Quarter of world’s internet users’ infrastructure susceptible to attacks

 Quarter of world’s internet users’ infrastructure susceptible to attacks

About a quarter of the world’s internet users live in countries with internet infrastructure that are more vulnerable to targeted attacks than previously thought, according to a large study conducted by University researchers of California San Diego. Computer scientists surveyed 75 countries. The study was presented at the Passive and Active Measurement Conference 2022 conducted online.

“We wanted to study the topology of the Internet to find weak links that, if compromised, would expose traffic across the country. But a large part of the Internet does not work with peering agreements for on network connectivity, ”Alexander Gamero-Garrido, the paper’s first author, said in a press release.

Depending on the country you live in, the structure of the internet can be very different. In some places like the United States, many internet service providers (ISPs) compete and offer services to multiple users. These ISPs have networks that are directly connected to each other and exchange content; a process called direct observation.

But the study found that in some countries, most of which are in the global south, internet users rely on only a few ISPs for internet access. And in some of these countries, an ISP serves the majority of users. These providers often rely on a limited number of companies to gain access to the global internet and internet traffic from other countries.

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This could mean that attackers only need to target one or a few of these companies, called transit autonomous systems, in order to cripple internet access across the country. In countries such as Cuba and Sierra Leone, a transit autonomous system provider provides connectivity to almost all users in the country; presenting a worst-case scenario.

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