• The 2020 National Internet Segment Reliability Research


      The National Internet Segment Reliability Research explains how the outage of a single Autonomous System might affect the connectivity of the impacted region with the rest of the world. Most of the time, the most critical AS in the region is the dominant ISP on the market, but not always.

      As the number of alternate routes between AS’s increases (and do not forget that the Internet stands for “interconnected network” — and each network is an AS), so does the fault-tolerance and stability of the Internet across the globe. Although some paths are from the beginning more important than others, establishing as many alternate routes as possible is the only viable way to ensure an adequately robust network.

      The global connectivity of any given AS, regardless of whether it is an international giant or regional player, depends on the quantity and quality of its path to Tier-1 ISPs.

      Usually, Tier-1 implies an international company offering global IP transit service over connections with other Tier-1 providers. Nevertheless, there is no guarantee that such connectivity will be maintained all the time. For many ISPs at all “tiers”, losing connection to just one Tier-1 peer would likely render them unreachable from some parts of the world.
      Read more →
    • Looking back at 3 months of the global traffic shapeshifting

        image
        There would be no TL;DR in this article, sorry.

        Those have been three months that genuinely changed the world. An entire lifeline passed from February, 1, when the coronavirus pandemics just started to spread outside of China and European countries were about to react, to April, 30, when nations were locked down in quarantine measures almost all over the entire world. We want to take a look at the repercussions, cyclic nature of the reaction and, of course, provide DDoS attacks and BGP incidents overview on a timeframe of three months.

        In general, there seems to be an objective pattern in almost every country’s shift into the quarantine lockdown.
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      • This is how you deal with route leaks

          That, we must say, is the unique story so far.

          Here’s the beginning: for approximately an hour, starting at 19:28 UTC on April 1, 2020, the largest Russian ISP — Rostelecom (AS12389) — was announcing prefixes belonging to prominent internet players: Akamai, Cloudflare, Hetzner, Digital Ocean, Amazon AWS, and other famous names.

          Before the issue was resolved, paths between the largest cloud networks were somewhat disrupted — the Internet blinked. The route leak was distributed quite well through Rascom (AS20764), then Cogent (AS174) and in a couple of minutes through Level3 (AS3356) to the world. The issue suddenly became bad enough that it saturated the route decision-making process for a few Tier-1 ISPs.

          It looked like this:

          image

          With that:

          image
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        • Turns out internet businesses are sustainable during pandemics. Why? Home Office DNA

            “In 1665, Cambridge University closed because of the plague. Issac Newton decided to work from home. He discovered calculus & the laws of motion.”

            We live in a truly remarkable moment. With the year 2020 and the COVID-19 outbreak employees all over the world are staying home for quarantine, trying their best to sustain the normal flow of life, which means continue working. And this is something new compared to all the previous infectious pandemics humanity has survived through — this time we have the Internet.

            Read more →
          • Faster ENUM

              tl;dr


              github.com/QratorLabs/fastenum
              pip install fast-enum

              What are enums


              (If you think you know that — scroll down to the “Enums in Standard Library” section).

              Imagine that you need to describe a set of all possible states for the entities in your database model. You'll probably use a bunch of constants defined as module-level attributes:
              # /path/to/package/static.py:
              INITIAL = 0
              PROCESSING = 1
              PROCESSED = 2
              DECLINED = 3
              RETURNED = 4
              ...

              ...or as class-level attributes defined in their own class:
              class MyModelStates:
                INITIAL = 0
                PROCESSING = 1
                PROCESSED = 2
                DECLINED = 3
                RETURNED = 4

              That helps you refer to those states by their mnemonic names, while they persist in your storage as simple integers. By this, you get rid of magic numbers scattered through your code and make it more readable and self-descriptive.

