Akamai Diversity
Home > December 2015

December 2015 Archives

Akamai at CES 2016

The Akamai Media Delivery team is looking forward to seeing you at CES 2016!  One of the major themes we expect to hear a lot about at CES this year is OTT, or Over-The-Top delivery of premium video content over the internet, without the accompanying ownership of the distribution network.  

"Fingerprint banking", or the ability to conduct financial transactions from your phone with your fingerprint, without the need for a username and password, has quickly become a mainstream feature in banking apps around the globe.  But will this new feature convince mobile holdouts - those customers that don't trust mobile banking - to cross over?  Or will it further scare them away?

WAF: Ease of management

In my last articles I introduced the idea of how simple is the concept of a WAF (although implementing a reliable WAF system is not that simple), what are false positives and false negatives and the best approach to trade-off between them, what is the impact of wide visibility when it comes to build a WAF, the importance of having a solid team of experts backing up a WAF solution, and how does scale affect to WAF performance (and ultimately to WAF deployment).

The 2015 holiday shopping period lifted off with a bang, setting revenue records for the Thanksgiving weekend and indicating strong revenue trends for the holiday season.

Data from Akamai Retail Net Usage Index, a tool which monitors the company's retail customers' real-time website traffic in page views per minute, supported this trend, as the average page views per minute over the five-days was nearly 70 percent above the baseline.  In North America the highest spike was on Black Friday, a 109 percent increase, as people sought to avoid lines at the store and the general chaos associated with "traditional" Black Friday shopping. Thanksgiving day was a close second at an 80 percent increase over baseline. As digital takes more and more share from in-store shopping, industry research indicates that digital shopping activity will be spread out more evenly across the weekend and the entire holiday period. This better accommodates the family focused nature of the weekend, while still catering to shoppers' desire to find bargains.

WAF: Adequate scale

Let's move on with our analysis of the ideal WAF requirements. Scale is, without a doubt, one of the most important requirements of an effective WAF. Scale has to be considered from two perspectives: under standard traffic conditions and under unusually high levels of traffic. Let's look at each one.

How 2015 Security Trends Will Influence 2016

I've always hated security 'predictions'; they range from scientific guesses to self-serving marketing drivel, trending mostly towards the latter.  But they do serve a purpose when done right, in that they draw attention to the trends currently happening and how they might play out in the future.  Given that there's been more focus on the field of computer security in 2015 than in any year before, it's probably not a bad idea to look at how some of the most important trends of 2015 are going to play out in the coming year.

 It's not a prediction, but rather a statement of fact to say that computer security is only going to become more important in the coming year and gain even more public attention.  We are at the start of a wave of changes that no one can accurately predict.  Security professionals around the globe have lamented for years that business leaders haven't paid enough attention to our advice, but that's changing rapidly and caught many people off-guard.  One of the things we need to be able to do is to understand some of the trends of today and where they might lead to tomorrow.  Which is why predictions can actually be valuable, if taken with a grain (or perhaps a block) of salt. 

So here is my view on how the top 5 security trends of 2015 will develop in 2016.

    Two weeks ago key players in the travel industry gathered from around the world to discover, debate and capitalize on the latest trends and opportunities in travel at the PhocusWright Conference in Fort Lauderdale. One of the hottest topics on the agenda was how to improve the travelers' experience from booking to actually traveling - and how important mobile is to that process. While mobile devices generate 25 percent of the transactions for the travel industry, that actually lags behind other retail verticals for mobile device sales.

    In my previous blog, I showed how seriously the performance of your website can be affected by your CDN, even though many don't include it in their monitoring strategy. To enable you to improve your performance tuning and rapid troubleshooting, you must monitor your CDN along with the rest of your systems and do so effectively. In this blog I'll show you how to do just that.

    Earlier you had to choose, should you personalize or cache everything... we wanted to do both. -- Fredrik Ahlen (CTO)

    The business decision had been made. Fredrik Ahlen (CTO) and Patrik Wallin (Lead Developer) of Health & Sports Nutrition Group (Gymgrossisten) were going to undergo a personalization overhaul to increase conversion rates. This meant personalizing nearly everything -- category pages, product pages, product recommendations and more. It was up to Fredrik and Patrik to make this happen on a site running on an e-commerce platform long past it's lifetime and offering poor website performance, poor stability, and limited personalization.

    WAF: Threat Intelligence, the brain behind the machine

    First time I jumped into a plane I was around 10 or 12 years old. The crew, moved by my innocent face and my dazzle, gave me a great gift: they allowed me to enter into the cabin where the pilot was commanding the flight. This is what I saw:

    Retailers can look back on the start of this holiday season and breath a sigh of relief that all signs point to another strong holiday season. According to figures released by Adobe, Cyber Monday closed with $3.07 billion in sales setting a new single day sales record. Black Friday also set records and marked the highest spike over the five-day shopping weekend with a 109 percent jump in traffic, according to Akamai's Net Usage Index.*

    Every six months I take a look at a handful of key stats from the HTTP Archive -- a fantastic repository of historical data around the size and composition of half a million of the most-visited websites in the world -- and I benchmark them against the previous six months.

