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The Internet Continues to Grow at an Astonishing Rate, Says Internet Security Systems

December 20th, 2006

Internet Security Systems, Inc. (ISS) (NASDAQ: ISSX), the worldwide leader in pre-emptive, enterprise security, today announced in its Annual Web Growth Analysis that the number of newly registered internet-domains has increased by over 21 per cent over the last 12 months, while the number of new web pages has grown by over 17 per cent.

The continent with the highest growth in new domain registrations is Africa with 37.4%. South America is a close second with 35% and Asia follows with a 22% increase. Europe follows suit with 21%.

“The Internet continues to grow at an astonishing rate and as third world countries start jumping onto the bandwagon and developing their own domain and sites, this growth rate is going to be on the increase for a long time still,” says James Rendell, Senior Technology Specialist at Internet Security Systems. “The upside to this is that web surfers will have a greater choice of sites to visit. The down side for businesses is that their employees could be doing this web surfing at work, utilising important company bandwidth. More importantly is that employee productivity will begin to drop, so companies need to ensure they have the controls in place to stop this reduction in productivity from happening.”

In Europe, the past 12 months has seen Internet domains grown by 21 per cent. This development can be contributed to the introduction of the new .eu top-level domain extension. Since the launch of the .eu domain in April of this year, more than two million* addresses have been registered.

Web pages on the increase

In addition to the increase in domains, ISS’ Annual Web Growth Analysis has found that the number of web pages has increased by 17.6 per cent.

Europe has shown the highest increase in the number web pages with a growth of 20.7%. Africa follows hot on Europe’s heels with a 20.1% increase, and South America with 18.5%.

North America trails in fourth place with only a 14% increase.

“We have seen that the number of new domains in the emerging regions is higher than those of the developed regions and that the increase of additional pages happens at a lower pace. In developed regions the relationship between registrations and increase of web pages is balanced,” added Rendell.

Is the Internet reaching its limits?

In the nineties there was a lively debate as to whether the Internet would reach its limits and stop growing. At that time, the world wide web was used for addressing and routing data packets using Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) which provided for a limited number of addresses.

“In IPv4 there are not enough addresses for every computer on the internet to have a unique IP address. Conversely in IPv6 there are enough IP addresses that every byte of storage on every hard disk on every computer could have a unique IP address,” commented Rendell.

Around 4 billion Internet Protocol (IP) addresses are available with IPv4 to help identify computers and other equipment connected to the network. These addresses were distributed for the most part amongst the US and Europe. Unfortunately developing regions such as Africa, South America and Asia were not allocated the same amount of IP addresses and are currently confronted with lack of address capacity.

To meet this predicted capacity shortage, in 1995 a new protocol known as IPv6 (Internet Protocol Version 6) or IPnG (Internet Protocol Next Generation) was introduced. However, the implementation of this has been very slow. One reason given for this is that there is still sufficient address-capacity within the US and within Europe.

Despite that the number of IP addresses related to the top 10 top domain names already exceeds 88 million (count end of May 2006), there are still over 50% of available IP addresses in Europe**.

In light of this, ISS believes that a migration to IPv6 is not urgently required. However, the new IT-growth markets, such as Africa and South America, the picture is quite different. A migration to the new protocol is required in order to obtain a larger address range.

Employee productivity

ISS also warns businesses that as the web continues to grow, policy controls need to be enforced in order to optimise Internet access for employees and to prevent any kind of non work-related Internet use. This way, employee productivity is increased and legal liability through use of illegal private ’surf trips’ at the workplace is reduced.

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