Akamai Releases Third Quarter 2014 'State of the Internet' Report


Akamai LogoAkamai Technologies, the leading provider of cloud services for delivering, optimising and securing online content and business applications, has released its Third Quarter, 2014 State of the Internet Report. Based on data gathered from the Akamai Intelligent Platform™, the report provides insight into key global statistics such as connection speeds and broadband adoption across fixed and mobile networks, overall attack traffic, global 4K readiness, and IPv4 exhaustion and IPv6 implementation.

The report also includes security insights into Shellshock and OpenSSL vulnerabilities, Blackshades RAT and Spike DDoS toolkits, as well as attacks observed during the FIFA 2014 World Cup.

Data and graphics from the Third Quarter, 2014 State of the Internet Report can be found on the Akamai State of the Internet site and through the Akamai State of the Internet app for iOS and Android devices.

“One need only look to the sheer number of connected device- and smart home-related announcements that came out of the 2015 International CES to see that consumers are continuing to adopt and expect more from connected technology and services,” said David Belson, editor of the report. “The strong year-over-year growth trends illustrated in this quarter’s report show that the Internet is evolving and expanding to meet the growing demands of our increasingly connected lifestyles.”

Highlights from Akamai’s Third Quarter, 2014 State of the Internet Report:

Global Average Connection Speeds and Global Broadband Connectivity

For the second consecutive quarter, the global average connection speed remained above the 4 Mbps “broadband” threshold; however, it saw a slight decline in the third quarter of 2014, dropping 2.8% to 4.5 Mbps.

Six of the top 10 countries saw increases in global average connection speeds, and all of the top 10 remained well above the 10 Mbps “high broadband” threshold. Among those increasing in average connection speed quarter-over-quarter, Singapore experienced the largest rise (12.2 Mbps), an 18% improvement. The smallest growth was in Japan (15 Mbps), which was only up 0.8% from the second quarter. In addition, Ireland (13.9 Mbps) joined Singapore in seeing an increase of 10% or more from the previous quarter. Yearly increases were seen in 129 qualifying countries/regions, with rates ranging from 150% in Jersey (9.7 Mbps) down to a modest 0.2% in Ecuador (3.6 Mbps).

Similar to the average connection speed metric, the global average peak connection speed also saw a slight decline in the third quarter, dropping 2.3% to 24.8 Mbps. Hong Kong once again had the highest average peak connection speed at 84.6 Mbps, followed closely by Singapore (83 Mbps). All 10 countries/regions saw significant increases in average peak connection speeds compared to the previous year. Uruguay (58.6 Mbps) led the group with a year-over-year change of 334%, and Luxembourg (54.4 Mbps) saw speeds more than double, up 130%. A total of 135 qualifying countries/regions saw average peak connection speeds increase from the third quarter of 2013.

Global high broadband (>10 Mbps) adoption rates fell 0.5% in the third quarter, after seeing strong quarterly growth earlier in the year. In contrast to previous quarters, changes among the top 10 countries/regions were limited, with increases ranging from a half a percent in Japan (55% adoption) to 8.4% in Sweden (44% adoption). Among the 63 qualifying countries/regions for this metric, just 28 saw quarter-over-quarter increases. The global high broadband adoption rate was up 22%, which was lower than the 65% increases seen in both the first and second quarters of this year. Among the top 10 countries/regions, Japan was the only one to see a year-over-year change below 10%, while both Romania (49% adoption) and Israel (44% adoption) saw adoption rates more than double. Across the other 62 geographies, yearly increases ranged from 6.3% in Japan to a massive 3,015% in Uruguay (7.3% adoption).

The global broadband (>4 Mbps) adoption rate reached 60%, an increase of 1% quarter-over-quarter. Ninety-nine countries/regions qualified for inclusion for this metric, 55 of which saw quarterly growth in broadband adoption rates. Israel (92% adoption) was the only country in the top 10 country/regions to see its adoption rate increase more than 1%. South Korea remained the country with the highest level of broadband adoption at 96%, with Bulgaria following at 95%. The global broadband adoption rate increased 12% from the third quarter of 2013. While still positive, the yearly growth rate has continued to decline over the last several quarters. Broadband adoption rates were also up-year-over-year across all of the top 10 countries/regions, with increases ranging from 1.3% in Curacao to 18% in Bulgaria. All but nine qualifying countries saw broadband adoption levels increase over the past year with growth rates ranging from 0.7% in the Czech Republic (83% adoption) to 1,884% in Indonesia (35% adoption).

4K Readiness

Following the introduction of “4K Readiness” in the First Quarter, 2014 State of the Internet Report, Akamai has again identified candidate geographies that are most likely to sustain connection speeds above 15 Mbps, as Ultra HD adaptive bitrate streams typically require bandwidth between 10 and 20 Mbps. The findings do not account for other “readiness” factors, including availability of 4K-encoded content or 4K-capable televisions and media players.

In total, 52 countries/regions qualified for inclusion this quarter, and 12% of the global connections were at or above the 15 Mbps threshold. While down 2.8% quarter-over-quarter, readiness increased 32% year-over-year. South Korea remained the country with the highest level of 4K readiness, with two-thirds of its connections to Akamai at or above 15 Mbps.

