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Measuring Traffic Rate by Means of U-models

Qrator Labs corporate blogAlgorithmsMathematics
stream rate art
Measuring of stream rate in an artist's impression.

In one of our previous publications, we talked about a way to measure event stream rate using a counter based on exponential decay. It turns out that the idea of such a counter has an interesting generalization. This paper by Artem Shvorin and Dmitry Kamaldinov, Qrator Labs, reveals it.
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Total votes 4: ↑4 and ↓0+4
Comments 2

Overview of Morris's counters

Qrator Labs corporate blogHigh performanceAlgorithmsMathematics

On implementing streaming algorithms, counting of events often occurs, where an event means something like a packet arrival or a connection establishment. Since the number of events is large, the available memory can become a bottleneck: an ordinary n-bit counter allows to take into account no more than 2^n - 1events.
One way to handle a larger range of values using the same amount of memory would be approximate counting. This article provides an overview of the well-known Morris algorithm and some generalizations of it.

Another way to reduce the number of bits required for counting mass events is to use decay. We discuss such an approach here [3], and we are going to publish another blog post on this particular topic shortly.

In the beginning of this article, we analyse one straightforward probabilistic calculation algorithm and highlight its shortcomings (Section 2). Then (Section 3), we describe the algorithm proposed by Robert Morris in 1978 and indicate its most essential properties and advantages. For most non-trivial formulas and statements, the text contains our proofs, the demanding reader can find them in the inserts. In the following three sections, we outline valuable extensions of the classic algorithm: you can learn what Morris's counters and exponential decay have in common, how to improve the accuracy by sacrificing the maximum value, and how to handle weighted events efficiently.

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Total votes 12: ↑12 and ↓0+12
Comments 0

Q1 2021 DDoS attacks and BGP incidents

Qrator Labs corporate blogInformation SecurityIT InfrastructureNetwork technologiesResearch and forecasts in IT

The year 2021 started on such a high note for Qrator Labs: on January 19, our company celebrated its 10th anniversary. Shortly after, in February, our network mitigated quite an impressive 750 Gbps DDoS attack based on old and well known DNS amplification. Furthermore, there is a constant flow of BGP incidents; some are becoming global routing anomalies. We started reporting in our newly made Twitter account for Qrator.Radar.

Nevertheless, with the first quarter of the year being over, we can take a closer look at DDoS attacks statistics and BGP incidents for January - March 2021.

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Total votes 15: ↑15 and ↓0+15
Comments 0

Qrator Labs' Value Partnership Programs

Qrator Labs corporate blogInformation SecuritySales managementBusiness Models

Why is it valuable to get into the Qrator Labs partnership program?

In Qrator Labs, we firmly believe that working together brings a better result. Which is the reason why, for years, we were trying to find meaningful partnerships with all kinds of companies. They either seek to provide their existing customers with the top-notch DDoS mitigation technology developed at Qrator Labs with many additional ecosystem solutions or want to succeed the other way around. By getting their product available for Qrator Labs' customers by integrating into the Qrator anycast filtering network.

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Total votes 20: ↑20 and ↓0+20
Comments 0

2020 Network Security and Availability Report

Qrator Labs corporate blogInformation SecurityIT InfrastructureNetwork technologies

By the beginning of 2021, Qrator Labs filtering network expands to 14 scrubbing centers and a total of 3 Tbps filtering bandwidth capacity, with the San Paolo scrubbing facility fully operational in early 2021;

New partner services fully integrated into Qrator Labs infrastructure and customer dashboard throughout 2020: SolidWall WAF and RuGeeks CDN;

Upgraded filtering logic allows Qrator Labs to serve even bigger infrastructures with full-scale cybersecurity protection and DDoS attacks mitigation;

The newest AMD processors are now widely used by Qrator Labs in packet processing.

DDoS attacks were on the rise during 2020, with the most relentless attacks described as short and overwhelmingly intensive.

However, BGP incidents were an area where it was evident that some change was and still is needed, as there was a significant amount of devastating hijacks and route leaks.

In 2020, we began providing our services in Singapore under a new partnership and opened a new scrubbing center in Dubai, where our fully functioning branch is staffed by the best professionals to serve local customers.

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Total votes 17: ↑17 and ↓0+17
Comments 0

10(+) years in the Labs

Qrator Labs corporate blogHistory of ITIT-companies

At the beginning of the year 2021, Qrator Labs is celebrating its 10 year anniversary. On January 19 our company marks the official passing of a formal 10 years longevity mark, entering its second decade of existence. 

