Service Providers Face Security Challenges

By Brian Prince  |  Posted 2010-01-19 Print this article Print

A new report from Arbor Networks is a case of good news/bad news for service providers.

The good news is that the size of distributed denial of service attacks hitting their infrastructures did not increase as much between third quarter of 2008 and the third quarter of 2009 as it had in previous years. The bad news however is that the size of the attacks still went up more than 20 percent.

This is according to a new report from Arbor Networks, which released its fifth annual Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report today. The report included responses from 132 IP network operators from North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

Some takeaways from the report:

Attack size is rising, but not as quickly as before - In the past, service providers had reported peak distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack rates nearly doubling year over year. This year however, provider's painted a different picture - the largest sustained attack rate was 49 Gbps (gigabit per second), a 22 percent increase over last year's peak of a 40 Gbps attack. In contrast, last year's 40 Gbps attack represented a 67 percent increase over the largest attack reported in the 2007 survey. Just 19 percent reported the largest attacks they observed as being within the one-to-four Gbps range this year, as opposed to some 30 percent in 2008.

Attackers Turning Towards the Cloud - Thirty-five percent of the respondents said they believe sophisticated service and application attacks represent the largest operational threat over the next 12 months, taking the title away from large scale botnet-enabled attacks. Some 21 percent still choose the large botnet-enabled attacks as the biggest threat.

The Problems are not all Technical - According to Arbor Networks, non-technical factors such as poorly defined operational policies and responsibilities are hurting efforts to strengthen security.

"The complexity introduced by the continuing convergence of critical services onto IP networks and multi-tenant cloud-based solutions significantly increases the exposed risk profile of infrastructure and customer-visible services, and astute network operators seem to be rightly focused on this...What hasn't changed from last year is that ISPs are still facing strained operational resources," noted Danny McPherson, chief security officer at Arbor Networks, in a statement.

The report can be downloaded here. |

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