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  1. IoT and its impact on bandwidth

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    Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the way that more and more physical devices are collecting and exchanging data over the internet. When this data is aggregated and analyzed, IoT represents a tremendous opportunity for improvements in accuracy and efficiency. Currently, IoT is doing a better job collecting data than using it — but its potential is limitless. IoT will have an increasing impact on bandwidth needs it grows.

    IoT includes an incredible array of devices already

    Consumer uses include connected cars, entertainment applications such as gaming, smart TVs and media players, wearable technologies such as FitBits, and a growing assortment of smart home devices. Commercial IoT includes devices used in corporate settings to improve marketing and study consumer habits, control inventory, healthcare and more, while industrial IoT covers manufacturing and utility use. IoT can even assist with the management of critical infrastructure such as bridges, railway tracks, and wind farms by monitoring usage and structural factors.

    IoT is growing

    Experts predict that anywhere from 25 to 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020. In 2015, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimated that a family of four had an average of 10 connected devices, which will increase to 50 by 2022 – and that’s consumer usage alone, without considering the exponential growth of IoT in commercial and industrial settings.

    Current challenges with IoT

    Several challenges exist in the evolution of IoT that threaten to limit its potential, such as security, compatibility, and standards – as well as privacy issues related to how gathered data is used.

    One much-publicized issue with IoT is that many devices are easy for hackers to co-opt into distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that disable key online services. In a DDoS attack, “botnets” send high volumes of traffic to a specific network. The resulting overload can shut down the network, blocking people from accessing email, websites, online banking and so on. It is crucial that developers of IoT consider and address security issues to help prevent DDoS attacks before consumers lose trust in IoT. It is also important that companies protect their businesses from these DDoS attacks and add a DDoS Mitigation service to their arsenal.

    Implications of IoT for bandwidth

    Many IoT devices operate wirelessly, while others are connected. Most IoT devices use very little bandwidth, but the sheer volume of devices going online means more bandwidth will be needed. As IoT grows, it will be necessary to make sure your network can accommodate these changes.

    The amount of data that IoT devices collect and transmit will increase as the technology continues to develop, which will in turn contribute to the need for increased bandwidth. (For example, when smartphones became capable of transmitting images and streaming video, the need for bandwidth jumped significantly.)

    Consumers expect that bandwidth will always be available at the fastest speeds possible, even as IoT increases demand. Companies like DQE that focus on bandwidth and scalable solutions will be critical as need explodes. Reliability is similarly important, and DQE’s self-healing fiber-optic network offers superior redundancy to automatically detect and redirect in the event of a fiber cut or other interruption.

    Count on DQE to continue to provide scalable, reliable bandwidth solutions for your business as your bandwidth needs grow.

  2. DDoS Attacks: A threat that should not be ignored

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    A young student sits in class nervous about an upcoming online exam that will take place third period. He is certainly unprepared, and knows that another unsatisfactory grade could result in summer school. Desperate, he runs through his options: he can take a deep breath and push through the exam, he can fake a sickness and go the nurse’s office, or he can find a way to cause an internet outage that lasts long enough to avoid his test. Although many prior generations might have chosen one of the first options, the current generation is a little more technologically sophisticated. The student opens his school issued iPad and purchases a cheap DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack from a suspicious website. Within seconds, web traffic is sent to the school’s 1 Gbps internet circuit—causing all online resources to become unavailable, allowing the student to avoid his test.

    This is just one example of how a DDoS attack can be disruptive and compromise non-profit or business operations. Other motivations behind these easily created or launched attacks could include a personal vendetta by a disgruntled worker or ex-employee, a case of extortion wherein an attacker requests payment via bitcoin to stop the attack, or even just an act of “Hactivism” where a hacker takes down a website for sport or in support of a cause. Less commonly, DDoS attacks could be a result of a business rivalry, and in rare circumstances DDoS attacks could be state-sponsored or a result of cyber terrorism. Whatever the motivation may be, DDoS attacks are disruptive and create large risks to businesses.

    In the case of the above school, an internet outage could not only disrupt the student and his classmates’ exam, but also the activity of the entire building. All faculty and administrators could suffer from unproductivity, and other planned class activities could be disrupted as well. In businesses where these attacks occur, the organization could literally lose money either from internal unproductivity or external denial of service to customers—especially in relation to ecommerce. According to Arbor Networks’ Worldwide Infrastructure Scrutiny Report, nearly 60% of organizations surveyed estimated their downtime costs to be about $500 per minute. The risk of these costs is certainly nothing to ignore.

    In addition to the cost of downtime, sometimes attackers will use DDoS attacks to tie up the organization’s technology professionals, while they commit data theft. This can be an even larger threat for some businesses—such as banks or hospitals that house very sensitive information. Along with this theft could come negative news coverage and a tarnished security reputation, or even regulatory scrutiny if the data theft is very serious. Thus, all of these risks are just a few reasons why DDoS attacks are such a threat to business operations, and unfortunately many businesses are unprepared when an attack strikes.

    Unfortunately, DDoS attacks are on the rise and cannot be easily prevented. However, they can be mitigated. DDoS mitigation is when malicious traffic is dropped by an internet service provider that regularly monitors a circuit’s web traffic, giving you the peace of mind that your business will not be helpless in the face of an attack. As these attacks become more prevalent and serious, many companies are choosing to use DDoS Mitigation to protect their business from these serious cyber threats.

  3. Is Your Business Prepared for a DDoS Attack?

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    On October 21, the east coast of the United States woke up to find a significant portion of the Internet wasn’t working. Twitter, Etsy, Tumblr, Reddit, PayPal, SoundCloud, Spotify, Amazon, and even the New York Times were among the sites users were having trouble reaching. The culprit was a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on Dyn, a New Hampshire-based Internet infrastructure company. The incident was an unusually large attack, and fortunately it was resolved by the end of the day. However, it illustrates why DDoS is one of the biggest threats to Internet security today.