January 25, 2011, 10:32 AM

12% of web attacks originate in the United States

An Akamai report also finds Russia and China are among the top attack sources.

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The United States accounted for 12% of web attack traffic in the third quarter of 2010, up slightly from 11% for the second quarter of 2010, says a new report from Akamai Technologies Inc. Russia has overtaken China for the second spot, with 8.9% of web attacks originating from Russia in the third quarter, and 8.2% coming from China.

Akamai sells web content delivery network services and uses its global network of servers to study web attacks. Such attacks can include distributed denial of service attacks, or DDOS, which occur when perpetrators send huge volumes of traffic to web sites in an effort to overwhelm their infrastructure and prevent legitimate shoppers from accessing the sites. In its quarterly “The State of the Internet” report, Akamai says that in the third quarter, web attacks came from 209 countries, up from 200 in the second quarter.

Egypt and Peru, accounting for 3.3% and 2.8% of web attacks respectively, made it into the Top 10 list of countries for web attack sources in the third quarter, displacing Japan and Romania, Akamai says. By region, Africa and South America accounted for more web attacks in the third quarter compared with the second quarter, while Europe and Asia-Pacific accounted for fewer. North America remained flat.

Mobile networks also provide a way for hackers and criminals to attack web sites, the report notes. Italy remained the largest source of mobile attack traffic, which Akamai defines as attacks coming from smartphones, laptops and tablet computers connected to the Internet via mobile networks. Italy accounted for 28% of mobile attack traffic in the third quarter of 2010, well ahead of the United Kingdom, which was in second place with 11%. Akamai provided no older data for comparison.

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