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Cloudflare Radar releases surprising internet traffic and security statistics in 2021 review

By Mitchell Hageman, Thu 13 Jan 2022

Cybersecurity company Cloudflare Radar has released its 2021 year in review, revealing some surprising statistics on internet traffic and security in Australia and across the globe.

Overall the company says traffic steadily increased globally, with a variety of lockdown "bumps" along the way. The heightened traffic came further towards the end of the year as Christmas approached.

November and December saw a 42% increase in traffic throughout Australia, while there was over a 100% increase in cyberattacks at the beginning of September. The USA also had a significant increase in attacks starting November.

File inclusion and information disclosure were the most prominent avenues of cyberattack in Australia, with the September increase possibly being linked to scam text links and phishing that was circulating during the lockdown. One source via Nine News Australia cited one attack every eight minutes.

July 2021 was stated as the month when attacks peaked throughout the world with an 82% increase, while November also had a significant rise in the number of threats.

The day of the year with the highest growth in traffic worldwide from Cloudflare Radars standpoint was December 2, 2021, with 20% more traffic than the first week of the year. This may have been due to the easing of pandemic restrictions in time for Christmas and the resurgence of online holiday shopping.

Singapore was also in line with Australia and had a considerable growth of attacks, rising more than 1000% in November. This is generally the month of the popular Single's Day and also Black Friday, leading to increased traffic and significant risk.

The most significant lack of traffic and attacks globally came from Tokyo, even amidst the soaring covid cases and Summer Olympics. 

Looking at attacks worldwide, the most prominent peak was seen at the beginning of July 2021, when it reached 82%. That was more than a month after the Colonial Pipeline ransomware cyberattack. 

May was also the month of an attack on part of Toshiba and, in the same week, the Irish health system and the meat processing company JBS.

The week of December 6 (the same when the Log4j vulnerability was disclosed) also had an increase in attacks, and October had the worldwide Facebook outage, which can be reflected in the data.

Desktop and mobile usage in Australia also spiked, with desktop traffic peaking in March and mobile traffic hitting a high in January. However, when it reached December, the data overlapped and Australians were using mobile and desktop at the same rates.

On reflecting on this data, Cloudflare Radar remarks, "In 2021, we continued to live with the effects of the COVID pandemic and internet traffic was also impacted by it.

"Although learning and exercising may have started to get back to something close to normal (depending on the country), the effects of what started almost two years ago on the way people work and communicate seems to be here to stay, and the lockdowns or restrictions continue to have an impact on where and how people go online."

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