Businesses should prepare for the day when the current generation of IP addresses runs out as the shift to new systems could leave them open to attack.
This was the warning of MWR InfoSecurity, which has suggested the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority is running out of addresses that it can issue.
Hackers have been watching the situation closely and looking at ways they can exploit companies when firms have to link their old IPv4 systems with the new protocol IPv6.
“The UK will run out of addresses in the existing IPv4 system some time in the next 300 days and the rest of the world is not far behind,” explained Ian Shaw, managing director of InfoSecurity.
“Addresses will then have to be issued in a new protocol IPv6. The problem is that the old systems will not talk to the new ones and vice-versa easily. Firms will have to put in middlemen to link current and new systems and this will increase the risk of attack and business complication hugely."
Thus far only limited investment has gone into migration to the new address system and not many businesses have quite grasped the severity and proximity of the problem, according to Shaw.
“Now companies are going to have to invest heavily at a time when they can least afford to,” he added.
“If they don't, they risk losing day-to-day business to more nimble competitors and experience increased security incidents if they get the implementation wrong."
This is not the first time a warning has been put out over IPv4 addresses running out.
Two years ago, the so-called father of the internet Vint Cerf said the addresses would run out by 2010 and preparations needed to be made.
While his prediction may be just out, the time is evidently drawing nearer.
This article originally appeared at itpro.co.uk