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China and U.S. lead in Internet attacks

A new study from Akamai shows that more than 30 percent of all Internet attacks originate from China and the U.S.

China and the U.S. lead the world as the two biggest sources of Internet attack traffic, according to a report published by the content distribution company Akamai.

Akamai, which operates a global server network that helps distribute and accelerate rich media across the Internet, released its first quarterly "State of the Internet" report on Thursday.

One of the key findings of the report revealed that China and the U.S. were home to the greatest percentage of Internet attacks, such as denial of service attacks and hacking attempts for the first quarter of 2008. Almost 17 percent of this traffic originated from China, while the U.S. trailed close by with 14 percent of this traffic coming from computers based here.

In total, 10 countries in the list accounted for nearly 75 percent of all attacks, Akamai said. These countries included Argentina, Brazil, Japan, India, South Korea, and Taiwan.

The most common attacks were associated with Microsoft Windows. About one-third of the attacks were on port 135, which is used for remote procedure calls using the Windows operating system.

Akamai pointed out that a lot of the attacks came from "worms, viruses, and bots that spread across the Internet several years ago." The company hypothesizes that this might indicate that a lot of the attack traffic could be coming from "a large pool of Microsoft Windows-based systems that are insufficiently maintained, and remain unpatched years after these attacks 'peaked' and were initially mitigated with updated software."

Some other notable findings included some interesting statistics on broadband speeds throughout the world.

Not surprisingly, South Korea had the highest levels of high broadband connectivity, which is defined by offering broadband download speeds greater than 5 Mbps. Japan cam in second and the U.S. ranked seventh.

Within the U.S. the tiny states of Delaware and Rhode Island had the highest concentration of "high broadband connectivity." Delaware had more than 60 percent of its connections providing more than 5 Mbps per second. About 42 percent of Rhode Island's connections offered speeds of 5 Mbps or more. Washington state ranked as the slowest state in terms of high speed connections. About 21 percent of its connections were under 256 Kbps. Other slow states included Illinois, Virginia and Georgia. Washington, D.C. also ranked low.

The country with the slowest Internet speeds was Rwanda with 97 percent of its connections under 356 Kbps. The Solomon Islands, Ethiopia, and Cuba were also among the slowest countries.

This was the first report issued by Akamai. The company plans to publish further reports each quarter.