Home / Blogs

So, How Big Is the Internet?

The results of an excellent study made, for reasons that will become clear, by an anonymous author reaches this conclusion:

So, how big is the Internet?
That depends on how you count. 420 Million pingable IPs + 36 Million more that had one or more ports open, making 450 Million that were definitely in use and reachable from the rest of the Internet. 141 Million IPs were firewalled, so they could count as “in use”. Together this would be 591 Million used IPs. 729 Million more IPs just had reverse DNS records. If you added those, it would make for a total of 1.3 Billion used IP addresses. The other 2.3 Billion addresses showed no sign of usage.

Notice that, of the roughly 4 billion possible IPv4 addresses, less than half appear to be “owned” by somebody and only 591 million appear to be active.

The problem is, to make the study, the author created a botnet—that is he wrote a small program that took advantage of insecure devices to enlist additional machines to help in the study. What is amazing (if you are not a security researcher) is the extent to which he was able to coop insecure devices testing only four name/password combinations, e.g. root:root, admin:admin and both without passwords.

This is very valuable research and it was apparently done without causing anyone any harm. None-the-less, the US government has treated this kind of research as a crime in the past even before all the cyber security laws of the past decade. So I hope this researcher anonymity holds.

By Brough Turner, Founder & CTO at netBlazr

Filed Under

CircleID Newsletter The Weekly Wrap

More and more professionals are choosing to publish critical posts on CircleID from all corners of the Internet industry. If you find it hard to keep up daily, consider subscribing to our weekly digest. We will provide you a convenient summary report once a week sent directly to your inbox. It's a quick and easy read.

I make a point of reading CircleID. There is no getting around the utility of knowing what thoughtful people are thinking and saying about our industry.

Co-designer of the TCP/IP Protocols & the Architecture of the Internet


Also from Google Stacey Schmidt  –  Mar 27, 2013 5:37 PM

I also saw an infographic from Google the other day that says they have over 121 Billion cached pages indexed online. If that helps give everyone an idea, that is HUGE!

Comment Title:

  Notify me of follow-up comments

We encourage you to post comments and engage in discussions that advance this post through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can report it using the link at the end of each comment. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of CircleID. For more information on our comment policy, see Codes of Conduct.



Domain Names

Sponsored byVerisign

Brand Protection

Sponsored byCSC

IPv4 Markets

Sponsored byIPv4.Global

Threat Intelligence

Sponsored byWhoisXML API


Sponsored byVerisign