crab Jesus,” or the spread of AI-created images of Jesus, meanwhile, doesn’t help dispel the narrative of the AI pandemic on the internet. – Rav Ayag/

Rav Ayag is a Tech and Features intern at Rappler. He is an incoming senior at the Ateneo de Manila University in the Bachelor of Fine Arts Creative Writing program. 

This story was vetted by a reporter and an editor.


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