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Internet speeds are rising sharply, but so are hack attacks

A new "state of the Internet" report shows more people around the world are connected, and they're doing so at faster speeds. But as the Internet grows, so does the number of cyberattacks.

A quarterly report from Akamai Technologies, which provides cloud services to businesses, details a bleak portrait of hackers' increased activity in the last quarter of 2013.

The most shocking stat is related to distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, a method in which attackers intentionally send Web services so much traffic that they either slow down or crash.

In the last quarter of 2013, Akamai customers suffered 75 percent more DDoS attacks than they did in the fourth quarter of 2012. It was a nearly 23 percent jump over the prior quarter.

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Akamai said the jump was largely due to increased attacks in the Asia Pacific region. Specifically, the company highlighted "attacks against sites in Singapore that occurred after the government there enacted an Internet licensing framework."

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Akamai's findings echo other recent reports from companies like Neustar, which said Tuesday that "nearly twice as many businesses surveyed suffered a DDoS attack last year and more than 40 percent estimated DDoS losses at more than $1 million per day."

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Perhaps even scarier: Almost 90 percent of companies that suffered DDoS attacks were hit repeatedly, Neustar said.

On the positive side of Akamai's report, the average peak Internet speed worldwide was up 38 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2012, and about 3 percent more of the world was connected to Internet compared with the prior quarter.

By Julianne Pepitone, NBC News

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