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Nearly half of all activity online is the work of automated 'bots' rather than humans, a new study has claimed.
Apparently the proportion of human activity online is at its lowest level in eight years, with AI-powered bots rapidly 'taking over the Internet' with spam and cybercrime.
The cybersecurity wizards at Imperva claim that 2022 saw a huge increase in this kind of activity online, with 47.4% of all internet traffic coming from bots rather than humans.
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They warned that 'bad bots', or those that send junk emails or steal data from people, make up 66.6% of this traffic—and this is only set to get worse thanks to new AI technology.
This means that tools like ChatGPT and GPT-4 could act as 'superpowers' for bad bots, which are used by cybercriminals to rip people off and cause general mayhem online.
Karl Triebes, senior vice president at Imperva, said: "Bots have evolved rapidly since 2013, but with the advent of generative AI, the technology will evolve at an even greater, more concerning pace over the next 10 years.
"Cyber criminals will increase their focus on attacking API endpoints and application business logic with sophisticated automation. As a result, the business disruption and financial impact associated with bad bots will become even more significant in the coming years."
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The report also highlighted how these bots are used in cyber warfare, with attacks on Ukrainian web services increasing by as much as 145% in early 2022.
The true presence of online bots on social media was one of the major sticking points for Elon Musk during his negotiations to buy Twitter.
Musk threatened to pull out of the deal unless Twitter provided more figures on the number of bots on its platform, but ultimately agreed to buy the platform for $44bn.
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