Published March 08, 2013
The Internet can be a dangerous place, and now you can see just how dangerous it gets — in real time, no less.
Deutsche Telekom, a German telecommunications company, has developed a website that allows users to monitor cyberattacks as they happen.
The almost unpronounceable Sicherheitstacho.eu (loosely translated as "security tachometer") displays events as they happen, giving the time of the attack, country of origin and the intended target. While watching the site can be quite hypnotic, its relevance for the everyday user is limited (unless your website or network is currently under attack, in which case, the site still probably won't help much).
For Deutsche Telekom, however, the information will be invaluable. Sicherheitstacho allows the company to compile data for thousands of incidents daily, which will grant insight into common targets and attacker demographics.
Far and away the most belligerent country is Russia, with an impressive 2.4 million cyberattacks launched in February 2012. Taiwan comes in a distant second with 900,000, followed by the website's native Germany at 780,000 and the Ukraine with 566,000. The United States takes sixth place, with just over 355,000 attacks launched from its soil.
Interestingly, despite its position as one of the world's tech hubs,India does not rank among the Top 15 cyberattack-happy countries. The entire continent of Africa evades the list (turns out that those Nigerian princes were all talk), and only Israel represents the Middle East.
Attacks on the server message block (SMB) protocols of websites are the most common method of harassment, clocking in at over 27 million attempts in the last month. SMB is a networking function that allows file sharing among machines, making it a logical starting point for information thieves.
Attacks on other network necessities, such as operating systems and communication ports, were much less common, but still fell prey to hundreds of thousands of attacks. [See also: 10 Reasons to Fear a 'Cyber Pearl Harbor']
This data comes by way of a network of 97 "honeypots." These digital tripwires infiltrate attackers' systems, identify hackers and constantly monitor their output, which allows the construction of Telekom Deutsche's interactive map.
The only downside to this tactic is that the honeypots can only monitor the systems in which they've been installed. Rather than providing a comprehensive look at every cyberattack in the world, Sicherheitstacho can only give a selective snapshot. This may account for oddities like India's absence in the Top 15 and Russia's relative overrepresentation.
That said, the quality of Telekom Deutsche's findings will only improve as the site continues to amass data. Knowing where cyberattacks come from and what systems they target are vital pieces of information for preventing such attacks.