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November 2015 Archives

Cyber Monday: DDoS vs. Flash Mob

Today is Cyber Monday, which is historically the day when many retailers encourage online holiday shopping. Online retailers may see large spikes in traffic to their sites. It is possible that some may interpret these spikes as a DDoS, but in reality it may be what we refer to as a "flash mob". 

A flash mob is a large amount of legitimate traffic being sent to a specific site. One way we can often differentiate between a flash mob and a DDoS is by the number of requests per client. A DDoS can have a high or low number of clients with a very high number of requests each client. A flash mob will have a very high number of clients but a relatively low number of requests per client. This is because in the flash mob, the client requests are being sent from a human and not an automated script. 

The remediation of a flash mob is cache offloading, so as much content as possible can be served from the edge and leave the origin servers for tasks that only they can do.

If you are an Akamai customer who feels they are being attacked with DDoS traffic, please follow the usual incident protocols and contact your Customer Care representative, but Akamai's SIRT is also available to assist and to investigate deeper into the traffic. 

2015 Holiday Shopping Predictions for Retailers

We're gearing up for some of the busiest days of the holiday season and that means we're starting to make some predictions around consumer shopping behavior and what retailers can expect to see this year. 

Last year around this same time, we saw an early start to the shopping season, evidenced by an uptick in activity starting as early as Nov. 2. The latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker supports this prediction, stating that just under 45 percent of consumers plan to shop on Black Friday and another 47 percent say they will shop on Cyber Monday. Similarly, Research from the National Retail Federation (NRF) affirms that in 2014 the estimated number of Cyber Monday shoppers was 127 million, with the number of people who shopped on Black Friday at 87 million.

Being truly 'ready' for the holidays means different things to different people and organizations. For consumers, it is getting your house decorated, shopping done and enjoying time with both family and friends. For online retailers, it is finalizing deals, ensuring your website can handle the substantial increase in inbound traffic and of course, the elephant in the metaphorical room, web security and its importance in maintaining a positive brand reputation.

Protect Your Site From Hacking and Fraud During the Holidays

"The threat posed by distributed DoS [DDoS] and web application attacks continues to grow each quarter," said John Summers, vice president for Akamai's cloud security business sector. Malicious actors are continually changing the game by switching tactics, seeking out new vulnerabilities and even bringing back old techniques that were considered outdated.

The traffic on the Internet increased during the 2014 holiday season, so did the number of all types of attack traffic (including application-layer attacks and volumetric, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks) reported the Akamai's Threat Advisory.  Many attackers mask themselves in a sea of "good" online traffic by using proxy addresses that enable them to browse the web anonymously and without geographic origin. Most of these volumetric attacks originate from Bots, software applications that run automated tasks over the Internet.

Java Deserialization CVE-2015-4852 on Akamai

By Clark Shishido, Akamai SIRT Security Response Engineer


Applications written in Java commonly use a call-in function from a widely deployed library to decode data passed between computers. The call is java.io.ObjectInputStream.readObject from Apache commons-collection. 


An attacker can append arbitrary data to a base64 encoded serial data stream, which will then be deserialized when the data is read into a Java application. By appending malicious payloads to the stream, the attacker can execute arbitrary commands on a vulnerable server.



Surviving The Switch from SHA-1 to SHA-2

By Meg Grady-Troia and Bill Brenner


As we move toward 2016, browser developers have moved to retire the SHA-1 cryptographic hash algorithm in favor of SHA-2. Browsers are beginning to show warnings or errors for HTTPS connections made to servers presenting certificate chains signed using SHA-1.


Companies like Google, Mozilla, Microsoft and the CAB/Browser Forum have released their own descriptions of how they're managing the process. This post describes the Akamai-compatible workflow to help you manage the change process for your properties easily, regardless of the signatory Certificate Authority (CA) on your certificate.

The Rising Risk of Electronic Medical Records

By Bill Brenner, Akamai SIRT Senior Tech Writer


Akamai's Security Intelligence Research Team (SIRT) released a new whitepaper this morning about the rising risks medical organizations face as they become increasingly dependent on digitized record keeping.


The use of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) and a more digitally integrated medical records system is no longer science fiction, and the task of securing sensitive medical data is a daunting challenge. The threat landscape continues to shift rapidly, and business responses need to keep up.


The whitepaper, written by Security Response Engineer Benjamin Brown, examines the risks, and outlines steps organizations can take to keep attackers at bay.

Making Mobile Matter this Holiday Season


It's evident that mobile has become the go-to shopping method for most consumers. In fact, they are continuing to browse and buy from multiple networks, making the mobile shopping experience more important than ever. With smartphone subscriptions projected to increase by an average of 15 percent a year - reaching six billion by 2020, [Ericsson Mobility Report, June 2015] it's no question that mobile has become an important consideration for retailers. Today's consumers use their smartphones throughout the shopping experience, so retailers must take into consideration these growth statistics to prepare for the holiday rush, which is just around the corner! 

Akamai's Fast DNS Infrastructure battles Xor Botnet

By Bill Brenner, Akamai SIRT Senior Tech Writer

Xor, a Trojan malware attackers are using to hijack Linux machines to include within a botnet for distributed denial of service (DDoS) campaigns, appears to be behind an Oct. 13 attack against a customer using Akamai's FastDNS infrastructure.
It has been a busy week for Akamai and the Cloud Networking team.  In addition to launching our Cloud Networking solution category, we completed Edge, our annual customer conference, acquired Bloxx, a Secure Web Gateway company, and Orange Business Services and Deutsche Telekom announced that they selected Akamai Cloud Networking to power their business grade Internet solutions. So what does this mean for our customers?

