Cisco: Number of Major Global DDoS Attacks to Soar By 2021

The number of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks larger than 1 Gbps will soar from 1.3 million in 2016 to 3.1 million by 2021, Cisco projected June 8 as part of the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Complete Forecast for 2016-2021.

The company projected that, over the next five years, the global digital transformation we have been seeing will continue to have a major impact on the demands and requirements of IP networks.

There are significant implications to the expected 2.5-fold increase that’s expected in DDoS attacks, according to Thomas Barnett, Jr., director, of service provider marketing/thought leadership, at Cisco.  “As hard as service providers work to maintain and innovate their infrastructures, there are cyber criminals working just as hard to infiltrate private networks and compromise personal or proprietary data,” he told the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) by email.

DDoS attacks that are 1.2 Gbps or larger “can inflict enough damage to take most organizations completely offline,” he warned, adding: “A comprehensive security strategy is key for long-term sustainability and profitability. Various levels of protection (hardware and software) are required to prevent network breaches and to protect private records and data.”

As part of another major trend cited by Cisco, it predicted that, by 2021, machine-to-machine (M2M) modules will make up 51% (13.7 billion) of total global devices and connections, and account for 5% of total global IP traffic.

“The Internet of Things (IoT) phenomenon, in which people, processes, data, and things connect to the Internet and each other, is showing tangible growth,” Barnett said. Globally, M2M connections are projected to grow 2.4-fold, from 5.8 billion in 2016 to 13.7 billion by 2021, according to Cisco. There will be 1.75 M2M connections for each member of the global population by 2021, it predicted.

“The transition from an IPv4 environment to an IPv6 environment is essential for IoT deployments,” Barnett said, adding: “Service Providers need to have an IPv6 strategy to enable new device capabilities, and activate IPv6-compatible content. The IPv6 addressing scheme also offers enhanced security features (compared to IPv4), which is also critical for IoT data integrity and success.”

A third major trend cited by Cisco was its prediction that 73% of global Internet traffic will be wireless, including 53% from Wi-Fi and 53% via cellular connections.

“The rapid growth of mobile data traffic has been widely recognized and reported,” Barnett noted. But he said: “The trend toward mobility carries over into the realm of fixed networks as well, in that an increasing portion of traffic will originate from portable or mobile devices.”

For mobile carriers and other network operators as well, a “migration plan to 5G is extremely important,” he said, adding: “From a Wi-Fi perspective, carriers need to be looking toward ratification of a new unlicensed spectrum standard — 802.11ax. These wireless access innovations are inherently designed to support advanced IoT connectivity as well as personal communication devices.”

Among the other key highlights from this year’s forecast: there will be 1.3 billion more internet users by 2021, totaling almost 60% of the population; global broadband speeds will nearly double; live video will increase 15x, accounting for 13% of all Internet video traffic; augmented reality and virtual reality traffic will grow 20x, but only account for 1% of all entertainment traffic; video viewing will make up 82% of all IP traffic; and 56% of connected flat-panel TVs will support 4K by 2021.

The latest VNI forecast relies upon independent analyst forecasts and real-world network usage data and, upon that foundation, are layered Cisco’s own estimates for global IP traffic and service adoption, it said.