Barracuda report reveals half of all internet traffic is bot-generated – IT Brief Australia

A recent report by Barracuda, a trusted partner and provider of cloud-first security solutions, has unveiled some rather unsettling discoveries about internet traffic. The report indicates that approximately half (48%) of all internet traffic is now bot traffic, and a relatively significant portion of this- 30%- is attributed to harmful bots.
The findings are part of Barracuda's latest Threat Spotlight report. It examines how bot traffic has changed over the years and the emerging threats to cybersecurity.
The bad news is that although the percentage of bot traffic has lessened from 39% in 2021 to 30% in 2023, the nature of these bot attacks has evolved and is taking a more dangerous shape.
The categorisation of bots is broadly classified into two types: good and bad. Good bots are search engine crawlers or content monitors which keep the internet functioning, while bad bots are programmed with ill intentions. These can range from basic scraping to advanced distributed denial-of-service attacks.
An analysis of bot traffic origins in the first six months of 2023 shows that the majority (72%) originated from the U.S., followed by the U.A.E (12%), Saudi Arabia (6%), Qatar (5%) and India (5%). Barracuda researchers, however, caution that these figures are skewed towards the U.S., with 67% of the traffic from bad bots hailing from public cloud data centres' IP ranges.
The researchers further highlighted that the bulk of harmful bot traffic originates from two major public clouds, AWS and Azure. This could be because setting up an account with these service providers is free and relatively easy. Attackers use them to orchestrate bad bot attacks, the report suggests.
The study also discovered that a third of bad bot traffic is generated from residential IP addresses. This is typically a veil, with bot creators using these residential IPs through proxies in a bid to bypass IP blocks and remain undetected.
Reflecting on the findings, Mark Lukie, Director of Solution Architects at Barracuda, Asia-Pacific, says: "The findings show that bots are getting cleverer, and attacks against APIs are increasing. This is likely due to many organisations having weak authentication and access policies, plus a lack of bot-specific security measures."
Despite the alarming findings, there is an upside. Lukie points to the increasing ease of protection against these evolving threats: "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."
Through this report, Barracuda aims to highlight the increasing sophistication and malintent of bot attacks. Enabling better responses and more robust preemptive measures to these cyber threats is high on Barracuda's agenda as the company continues to provide enterprise-grade security solutions to businesses across the globe.