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Cyber Attacks Pose Major Threat
By: Joe Eitel
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    Table of Contents:
  • Cyber Attacks Pose Major Threat
  • Malicious Activity and Bandwidth
  • Virus Attacks vs. U.S. Businesses
  • Cyber Security Act of 2009

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    Cyber Attacks Pose Major Threat - Malicious Activity and Bandwidth

    (Page 2 of 4 )

    Before we get into how our love of bandwidth increases the chances of cyber attacks, it's important to understand the scope of the problem. Silva's company Verisign currently handles four trillion queries each and every day and by 2020, the company hopes to be able to handle four quadrillion, despite the fact that Silva only expects DNS requests to grown by around 100-fold during that period of time.

    What's very troubling is that Silva predicts that malicious Internet traffic, such as the DOS attacks previously discussed, is expected to grow ten times the rate of non-malicious DNS requests. According to Silva, it won't be long before the "malicious activity will outnumber the legitimate activity."

    During busy days that involve heavy Internet use, Verisign handles about three million DNS requests a second, though "slower" times are still quite high, with the company handling about a million requests per second during lulls. "Large distributed denial of service attacks today can already throw around four million queries at Verisign's DNS servers," Silva said.

    This means that the attacks are causing the company to keep a massive reserve capacity just because of these unlawful attacks. Silva refers to these large quantities of service attacks as "data bombs," and according to him they will continue to grow exponentially as long as Internet users keep seeking out the highest bandwidth.

    Recent statistics concerning bandwidth speed found that the average American accesses the Internet at around 4 megabytes per second, though companies like Comcast plan on upping the ante by offering the Internet at ten times that speed. Even Google has recently announced that they will soon be offering the fastest Internet around, at one gigabyte per second.

    How many Americans will pay to have these services remains unknown, but if recent statistics are any indicator, chances are a great majority of the country won't partake in these high speeds. It should be pointed out that though Silva contends Americans are crazy about bandwidth, the Information Technology Industry Council recently found that America's average download speed is ranked at a lowly fifteenth in the world. Also, just five percent of Americans don't even have access to high-speed Internet, while 35 percent of Americans don't subscribe to a broadband provider due to high costs or lack of interest.

    This is not to say that Silva's fears aren't unfounded. What he and those like him may find so troubling is the FCC's recent interest in rectifying this problem by getting high speed Internet all over America, in even the most rural areas.

    That's when the real problem comes into play. When thousands of new high speed Internet users are coupled with the millions already in existence, the chances of them using their computers to connect to what Silva refers to as these "data firehoses" that have been infected with malicious software ... well, this basically means that there will be more malicious traffic online than ever before.   

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