The magnitude 7.0 earthquake rocked Port-Au-Prince and its surrounding area on Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 13:53:09 PST (21:53:09 UTC) according to USGS. Within the hour, the shock resonated on the Internet. The security community, including Zscaler, has been and continues to be vigilant (reference SANS ISC) for SEO attacks, fraudulent donation sites, and malicious web content taking advantage of the global popularity of folks following the story on the Internet. How quickly did this physical event transcend to cyber space and what was its impact on the Internet? Zscaler is in a unique position to provide an answer based on customer usage of the cloud.
I pulled the numbers for unique URLs visited with the word ‘haiti’ in the URL string for January 11 PST and then for January 12 PST, and calculated the percentage increase in URLs visited and bandwidth used over these two 24 hour periods.
There was a 1578% increase in URLs visited with a corresponding 5407% increase in bandwidth usage for ‘haiti’ URLs. Where bandwidth includes the request and response bytes over the 24 hour period.
Here is a graph of the ‘haiti’ URLs visited for each hour (PST) during January 12, showing an explosion in Internet activity covering this event.