2015 Edge Conference: Women in Technology Recap



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L-R: Maha Pula, Sr. Director, Pre Sales, Americas at Akamai Technologies
Robyn Randell, Vice President IT, Asia Pacific at Burberry
Andrea Shannon, Sr. Director of Business Development at Ooyala
Diana Silva, Global eCommerce Marketing Leader at Cisco WebEx
Megan Meza, Senior Product Manager, Content Delivery at Rackspace Hosting
Sue Thexton, Senior Vice President, EMEA at Brightcove

We are happy to announce that Deutsche Telekom has selected Akamai Cloud Networking to enhance its IP-VPN portfolio. The new IP-VPN offering from Deutsche Telekom will utilize Akamai Cloud Networking Internet Transport Optimization capabilities to bolster the reliability and performance of enterprises' Internet IP-VPN traffic.

Mobile-app Only: Trend or Fad?

Over the last few years, Indian startups have been disrupting traditional business models and meeting market needs with 'mobile' being the focal point. The world is sitting up and taking notice, as India leads the way with its unique 'mobile-app' only approach to various market needs. Increasingly with the advent of hyperlocal commerce players, app only models have gained traction and many of India's eCommerce giants have either gone mobile or are thinking of moving to the app only model. 

FinTech Landscape Comparison: U.K. vs. the U.S.

If you are a FinTech junkie like myself, you review dozens or articles each week from around the world to try to keep up with the latest hot news and hot companies in this space.  Many of the articles highlight recent startups, or report on the investments banks are making in specific companies or their own innovation centers to keep pace with this hot sector.  It's all very exciting, but it's hard to formulate a deeper understanding of the industry as a whole.

Quality Joins Content on Video Streaming Throne

Within the media industry, we've been told for years that "content is king". With the quickly evolving OTT landscape, I'd argue that the industry is now looking more like a diarchy than a monarchy, with "quality" serving as a second but equal king. 

Operation Profile: Armada Collective

By Bill Brenner, Akamai SIRT Senior Tech Writer

In recent weeks, Akamai's Security Intelligence Research Team (SIRT) has investigated several DDoS attack campaigns targeting Akamai customers. The group responsible for these attacks calls itself "Armada Collective." Its tactics are similar to those used by the group DD4BC, where they threaten the victim with emails warning of an impending DDoS against their website unless a ransom is paid in Bitcoins.

The Holiday Readiness Countdown

It's never too early to prepare when you're a retailer gearing up for the holiday rush, especially with the continued growth in online commerce. Now is usually the time that shoppers begin making their shopping plans, and even start to make purchases. To help prepare, we've pulled together three essential elements for providing an exceptional customer experience during the holidays, and ultimately converting shoppers into buyers! 

The Recipe for SaaS Success Part 1: Make vs. Buy


The demand for cloud solutions is on the rise, driven by new imperatives, delivery choices and requirements for IT organizations. These cloud solutions are changing how IT services are created and delivered. Today's customers are purchasing cloud solutions, not servers, and using SaaS to extend or replace existing applications. Consider the following statistics:

  • The predicted cloud software market size by 2017 is $76.1 billion
  • There will be 2.5x more cloud ISVs by 2017
  • 91% of net new software will be built for cloud delivery in 2015

 

Last  week at Akamai's Edge 2015 Conference in Miami I had the distinct pleasure of spending time with Andi Gall, the enigmatic and paradigm-shattering CTO of Red Bull Media House. This was Andi's second appearance as an Edge keynote speaker, and once again he completely captivated 1,500 people in the live audience.



We are happy to announce that Orange has selected Akamai Cloud Networking to power Orange Business VPN Internet Accelerate. Orange is the first global telecom provider and IT solutions integrator to deliver multinational corporations end-to-end cloud network solutions across the globe, based on Akamai Cloud Networking Optimized Internet Transport.

The Torte Botnet: A SpamBot Investigation

By Bill Brenner, Akamai SIRT Senior Tech Writer   

Akamai released a new whitepaper today about a spambot investigation conducted by Chad Seaman, a Senior Security Response Engineer from Akamai's Security Intelligence Research Team (SIRT).

Attackers are using a multi-layered, decentralized and widely distributed botnet to launch coordinated brute-force spamming campaigns. Chad named it the "Torte" botnet because its structure resembles a multi-layered cake.

The botnet is fairly large and uses both elf binary and php based infections. The portions that could be mapped account for over 83,000 unique infections across 2 of the 4 infection layers. While binary infections only target Linux, other php-based infections were found running on all major server operating systems -- Windows, Linux, os x, Unix, SunOS, and variants of bsd.

The paper examines Akamai's SIRT investigation, findings and recommended defensive measures.

Family Reach Gets Out of the Kitchen with Akamai

In my work with Family Reach, an organization that helps families battling cancer with out-of-pocket medical expenses and everyday living costs, I learned of a striking statistic: The number one cause of financial bankruptcy for families is paying for the costs associated with cancer.

This statistic is one that Family Reach helps to combat every day, and one of the key drivers of its upcoming Cooking Live event. Created by chef Ming Tsai four years ago, Cooking Live brings together some of the nation's top celebrity chefs to raise awareness of the impact of cancer on families and to cook for some of the families involved with Family Reach.

Cooking Live takes place on Monday, November 2, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. ET. Renowned chefs Masaharu Morimoto, Bryce Shuman, Ken Oringer and Johnny Iuzinni will join host Ming Tsai and celebrity sous chefs Emily Blunt and John Krasinski as they prepare a five-course meal while addressing the serious needs Family Reach addresses on a daily basis.