Cloudflare, a leading connectivity cloud company, has published its year's analysis of international internet trends and cybersecurity data. The year 2023 saw an upward spike of 25% in global traffic, demonstrating the growing reliance on internet services vital for running digital economies globally, supporting healthcare infrastructures, assuring continuity of business operations, and ultimately, for individuals to stay linked to their social circles.
The company revealed that there were over 180 cases of internet outages globally, a notable increase from the 150 instances in 2022. A substantial number of these outages were attributed to regional and nationwide internet shutdowns ordered by the respective governments.
The financial sector emerged as the most targeted industry by threat actors worldwide. The primary mode of threats comprised deceptive links and extortion attempts embedded in malicious email messages. The continued use of mobile devices was apparent in the data, with over 40% of global traffic originating from such devices. With regard to bot traffic, 11% came from Amazon Web Services globally, while a third originated from the United States.
Cloudflare's data pointed out that despite being an older vulnerability, Log4j remained a significant target for attacks. Other top targets included Microsoft Exchange, Atlassian’s Confluence platform, VMWare, and F5’s BIG-IP traffic management system.
As for internet popularity, Google retained its top position as the most popular internet service for the second year, followed by Facebook, Apple, and Tiktok. Facebook also led the flock of social media platforms, overthrowing TikTok from its prime position in 2022 and followed by Instagram and Twitter. In the emerging category of Generative AI services, OpenAI was the most popular, with Character AI, Quillbot, and Hugging Face in subsequent rankings.
Matthew Prince, CEO and co-founder of Cloudflare emphasised the global dependency on the internet and the company’s commitment to enhancing the efficiency and security of the digital world. “Our unique role on the Internet allows us to see the ebbs and flows of online popularity and emerging technology trends in real-time – such as the boom in AI and accelerated global use of Starlink. It is our responsibility to be transparent and share the data from reports like our Year in Review to help keep the online world more informed, resilient, and secure” he stated.
The insights and rankings released by Cloudflare have been sourced from Cloudflare Radar, a free tool providing a global overview on internet trends. This system consolidates data from Cloudflare’s global network, including over 300 cities in more than 100 countries, and accumulates anonymised data from Cloudflare’s 220.127.116.11 public DNS Resolver, an extensively used tool for a secure and speedy internet browsing experience.