Peer pressure: Exerting malicious influence on routers at a distance

Max Schuchard, Christopher Thompson, Nick Hopper, Yongdae Kim

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Both academic research and historical incidents have shown that unstable BGP speakers can have extreme, undesirable impacts on network performance and reliability. Large amounts of time and energy have been invested in improving router stability. In this paper, we show how an adversary in control of a BGP speaker in a transit AS can cause a victim router in an arbitrary location on the Internet to become unstable. Through experimentation with both hardware and software routers, we examine the behavior of routers under abnormal conditions and come to three conclusions. First, that unexpected but perfectly legal BGP messages can place routers into those states with troubling ease. Second, that an adversary can implement attacks using these messages to disrupt the function of victim routers in arbitrary locations in the network. And third, modern best practices do not blunt the force of these attacks sufficiently. These conclusions lead us to recommend more rigorous testing of BGP implementations, focusing as much on protocol correctness as on software correctness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2013 IEEE 33rd International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, ICDCS 2013
Pages571-580
Number of pages10
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013
Event2013 IEEE 33rd International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, ICDCS 2013 - Philadelphia, PA, United States
Duration: Jul 8 2013Jul 11 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings - International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems

Other

Other2013 IEEE 33rd International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, ICDCS 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityPhiladelphia, PA
Period7/8/137/11/13

Keywords

  • BGP
  • Router
  • Security

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