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According to a recent search engine study, an average of 187 Googlebots visit any given website per day, optimizing searches for the most up-to-date website content. However, for every 24 Googlebot visits, a website will also be visited by a Googlebot imposter.

In addition, the study found that 23 percent of these fake Googlebots are commonly used for attempting DDoS attacks, while 10 percent are maliciously used for scraping, scamming and vulnerability scanning.

Security company Incapsula gathered the findings from the observation of more than 400 million search engine visits to 10,000 websites over a 30 day period.

Other key findings from the study included:

  • Googlebots account for 60% of all search engine crawls, more than all other search engine bots combined.
  • Nearly 25 percent of fake Googlebots originate from the U.S.A.; others frequently coming from China, Turkey, Brazil and India.
  •  Large forums, news sites and shopping sites that are frequently updated and content-heavy are more thoroughly crawled.

In response to the findings, security blogger Ian Barker said, “The benefit of this to hackers is that site owners generally allow unhindered access to Google’s crawlers in order to protect their search results.”

Incapusula noted, “The good news is that Fake Googlebots can be accurately identified using a combination of security heuristics, including IP and ASN verification – a process which allows you to identify bots based on their point of origin.”

Earlier this year, Incapsula also released a report stating that DDoS bot visitors have increased by more than 240% in the past 12 months.


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