              But, both the module-level constant and the class with the static attributes suffer from the inherent nature of python objects: they are all mutable. You may accidentally assign a value to your constant at runtime, and that is a mess to debug and rollback your broken entities. So, you might want to make your set of constants immutable, which means both the number of constants declared and the values they are mapped to must not be modified at runtime.
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            • How elliptic curve cryptography works in TLS 1.3

                image

                A couple of reader alerts:

                In order to (somewhat) simplify the description process and tighten the volume of the article we are going to write, it is essential to make a significant remark and state the primary constraint right away — everything we are going to tell you today on the practical side of the problematics is viable only in terms of TLS 1.3. Meaning that while your ECDSA certificate would still work in TLS 1.2 if you wish it worked, providing backwards compatibility, the description of the actual handshake process, cipher suits and client-server benchmarks covers TLS 1.3 only. Of course, this does not relate to the mathematical description of algorithms behind modern encryption systems.

                This article was written by neither a mathematician nor an engineer — although those helped to find a way around scary math and reviewed this article. Many thanks to Qrator Labs employees.

                (Elliptic Curve) Diffie-Hellman (Ephemeral)

                The Diffie–Hellman legacy in the 21 century

                Of course, this has started with neither Diffie nor Hellman. But to provide a correct timeline, we need to point out main dates and events.

                There were several major personas in the development of modern cryptography. Most notably, Alan Turing and Claud Shannon both laid an incredible amount of work over the field of theory of computation and information theory as well as general cryptanalysis, and both Diffie and Hellman, are officially credited for coming up with the idea of public-key (or so-called asymmetric) cryptography (although it is known that in the UK there were made serious advances in cryptography that stayed under secrecy for a very long time), making those two gentlemen pioneers.

                In what exactly?
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              • 2019 National Internet Segments Reliability Research & Report



                  This report explains how the outage of a single AS can affect the connectivity of the impacted region with the rest of the world, especially when it is the dominant ISP on the market. Internet connectivity at the network level is driven by interaction between autonomous systems (AS’s). As the number of alternate routes between AS’s increases, so goes the fault-resistance and stability of the internet across the network. Although some paths inevitably become more important than others, establishing as many alternate routes as possible is the only viable way to ensure an adequately robust system.

                  The global connectivity of any AS, regardless of whether it is a minor provider or an international giant, depends on the quantity and quality of its paths to Tier-1 ISPs. Usually, Tier-1 implies an international company offering global IP transit service over connections to other Tier-1 providers. But there is no guarantee that such connectivity will be maintained. Only the market can motivate them to peer with other Tier-1’s to deliver the highest quality service. Is that enough? We explore this question in the IPv6 section below. For many ISPs at all levels, losing connection to just one Tier-1 peer would likely render them unreachable in some parts of the world.

                  Measuring Internet Reliability


                  Let’s examine a case where an AS experiences significant network degradation. We want to answer the following question: “How many AS’s in the region would lose connectivity with Tier-1 operators and their global availability along with it?”
                  Read more →
                • Qrator filtering network configuration delivery system



                    TL;DR: Client-server architecture of our internal configuration management tool, QControl.
                    At its basement, there’s a two-layered transport protocol working with gzip-compressed messages without decompression between endpoints. Distributed routers and endpoints receive the configuration updates, and the protocol itself makes it possible to install intermediary localized relays. It is based on a differential backup (“recent-stable,” explained further) design and employs JMESpath query language and Jinja templating for configuration rendering.

                    Qrator Labs operates on and maintains a globally distributed mitigation network. Our network is anycast, based on announcing our subnets via BGP. Being a BGP anycast network physically located in several regions across the Earth makes it possible for us to process and filter illegitimate traffic closer to the Internet backbone — Tier-1 operators.

                    On the other hand, being a geographically distributed network bears its difficulties. Communication between the network points-of-presence (PoP) is essential for a security provider to have a coherent configuration for all network nodes and update it in a timely and cohesive manner. So to provide the best possible service for customers, we had to find a way to synchronize the configuration data between different continents reliably.
                    In the beginning, there was the Word… which quickly became communication protocol in need of an upgrade.
                    Read more →
                  • What is going to happen on February 1, 2020?

                      TL;DR: starting February 2020, DNS servers that don’t support DNS both over UDP and TCP may stop working.

                      Bangkok, in general, is a strange place to stay. Of course, it is warm there, rather cheap and some might find the cuisine interesting, along with the fact that about half of the world’s population does not need to apply for a visa in advance to get there. However, you still need to get acquainted with the smells, and the city streets are casting cyberpunk scenes more than anything else.

