If you're an Internet user with blood in your veins and air in your lungs, you're now part of a shrinking minority, according to startling new research. Some 61% of web traffic is now non-human, made up of a motley assortments of bots generated by search engines, scrapers, hackers, and spammers, an Incapsula study finds. That's up from 40% last year, though "good bots" like search engines made up much of the increase, CNET notes.
But around half of the bots are malicious bots, Incapsula warns—and the fastest-growing category among them is impersonators trying to pass themselves off as legitimate bots to bypass security measures. Spambots, however, appear to be in decline. The bots are surprisingly easy to create, finds Alexis Madrigal at the Atlantic, who has no coding experience but was able to get the hang of it after a few hours of training on commercially available software. The ease of building traffic-boosting bots helps to lower ad rates, which leaves less money for content and "hurts what you read each and every day on the Internet," he writes.