Reported DDoS attacks up 200 percent

A new Akamai report provides insight into key global statistics including connection speeds, attack traffic, and network connectivity and availability, among many others.

Nearly 700 million unique IPv4 addresses from 240 countries/regions connected to the Akamai Intelligent Platform in the fourth quarter of 2012. This represents 4.2 percent more than in the third quarter of 2012, and 13 percent more than in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Given that a single IP address can represent multiple individuals in some cases, Akamai estimates the total number of unique Web users connecting to its platform during the quarter to be well over one billion.

Reviewing year-over-year changes in European countries appearing in the top 10 country/region listing, the report reveals growth levels ranging from double digit growth of 21 percent in Italy (ranked #9 globally) to the more modest growth of 7.6 percent in the UK (ranked #5), 4.3 percent in France (ranked #6), and 3 percent in Germany (ranked #4).

Akamai maintains a distributed set of unadvertised agents deployed across the Internet that log connection attempts, which the company classifies as attack traffic. Based on data collected by these agents, Akamai is able to identify the top countries from which attack traffic originates as well as the top ports targeted by these attacks. However, the originating country as identified by the source IP address is not intended to imply attribution. For example, an individual in the United States may be launching attacks from compromised systems in China.

In the fourth quarter of 2012, China was again responsible for the largest volume of observed attack traffic, accounting for 41 percent, while the United States – which accounted for 10 percent of all observed attack traffic – held onto the global number two spot (10 percent).

The top European country responsible for attack traffic was Romania (ranked #7 in the global top originating countries/regions listing) which accounted for 2.8 percent of observed attacks, followed by Italy (ranked #9) which was responsible for 1.6 percent, and Hungary (ranked #10) which was responsible for 1.4 percent.

Port 445 (Microsoft-DS) remained the most targeted port in the fourth quarter, receiving 29 percent of observed attack traffic. Port 23 (Telnet) was again second at 7.2 percent.

For the first time, the report includes insight into DDoS attacks reported by Akamai customers. Data from this quarter’s report will serve as a baseline for future comparisons. Akamai customers reported 768 DDoS attacks in 2012, up more than 200 percent from 2011. Of those, 35 percent targeted companies in the Commerce sector and 22 percent focused on Media and Entertainment companies.

Enterprise companies, which include financial services, were subject to 20 percent of the reported attacks; 14 percent targeted High Tech and nine percent of reported attacks were directed toward Public Sector agencies. The 768 attacks were reported by 413 unique organisations, indicating that many organisations were targeted more than once – some significantly more.

In the fourth quarter of 2012, European broadband connections to Akamai at speeds of 4 Mbps or greater remained extremely strong with adoption rates exceeding 45 percent in most European countries. Switzerland (ranked #2 globally) and the Netherlands (ranked #3 globally) jointly top the European leader board with 82 percent of all connections at 4 Mbps or above, followed by the Czech Republic (ranked #6 globally) with 72 percent. Year-over-year changes were generally positive across all surveyed countries in the EMEA region, with the exception of Turkey and Italy – both down 0.2 percent.

High broadband (>10 Mbps) adoption continued apace; during the fourth quarter of 2012 more than half of the European countries had 10 percent or more of their connections to Akamai at speeds above 10 Mbps. Switzerland tops the European leader board with 23 percent of connections above 10 Mbps, followed by the Netherlands with 21 percent, and Sweden with 19 percent.

European countries also achieved positive year-over-year changes in average peak connection speeds, with growth in excess of 10 percent being seen in all countries. Impressive year-on-year increases were observed in the UK (up 44 percent to 30.5 Mbps), Spain (up 40 percent to 27.8 Mbps) and Austria (up 40 percent to 25.9 Mbps). Ireland had the smallest year-over-year change (up 12 percent to 27 Mbps).

Romania had the fastest European average peak connection speed for the quarter (42.6 Mbps), followed by Switzerland (34.2 Mbps) and Belgium (33.4 Mbps).

“Looking back across the year, we observed strong growth of our key connectivity metrics around the world. We believe that this points to greater availability of broadband connectivity, as well as increased speeds on those connections. This is supported as well by the long-term trends observed over the five-year history of the State of the Internet Report,” explained David Belson, the report’s editor. “This combination of improved broadband availability and higher speeds opens the door for greater innovation in how the Internet is used by both businesses and individuals around the globe.”

The fourth quarter of 2012 saw average connection speeds on surveyed mobile network operators range from a high of just over 8.0 Mbps to a low of 345 Kbps. An Austrian mobile provider posted a nearly 9 percent quarter-over-quarter increase in average connection speed, growing to just over 8.0 Mbps and taking the top spot as the mobile network provider with the highest average connection speed.

Examining the average peak connection speed data for the quarter, a Spanish provider achieved an impressive 32 percent quarter-over-quarter increase to 44 Mbps, displacing the previous leader – a Russian provider – to take the top spot.

Mobile devices using Android Webkit accounted for the largest percentage of requests (35.3 percent) of devices on cellular networks connecting to the Akamai Intelligent Platform. Devices using Apple Mobile Safari represented 32.6 percent. When analyzed across all network types, the ratios were markedly different with Apple Mobile Safari accounting for 58.7 percent of requests and Android Webkit responsible for 21.7 percent.

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