Quarter of world’s internet users’ infrastructure susceptible to attacks

Quarter of world’s internet users’ infrastructure susceptible to attacks

  • Technology
  • May 29, 2022
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  • 4 minutes read


About a quarter of the world’s Internet users live in countries with Internet infrastructure that are more susceptible to targeted attacks than previously thought, according to a large-scale study by researchers at the University of California at San Diego Diego. Computer scientists surveyed a total of 75 countries. The study was presented at the 2022 Online Passive and Active Measurement Conference.

“We wanted to study the topology of the Internet to find weak links that, if compromised, would expose the traffic of an entire nation. But a large part of the Internet does not work with peering agreements for network connectivity,” said Alexander. Gamero-Garrido, first author of the document, in a press release.

Depending on the country you are in, the structure of the Internet can be very different. In some places like the United States, a large number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) compete and offer services to a large number of users. These ISPs have networks that are directly connected to each other and exchange content; a process called direct peering.

But the study found that in some countries, many of which are in the global south, Internet users rely on only a few ISPs to access the Internet. And in some of these countries, an ISP serves a large majority of users. These providers often rely on a limited number of companies to access global Internet and Internet traffic from other countries.

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This could mean that attackers would only have to target one or a few of these companies, called autonomous traffic systems, to paralyze an entire nation’s Internet access. In countries such as Cuba and Sierra Leone, a provider of autonomous traffic systems provides connection to almost every user in the country; presenting the worst case.





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