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Close to half of all internet traffic is fake, report says

Nonhuman Traffic Is Taking Over The Internet. This May Seem Implausible, Given How Much Consumers Are Being Asked To "prove" Their "humanity" These Days, But That's The Reality Of Life In The Digital Realm.

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Nandini Shukla | Updated on: 24 Mar 2022, 07:29:47 PM

internet traffic is fake (Photo Credit: file photo)

New Delhi:

Nonhuman traffic is taking over the internet. This may seem implausible, given how much consumers are being asked to “prove” their “humanity” these days, but that’s the reality of life in the digital realm.

Human traffic on the internet decreased in 2020: report

There are now an estimated close to 5 billion internet users around the world. What’s surprising is that only about of this traffic comes from “humans”; in fact, human traffic actually decreased by 5.7 percent from 2019 to 59.2 percent of all traffic in 2020 even though the world effectively went into lockdown due to the pandemic, according to data from Imperva.

The remaining 40.8 percent of internet traffic in 2020 is made up of “bots,” with the bad bot traffic taking up 25.6 percent share while the good bot traffic has 15.2 percent. According to Imperva, “Increasing by 6.2 percent from the previous year, bad bot traffic now represents no less than a quarter of all internet traffic.”

It’s worth noting that while they’re called “bots,” they’re still a type of an Internet user—just not a genuine one. There are different types of fake traffic, as described in a Forbes article. The common ones are the fraudsters and scammers, but there are also the click farms that deploy fake traffic in social media, for paid marketing as well as affiliate marketing. There are also the malicious botnets used by suspicious groups for cyberattacks, data breaches and even account takeovers as part of the modern cyberwarfare.

“There are of course many other types of fake traffic traversing the massive internet highway, but the main takeaway is that anyone doing business online today must be aware of the reality we’re living in,” it noted.

Internet users are getting smarter with online privacy

One type of “bot” traffic identified by the Forbes article are proxy users, who utilize tools that will mask their identity and location while they are browsing the world wide web. Currently, an estimated 1.27 billion users are interested or are already using proxy services.

The growing preference for a residential proxy service can be attributed to the growing awareness among internet users about the importance of their privacy amid the increasing number of hacking activities and data mining operations being deployed by many companies. Compared to data center proxies, which work similar to VPNS in that the IP addresses are hosted in data centers, private users are opting to use residential proxies which belong to devices used by real people who have more extensive or particular requirements.

Although they’re on the pricier side compared to data center proxies, are in constant demand. According to an ENV Media study on internet privacy, this is because “an individual’s network activity raises fewer concerns and is less often subjected to countermeasures by targeted domains and resources. Web servers ‘trust’ them and are less likely to block or ban the IPs in question.”

The bottom line is that more and more internet users are now being cautious of who is seeing what they are doing on the internet, and this wariness has resulted in the rise in demand for tools that will help consumers have a secure and private experience online. Now, data may categorize these users as bots—but at the end of the day, it’s each user’s privacy that counts.

As the ENV Media report noted, “The undeniable and continuous awareness growth among online users about the importance of their privacy and protection leads industry experts to project a lasting and sustainable expansion of proxy markets. Users who generate demand for richer entertainment offers and internet freedom, similarly, can fuel the rise in proxy and VPN adoption across the globe.”

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First Published : 24 Mar 2022, 07:28:40 PM