Botnet-driven distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks focused on services and applications are the number one operational security problem facing the service provider community.

According to Arbor's fifth annual worldwide infrastructure security report, nearly 35 per cent of survey respondents believe that more sophisticated service and application attacks represent the largest operational threat over the next 12 months, displacing large scale botnet-enabled attacks, which came in second this year at 21 per cent.

Respondents reported prolonged (multi-hour) outages of prominent internet services during the last year due to application-level attacks. These service-level attack targets included distributed domain name system (DNS) infrastructure, load balancers and large-scale SQL server back-end infrastructure.

The report also found that the internet is not ready for IPv6. A recent Arbor study found IPv6 traffic accounts for 0.03 per cent of all internet traffic, up from just .002 per cent a year earlier, and while representing a significant increase, IPv6 still only accounts for a tiny fraction of aggregate internet traffic today.

Danny McPherson, chief security officer at Arbor Networks, said: “DDoS is a vector but most of the attacks are focused on drivers. We have larger attacks than 50Gbps, there is 10Gbps but with 50Gbps or even 20Gbps it results in collective damage over the network, so it is important to deal with the attacks.”

Commenting on IPv6, McPherson said it was very beneficial as it had four times the address space of its predecessor, but no systems are compatible with it.

Ken Silva, chief technology officer at VeriSign, said: “Our customers face an array of threats in the areas of cloud and data centre security as well as emerging operational challenges with DNS security and IPv6. The annual Arbor infrastructure security report provides the internet security and operations community a valuable perspective on issues that we as an industry must address."