Dec. 12, 2013— -- The human race is a minority on the Internet. And no, it's not because your pets have all of a sudden gotten computer-savvy.
A recent report published by Incapsula, a company that helps websites manage their traffic and security, examined the activity across several thousand of its sites and found that humans make up less than 40 percent of all activity in 2013. But even though the bots are more active than ever before, that might not necessarily be a bad thing.
Igal Zeifman, who wrote the report, said that while the number of bots is up from last year, it's not all spammers and hackers. "The bulk of that growth is attributed to increased visits by good bots," he said. Bingbot and Googlebot are both good bots that help the search engines find new sites.
Incapsula analyzed nearly 1.5 billion bot visits, spread across 20,000 websites in 249 countries. "It's a good representation of what's going on out there [in the Internet]," Marc Gaffan, co-founder of Incapsula, told ABC News. "It ranges [in size] from tiny personal sites to large healthcare, financial, and retail sites."
The percentage of spam bots has decreased from last year, accounting for less than 1 percent of Internet activity. Zeifman attributes this drop to recent changes Google made in one of its search algorithms, Penguin. "Based on our figures, it looks like Google was able to discourage link spamming practices," he said.
But even though there is a smaller percentage of bots dedicated to hacking and spamming, there are still plenty of malicious bots out there. Gaffan said that many of the company's customers don't realize how big an issue it is: "One out out of 20 visitors is a hacking tool, and one-fifth of all visits are from some type of impersonator."
The impersonators are a growing class of bots that pretend to be one of the good guys. "For example, they'll say that they're from Google, but they don't behave like the Google bots and they don't come from Google IP addresses," said Gaffan. "Everyone wants Google to index their website, so if the impersonators say they're from Google, then they have a higher chance they'll be let in."