Category: security

Video: Outages Caused by Bugs in BGP Implementations

The previous BGP-related videos described how fat fingers and malicious actors cause Internet outages.

Today, we’ll focus on the impact of bugs in BGP implementations, from malformed AS paths to mishandled transitive attributes. The examples in the video are a few years old, but you can see similar things in the wild in 2023.

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Open BGP Daemons: There's So Many of Them

A while ago, the Networking Notes blog published a link to my “Will Network Devices Reject BGP Sessions from Unknown Sources?” blog post with a hint: use Shodan to find how many BGP routers accept a TCP session from anyone on the Internet.

The results are appalling: you can open a TCP session on port 179 with over 3 million IP addresses.

A report on Shodan opening TCP session to port 179

A report on Shodan opening TCP session to port 179

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Rapid Progress in BGP Route Origin Validation

In 2022, I was invited to speak about Internet routing security at the DEEP conference in Zadar, Croatia. One of the main messages of the presentation was how slow the progress had been even though we had had all the tools available for at least a decade (RFC 7454 was finally published in 2015, and we started writing it in early 2012).

At about that same time, a small group of network operators started cooperating on improving the security and resilience of global routing, eventually resulting in the MANRS initiative – a great place to get an overview of how many Internet Service Providers care about adopting Internet routing security mechanisms.

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Video: Hacking BGP for Fun and Profit

At least some people learn from others’ mistakes: using the concepts proven by some well-publicized BGP leaks, malicious actors quickly figured out how to hijack BGP prefixes for fun and profit.

Fortunately, those shenanigans wouldn’t spread as far today as they did in the past – according to RoVista, most of the largest networks block the prefixes Route Origin Validation (ROV) marks as invalid.


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Video: History of BGP Route Leaks

I’ll be talking about Internet routing security at the Deep conference in a few days, and just in case you won’t be able to make it1 ;) here’s the first bit of my talk: a very brief history of BGP route leaks2.

Note: you’ll find more Network Security Fallacies videos in the How Networks Really Work webinar.

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Will Network Devices Reject BGP Sessions from Unknown Sources?

TL&DR: Violating the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines, the answer is “Yes, but the devil is in the details.

It all started with the following observation by Minh Ha left as a comment to my previous BGP session security blog post:

I’d think it’d be obvious for BGP routers to only accept incoming sessions from configured BGP neighbors, right? Because BGP is the most critical infrastructure, the backbone of the Internet, why would you want your router to accept incoming session from anyone but KNOWN sources?

Following my “opinions are good, facts are better” mantra, I decided to run a few tests before opinionating1.

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Random Thoughts on Zero-Trust Architecture

When preparing the materials for the Design Clinic section describing Zero-Trust Network Architecture, I wondered whether I was missing something crucial. After all, I couldn’t find anything new when reading the NIST documents – we’ve seen all they’re describing 30 years ago (remember Kerberos?).

In late August I dropped by the fantastic Roundtable and Barbecue event organized by Gabi Gerber (running Security Interest Group Switzerland) and used the opportunity to join the Zero Trust Architecture roundtable. Most other participants were seasoned IT security professionals with a level of skepticism approaching mine. When I mentioned I failed to see anything new in the now-overhyped topic, they quickly expressed similar doubts.

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Please Respond: MANRS Customer Survey

Andrei Robachevsky asked me to spread the word about the new MANRS+ customer survey:

MANRS is conducting a survey for organizations that contract connectivity providers to learn more about if and how routing security fits into their broader supply chain security strategy. If this is your organization, or if it is your customers, we welcome you to take or share the survey at

I hope you immediately clicked on the link and completed the survey. If you’re still here wondering what’s going on, here’s some more information from Andrei:

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Classification of BGP Route Leaks (RFC 7908)

While preparing the Internet Routing Security webinar, I stumbled upon RFC 7908, containing an excellent taxonomy of BGP route leaks. I never checked whether it covers every possible scenario1, but I found it a handy resource when organizing my thoughts.

Let’s walk through the various leak types the authors identified using the following sample topology:

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Spoofing ICMP Redirects for Fun and Profit

Security researches found another ICMP redirect SNAFU: a malicious wireless client can send redirects on behalf of the access point redirecting another client’s traffic to itself.

I’m pretty sure the same trick works on any layer-2 technology; the sad part of this particular story is that the spoofed ICMP packet traverses the access point, which could figure out what’s going on and drop the packet. Unfortunately, most of the access points the researchers tested were unable to do that due to limitations in the NPUs (a fancier word for SmartNIC) they were using.

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