Malicious bots make up 73% of internet traffic, report says

In a worrying revelation by the fraud control platform Arkos LabsNearly 73% of internet traffic on the websites and apps analyzed between January and September 2023 was attributed to bots involved in malicious activities. This revelation gives rise to discussion about the significant loss of valuable resources due to such nefarious activities.

Q3 2023 saw the dominance of five primary categories of bad bot activities, including account takeover, scraping, fake account creation, account management, and in-product abuse. This is similar to the second quarter, with the notable exception of in-product misuse for card testing.

Among the categories, SMS toll fraud saw the highest quarter-on-quarter growth, increasing by 2,141% in the third quarter compared to the previous quarter. Equally notable was the 160% increase in attacks on customer support call centers during the same period. Scraping, which had the most significant increase of 432% from Q1 to Q2 2023, highlights the dynamic nature of these malicious activities.

Archos Labs reported a 291% increase in intelligent bot attacks from Q1 to Q2. This surge is linked to the use of sophisticated technologies, including machine learning and AI, which enable these bots to mimic human behavior with increased adaptability. In cases where AI and technology fall short, cybercriminals resort to human-powered fraud farms to carry out their attacks. Fraudulent operations have been primarily identified in Brazil, India, Russia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The increasing trend of rogue bot attacks shows that cyber criminals find this method of operation highly profitable. The integration of intelligent AI is expected to worsen the situation, raising concerns about the efficacy of existing defense mechanisms. A few months ago, we reported that Microsoft’s Bing Chat was recommending malware ads that sent users to malicious websites instead of filtering them.

While the proliferation of malicious bots is a cause for concern, it is important to acknowledge the existence of beneficial bots that contribute positively to the online ecosystem. Perform many useful functions such as indexing websites for search engines, handling basic customer service tasks, and managing social media experiences.

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