"We know from security breaches that the security rules that allow you to see the network and applications better ... is where there is a lack of training and expertise with IPv6," Meyran says. "The new software is much more complex ... and there are much less programmers familiar with it."
BY THE NUMBERS: 8 security considerations for IPv6 deployment
World IPv6 Day participants say the event was advertized to everybody in the Internet engineering community, including hackers, and they are beefing up the security measures on their sites accordingly.
"This is a well-publicized event," says John Brzozowski, distinguished engineer and chief architect for IPv6 at Comcast, which is participating in World IPv6 Day both as a provider of IPv6-based cable modem services and as an operator of seven IPv6-enabled websites. "Anything can happen. IPv6 is no different than any other new technology. The potential [for attacks] is there. Protecting the network is key to us."
Brzozowski says Comcast will be monitoring its network for signs of attack throughout the trial. "We're taking the necessary steps so that the Comcast infrastructure is protected," he adds.
Juniper says that if its website comes under DDoS or other attack on World IPv6 Day, it will simply switch back to IPv4. "We can revert back to IPv4 in about five minutes," says Alain Durand, director of software engineering at Juniper, which is using its own translator-in-a-cloud service to IPv6 enable its main website for the day.
Akamai, a content delivery network with 30 customers that are participating in World IPv6 Day, says it isn't too concerned about hacking or DDoS attacks during the IPv6 trial.
"All of our command and control systems are going to stay on IPv4," says Andy Champagne, vice president of engineering with Akamai, which is developing a commercial IPv6 service. "Absent some underlying exposure in the protocol that we don't know about ... we think we're OK. We've got enough IPv6 capacity ... I don't expect any trouble.''
Radware's Meyran says hackers may be so clever that they won't attack websites on World IPv6 Day but will instead wait until these sites turn IPv6 on permanently. "The hackers will be very happy to see this day go successfully and that sites are starting to deploy IPv6 because it opens up new areas of attack," he predicts.