Online video traffic peaks at 1.6 Tbps during U.S.-Russia hockey game, boosts Sochi Olympics to record

Increased use of second-screen devices has boosted the Winter Olympics in Sochi to a new mark: The Games have generated more online video streams than any other Olympics in history, despite having fewer events than the Summer Games (98 versus 302). But the event has created a correlating increase in malicious attack traffic as well.

Sochi aggregate online video trafficSunday's hockey game between the United States and Russia was the most streamed game in NBC Sports and Olympic sports history. According to NBC's stats, 598,552 unique users live streamed the event on both its website and via its Live Extra app.

Online video traffic during the match peaked at 1.6 Tbps, said Dev Gupta, senior director of services at Akamai at a press event Wednesday. The online transport provider is supporting NBC and 19 other broadcasters worldwide, such as France Televisions and TV2 Norway, in delivering Olympics coverage over the top.  

Overall, 5.7 million hours of video have been consumed on the NBC Live Extra website, with over 80 percent of those hours live-streamed, Gupta said.

Alongside the jump in streaming numbers is an increase in attack traffic, Gupta said. While not detailing specific figures for the Winter Games, he said that Akamai notes attack traffic of as much as 200 Gbps at "any given time," a figure he said was nominal. "We've seen peaks that exceed that," he added.

The Opening Ceremonies are a big target for malicious actors.

Kevin Lamont, platform operations manager at Akamai's Network Operations Command Center in Cambridge, Mass., said that the 2012 London Olympics saw 5.6 billion attacks during the live stream of the Opening Ceremonies, triggering 70 million rules on web server firewalls.

Gupta pointed out that attack traffic begins to swing upward well before the start of any major event like the Olympics or the World Cup, as attackers probe a website's defenses. During the Opening Ceremonies, he said malicious attacks were launched across Akamai's customer base. For live streaming, he said that different actors routinely attempt to access the licensed content being streamed, for various reasons: to access content that is not available within certain geographic boundaries, to rip or share live streams for non-authenticated users, or to capture and redistribute content.

The most popular recorded highlight on NBC Live extra? That would be Russian speed skater Olga Graf's wardrobe almost-malfunction, with 2.6 million views, almost a million more than the Russian Police Choir's "Get Lucky" performance at 1.7 million views.

For more:
- see NBC's release
- and this Akamai release

Related articles:
Streaming the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics: The vendors and technologies making it happen online
Comcast turns Olympics into X1 showcase for subscribers and fellow operators
Akamai enhances cloud-based security play with $370M Prolexic acquisition