Attack Traffic and Security

Akamai maintains a distributed set of unadvertised agents deployed across the Internet to log connection attempts that the company classifies as attack traffic. Based on the 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. It is important to note, however, that the originating country as identified by the source IP address may not represent the nation in which an attacker resides.

In the third quarter of 2014, Akamai observed attack traffic originating from 201 unique countries/regions, which was up significantly from 161 in the second quarter, and more in line with the 194 seen in the first quarter. As demonstrated in past reports, the highest concentration of attacks (50%) came from China, nearly three times more than the United States, which saw observed traffic grow by approximately 25% quarter-over-quarter. China and the United States were the only two countries to originate more than 10% of observed global attack traffic. Indonesia was the only country among the top 10 to see observed attack traffic decline, dropping from 15% of global attack traffic in the second quarter to 1.9% in the third. The overall concentration of observed attack traffic decreased slightly in the third quarter, with the top 10 countries/regions originating 82% of observed attacks, down from 84% last quarter. Furthermore, 64% of attack traffic originated from the Asia Pacific region, down from 70% last quarter, while the lowest volume (1%) originated from Africa.

The volume of observed traffic targeting Ports 80 (HTTP/WWW), 443 (HTTPS/SSL) and 880 (HTTP Alternate) dropped significantly in the third quarter, with all three ports seeing a fraction of the attack volume seen in previous quarters. Port 23 remained the most popular target of attacks observed to be originating in China, accounting for more than three times more volume than Port 80, the second-most attacked port within the country.

Reported Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attack Traffic

In addition to observations on attack traffic, the State of the Internet Report includes insight into DDoS attacks based on reports from Akamai’s customers. Akamai customers reported 270 DDoS attacks for the second quarter in a row. Overall, this represents a 4.5% reduction in attacks since the beginning of 2014 and a 4% decrease in comparison to the third quarter of 2013.

In contrast to the second quarter’s report, the number of attacks fell in both of the Americas, with 142 attacks, and in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, with 44 attacks. However, the number of attacks in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region rose by 25% from the previous quarter to 84. The distribution of industries did not change in comparison to the previous quarter; commerce, enterprise, high tech, media and entertainment, and the public sector all saw the same number of attacks as the previous quarter, even though the actual targets of these attacks changed. Compared with the same quarter of 2013, enterprise attacks have fallen by more than a third from 127 to 80. At the same time, attacks against high tech companies have tripled from 14 to 42.

Akamai saw an increase in the number of repeated attacks against the same target in the third quarter, returning to the 25% chance of a subsequent attack targeting the same organisation. This represents a drop in unique targets from 184 in the second quarter to 174 in the third.

IPv4 and IPv6

In the third quarter of 2014, more than 790 million IPv4 addresses connected to the Akamai Intelligent Platform from more than 246 unique countries/regions. The global number of unique IPv4 addresses making requests to Akamai grew by nearly two million quarter-over-quarter, a nominal increase after a loss of seven million in the second quarter. Looking at the top 10 countries in the third quarter, the unique IP count in the United States saw a small gain of approximately 20,000 addresses. In addition to the United States, Brazil, France and Russia saw nominal increases in unique IPv4 address counts, while the remaining six countries saw unique IPv4 address counts slightly decline from the second quarter. Fifty-eight percent of countries saw a quarter-over-quarter increase in unique IPv4 address counts, with 28 countries/regions growing by 10% or more.

Cable and wireless providers continued to drive the number of IPv6 requests made to Akamai, many of which are leading the way for IPv6 adoption in their respective countries. Verizon Wireless and Brutele saw more than half of their requests to Akamai made over IPv6, with Telenet close behind.

Mobile Connectivity

In the Third Quarter, 2014 State of the Internet Report, 54 countries/regions qualified in the mobile section. South Korea continued to have the highest average mobile connection speed, growing from 15.2 Mbps to 18.2 Mbps in the third quarter. Iran had the lowest average mobile connection speed at 0.9 Mbps, and was the only qualifying country with an average speed below 1 Mbps. Slovakia joined South Korea above the 10 Mbps “high broadband” threshold at 10.9 Mbps.

Average peak mobile connection speeds again spanned an extremely broad range in the third quarter, from 98 Mbps in Singapore down to 3.3 Mbps in Iran. Nine countries/regions had average peak mobile connection speeds above 50 Mbps, while another 40 saw speeds above 10 Mbps.

The report also examines the percentage of connections to Akamai from mobile network providers at “broadband” speeds (more than 4 Mbps). In the third quarter, Sweden moved ahead of Denmark for the top position at an adoption rate of 94%, whereas Iran, Paraguay, Croatia, and Vietnam all had mobile broadband adoption rates below 1% in the third quarter.

About the Akamai State of the Internet Report

Each quarter, Akamai publishes a “State of the Internet” report. This report includes data gathered from across the Akamai Intelligent Platform about attack traffic, broadband adoption, mobile connectivity and other relevant topics concerning the Internet and its usage, as well as trends seen in this data over time. To learn more and to access the archive of past reports, please visit http://www.stateoftheinternet.com/. To download the figures from the Third Quarter, 2014 State of the Internet Report, please visit: wwwns.akamai.com/soti/soti_q314_figures.zip.