Spam over IPv6

21 04 2010

I was on a conference call with Websense the other day, who seem to be (along with a lot of other people) sticking their heads in the sand with regard to IPv6 support on their products.

One of our customers has a national network with about 80 sites, serving maybe 48000 users, and this is scheduled to expand to about 10 times that figure.  When asked what IPv6 support they offered, the answer was basically “we’ll support that when customers ask for it”.  It seemed to pass them by that this one customer was reasonably large and needed it…

Anyway, it seems to me that things are really picking up on IPv6 these days.  RIPE Labs have just done some analysis of the amount of spam they receive over IPv6.  Ok, so the figure is only 10% of that received over IPv4, but it’s still a surprising figure – 3.5% of all IPv6 traffic was spam.  I’ve had a quick look at Cisco’s Ironport device, but can’t find any mention of IPv6 support, which is disappointing.

RIPE also see a doubling of IPv6 traffic to their web servers over the past year.

Something that not a lot of people have noticed was that Google switched on IPv6 for YouTube earlier this year too.  The result?  30 times more IPv6 traffic coming from Google than before.

The reason for this is built into modern clients and the DNS system.  More recent operating systems like OS X have IPv6 turned on by default.  They also will use an IPv6 address first if they receive one as a result of a DNS query (and assuming they have v6 connectivity).

It just doesn’t seem reasonable that manufacturers can carry on saying there’s no customer demand.  Its an illogical statement for them to be making – IPv6 doesn’t offer customer OR content provider any obvious benefit.  Supporting IPv6 mainly protects us from the crippling effects of IPv4 exhaustion.  So there’s not likely to be customer demand until it all crashes down around our ears, is there?  Suppliers of network equipment and software need to take this issue rather more seriously – for the greater good of the Internet.

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