Category: Anti-spoofing

IETF 91 Rough Guide On Routing Resilience And Security – De-aggregation, Route Leaks and more

IETF LogoWhat will be happening next week at IETF 91 with regard to improving the security and resilience of the Internet’s routing infrastructure?

Our colleague Andrei Robachevsky tackles this question in his post this week: “Rough Guide to IETF 91: Routing Resilience & Security“.

Andrei explains that one of the major issues in routing right now is the growth in the size of the global routing tables and the growth of “de-aggregation”… and the challenges that lie therein.  He also writes about “route leaks” and what is being done to address this issue and he writes about the ongoing work related to RPKI in the SIDR working group.

He finishes up talking about the MANRS initiative announced yesterday  and how that can help with overall routing security and resiliency.

Please do read Andrei’s Rough Guide post … and then do check out our topic areas on Securing BGP and Anti-spoofing to learn more about how you can secure your routing infrastructure.  We will look forward to seeing some of you next week at IETF 91!

Show Your Commitment To Routing Security – Join the MANRS Initiative!

MANRS logo

Do you want to make the Internet’s routing infrastructure more secure?  Have you implemented anti-spoofing techniques to help protect against attacks such as DDoS attacks?  Have you secured your use of BGP on your network?

If so, why not consider publicly showing your support by signing up as a participant in the MANRS initiative?

This new routing security initiative, launched today, aims to promote better collaboration between network operators to make the Internet more secure and resilient.  As the home page says:

How can we work together to improve the security and resilience of the global routing system?

Originally called the “Routing Resilience Manifesto”, the initiative published today the “Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security” (MANRS) at:

With the announcement came news of an initial set of participants that includes some of the largest global network operators such as Comcast, Level 3 and NTT.  More companies will be added and signups are already coming in!

To participate, a network operator needs to agree to at least 2 (and ideally all 4) of these actions:

Basically you could think of this as a “code of conduct” for network routing… an agreement that companies publicly say they are going to follow to help the overall Internet’s routing infrastructure be more resilient and secure.

Our colleague Andrei Robachevsky has been heading this project and working with a team of people from network operators around the world (some of whom have already signed on as formal participants, others who hope to do so soon).  It’s great to see this out there and we look forward to seeing the list of participants grow.

Please do read the MANRS document and sign up if your network can undertake those actions.  If every network operator can mind their MANRS, we’ll all have a much safer, more secure and more resilient Internet!

P.S. If you are looking for information about how to get started with anti-spoofing or securing BGP, please see our Network Operators Start Here page to get started.


A Personal Example Of Why We Need Anti-Spoofing Measures Deployed

Anti-SpoofingEarly Saturday morning I happened to check my personal email and there starting in capital letters was a message from the hosting provider of some of my sites:

[ABUSE #12345][] Email Feedback Report for IP

I opened it up and was greeted with the message:

We have received a complaint about your account. Please investigate and fix within 24 hours.

A quick look through seemed to indicate that a spam message had been sent from the domain in question, which I knew to be impossible because I don’t run a mail server on the particular server hosting that domain, nor do I have it set up for email in any other way.  I replied back to the hosting provider saying I had no clue what this was about and asking if they could provide more information.  A technician nicely replied:

Don’t worry about it. Someone else has managed to spoof your particular IP address in this case. The issue isn’t on your end, and we’re working on it. Thanks for asking, though.

Now… we can have a separate discussion about whether my hosting provider should have not sent me that abuse email in the first place if they were going to work on it, or perhaps should have sent a follow-up letting me know it was nothing to worry about…  but the larger issue was again that someone was spoofing the IP address of my server.

Separately, I also received an email from a friend noting that his server had received spam coming from an IP address that resolves back to my domain.

This again is why network operators need to implement anti-spoofing measures such as BCP 38 so that we don’t allow spoofed IP addresses to leave our networks and get out there on the open Internet.  If you operate a network, please check out our Anti-Spoofing Basics page and consider what you can do to help increase the overall security of the Internet!

What Shall We Call Our New Topic Area On “Anti-Spoofing” Of IP Addresses?

question markWe need your help.  We are struggling with what to name the new topic area we are planning to launch related to preventing the “spoofing” of IP addresses.

In routing security circles this topic is generally referred to as “anti-spoofing” and we’ve talked about it ourselves that way such as in our report on an anti-spoofing panel at RIPE66 and the associated videos and whitepapers.  But that name has a couple of problems I’ll talk about below.

