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The State of the Internet

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Akamai has released their quarterly report on the state of the Internet for Q4/2008. Akamai monitors the Internet traffic using agents installed across all continents and reports the findings on several domains: security, network and web outages, Internet penetration.


During Q4/2008 Internet attacks originated from 193 countries, 8% up or 179 countries compared to Q3/2008. The top 3 attacking countries were United States, China and Sweden. Interesting, Sweden based attacks rose from 4% in Q3 to nearly 11% in Q4 in a country that is considered friendly placing it on the 3rd spot. Akamai expects the occupants of the “podium” to change during each quarter as it usually happens.

  Country Q3 % Q4%
1 United States 19.68 22.85
2 China 26.85 19.30
3 Sweden 3.86 10.67

Regular members of the top ten countries in attacking on the Internet are: United States, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Russia, Germany and Brazil. The top 10 countries account for 75% of all the attacks.

Akamai recorded more than 20,000 ports under attack, the top 10 being:

Port Description Q4%
445 Microsoft-DS 22.96
80 WWW    14.51
139 NetBIOS 11.56
22 SSH    10.78
135 Microsoft-RPC    7.15
1433 Microsoft SQL 2.46
8000 Multiple app. 2.14
5900 VNC Server 2.07
7212 GhostSurf 1.93
25 SMTP    1.89

The attacks occurred roughly the same during all days of the week, with a 15% increase on Mondays and Fridays. The heaviest day of the quarter was by far December 5th recording 4 times increase in number of attacks compared to an average day and followed an Advanced Notification from Microsoft announcing a large cumulative security update. Like many other security updates, this one triggered a wave of attacks presumably coming from people who wanted to exploit vulnerabilities made public on computers not patched.


Three major underwater cables in the Mediterranean were severed on December 19th affecting the traffic in Middle East and India. Most affected countries were: Egypt, India and Saudi Arabia. The cables were repaired a week later to break again in a different location. The network outage lasted more than 2 weeks in total. To lower the impact, Verizon re-routed the traffic over the Atlantic, the United States and Pacific to the affected regions.

Many social networking sites suffered outages, Twitter being the most plagued of them all as shown in the graphic below containing downtime hours in 2008, according to Pingdom:


The submarine cables installed in many places have changed the status of US as the “Internet hub”. Today, 54% of the traffic originating in Asia goes through Unites States compared to 91% ten years ago. Same with Africa: 6% compared to 70% ten years ago.

Internet Penetration

A measurement of Internet penetration is the number of unique IP addresses. This number has risen by 28% globally over one year, and US is still the leader:

  Country Unique IPs YoY %
  Globally 401,285,817 +28.38
1 US 114,123,038 +24.13
2 China 40,130,543 +33.08
3 Japan 27,659,076 +13.98

The last country in top 10 is Brazil with 8,935,698 IPs and a YoY growth of 38.17%.

The Scandinavian countries lead at the number of unique IPs per capita, Sweden being the leader with 0.46, followed by Norway with 0.42. The third is a surprise, the Cayman Islands with 0.4 IPs/capita, closely followed by Finland and Iceland at 0.39. US is on 6 with 0.38.

Another interesting statistic is related to the average connection speed, South Korea being the front runner at 15 Mbps, 10 times the global average:

  Country Mbps
  Globally 1.5
1 South Korea 15
2 Japan 7
3 Hong Kong 6.9
4 Romania 5.7
17 US 3.9

When it comes to high-speed broadband availability, the places change a bit: 

  Country % > 5Mbps YoY %
  Globally 19 +21
1 South Korea 69 +7.3
2 Japan 54 +21
3 Romania 45 +124
4 Sweden 39 +25
9 US 25 +27

For other interesting statistics related to the Internet today please visit Akamai/The State of the Internet.

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