Top Weekly Updates
Akamai Issues Q3 2015 State of Internet Report, Partners with Google and Microsoft
Akamai, the global content delivery network (CDN) leader, has released its State of the Internet Report for the third quarter of 2015. Average global connection speeds have increased by 14% year over year and 0.2% from the second quarter of 2015 to 5.1 Mbps. Global peak connection speeds increased by 30% year-over-year to 32.2 Mbps, though this was a 12% drop from the second quarter.
Singapore and Macao achieved the highest average peak connection speed of 135.4 Mbps and 73.7 Mbps, respectively. Unique IP addresses that connected to Akamai that met the 4 Mbps broadband speed threshold increased by 9.8% year-over-year to 65%. Additionally, global IP addresses that averaged the “4K-ready” 15 Mbps increased 21% year-over-year to 15%.
Google has partnered with Akamai to launch its CDN platform, Alphabet Inc. Alphabet is currently in its “alpha” testing phase and is expected to reduce costs to customers by up to 66% by improving performance. Alphabet is Google’s contribution to the CDN marketplace, which is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 26% to $15.73 billion by 2020.
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Azure, which ranks second in infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) behind Amazon, is considering acquiring Akamai. The two are already partners is Microsoft’s Azure, but acquisition would allow Microsoft to compete with Amazon, which recently launched its own CDN.
Wowza Launches New Website and Adds 4K Streaming, Android Wear and Apple Watch Support
Wowza Media Systems launched a sleek, new website with an improved interface and user-friendly design. The new website is reportedly still undergoing improvements and has also been redesigned for the mobile user. The redesign will be critical for its mobile customers that are using the newly released Wowza GoCoder 2.0. This application will offer support for users of Android Wear and Apple Watch. It will also allow 4K streaming and will be integrated more seamlessly into wearable and mobile devices.
CloudFlare Warns of Massive HTTPS Access Problems
The U.S. based CDN CloudFlare has warned Facebook and other content providers that tens of millions of users will lose access to their websites when SHA1 (a crypotgaphic hashing function) is retired on January 1, 2016. SHA1 is highly vulnerable to forgery attacks and is being replaced with SHA256. SHA256 will be the minimum function required for access to websites using HTTPS such as Facebook.
However, many browsers in developing nations such as China, Yemen, and Ghana do not support SHA256. The potential outage is expected to affect about 7% of the world’s browsers, prohibiting 4-5% of website visitors in the developing world from access. Facebook and CloudFlare have announced a fallback mechanism that they hope will prevent this outage to its users and have advised other companies to do the same.
Imperva Reports Humans Generated More Traffic Than Bots in 2015
Cyber and data security company Imperva released its Bot Traffic Report and found that the amount of human traffic has surpassed the amount of bot traffic in 2015 at 51.5%. Bot traffic can be generated by “good bots” such as engine spiders, or “bad bots” such a spam engines and DDoS traffic. Bat bot traffic accounted for 29% of the traffic. Internet users have increased from 2.7 million to 3.1 million since 2013, and good bot traffic has decreased. Good bots are typically loaded once when a page loads, but bad bots often launch new attacks while the user is viewing the page and may lead to Internet attacks and outages.
Microsoft Azure Announces New Partnerships and Services
The file-sharing company FileCloud announced this week that it will be adding support to Microsoft Azure’s File Storage. FileCloud will improve redundancy and scalability and allow for on-site deployment and complete control of the cloud. Microsoft Azure has also announced the upcoming release or expansion of several of its services. Azure Backup server will now be more widely available. Azure Backup allows backup of SQL, Sharepoint, Exchange, and Virtual Machines.
The new release will require smaller cache space (estimated to be 5% the size of data being backed up) and will increase retention by offering more recovery points for cloud backups. Azure Container Service, an Azure Compute resource, allows the creation of a cluster of virtual machines that act as container hosts and master machines to control the application containers. Azure Container Service, like Twitter and Apple Siri, uses a Mesosphere based system and is now available for preview.
Microsoft has also expanded its “Blockchain as a service” (BaaS) partners to include Ripple, Eris, Coinprism, Factom, which will include the bitcoin blockchain. This will encourage companies to use Azure to develop their own decentralized applications. The StorSimple Virtual Array and StoreSimple Cloud Appliance 8020 now offer upgrades to previously deployed Azure options.
For users of Linux and Azure, a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSDA) Linux on Azure certification is now available. Executives believe that this will encourage users to improve their skills on both Linux and Azure. Finally, as a result of very low sales of its Xbox gaming console in 2015, Microsoft has announced that it will be bringing games onto the console that utilize Microsoft Azure’s cloud technology to improve the gaming experience.
Fortinet FortiGate Integrates with Cisco APIC
Fortinet has announced that its FortiGate firewall will be integrated into the Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC). APIC is the controller for Cisco Application Center Infrastructure (ACI). Cisco’s ACI is an extremely large software-defined network (SDN) that allows management of network services and automates many IT tasks. The incorporation of Fortinet’s firewall will drastically improve security and will allow significant reductions in data center operating costs.
Palo Alto Networks Identifies Attack on French Diplomat
Security company Palo Alto Networks reported detection of a targeted attack on an employee at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Palo Alto believes that this spear-phishing email attempted to exploit the French diplomat based in Taipei, Taiwan using a Trojan called Emissary, which is related to the Operation Lotus Blossom attack.
The email invited the diplomat to a Science and Technology support group event that was scheduled to take place three days after the attack occurred. This attack shared many characteristics with the Operation Lotus Blossom attack and Palo Alto believes that the attack was an attempt to either breach the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs or obtain information on the relations between France and Taiwan.