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State of the Internet report is out: Web is faster but attacks also on the rise

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It is not difficult to realize that the Internet is getting faster every year, and to many, that's a good thing. Consumers will be able to download files faster and stream content more smoothly in full 1080p HD. However, this speed boost also benefits hackers, as attacks on websites have risen sharply.

In the United States, the average Internet connection speed reached 10 Mbps, which is a gain of 2 percent since the previous quarter. Canada, on the other hand, reached 9 Mbps, a gain of 1.5 percent over the previous quarter. When it comes to Mexico, the average Internet connection in that country has grown to 4 Mbps, which is a growth of 2.9 percent, to become the highest-growth country in the Americas for the past quarter.

When it comes down to which state in the U.S. has the highest average Internet connection speed, Virginia takes the cake with 14.4 Mbps. In addition, the state has the largest quarter-over-quarter Internet speed growth of 11 percent. This means that if you want the fastest Internet speed in the United States, you might want to move yourself to Virginia.

According to Akamai, a leading content delivery network, connection speeds globally have grown by 38 percent when compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. The global average Internet speed now sits at 3.8 Mbps, with South Korea as the country with the highest average speed of 21.9 Mbps.

"We've reached a significant milestone in the improvement of average connection speeds," said David Belson, editor of the State of the Internet Report. "The fact that all of the top 10 countries/regions' average connection speeds are now at or exceeding the high broadband threshold -- and continued strong growth in countries like South Korea and Ireland -- is indicative of the progress that's being made in broadband penetration. It's reasonable to expect these promising trends will continue to be reflected in future reports."

That's all good news, and we should be screaming for joy, but nothing is never that simple, unfortunately.

Akamai also reports that hacking on the Web has risen substantially, and most of these actions have originated from China. DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks have risen by 75 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 when compared to the previous year. In addition, DDoS attacks were up 23 percent in the previous quarter.

In 2013 alone, Akamai customers reported a massive 1,153 DDoS attacks, which is a 50 percent increase from the smaller number of 768 attacks recorded in 2012. In the final quarter of 2013, 241 of the 1,153 attacks were directed at the commerce and enterprise industry. Less than half were aimed at websites based in America.

In the final quarter of 2013, China was the IP source for 43 percent of all DDoS attacks, the United States followed with 19 percent, while Canada sits close behind with 10 percent.

"Akamai maintains a distributed set of unadvertised agents deployed across the Internet to log connection attempts that the company classifies as attack traffic," according to a report from the company. "Based on the data collected by these agents, Akamai is able to identify the top countries from which attack traffic originates, as well as the top ports targeted by these attacks."

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