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Geoff Huston on Securing the Internet Routing System

Excerpts of a recent interview by Network World's Carolyn Duffy Marsan with Geoff Huston, one of the foremost authorities on Internet routing and scaling issues, has been published on the site. Questions include: "Can you explain in plain English what RPKI is trying to do and how it relates to improving the security of the Internet's routing system?" Huston's response:

Attacks on the routing system can result in outcomes that pervert many conventional forms of security defense and happen in ways that are extremely difficult to detect. Routing attacks can "hijack" addresses, redirecting users' traffic to other than the intended destination, allowing an attacker to "spoof" the identity of the intended victim. Routing attacks also can redirect traffic flows, allowing an attacker to inspect transit traffic without the knowledge of either end party. And routing attacks can disrupt the network, causing chaos and disruption, either directed at a single victim, or more generally at a collection of addresses or at infrastructure elements such as DNS servers.

All these attacks rely on one feature of BGP: the ability for a party to "lie" in routing and for the lie to propagate across the entire network and not be readily and automatically detected as a lie. The RPKI is an essential component of a mechanism that allows such routing lies to be readily identifiable by everyone else using automated processes...

Read full story: Network World

Related topics: Cyberattack, Internet Protocol, IP Addressing, Security

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