Is There Anybody Out There?

by Amy Hitchmough on 27 Mar 2017

internet traffic

By Martin Lethbridge, Senior Sales Engineer, WatchGuard Technologies

“Is there anybody out there?” asked Pink Floyd once. Well the answer when it comes to the Internet, it appears, is yes. But, the interesting revelation was that it’s not just humans that are out there, but bots. A lot of them in fact.

It was claimed last month that over half (51.8%) of all modern day Internet traffic is generated by bots. Let’s let that sink in for a moment as the potential ramifications are huge.

Whilst some bots that were tracked are deemed ‘good’ because they are used by the likes of Google to help decide website rankings and the like, every third piece of traffic is generated by an attack bot. These rather nasty pieces of software usually impersonate themselves as humans to allow them to enter a website undetected. They are the favoured technique used by the online touts that buy up all the latest Adele or Robbie Williams tickets before the rest of us can get a look in. Their ability to impersonate also makes them perfect for DDoS attacks.

Only recently, we saw a botnet orchestrate a massive DDoS attack on Dyn that affected some of the world’s largest websites, such as PayPal, Spotify and Twitter. What was interesting about this particular DDoS attack is that the Mirai bot used thousands of unsecured Internet of things (IoT) devices – from home routers to surveillance cameras – to undertake the attack. The key here is that even though some of these devices are not powerful computers, the bad guys knew that between them they could generate massive amounts of bogus traffic to swamp the targeted Dyn servers.

With the continued emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and the wider proliferation of IoT there has been talk of the danger of technological singularity for some time – or the rise of the machines as James Cameron would call it. Could this be what we are starting to witness?

Only time will tell. However, what is certain is that with all of these bots and all of this traffic it is more and more imperative (and more and more difficult) to regulate just what internet traffic is flowing through your servers so best not to take any chances. By monitoring outbound traffic across all ports and protocols, WatchGuard’s Reputation Enabled Defense service can detect botnet activity in real time so you can immediately shut it down. More information on how is here.

For original blog click here…

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