                      In particular, a photo to the left has been taken not far from the center of Thailand’ capital city, one street away from the Shangri-La hotel, where the 30th DNS-OARC organization meeting took place on May 12 and 13. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to security, stability, and overall development of the DNS — the Domain Name System.

                      Slides from the DNS-OARC 30 meeting are recommended for everyone interested in how the DNS works, though perhaps the most interesting is what is absent in those slides. Namely, a 45-minute round table with a discussion around the results of DNS Flag Day 2019, which occurred on February, 1, 2019.

                      And, the most impressive result of a round table is the decision to repeat DNS Flag Day once again.
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                    • Legacy Outage

                        Two days ago, May 5 of the year 2019 we saw a peculiar BGP outage, affecting autonomous systems in the customer cone of one very specific AS with the number 721.

                        Right at the beginning, we need to outline a couple of details for our readers:

                        1. All Autonomous System Numbers under 1000 are called “lower ASNs,” as they are the first autonomous systems on the Internet, registered by IANA in the early days (the late 80’s) of the global network. Today they mostly represent government departments and organizations, that were somehow involved in Internet research and creation in 70-90s.
                        2. Our readers should remember, that the Internet became public only after the United States’ Department of Defense, which funded the initial ARPANET, handed it over to the Defense Communication Agency and, later in 1981, connected it to the CSNET with the TCP (RFC675)/IP (RFC791) over X.25. A couple of years later, in 1986, NSF swapped the CSNET in favor of NSFNET, which grew so fast it made possible ARPANET decommission by 1990.
                        3. IANA was established in 1988, and supposedly at that time, existing ASNs were registered by the RIRs. It is no surprise that the organization that funded the initial research and creation of the ARPANET, further transferring it to another department because of its operational size and growth, only after diversifying it into 4 different networks (Wiki mentions MILNET, NIPRNET, SIPRNET and JWICS, above which the military-only NIPRNET did not have controlled security gateways to the public Internet).
                        Read more →
                      • TLS 1.3 enabled, and why you should do the same



                          As we wrote in the 2018-2019 Interconnected Networks Issues and Availability Report at the beginning of this year, TLS 1.3 arrival is inevitable. Some time ago we successfully deployed the 1.3 version of the Transport Layer Security protocol. After gathering and analyzing the data, we are now ready to highlight the most exciting parts of this transition.

                          As IETF TLS Working Group Chairs wrote in the article:
                          “In short, TLS 1.3 is poised to provide a foundation for a more secure and efficient Internet over the next 20 years and beyond.”

                          TLS 1.3 has arrived after 10 years of development. Qrator Labs, as well as the IT industry overall, watched the development process closely from the initial draft through each of the 28 versions while a balanced and manageable protocol was maturing that we are ready to support in 2019. The support is already evident among the market, and we want to keep pace in implementing this robust, proven security protocol.

                          Eric Rescorla, the lone author of TLS 1.3 and the Firefox CTO, told The Register that:
                          “It's a drop-in replacement for TLS 1.2, uses the same keys and certificates, and clients and servers can automatically negotiate TLS 1.3 when they both support it,” he said. “There's pretty good library support already, and Chrome and Firefox both have TLS 1.3 on by default.”
                          Read more →
                        • Bad news, everyone! New hijack attack in the wild

                            On March 13, a proposal for the RIPE anti-abuse working group was submitted, stating that a BGP hijacking event should be treated as a policy violation. In case of acceptance, if you are an ISP attacked with the hijack, you could submit a special request where you might expose such an autonomous system. If there is enough confirming evidence for an expert group, then such a LIR would be considered an adverse party and further punished. There were some arguments against this proposal.

                            With this article, we want to show an example of the attack where not only the true attacker was under the question, but the whole list of affected prefixes. Moreover, it again raises concerns about the possible motives for the future attack of this type.
                            Read more →
                          • BGP perforating wound

                              It was an ordinary Thursday on 4.04.2019. Except that at some point of the midday timeline an AS60280 belonging to Belarus’ NTEC leaked 18600 prefixes originating from approximately 1400 ASes.

