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29 January 2010, 10:14

Internet Service Providers have a pessimistic view of the future

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According to an infrastructure security survey of 132 global-scale Internet Service Providers by security firm Arbor Networks, ISPs anticipate that over the next twelve months DDoS attacks on services, servers and backbone connections will be among the main problems. 35% of respondents rated DDoS attacks as the biggest threat, while 21% considered general botnet activities their main problem. These threats were closely followed by the fear of access data theft and identity theft at 21%. Only 9% considered cache poisoning attacks on DNS servers their biggest problem.

DDoS attacks in particular are becoming increasingly intense. While the ISPs only registered a peak attack rate of 1.5 Gbytes per second in 2004, they noticed throughputs of up to 49 Gbytes per second last year. However, the ISPs have also noticed that there are an increasing number of DoS attacks that don't target a victim's entire bandwidth but focus on a vulnerable service on a specific system, for example on load balancers or SQL servers.

Also interesting is the information about what currently causes the biggest amount of work for ISPs. After spam protection, port scans, botnets and DDoS attacks, the respondents listed peer-to-peer inquiries by investigation authorities and court attendance. Network operators also struggle with IPv4 address exhaustion, the slow migration to IPv6 and the introduction of DNSSEC.

When asked whether ISPs should monitor botnet activities, opinions seem to be divided. 40% consider it their responsibility and another 40% didn't answer this question at all. Overall, Arbor's report concludes that the ISPs have quite a pessimistic view of the future. While the criminals seem to capitalise successfully on their activities, the network operators struggle with low budgets and staff shortages.

Another study has been published by the Anti Phishing Working Group. It investigated phishing and trojan activities that took place in the third quarter of 2009. Probably the study's most noteworthy finding is that 48% of the almost 23 million computers scanned for viruses between July and September were apparently infected.

The figures are based on data collected by anti-virus vendor Panda in more than 100 countries. According to the study, the proportion of banking trojans decreased from 17% to 16% in the third quarter of 2009. The APWG's complete report is available to download PDF.

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