Technology

Increase in Usage of SSL Encrypted Traffic

May 22, 2014 | By Editor 

Following the surveillance revelations this year, courtesy former CIA employee and NSA contractor Edward Snowden, a recent report indicated that encrypted global Internet traffic has increased to unusually high levels. The Global Internet Phenomena Report, published by Canadian broadband management company Sandvine, showed among other things that North American encrypted SSL network traffic critically doubled in the year since the surveillance revelations surfaced.

In North America, SSL encrypted traffic usage surged from 2.29 percent last year to 3.8 percent this year. Europe saw a quadruple rise in the continent over that same time period with an increase from 1.47 percent to 6.1 percent. Latin American SSL traffic jumped from 1.8 percent to 10.37 percent. Even mobile networks are incorporated into the findings and are experiencing this escalation in encrypted traffic , as the platforms continue to grow in importance worldwide.

Increase in SSL Traffic

The report statistics are particularly staggering as the absolute bandwidth amount utilized also increases substantially each year. The Cisco Visual Networking Index : Forecast and Methodology Report (2012-2017) prediction put the overall annual growth rate for all Internet traffic at a 23 percent annual increase. Considering the fact that the entire volume of encrypted traffic has surged altogether increasing utilization, this amounts to a movement that may only be in its early developmental stage.

Throughout last year, leading Internet-service providers such as Yahoo and Google have been activating SSL encryption by default. Also, the utilization of anonymous services such as Internet proxies and Virtual Private Networks (VPN) by end users have increased significantly. In seeking unparalleled privacy, this change in improved web security actions and web behaviors across these Internet services have coincided with the surveillance revelations from Edward Snowden leaks.

In recent weeks, the significance of a SSL certificate in e-commerce and other industries was on full expose as the Heartbleed flaw set the Web on its brink. SSL encryption is an important component of major Web transactions throughout the Internet. The Heartbleed OpenSSL flaw affected a substantial part of the installed base of an industry standard certification toolkit. The attempt to patch and rectify Heartbleed flaw on millions of websites worldwide became a global story.

Internet privacy concerns have dominated headlines for the past one year. During this time, certain Web services and a growing group of concerned users have accepted improved security measures as a part of operations and online behavior. The question is where will this adoption go in a year from now. It will definitely be interesting to watch out, as the surveillance climate continues to cast its shadow on the Web, making headlines globally.

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