Week in Review: October 27, 2017

by Dan Bateyko

This week, the Internet Monitor released its first Research Bulletin, “The Slippery Slope of Internet Censorship in Egypt” on Egyptian Internet censorship and how Internet users use social media to protest filtering and disseminate banned content. You can read the bulletin here .

CAIDA report finds one-third of the Internet hit by DoS attacks in the last two years

One-third of all networks estimated to be active on the Internet have suffered a Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack in the past two years, according to a November report from the Center for Applied Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA) and collaborators. The report, to be presented at next week’s Internet Measurement Conference, aims to be a comprehensive study and characterization of DoS attacks -  attempts to disrupt or shut down Internet-connected devices -  DoS targets, and the services that aim to mitigate DoS effects.

“Each day we see attacks on tens of thousands of unique target IP addresses, spread over thousands of autonomous systems,”  the report’s authors claim. The report draws from two distinct data sets to characterize DoS attacks over a two-year period. Among its key findings, the study highlights that DoS attacks are more likely to target Web servers and that “more than a thousand attacks of medium to maximum intensity occur on a daily basis.”  The U.S. was the most-commonly targeted country with ¼ of all observed attacks, following expected patterns of the Internet’s use; however, Russia and France were notable in experiencing higher amounts of attacks compared to their given Internet address space.

Websites hoping to mitigate the effects of a DoS attack can migrate to any one of a number of DDoS Protection Services (DPSs) such as CloudFlare and Akamai. Tracking the potential factors behind a website migrating to a protection service, the study found that while DoS attack duration and their frequency factored little, "DoS attacks that severely affect websites are likely to create an urgency to mitigate" and are strongly correlated to websites moving quickly to a DPS.

The study’s findings can be read in full along with other research on Internet Infrastructure on CAIDA’s website.

FCC planned vote on Net Neutrality postponed

The "Restoring Internet Freedom" proposal which would roll back Net Neutrality guarantees was conspicuously absent from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s blogpost on November plans, according to a recent TechCrunch article.

In its stead, the blogpost named a number of items up for vote in November, including "cracking down on unlawful robocalls", "unleashing more spectrum to spur the rollout of next-generation 5G wireless networks", and "expediting the transition from legacy copper networks to modern fiber networks."

TechCrunch reports that the upcoming debate over “"moderning media ownership rules" is expected to stir controversy; “The FCC will be eliminating rules limiting cross-ownership of broadcast and newspaper outlets, and of TV and radio stations. It would also eliminate the “eight voices” rule that protects independently owned stations, and ease TV join[t] sales agreements.”

Iran restores access to SoundCloud, Spotify

Music-streaming services Soundcloud and Spotify have been unblocked in Iran as of October 17, according to a Global Voices’ article by Iran editor Mahsa Alimardani.

As of writing, reports vary as to the websites’ accessibility, and there are still a number of obstacles to using their services. Some users report that the services' mobile applications are inaccessible through their telecommunications provider and Spotify's corporate rules still prevent Iranians from registering an account. Government officials have yet to comment on the reason behind the lifted restrictions.

Read more about the Iranian experience of censorship from Berkman Klein Center fellow Simin Kargar here and See Internet Monitor’s Dashboard on Iran here .