Everything started a little bit earlier - when at the age of 10 Alex saw the Robotron K 1820 - in 2008, when Alexander Lyamin - the founder and CEO of Qrator Labs, approached the Moscow State University superiors, where he worked as a NOC engineer at the time, with an idea of a DDoS-attack mitigation research project. The MSU's network was one of the largest in the country and, as we know now, it was the best place to hatch a future technology.

That time MSU administration agreed, and Mr Lyamin took his own hardware to the university, simultaneously gathering a team. In two years, by summer 2010, the project turned out to be that successful. It courted the DDoS attack of a bandwidth exceeding the MSU's upstream bandwidth capability. And on June 22 MSU superiors gave Mr Lyamin a choice - to shut down or find money to incorporate.

Alexander Lyamin chose to incorporate with his own means, which effectively meant that the needed infrastructure must be built from scratch. The initial design should be distributed instead of concentrated within one network, which resources were not enough for this specific task. And by September 1, 2010, those first server sites were ready and running.

Flashback with us
Total votes 28: ↑28 and ↓0+28
Comments 1

Linux Switchdev the Mellanox way

Qrator Labs corporate blogSystem administrationNetwork technologiesNetwork hardware
This is a transcription of a talk that was presented at CSNOG 2020 — video is at the end of the page

Greetings! My name is Alexander Zubkov. I work at Qrator Labs, where we protect our customers against DDoS attacks and provide BGP analytics.

We started using Mellanox switches around 2 or 3 years ago. At the time we got acquainted with Switchdev in Linux and today I want to share with you our experience.
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Total votes 18: ↑18 and ↓0+18
Comments 0

The 2020 National Internet Segment Reliability Research

Qrator Labs corporate blogInformation SecurityIT InfrastructureNetwork technologiesIPv6

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.
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Total votes 26: ↑26 and ↓0+26
Comments 0

Looking back at 3 months of the global traffic shapeshifting

Qrator Labs corporate blogInformation SecurityIT InfrastructureNetwork technologies
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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Total votes 27: ↑27 and ↓0+27
Comments 0

This is how you deal with route leaks

Qrator Labs corporate blogInformation SecurityNetwork technologies
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:


With that:

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Total votes 22: ↑22 and ↓0+22
Comments 0

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

Qrator Labs corporate blogPersonnel ManagementIT careerHealth
“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.

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Total votes 21: ↑20 and ↓1+19
Comments 0

Faster ENUM

Qrator Labs corporate blogOpen sourcePython


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:

...or as class-level attributes defined in their own class:
class MyModelStates:

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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Total votes 28: ↑28 and ↓0+28
Comments 0

How elliptic curve cryptography works in TLS 1.3

Qrator Labs corporate blogInformation SecurityCryptographyAlgorithmsMathematics

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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Total votes 21: ↑21 and ↓0+21
Comments 0

2019 National Internet Segments Reliability Research & Report

Qrator Labs corporate blogDecentralized networksIT InfrastructureNetwork technologiesIPv6

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?”
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Total votes 37: ↑36 and ↓1+35
Comments 2

Qrator filtering network configuration delivery system

Qrator Labs corporate blogSystem Analysis and DesignIT InfrastructureNetwork technologiesDistributed systems

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.
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Total votes 24: ↑23 and ↓1+22
Comments 0

What is going to happen on February 1, 2020?

Qrator Labs corporate blogInformation SecurityDomain names administratingIT InfrastructureDNS
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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Total votes 25: ↑24 and ↓1+23
Comments 0

Legacy Outage

Qrator Labs corporate blogInformation SecurityNetwork technologies
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).
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Total votes 18: ↑17 and ↓1+16
Comments 0

TLS 1.3 enabled, and why you should do the same

Qrator Labs corporate blogInformation SecurityNetwork technologies

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.”
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Total votes 23: ↑22 and ↓1+21
Comments 0

Bad news, everyone! New hijack attack in the wild

Qrator Labs corporate blogInformation SecurityNetwork technologies
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.
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Total votes 21: ↑20 and ↓1+19
Comments 0

BGP perforating wound

Qrator Labs corporate blogInformation SecurityNetwork technologies
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.

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Total votes 28: ↑26 and ↓2+24
Comments 0