A trustworthy partner and supplier of cloud-first security solutions, Barracuda, recently released a report that revealed some fairly frightening findings regarding internet traffic. According to the report, bot traffic currently makes up about half (48%) of all internet traffic, with hazardous bots responsible for a sizable chunk of this traffic (30%).

The results are included in the most recent Threat Spotlight report from Barracuda. It looks at the evolution of bot traffic over time and the new cybersecurity risks.

Unfortunately, while the proportion of bot traffic has decreased from 39% in 2021 to 30% in 2023, the nature of these attacks has changed and is becoming more harmful.

Bots can be broadly categorized into two categories: good and negative. While malicious bots are designed with malicious purpose, good bots are content monitors and search engine crawlers that maintain the functionality of the internet. These might be anything from sophisticated distributed denial-of-service attacks to simple scraping.

According to a research of the origins of bot traffic in the first half of 2023, the United States accounted for 72% of the origins, with the United Arab Emirates (12%), Saudi Arabia (6%), Qatar (5%), and India (5%). Researchers from Barracuda, however, warn that these numbers are biased towards the United States because 67% of the traffic from malicious bots originates from IP ranges associated with public cloud data centers.

The researchers also noted that AWS and Azure, the two main public clouds, are the source of the majority of malicious bot traffic. This might be as a result of how simple and free it is to create an account with these service providers. Per the research, attackers use them to plan malicious bot assaults.

The investigation also found that residential IP addresses account for one-third of the malicious bot traffic. Usually a veil, bot developers use proxies to access these residential IPs in an attempt to get around IP limitations and stay hidden.

Mark Lukie, Director of Solution Architects at Barracuda, Asia-Pacific, comments on the results, saying: “Bots are becoming more intelligent, and attacks on APIs are growing. This is probably because many organizations lack bot-specific security controls in addition to having lax authentication and access restrictions.”

There is a silver lining despite the concerning results. Lukie notes that defense against these dynamic threats is becoming easier to achieve: “Web Application and API Protection (WAAP) services can help you to identify and stop bad bots in their tracks.”

“Alongside this, if your web application firewall is configured with rate limiting and monitoring, and you have credential stuffing protection, you can not only increase your chances of staving off these attacks, but also help to prevent account takeover as well.”

Barracuda hopes to draw attention to the growing sophistication and malevolence of bot attacks with this paper. As the company continues to offer enterprise-grade security solutions to businesses worldwide, Barracuda places a high priority on enabling better responses and more robust preventative actions to these cyber threats.

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