Akamai records increase in DDoS attacks

I don’t mean to add to the general feeling of gloom that usually accompanies this time of the year, but if a recent report published by cloud platform provider Akamai Technologies is anything to go by, a war is currently being waged against our networks.

Over the last three years, Akamai has recorded a 2000% increase in the number of DDoS attack incidents it has investigated on behalf of customers, many of which are carriers. Given that Capacity has also spoken at length to a number of senior figures within the carrier community who have expressed serious concerns over the growing sophistication and intensity of recent attacks on networks, this rather worrying news does seem to fit.

Google, Facebook and Twitter are just some of the high profile names to have felt the wrath of concentrated DDoS attacks over the last few years. Network attacks tend to come in waves, and while the first one might be relatively simple to stop, they quickly gather intelligence and precision as they discover what mechanisms are being used to protect the network. Akamai identifies port-based attacks as still being prevalent, and perhaps more intriguing is where all these online attacks are originating from. By the third quarter of 2011, attack traffic was originating from 195 different countries. More perturbing was that 49% of attack traffic came from the Asia-Pacific and Oceania region, with the top three culprits including Indonesia, Taiwan and China. Countries tend to come and go in the top 10, however, with Myanmar making a sudden appearance in the first half of 2011, only to disappear by Q3.

All quite mysterious then, but there are two firm conclusions for carriers. The first is this prolonged period of attack on networks means security is more pressing than it has ever been. The second is no individual company is big enough to take on a problem of this magnitude on its own. Attacks are flying in from all angles of the globe and multiple layers of protection across multiple areas of the network must be in place to stop them.

Alex Hawkes, Deputy Editor

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