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At Your Service 24/7 or Not? Denial of Service on ESInet Systems

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNSC,volume 12927)


Emergency calling services are a cornerstone of public safety. During the last few years such systems are transitioning to VoIP and unified communications, and are continuously evolving under the umbrella of organizations, including NENA and EENA. The outcome of this effort is NG911 or NG112 services operating over the so-called Emergency Services IP network (ESInet). This work introduces and meticulously assesses the impact of an insidious and high-yield denial-of-service (DoS) attack against ESInet. Contrariwise to legacy SIP-based DoS, the introduced assault capitalizes on the SDP body of the SIP message with the sole purpose of instigating CPU-intensive transcoding operations at the ESInet side. We detail on the way such an attack can be carried out, and scrutinize on its severe, if not catastrophic, impact through different realistic scenarios involving a sufficient set of codecs. Finally, highlighting on the fact that 911 or 112 calls cannot be dropped, but need to be answered as fast as possible, we offer suggestions on how this kind of assault can be detected and mitigated.


  • Emergency services
  • ESInet
  • NENA
  • EENA
  • NG9-1-1
  • NG1-1-2
  • DDoS
  • VoIP
  • SIP
  • SDP
  • Transcoding
  • Codec

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  1. 1.

    In rare cases, say, due to the use of a “recvonly”, or “sendonly” call flow attribute in the SDP body [13], the communication will be unidirectional, thus, if transcoding is required, its cost will be associated with the translation of one stream.

  2. 2.

    Narrowband codecs offer a simple voice quality of 8 kHz, which most of the times is enough for a typical PSTN voice communication. Wideband, super-wideband, or fullband codecs offer an increased sound quality and improved compression technology, thus reducing the required bandwidth and preserving sound fidelity. Their main drawback is related to the DSP cycles which are consumed in the compression process.


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Correspondence to Zisis Tsiatsikas .

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Tsiatsikas, Z., Kambourakis, G., Geneiatakis, D. (2021). At Your Service 24/7 or Not? Denial of Service on ESInet Systems. In: Fischer-Hübner, S., Lambrinoudakis, C., Kotsis, G., Tjoa, A.M., Khalil, I. (eds) Trust, Privacy and Security in Digital Business. TrustBus 2021. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 12927. Springer, Cham.

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