2021, like every year before it, has been impactful in many ways. From major infrastructure upgrades to cyberattacks, 2021 is proving to be a pivotal year in telecom. As we prepare to close out one year and begin another, it is the perfect time to take a look back.
DDoS Attacks Put Networks Under Pressure
To start, you may be asking just what is a DDoS attack? The purpose of the attack is to overwhelm servers, gateways, or portals to the point that the device is unavailable to any other use for its intended purpose. There are several ways hackers accomplish this:
Volumetric attack – hackers deliberately consume the target network’s bandwidth making the network unavailable to valid users. Hackers accomplish this by flooding the network with ICMP echo requests until the network can no longer send or receive data.
Fragmentation attacks – in this type of DDoS attack, malicious sources send manipulated packets to the victim to try to force the network to reassemble, only the packets can not be reassembled.
Application Layer attacks – Layer 7 attacks target the applications or servers of the victim in an effort to use up needed network resources by attempting to use up the resources with the creation of as many processes and transactions as possible.
TCP Exhaustion attacks – in this attack the hackers target the webserver or firewall of the victim in an effort to push the device to the limit of the connections it can handle.
PrivacyHub reports an astonishing 454% increase in DDoS attacks in 2021.
According to Security Magazine, the number of DDoS attacks increased by around 2.5 million over the past year to a total of 15 million. This number has steadily increased around the world, with the greatest number of attacks in China, followed closely by the United States.
In just September of this year, there were 4 impactful events making headlines affecting VoIP telecom providers. They include some major players such as Bandwidth, VoIP.ms, VoIP Unlimited and VoIPfone.
- On September 28, Bandwidth CEO David Morken released a statement regarding the DDoS against his organization. Termed a “rolling DDoS” attack, Bandwidth and several other service providers were unable to make or receive telephone calls, or experience one-way audio and voice quality issues. The attack lasted for several days before service was fully restored. It is estimated that the attack cost Bandwidth up to $12 Million in revenue.
- Canadian VoIP provider, VoIP.ms was hit with a DDoS attack on September 16, disrupting service to their 80,000 customers in 125 countries. The attackers originally demanded a ransom of 1 Bitcoin, or $45,000. The attack was described as an extortion attempt and VoIP.ms was back online in approximately 2 weeks.
- Thought to have been launched by REvil hackers, British VoIP provider, VoIP Unlimited, was hit with a DDoS attack, however, all services remained operational during the attack.
- Also on September 28, VoIPfone experienced outages to both inbound and outbound voice services and SMS as a result of a DDoS attack.
The pros and cons of 5G networks for businesses
If you’ve watched TV recently, then you’ve probably been inundated with ads and news stories surrounding the launch of 5G mobile networks. This technology will have a wider impact for many than just a faster mobile connection for personal devices.
5G is the 5th generation of the technology standard for data connections on mobile devices and is almost 10x faster than the current 4G LTE technology driving our mobile networks today.
Why should you care if you can download a full movie in minutes? Because this speed will lead to an enhanced remote experience for your employees, especially as more businesses move to hybrid or remote work models. Better voice quality and video clarity enhances the employee experience and improve the productivity of those remote employees.
Top Pros of 5G
- Higher speed and lower latency – these can be a big deal for your business. With this, automation and advanced video collaboration will be available. And the low latency of the technology means the time for network devices to respond to a request is less than 5 milliseconds, meaning that apps and services used in the office will work exactly the same on a mobile device, and eliminate the lag that plagues real-time communications.
- Capacity – 5G can support up to 100 times more devices than 4G, meaning businesses can now switch between Wi-Fi and cellular as needed without any degradation in service.
- Enhanced Networking capability – the technology will enable businesses of all sizes to rethink their network capabilities. The speed and quality of 5G mean that branch offices could effectively utilize cellular 5G to run their entire office, opening-up previously unreachable locations.
Cons for 5G
- Security – Although the algorithms that drive the security protocols of 5G are much more comprehensive than 4G, the sheer number of devices and components connected to the 5G network will increase the exposure to threats.
- Line of sight/penetration issues – 5G can be affected to a greater degree than older technologies by things such as the cement walls of a building that block the signal.
- Hype – Despite the widespread hype surrounding the technology, the truth of the matter is the technology will not be deployed until more 5G devices are on the market. Businesses have time to look at how their organization will be affected once the technology becomes commonplace.
Four Telecom Companies Settle with the FCC over 911 Compliance Issues
CenturyLink (Lumen Technologies), Verizon, Intrado, and AT&T all agreed to pay fines totaling $6 Million due to failures to meet compliance rules for 911 communications during outages. All 4 failed to timely notify 911 centers of their outages.
Will 2022 Continue to Define Telecom?
No one can really predict the future, but one thing we know for sure is that things will change, and rapidly. One big transition coming in 2022 that will directly impact businesses like yours and your communications strategy is the change from POTS lines to digital only for telecom communications. If you need help determining how this switch will affect you, we can help you manage the transition. Contact us today.