Internet Traffic Spiked to Double Normal Rate in March

Internet traffic saw a major spike in March, but it will scale in the face of increased user demand.

Speaking as part of the Akamai Edge conference, delivered as a virtual summit, Tom Leighton, CEO and co-founder of Akamai, said that COVID-19 is creating major changes in lifestyles, as the internet was intended to make our lives manageable.

“We are operating at a larger scale,” Leighton said, acknowledging that questions exist about whether the internet is ready to scale such demands “and handle applications that we rely on today.”

Leighton said that over the last four weeks global traffic has grown by 30%, whilst a normal growth would be 3%. “If we go back to 2019 and the same period, it declined by 1%, and this growth is in one month where there were no big sporting events,” he said. “We’re doing everything online now and there's been growth in a short period of time. 

Leighton also said that there had been a peak in traffic of 167 Tbps, compared to 82 Tbps in March 2019. 

Looking at the current state of security for remote working employees, Leighton explained that the “bad guys have been working remotely for years and know we’re vulnerable, they know we have got a lot on our minds and are taking advantage of it.”

He identified the four best defense strategies against attacks to be:

  • Protect against DDoS attacks where there is resource exhaustion and sites are taken down
  • Use application security and bot management, to stop your content from being corrupted and stop your site being taken over
  • With people working at home, consider a zero trust approach as users working remotely is a major issue for access
  • Consider page integrity and data being stolen from users, such as in the Magecart attacks

Asked if the internet will scale under current demand, Leighton said it would, but he warned it is under pressure “and especially in core data centers and that is where we help to deliver content into the network and at the edge where there is more bandwidth.”

What’s Hot on Infosecurity Magazine?