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Qualitative Analysis of Methods for Circumventing Malicious ISP Blocking

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Today, the internet is crucial for everyday needs including business and governmental applications, therefore its resiliency to attacks and outage is critical. International Internet Service Providers (IISPs) usually provide connectivity to customers, but can intentionally, as in the case of enforcing an internet embargo, or unintentionally, as in the case of a security breach, block incoming and outgoing traffic while still advertising reachability information to the prefix they seem to provide connectivity for. These two scenarios result in isolating the prefix owner from the internet. Under the assumption that another cooperating IISP exists, the paper investigates three major techniques to overcome internet blockage due to internet embargo or a security breaches. First, a solution based on BGP tuning is presented where the focus is on configuring router(s) to direct the outgoing traffic and to influence the incoming traffic to pass through the cooperating IISP. The second solution utilizes virtual peering which uses a multi-hop BGP session and establishes a tunnel through the intended ISP to provide a deterministic control of incoming traffic. For the third solution, we propose a virtual transit approach in which multiple routers distributed across the internet work as a transit for the blocked local region. This solution extends virtual peering where routers advertise a shorter path to other peers on the internet. We compare the three proposed solutions in terms of traffic filtering, setup overhead, communication overhead, difficulty to offset the solution, and scalability. Finally, we also present a brief validation and proof of concept for the BGP-based solution utilizing simulations.

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Correspondence to Ashraf S. Mahmoud.

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Mahmoud, A.S., Alrefai, A.S., Abu-Amara, M. et al. Qualitative Analysis of Methods for Circumventing Malicious ISP Blocking. Arab J Sci Eng 37, 1911–1928 (2012).

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