Akamai State Of The Internet Report
April 24, 2014

Akamai Notes Increase In Hacker Attacks In Q4 2013 Report

Enid Burns for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

In a quarter that experienced a few very public data breaches, it is now known that the number of DDoS attacks increased during the fourth quarter of 2013.

Akamai reports a 23 percent increase in DDoS attacks, as well as other findings, in its fourth quarter 2013 "State of the Internet" report, based on data gathered from the Akamai Intelligent Platform.

The Internet may have seemed faster during the holiday season, despite how slow some of that online Christmas shopping might have felt. Akamai finds that the global average connection speed improved, with a quarterly increase of 5.5 percent. Average connection speeds reached 3.8 Mbps. While the average connectivity speeds are recorded at a high, some of the top countries actually saw declines when compared to previous quarters.

"Despite this improvement, half of the countries/regions listed among the top 10 in global average connection speeds – including the top four countries/regions – actually saw nominal declines quarter–over–quarter, ranging from a loss of 0.7% in the Netherlands to a drop of 6.7% in Latvia. Despite a 1.1% decline in average connection speed, South Korea held the top spot from quarter to quarter, reporting the highest average connection speed of 21.9 Mbps," according to the Akamai corporate release.

Some of the larger connection gains were experienced in Ireland (8.4 percent increase to 10.4 Mbps) and the United States (2 percent increase to 10 Mbps). These gains helped push the average connection speeds up to the "high broadband" threshold.

"We've reached a significant milestone in the improvement of average connection speeds," said David Belson, editor of the State of the Internet Report. "The fact that all of the top 10 countries/regions' average connection speeds are now at or exceeding the high broadband threshold – and continued strong growth in countries like South Korea and Ireland – is indicative of the progress that's being made in broadband penetration. It's reasonable to expect these promising trends will continue to be reflected in future reports."

Faster speeds may mean greater access for hackers, unfortunately. Akamai noted an increase in the number of DDoS attack traffic. DDoS attacks fluctuated throughout the year. In the second quarter attacks climbed to 318; dipped to 281 in the second quarter; and grew to 346 in Q4. The volume of attacks marked a 23 percent increase from the third quarter to the fourth quarter. Akamai customers reported 1,153 DDoS attacks in 2013, a 50 percent increase from 768 in 2012.

In the fourth quarter several noted security breaches and hacker infiltrations occurred. Target was one of the more notable breaches, followed by Neiman Marcus.

As with the ongoing security breach with Target, Akamai said that 56 of the 162 organizations who were attacked suffered repeated threats during the fourth quarter.

The global Internet grew by three percent in the fourth quarter of last year. Akamai recorded more than 780 million IPv4 addresses from 238 unique countries and regions connected to the company's platform. "This translates to nearly three percent more than in the third quarter and 10 percent more than in the fourth quarter of 2012," the statement said.

Eight of the top 10 countries and regions increased over the fourth quarter. The greatest increase was seen in Brazil, which added nearly eight percent.

Average connection speeds also increased on mobile networks. Akamai recorded a high of 8.9 Mbps through Russian mobile provider RU-1, and a low of 0.6 Mbps from mobile provider ZA-1 in South Africa. "The high is down just slightly from 9.5 Mpbs reported in the third quarter of 2013," the Akamai statement said.