US, China largest sources of Internet attacks

China and United States accounted for 30 percent of Internet-attack traffic in Q1 2008

China and the United States were the two largest sources of Internet-attack traffic during the first quarter of 2008, accounting for 30 percent of such traffic, according to Akamai Technologies.

Akamai, which operates a global server network for online media, applications and transactions, said it will release quarterly "State of the Internet" reports compiled from data extrapolated from its network.

Another finding was that attack traffic overall targeted 23 unique network ports. Many of the ports that saw the highest levels of such traffic were targeted by the worms, viruses and bots that spread across the Internet several years ago.

Akamai observed attack traffic originating from 125 countries. In addition to data on the origins of this traffic, the report charts network outages and de-peering events, significant denial-of-service attacks, Web-site hacks, and network events, as well as broadband connectivity by geography.

Akamai found a number of major network events occurred during the first quarter of 2008 that affected millions of Internet users:

  • At the end of January, undersea cable-cuts in the Mediterranean Sea severed Internet connections between the Middle East and Europe.

  • De-peering events between major networks affected Internet communications for selected Internet users in the United States and Europe for a two-week period.

  • A routing change by a telecommunications provider spread across the Internet, causing a popular Internet video-sharing site to go offline for several hours.

    Akamai also observed that South Korea had the highest measured levels of "high broadband" -- that is, broadband with speeds of more than 5Mbps -- connectivity. In the United States, Delaware topped the list, with more than 60 percent of connections to Akamai servers occurring at 5Mbps or greater.

    At the other end of the bandwidth spectrum, Rwanda and the Solomon Islands topped the list of slowest countries, with 95 percent or more of their connections to Akamai occurring at speeds below 256Kbps. In the United States, Washington State and Virginia turned in the highest percentages of sub-256Kbps connections, at 21 percent and 18 percent, respectively.

    Akamai is planning to release its second-quarter "State of the Internet" report in August. The first-quarter report is available for download.

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    Jim Duffy

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