Global connectivity speeds are gradually increasing, China is the top country for origination of attack traffic, and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks increased 50 percent last year. Those are some of the findings in a new State of the Internet Report from Akamai Technologies.
The report, covering the fourth quarter, is based on obtained via the Akamai Intelligent Platform, a cloud-based delivery network. Its focus includes network connectivity, attack traffic, and broadband trends.
Bit by bit -- literally -- the average global connection speed is inching up, demonstrating an overall increase in speed of 27 percent over 2012. The report shows a quarterly increase of 5.5 percent, for an average of 3.8 Mbps. Although speeds are increasing on average, the report noted that half of the top 10 countries/regions actually showed decreases when compared with the previous quarter, decreases ranging from 0.7 percent to nearly 7 percent. South Korea continues to top the global list for connectivity speeds, with an average of 21.9 Mbps, but it also showed a quarter-over-quarter decline of 1.1 percent.
U.S. Reaches 10 Mbps
The U.S.'s average speed increased 2 percent to 10 Mbps, and 133 countries/regions showed higher average connection speeds in 2013 than in 2012. All of the top 10 countries/regions now have average connection speeds above 10 Mbps, putting them into the high broadband category.
David Belson, editor of the Akamai report, said in a statement that "the fact that all of the top 10 countries/regions average connection speeds are now at or exceeding the high broadband threshold [indicates] the progress that's being made in broadband penetration."
To track attack traffic, Akamai said it has distributed a set of "unadvertised agents across the Internet."
The report said that 188 countries/regions were identified as originating attack/traffic, although Akamai pointed out that this does not necessarily mean those are the countries where the attacker resides.
China leads again in this category with 43 percent of attack traffic, more than the 35 percent it showed in the same quarter in 2012. The U.S. is now at 19 percent. The report also noted that Indonesia's attack traffic dropped in the fourth quarter to about a quarter of its third-quarter attack traffic, now 5.7 percent.
DDoS 'Ease of Use'
DDoS attacks reported by Akamai customers actually had declined from the second to the third quarters, but then increased by 23 percent in the fourth. Overall, there were 50 percent more DDoS attacks in 2013 than in 2012.
The likelihood of a company suffering repeat attacks was evaluated by Akamai in the third quarter State of the Internet report as being one in four, but the fourth quarter now estimates one in three.
Lawrence Orans, research vice president at industry research firm Gartner, told us that the 50 percent increase in DDoS attacks is being driven by "the ease of use by which non-technical people can launch an attack" using DDoS toolkits.
He noted that such attacks can affect not only banks, which spend millions for high-end mitigation, but virtually anyone. Orans mentioned that he recently spoke to "a couple of school districts" in an unnamed state that suffered through Web site attacks directed at standardized testing.
Pund-IT's Charles King pointed out that the "high-bandwidth Internet is becoming the norm, testimony to the continuing importance of the Web," especially as a conduit for entertainment.
He also pointed out the irony that the country where the Internet was born, the U.S., has just now crossed the threshold for 10 Mbps average speed, thus finally entering the realm of high broadband.