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  • More than 680 million unique IP addresses connected to Akamai Intelligent Platform
  • Just under 25 percent of observed attack traffic originated from Europe
  • Observed Distributed Denial of Service attacks against banking industry reached total traffic levels of 65Gbps
  • Global high broadband (>10 Mbps) adoption reached 11 percent
  • Nordic countries experience a double digit percentage increase in high broadband adoption year on year
  • The Netherlands and Switzerland lead Europe in high broadband adoption, with 22 percent of connections at speeds of 10 Mbps or more

Zurich, Switzerland: Akamai Technologies, a leading cloud platform for helping enterprises provide secure, high-performing user experiences on any device, anywhere, has released its Third Quarter, 2012State of the Internet report. Based on data gathered from the Akamai Intelligent Platform™ the report provides insights into key global statistics including connection speeds, attack traffic, and network connectivity and availability, among many others

In addition, the Third Quarter, 2012 State of the Internet report includes an analysis of the Operation Ababil DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks against the banking industry in the United States and an examination of mobile browser usage by network connection type collected via Akamai IO. The report also provides a review of third quarter Internet disruptions in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, based on Akamai traffic patterns observed within those countries.

European Highlights from Akamai’s Third Quarter 2012 report:

Global Internet Penetration: 68 million more IPv4 Addresses than in Q3 2011

More than 680 million IPv4 addresses from 243 countries/regions connected to the Akamai Intelligent Platform during the third quarter of 2012. This represents an 11 percent increase year over year. Given that a single IP address can represent multiple individuals in some cases – such as when users access the Web through a firewall or proxy server –Akamai estimates the total number of unique Web users connecting to its platform during the quarter to be well over one billion.

Of the top 10 countries with the most unique IPv4 addresses connecting to the Akamai Intelligent Platform, Italy (#9) achieved an impressive year-over-year increase of 27 percent, followed by the UK (#5) with a year-over-year increase of 18 percent. Other European countries in the top 10 global listing were Germany (#4) with a year-over-year increase of 6 percent, and France (#6) with year-over-year growth of 5.9 percent.

The number of available IPv4 addresses continued to decline during the third quarter of 2012. Data published by the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) revealed that consumption by RIPENCC (the European RIR) climbed steadily throughout most of the quarter, before stabilizing in the second week of September. This coincides with the September 14 milestone, when RIPENCC reached its last block (~16 million) of IPv4 addresses. RIPENCC also announced that going forward the assignment of IPv4 address space will be more restrictive, stating “It is now imperative that all stakeholders deploy IPv6 on their networks to ensure the continuity of their online operations and the future growth of the Internet.”

Attack Traffic and Top Ports Attacked: Europe number two source of observed attacks behind Asia Pacific

Akamai maintains a distributed set of agents deployed across the Internet that monitors 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.

In the third quarter of 2012, China was again responsible for the largest volume of observed attack traffic, accounting for nearly a third of the total (33 percent). This is double the percentage observed in the previous quarter. The United States remained in second place, responsible for 13 percent of observed attacks.

Examining the regional distribution of observed attack traffic, Europe was responsible for just under 25 percent of all observed attack traffic in the third quarter of 2012; the top European country generating attack traffic was Italy (1.7 percent).

Receiving 30 percent of observed attack traffic, Port 445 (Microsoft-DS) remained the most targeted port. Port 23 (Telnet) was a distant second at only 7.6 percent.

Operation Ababil

Akamai was involved in protecting some of the organizations targeted by a series of DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks known as “Operation Ababil” that occurred in September 2012. As a result, Akamai observed attacks with the following characteristics:

  • Up to 65 gigabits per second (Gbps) of total attack traffic that varied in target and technique
  • A significant portion (nearly 23 Gbps) of the attack traffic was aimed at the Domain Name System (DNS) servers that are used for Akamai’s Enhanced DNS services
  • Attack traffic to Akamai’s DNS infrastructure included both UDP and TCP traffic which attempted to overload the servers, and the network in front of them, with spurious requests
  • The majority of the attack traffic requested legitimate Web pages from Akamai customer sites over HTTP & HTTPS in an attempt to overload the Web servers
  • Some attack traffic consisted of ‘junk’ packets that were automatically dropped by Akamai servers
  • Some attack traffic consisted of HTTP request floods to dynamic portions of sites such as branch/ATM locators and search pages

European Broadband Connectivity: The Netherlands and Switzerland lead the pace in Europe

In the third quarter of 2012, broadband connections to Akamai at speeds above 4 Mbps again remained high. The Netherlands and Switzerland continue to lead Europe with 82% adoption rate. Both countries are well ahead of Belgium, Denmark, and the Czech Republic, all of which saw 68 percent of connections to Akamai at speeds above 4 Mbps. France achieved strong year-on-year growth with a 70 percent increase (to 47 percent adoption), while Italy saw a decrease of 4 percent, down to 25 percent adoption rate, well behind their European neighbours and the global broadband adoption level of 41 percent.

With a strong 17 percent quarter-over-quarter change, the Netherlands joined Switzerland in having the highest levels of high broadband adoption among surveyed countries in Europe; both countries have 22 percent of connections to Akamai at speeds of 10 Mbps or more, well ahead of the global high broadband adoption level of 11 percent.

A review of year-over-year changes reveals the adoption levels of high broadband continued to increase in many European countries. Growth ranged from just one percent in the Netherlands, to more than double in the UK (up 145 percent). Other countries experiencing a double digit percentage increase in high broadband adoption levels as compared to the third quarter of 2011 include Denmark (up 64 percent), Sweden (up 61 percent), Finland (up 73 percent), Belgium (up 57 percent), Germany (up 42 percent), Spain (up 111 percent) and France (up 79 percent).

Mobile Connectivity: Fastest connections for Russian and Spanish Mobile Users

The highest mobile average connection speed measured in the third quarter of 2012 was 7.8 Mbps, delivered by a mobile provider in Russia which also had the fastest mobile average peak connection speed at 39.2 Mbps, followed by a Spanish provider with 33 Mbps.

Analysis of Akamai IO data collected in the third quarter indicates that for users of mobile devices on cellular networks connecting to the Akamai Intelligent Platform, the largest percentage of requests (37.6 percent) came from devices using the Android Webkit. Devices using Apple’s Mobile Safari were a close second (35.7 percent). However, for users of mobile devices across all network types, Apple’s Mobile Safari accounted for 60.1 percent of requests, with the Android Webkit responsible for 23.1 percent.

Nordic Highlights

Across the Nordics, Swedish users had again the fastest connections with average peak connection speeds of 26.9 Mbps (up 14 percent from Q2), closely followed by their Danish and Finnish neighbours (26.5 Mbps and 25.0 Mbps). Whilst still ranking 4th in the region, Norway experienced the highest quarter on quarter increase in average peak connection speedsof 18 percent to reach 23.2 Mbps in the third quarter.

In terms of average connection speed, Denmark continues to lead in the region while ranking #8 in the global list, now boasting an average connection speed of 7.2 Mbps (up 8.6 percent on Q2)

Strongest quarter-over-quarter increase were seen in Sweden (#3 in the region) with 16 percent growth to 6.8 Mbps in Q3, followed by Norway (#4) with 13 percent growth to 6.2 Mbps. Both countries are now catching up with Finland, which retains its #2 ranking in the region despite the weakest quarter-over-quarter growth in average connection speed (3.8 percent).

In Q3 2012 all four Nordic countries experienced significant increases in the rate of their high broadband connectivity. The greatest of 41 percent was seen in Sweden, followed closely by Denmark (34 percent), Norway (31 percent) and finally Finland (15 percent).