First, for some context, back in January 2014 we announced that we were changing how we covered the general topic of “routing resiliency and security”.  Rather than one broad – and vague – topic on “Routing”, our plan was to launch smaller focused topic ares – and with that announcement we  launched our “Securing BGP” topic.

The second focused topic area we want to launch is about steps that network operators and others can do to prevent the spoofing of IP addresses on their networks – and how this can help with prevention of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.  Essentially we want to promote the validation of source IP addresses through using tools such as network ingress filtering.  Those who are aware of IETF RFCs/BCPs will know this as BCP 38 and BCP 84.  (And yes, there are the cynics out there who say that getting people to implement BCP 38 is right up there with seeing unicorns and with getting people to deploy IPv6, but hey, we are collectively making some progress with IPv6!  Unicorns are still not walking around, though.)

The simple answer (and where we might end up) would be to call this new topic area: “anti-spoofing“.  But if you look at our other topic areas, they are all technologies that can be deployed:

Okay… so “Securing BGP” is a bit squishy and not as specific as the others, but still, it is about a technology.  All of the topic area names are also short and easy to add to menus.  They all yield nice easy URLs of the form “/deploy360/<topic>/”.

The problems we have with “anti-spoofing” include:

  • “anti-spoofing” … of WHAT?   A web search will show that outside of the routing community the same term is used for efforts against the spoofing of Caller ID, email messages, face recognition, GPS signals, and more.  Many of the results seem to be about spoofing of IP addresses, but not all.
  • It does not reference a technology.

What we are really talking about is preventing the spoofing of source IP addresses inside of a network and the prevention of those spoofed addresses from leaving a network.  We are seeking validation of the original IP address.  However, calling it “IP Spoofing” speaks to the thing we want to prevent, rather than the technology or standards that we want to see deployed.  We want the topic name to reflect what we want people to deploy.

We tried a number of different names:

  • Anti-spoofing
  • Source Address Validation
  • IP Address Source Validation
  • IP Anti-spoofing
  • Ingress Filtering
  • Preventing IP Spoofing
  • Preventing IP Address Spoofing
  • Preventing IP Address Fraud
  • IP Address Validation
  • Stop Spoofing
  • Stop IP Address Spoofing
  • Illegitimate Traffic
  • BCP 38  (or BCP 84)
  • DDoS Prevention

We didn’t find any of those particularly appealing.  Keep in mind that the topic name needs to appear in a number of places on the Deploy360 website including the home page graphic slide, the navigation menus, sidebars, categories, etc.  It also needs to fit in with the other topic areas mentioned earlier.

We thought about “Ingress Filtering”, because that is the technology we ultimately want deployed – but that name is probably even less familiar to people than “anti-spoofing” and just seemed too long.

We toyed with “DDoS Prevention”, as that is really the end goal, and quite frankly would have some SEO/publicity value given the increased reports of DDoS attacks in the news.  But as our summer intern so aptly put it, that “sounds like we are on a crusade” and is also too broad.  We realized that if we open up a topic area on “DDoS Prevention” it is much more than source address validation – we could wind up getting into global load balancers, CDNs and so many other approaches.  And maybe that’s a good thing – but our goal right now is to get out deployment information related to why network operators should deploy source address validation to help the overall resiliency of the Internet.

And so here we are… we want to start promoting some of the tools and methods network operators can use to prevent IP address spoofing.  We want to do this because it is a way to make the Internet more secure and more resilient – and also in part to support some of the other Internet Society efforts underway such as the Routing Resiliency Survey.  We want to be able to talk here on the Deploy360 blog about why is is important to do this.

But we’re struggling with the name because “anti-spoofing” doesn’t seem to fit well with our other names. We’re looking for something specific, short and ideally focused on the technology we want to see deployed.

What do you think?  What should we call this new topic area?  Should we just go with “anti-spoofing”?  Or “ingress filtering”? Or “DDoS Prevention”?  Or one of the other names here? Do any of you have some idea for another name that we’ve missed here?

Any suggestions, ideas and feedback would be greatly appreciated as we’re kind of sitting here spinning our wheels while we try to sort out what name would work best.

Please leave a comment here on the blog or on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or any of the other social networks where we post this.  Or just send us an email at if you share your thoughts privately with us.  We’d greatly appreciate any comments BY THIS FRIDAY, JUNE 20, 2014, as we’re trying to move ahead with this topic area soon.

Many thanks!

UPDATE: We’ve had a couple of suggestions coming in already:

Please do keep them coming!