    In previous posts WAF: False Positives vs. False Negatives and WAF: trade-off between false positives and false negatives, we talked about the importance of WAF accuracy and the strategy that Akamai follows when developing the system of proprietary rules (Kona Rule Set or KRS) that govern the WAF. 

    Playing Hide and Seek In the Cloud

    When we were young, we had fun playing hide and seek. As 5 year olds there were a limited number of places our friends could hide, and we could methodically check each one and then giggle when we found them. As we grew older, we expanded the boundaries of the game. Today, as security researchers, hide-and-seek is no longer so fun because the boundaries are nearly infinite. How do you find and evaluate the risk, for example, of one deadly SQL injection attempt across 200,000 daily attack events?

    WAF: trade-off between false positives and false negatives

    In the previous article, we introduced, arguably, the most important metric to measure WAF quality (in subsequent entries we will talk about WAF performance). But we left one question flying in the air: How can we achieve that our WAF rules provide a virtually null False Positive rate, keeping at the same time a very low percentage of False Negatives?

    Web Security in Healthcare Matters

    It's hard to miss all the media attention surrounding data breaches in healthcare.  If you're involved in information security at a healthcare organization, it's no surprise to you that more than 143 million individuals have been affected by data breaches since HHS started tracking incidents in September 2009.

    WAF: False Positives vs. False Negatives

    I said in my last article that one of the key factors when it comes to judging the effectiveness of a WAF is accuracy. There is a metric that, measured in an objective way, provides an unmistakable view of quality and accuracy of a WAF solution: false negatives and false positives.

    Defining OTT Webinar Series

    All indications are that Over-the-Top (OTT) video services will attract larger audiences, be delivered at higher bit rates, and provide viewers with more entertainment options than ever before, all of which can further complicate your already complex media strategy.

    Please join me on Wednesday, December 9th at 2PM ET/11AM PT as we define and discuss the rapidly shifting OTT 2.0 landscape. Whether you've already launched a new OTT service or you're still exploring where you fit in, I'd like to share strategies for helping you win in this increasingly competitive market.

    The in-depth presentation will be followed by a live Q&A session. I look forward to your participation!

    John Bishop
    Akamai
    CTO, Media Business Unit

    Register Today

    Now Available: Q3 State of the Internet Security Report

    The Q3 2015 State of the Internet Security Report is now available for download at www.stateoftheinternet.com/security-reportAmong the highlights: a continued upward trend in DDoS attacks, and attacks fueled by the easy availability of DDoS-for-hire sites that identify and abuse exposed Internet services, such as SSDP, NTP, DNS, CHARGEN, and even Quote of the Day.

    Winning Web Performance - Takeaways from Akamai Edge Part 1

    At the Akamai Edge Conference some of the world's biggest, most innovative brands shared ways they move their online businesses faster forward using Akamai. In a multi-part blog post series, we'll be sharing the most valuable lessons learned in the Web Performance space.

    WAF. Under myth-busters' scrutiny.

    Tangina Barros, the medium in the Poltergeist film series, taxes and Internet security.
    These three things have in common that they scare, they intimidate and they may keep you awake at night. With regards to the first two topics, the only thing I can do is remember that Poltergeist is just a movie, seriously, just a movie (I keep saying that to convince myself, quite unsuccessfully, though) and that with the adequate online help, tax filling can be done without making mistakes (I also keep saying that, with the same purpose, and the same futile outcome). But still, I sleep with one eye open.

    Web Security Lacking at Hospitals

    While hospitals are ramping up security efforts to protect information, a large percentage of them are vulnerable to attacks on their web sites.  Less than two-thirds of hospitals participating in a recent survey reported having on-premise web application firewalls in place, and fewer than half reported having defenses in place to thwart distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.  Read more here.

    Last of OWASP's Top 10 Still a Potent Threat


    Open redirection is the last item on the OWASP Top 10, and it is considered a Web application functionality that can be used by attackers to redirect users from trusted domains to untrusted domains. But it is a potent problem, as Akamai's Threat Research Team discovered in their research on an unusual malicious SEO attack campaign that abused Web applications' open redirect functionality.

    Developing a PoC Step by Step

    I've received numerous questions about how I found so many Wordpress plugin vulnerabilities and how to write the exploits that were essential to the research.  I'll be honest, it's not hard if you have some experience in php programming and basic knowledge of secure programming.  To simplify things, we will narrow down certain traits of what plugins to examine.