Russia, Brazil Lead Cyber Attack Barrage

More than 13 percent of the world’s cyber attacks originated in Russia during the third quarter, according to Akamai Technologies’ “State of the Internet” report for the third quarter of 2009.

Russia’s ascent to the top of the list came at the expense of the U.S. and China, which fell from the top two spots in the second quarter to No. 3 and No. 4 with 6.9 percent and 6.5 percent of the attacks, respectively.

Brazil also leapfrogged the U.S. and China to earn a dubious silver medal with 8.6 percent of the intrusive traffic emanating from the South American nation.

Akamai (NASDAQ: AKAM) officials said it discovered cyber attacks from 207 different countries in the third quarter, up from 201 countries in the prior quarter.

The company’s report found that the top 10 countries were responsible for 61 percent of all attack traffic. Italy, Taiwan, Germany, Argentina, India and Romania rounded out the list of offending nations.

Security software vendors like McAfee (NYSE: MFE) and Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) have been extremely vocal and consistent in their efforts to warn government agencies and private-sector companies about the increasing number of politically motivated cyber attacks they’ve uncovered.

This week, Google confirmed that it and more than 20 other U.S. companies were the target of multiple sophisticated attacks that investigators believe originated in China.

McAfee CEO Dave DeWalt in November said researchers have seen an alarming increase in politically motivated cyber attacks originating in Russia, France, Israel and China.

“McAfee began to warn of the global cyber arms race more than two years ago, but now we’re seeing increasing evidence that it’s become real,” he said. “Now several nations around the world are actively engaged in cyberwar-like preparations and attacks. Today, the weapons are not nuclear, but virtual, and everyone must adapt to these threats.”

The Akamai report also found that global Internet connection speeds continue to improve at a impressive clip. Overall, the world’s average connection speed was 1.7 Mbps and among the Top 10 countries, seven enjoyed flat to higher connection speeds in the first quarter.

The U.S. ranked 18th on the list with an average connection speed of 3.9 Mbps.

South Korea ranked No. 1 in average connection speed at 14.6 Mbps, leaps and bounds ahead of second place Japan (7.9 Mbps) and Hong Kong (7.6 Mbps).

This story updates an earlier version to clarify that the report details unsolicited attack attempts only, not spam or malware attacks.

Larry Barrett is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

Larry Barrett
Larry Barrett
Larry Barrett is an eSecurity Planet contributor.

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