The top source of Web attacks is ... what country?

When you think about which country is the world’s biggest source of Internet attacks, the usual suspects first come to mind.

The United States, perhaps, because it has the most individual IP addresses and such free-flowing Web traffic. China is always a candidate, since it has so many users and has often been accused of being behind attacks. Russia is another traditional source of attacks.

But Myanmar?

According to Akamai’s first quarter report for 2011, Myanmar was the source of 13 percent of the attack traffic during that period, ahead of the U.S. (10 percent), Taiwan (9.1 percent), Russia (7.7 percent) and China (6.4 percent).

Myanmar, aka Burma, has 55 million people, but it was under military rule from 1962 until earlier this year and is one of the least-developed countries in the world.

So how does it wind up leading the Internet in anything?

Akamai suggests it’s related to the amount of traffic targeting Port 80, the main port for Web traffic. Although Myanmar was the source of the highest percentage of attacks, only 25 unique ports were targeted and 45 percent of them targeted Port 80. Attacks originating in the U.S., by comparison, targeted tens of thousands of ports, which Akamai’s report said was “very strongly indicative of general port scanning activity, as opposed to specifically targeted attacks.”

It also might have to do with the fact that attacks originating from a country don’t necessarily mean the attackers are in the country. They could be licensing IP addresses from outside the region.

Myanmar came out of nowhere to top Akamai’s latest list; it didn’t even make the list for the fourth quarter of 2010.

With regard to mobile attacks, however, Myanmar’s got nothing on Italy, which led that list by a large margin, with 25 percent of global attack traffic.

Akamai’s quarterly report is based on data gathered from its Internet platform, which the company says carries between 15 percent and 30 percent of the world’s Web traffic at any given time.


About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.


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