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Internet attacks from China and US increased in first quarter of 2012, report says

Loek Essers | Aug. 10, 2012
China and the U.S. were the two largest sources of Internet-attack traffic in the first quarter of 2012, increasing to account for 16 percent and 11 percent respectively, according to Akamai Technologies.

Conficker caused quite an uproar in 2009, and despite efforts by Microsoft and the Conficker Working Group, it appears that the worm botnet is still actively infecting user systems, Akamai said.

Other popular attack ports were Port 23, which is used by the Telnet network protocol, Port 1433 (used for Microsoft SQL Server) and Port 80 (used for HTTP traffic), according to the report. Attacks aiming for Port 80 indicate that attackers are searching for vulnerable Web applications that could be exploited to gain control over a system or install malware, Akamai said. Attacks at Port 23 likely indicate attempts to exploit common and default passwords allowing attackers to take over a system, it added.

Many of Akamai's customers also experienced denial-of-service (DoS) attacks during the first half of 2012, which signals a continuing and growing trend, according to the report. Attackers are increasingly using DoS tools that require lower traffic volumes such as Slowloris, a tool that holds connections open by sending partial HTTP requests, which causes a Web server to be tied up.

Online retailers and government sites were both targeted by approximately 20 percent of all DoS attacks reported by customers to Akamai. DoS attacks aimed at retailers usually involve some kind of extortion demand, while the public sector has been targeted by protesters. This last trend is unlikely to change in the near future, Akamai said, adding that once a site has become a target, it is almost a given that attackers will return again in the future.

 

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