The latest study from Incapsula, a cloud-based web security and performance service company found that bot traffic increased by 21% to 61.5% compared with the 38.5% traffic generated by humans this year.

Bots Outnumber Humans In Web Traffic [STUDY]

Growth of bot traffic

The study indicated that the significant growth of bot traffic was due to the increase of visits by good bots, up by 20% to 30% in 2013. Incapsula explained that the emergence of new online services paved the way for the introduction of new bot types such as SEO-oriented services that crawl to a site at an average rate of 30-50 visits per day.

The firm also explained that the activities of existing good bots such as search engine-type crawlers increased.

Malicious bots

The study also found the 31% of bots are malicious, but with lesser spammers. The web security firm noticed that the amount of bot activity from spammers declined from 2% last year to 0.05% this year. According to the firm, the best explanation for the decline of spammers was due to the anti-spam campaign of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG).

According to Incapsuala, “Based on our figures, it looks like Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) was able to discourage link spamming practices, causing a 75% decrease in automated link spamming activity.”

The study also found evidence of more sophisticated hacking activity. The web security firm said the activity of “other impersonators,” a group consists if unclassified bots with hostile intentions increased by 8% to 20.5%.

Browser user-agents

“The common denominator for this group is that all of its members are trying to assume someone else’s identity. For example, some of these bots use browser user-agents while others try to pass themselves as search engine bots or agents of other legitimate services. The goal is always the same – to infiltrate their way through the website’s security measures,” according to Incapsula.

The web security firm said the impersonators represent a higher-tier in the both hierarchy in terms of capabilities and functionality. Such impersonators could be automated spy bots, human-like DDoS agents or a Trojan-activated barebones browser. The firm added, “These are also the tools of top-tier hackers who are proficient enough to create their own malware.”