Content Delivery Infrastructure Updates #7


CloudFlare and Telstra Do the Tango

CloudFlare, which supports over 4 million websites through its global network which spans 45 countries, has been trading jabs with Telstra over its claim that Telstra’s bandwidth costs are overpriced. In CloudFlare’s recent analysis of relative bandwidth costs, the popular bandwidth provider argued that certain networks drove up mean bandwidth prices: “there are six expensive networks (HiNet, Korea Telecom, Optus, Telecom Argentina, Telefonica, Telstra) that are more than an order of magnitude more expensive than other bandwidth providers around the globe and refuse to discuss local peering relationships. To give you a sense, these six networks represent less than 6% of the traffic but nearly 50% of our bandwidth costs.”

CloudFlare argues that, in view of these exorbitant rates, it has taken the drastic measure of moving Free customers off the six transit networks in order to show them “how out of step they are with the rest of the world.”

Telstra has hit back with the claim that CloudFlare overstated its bandwidth costs: “Previous analysis undertaken by CloudFlare two years ago overstated Telstra’s charges by a factor of ten.” CloudFlare, in turn, stated that this was simply untrue and averred that peering with CloudFlare would save the Telstra on transit costs.

Akamai Upping Its Game In Cloud Security: Managed Kona Site Defender Service

In the face of rapidly evolving threats, Akamai is unveiling its Managed Kona Site Defender Service, a web security solution designed for companies that wish to offload security monitoring, threat mitigation and management, of the Akamai Cloud Security Solution. The site defender service comprises three core focus areas — attack readiness, security monitoring and attack support, and security reporting.

Attack readiness entails thoroughly scrutinizing a client’s web traffic in order to assess its defense posture and come up with recommendations for combating malicious traffic, a procedure known as threat update review. After security solution configurations have been tuned and optimized to respond to the current threat landscape, Akamai and client security teams run drills to coordinate threat mitigation efforts.

Managed Kona Site Defender also provides real-time 24/7 threat monitoring, proactively assessing log events from Kona Site Defender Alerts to ensure early threat detection. Attack support is provided as soon as an attack is detected, with news of the incident being relayed to the client and the Security Operations Center.

After such an attack is successfully mitigated, Akamai will compose a Security After Action Report detailing the nature of the threat, the manner in which it was resolved, and recommendations.

Finally, as devising a robust web security solution is an iterative process, Managed Kona provides a monthly report that reviews the status of a client’s security solution as well as any security incidents that occurred.

VDMS (Edgecast) Expands in South America

Verizon Digital Media Services has expanded into six new points-of-presence in five South American countries on its Edgecast network. The new points-of-presence are Medellin, Colombia, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Barranquilla, Colombia, Lima, Peru, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Brazilian PoP functions as a Transact PoP, a robust, purpose-built PCI Level 1 Certified CDN that can securely carry e-commerce traffic.

It has also gained a new Brazilian client, CVC Brasil Operadora e Agencia de Viagens SA, which will not only take advantage of the network enhancements provided by Edgecast CDN, but also its authoritative-only IP Anycast DNS, Application Delivery Network, and Web Application Firewall. Miguel Alcantara, of CVC Brasil, said of the deal: “We required a dependable, agile solution that could adapt to our ever-growing digital market. Throughout a lengthy, rigorous trial process, Verizon Digital Media Services consistently demonstrated its quickness, nimbleness, issue resolution, and ease of use with high quality. We could not have asked for a better partner.”

This brings Edgecast’s network footprint in South America up to 8 PoPs in 7 cities and 5 countries, making it one of the largest in the continent. As OTT traffic continues to grow in South America, Verizon is investing heavily in improving its CDN services: “The addition of these new PoPs significantly improves our network performance on key measurements such as response time — the amount of time between receiving users’ requests and responding to them — and throughput — the speed of delivering data back to a user’s device. In recent tests, our network had the fastest throughput and quickest response time when compared to other CDNs in the respective LatAm countries.”

Affiliate Fraud Targeting 71 Of the Top Alexa 500

PerimeterX has detected a new affiliate marketing fraud attack based on a network of browser extension malware. This affiliate fraud attack has targeted thousands of websites, including 71 of the Alexa top 500 websites, hijacking users and charging affiliate and referral fees that can reach thousands of dollars.

Affiliate marketing is a common tactic used to drive up traffic wherein third-parties are hired to refer, divert, and otherwise encourage users to websites. Some affiliate marketing arrangements stipulate that as much as 30% of what a referred visitor spends on a website goes to the referring website, so there is plenty of financial motivation to attempt to exploit them.

The affiliate marketing fraud scheme proceeds by hijacking a browser and installing a malicious extension which can then be leveraged to monitor user activity and even operate while the user is active. What this browser extension does is refer all of a user’s activity and purchases to a false affiliate, stealing from websites and their referring third parties. Such schemes are difficult to detect because they piggyback on legitimate user behavior and simply take the credit for the referrals and purchases.

Akamai Delivers Like a Charm During Rio Olympics

The 2016 Summer Games were many things to many people, but in the CDN world, they proved that online-streaming of live events has grown tremendously, at the expense of broadcast. NBC’s Rio Olympic broadcast ratings were 20% lower than those for the 2012 London Olympics.

Conversely, NBC has streamed more hours of live video coverage (4,500+) at Rio than at any other previous Olympic event. Akamai, which handled the CDN for NBC’s Olympic broadcast, had delivered more data in three days at Rio than it had in all 17 days at London. All this is to say that if you are broadcasting the Olympics, you better have streaming down pat.

The task presented numerous logistical challenges for Akamai, which needed to take every live-streamed Olympic event (which was all of them), bring the content onto its platform and distribute it to end users scattered throughout the globe. The feat also necessitated supporting a massive library of footage ranging from complete replays to highlights.

During its coverage, Akamai also encountered 4.5+ Tbps peak traffic, higher than ever before for an event of its kind, and viewers equipped with stronger broadband connections than they had for the 2012 Olympics.

To that end, Akamai adopted a variety of precautions: “Large on-demand libraries put a huge stress on its caching platform, so it worked closely with partners to create a scalable solution, providing offload to protect the libraries. It looked at the full distribution pipe, providing layers of caching and distribution to protect the origin, while also managing the last mile to viewers’ homes.”

In addition, to prepare for 1080p video upload and distribution, Akamai dedicated parts of its platforms exclusively to Olympic videos and also worked to align its massively distributed edge platform with NBC’s encoding partners. Stay tuned for the Olympics in 2020, when 4K graphics are thrown into the mix.

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