                              Those routes were taken from the transit provider RETN (AS9002) and further announced to NTEC’s provider — RU-telecom’s AS205540, which, in its turn, accepted all of them, spreading the leak.

                              image
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                            • Russian Internet Segment Architecture

                                As many of our readers know, Qrator.Radar is constantly researching global BGP connectivity, as well as regional. Since the Internet stands for “Interconnected Networks,” to ensure the best possible quality and speed the interconnectivity of individual networks should be rich and diverse, with their growth motivated on a sound competitive basis.

                                The fault-resistance of an internet connection in any given region or country is tied to the number of alternate routes between ASes. Though, as we stated before in our Internet Segments Reliability reports, some paths are obviously more critical compared to the others (for example, the paths to the Tier-1 transit ISPs or autonomous systems hosting authoritative DNS servers), which means that having as many reachable routes as possible is the only viable way to ensure adequate system scalability, stability and robustness.

                                This time, we are going to have a closer look at the Russian Federation internet segment. There are reasons to keep an eye on that segment: according to the numbers provided by the RIPE database, there are 6183 autonomous systems in Russia, out of 88664 registered worldwide, which stands for 6.87% of total.

                                This percentage puts Russia on a second place in the world, right after the USA (30.08% of registered ASes) and before Brazil, owning 6.34% of all autonomous systems. Effects of changes in the Russian connectivity could be observed across many other countries dependant on or adjacent to that connectivity, and ultimately by almost any ISP in the world.
                                Read more →
                              • Eliminating opportunities for traffic hijacking


                                  Beautiful scheme for BGP connection to Qrator filtering network

                                  A little historical overview


                                  • BGP hijacks — when an ISP originates an advertisement of address space that does not belong to it;
                                  • BGP route leaks — when an ISP advertises prefixes received from one provider or peer to another provider or peer.

                                  This week it has been 11 years since the memorable YouTube BGP incident, provoked by the global propagation of a more specific prefix announce, originated by the Pakistan Telecom, leading to an almost 2 hour in duration traffic disruption in the form of redirecting traffic from legitimate path to the bogus one. We could guess if that event was intentional, and even a correct answer wouldn’t help us completely prevent such incidents from happening today. While you read this, a route leak or a hijack is spreading over the networks. Why? Because BGP is not easy, and configuring a correct and secure setup is even harder (yet).

                                  In these eleven years, BGP hijacking became quite damaging attack vector due to the BGP emplacement in the architecture of modern internet. Thanks to BGP, routers not only acquire peer information, and therefore all the Internet routes — they are able of calculating the best path for traffic to its destination through many intermediate (transit) networks, each representing an individual AS. A single AS is just a group of IPv4 and/or IPv6 networks operating under a single external routing policy.
                                  Read more →
                                • Internet Issues & Availability Report 2018–2019

                                    image

                                    While working on the annual report this year we have decided to avoid retelling the news headlines of the previous year and, though it is almost impossible to ignore memories absolutely, we want to share with you the result of a clear thought and a strategic view to the point where we all are going to arrive in the nearest time — the present.

                                    Leaving introduction words behind, here are our key findings:

                                    • Average DDoS attack duration dropped to 2.5 hours;
                                    • During 2018, the capability appeared for attacks at hundreds of gigabits-per-second within a country or region, bringing us to the verge of “quantum theory of bandwidth relativity”;
                                    • The frequency of DDoS attacks continues to grow;
                                    • The continuing growth of HTTPS-enabled (SSL) attacks;
                                    • PC is dead: most of the legitimate traffic today comes from smartphones, which is a challenge for DDoS actors today and would be the next challenge for DDoS mitigation companies;
                                    • BGP finally became an attack vector, 2 years later than we expected;
                                    • DNS manipulation has become the most damaging attack vector;
                                    • Other new amplification vectors are possible, like memcached & CoAP;
                                    • There are no more “safe industries” that are invulnerable to cyberattacks of any kind.

                                    In this article we have tried to cherry-pick all the most interesting parts of our report, though if you would like read the full version in English, the PDF is available.
                                    Read more →