Seeking Feedback on Mitigation of New BGP-driven Attack

Job Snijders job at
Sat May 11 04:29:32 UTC 2019

Dear Jared,

This was a very interesting read. Thank you for sharing it with us. The
paper contained new information for me, if I hope I summarize it correctly:
by combining AS_PATH poisoning and botnets, the botnet’s firing power can
be more precisely aimed at a specific target.

Can you clarify what the definition of a “link” is? Is it the logical
interconnection between two ASNs (many pairs of ASNs interconnect in many
places), or is it a reference to a specific physical interconnection
between two routers, each in a different ASN?

The paper mentions that if the top 20 transit-free (“tier-1”) networks
protect each other against poisoning, the Maestro attack is drastically
reduced in effectiveness. I have good news, amongst this set of networks,
there already is a widely deployed anti poisoning mechanism, sometimes
referred to as “Peerlock”. /
. I think this paper suggests the Peerlock practice should be promoted
more, and perhaps automated.

Kind regards,


On Fri, 10 May 2019 at 15:27, Jared Smith <jms at> wrote:

> Hello,
> Our research lab at the University of Tennessee ( has recently
> completed
> a study on channeling link-flooding attack (transit link DDoS) flows
> via BGP poisoning: the Maestro attack. We are seeking feedback on
> mitigation (see below). A brief summary from the abstract:
> "Executed from a compromised or malicious Autonomous System (AS),
> Maestro advertises specific-prefix routes poisoned for selected ASes
> to collapse inbound traffic paths onto a single target link. A greedy
> heuristic fed by publicly available AS relationship data iteratively
> builds the set of ASes to poison. Given a compromised BGP speaker with
> advantageous positioning relative to the target link in the Internet
> topology, an adversary can expect to enhance flow density by more than 30%.
> For a large botnet (e.g., Mirai), the bottom line result is augmenting a
> DDoS by more than a million additional infected hosts. Interestingly, the
> size of the adversary-controlled AS plays little role in this
> amplification effect. Devastating attacks on core links can be executed by
> small, resource-limited ASes."
> We are seeking feedback from operators on the attack and the proposed
> mitigations we have identified. While we have worked with our campus BGP
> operators, we are reaching out to the broader community for
> additional insights.
> Other than general notes/comments, we have two specific questions that we
> would
> like to include feedback for in the final paper soon to be submitted:
> 1) Do you already filter poisoned/path prepend advertisements? This would
> mitigate the attack.
> 2) After seeing this attack, would you consider adding poison filtering or
> some other Day mitigation?
> The preprint is available at: See Section 7 on
> defenses.
> Please reply with any thoughts. Thank you in advance for comments,
> insight, and general feedback.
> Best,
> Tyler McDaniel, Jared Smith, and Max Schuchard
> UT Computer Security Lab
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the NANOG mailing list