Bad bots, bad bots, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

We’ll get to these troublemakers in a moment.

The more familiar form of bots that we all know (and maybe love, even though they’re not human — yes, anything is possible) are of the “good” variety. You know them, for example, when you type a request in chat rooms, and a chatbot responds with bewilderment that he isn’t sure that he “understands your request.”

As recode explains, this “increasingly common form of bots, chatbots, simulate conversation.” Think: an “online Siri.” They may even get perturbed at the more unsavory the language is in your conversation with them (I’ve never done that before — I’ve just heard things from friends).

This is just one specific form of bot, of course.

At a high level, a bot is “software designed to automate the kinds of tasks you would usually do on your own, like making a dinner reservation, adding an appointment to your calendar or fetching and displaying information.”

And these bots are a booming industry

…of course, if you could call them an industry. What we’re trying to say here is that these bots are a thriving bunch. In fact, according to the Distil Networks 2016 Bad Bots Landscape Report, 45.6% of all web traffic in 2015 was of this non-human variety.

I guess Mulder and Scully were right to believe, and legitimately be terrified of non-human lifeforms out there…

Bad bots, bad bots: The risk is real

Imagine now, though, that some of this 45.6% of bot traffic was of the “bad” variety. In other words, these bots automate tasks, but of the malicious variety, like content theft, brute force logins, account takeovers, application denial-of-service attacks…you get the picture.

According to the Distil report, the bad bots are gaining traction amongst their good counterparts — in fact, of this 45.6% figure, bad bots accounted for 18.6% of the non-human internet traffic, a number that’s continued to rise.

Bots: Not just for your dinner reservations, anymore

It’s clear that these up-to-no-good bad bots represent a significant portion of web traffic, and in turn, represent a real risk to enterprises everywhere.

As a result, Aberdeen Group vice president and research fellow Derek Brink points out that information security professionals–in their dual roles as subject matter experts and trusted advisors to the business leaders they serve–need to understand and quantify the real risk that these malicious bots represent to their respective organizations.

Or else, organizations will come face-to-face with non-human traffic that wants to take down your organizational resources…and not your dinner reservations.

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