The Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS) initiative, supported by the Internet Society recently announced that Microsoft has joined this program whose primary objective is to reduce the most common threats to the Internet’s routing system
Routing security is vital to the future and stability of the Internet. Last year alone, there were 12,600 routing outages or incidents such as route hijacking and leaks that led to large-scale Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, stolen data, lost revenue, reputational damage and more. MANRS addresses these threats through technical and collaborative action across the Internet. Those who join MANRS agree to specific actions to improve the resilience and security of the routing infrastructure to keep the Internet safe for businesses and consumers alike.
“Microsoft has long been committed to increasing cybersecurity online. We are therefore excited to be joining the MANRS community in addressing the very real challenges related to routing security, which impact businesses and consumers on a daily basis. In addition to having implemented the existing MANRS framework in our operations, we are also partnering with Internet Society, the Cybersecurity Tech Accord and others to examine how actors beyond network operators and IXPs can effectively contribute to routing security,” said Yousef Khalidi, Corporate Vice President, Azure Networking
From DDoS attacks and spamming to stolen data, the global routing system is vulnerable to malicious threats. Whether it’s a planned attack or a configuration mistake, routing incidents have global impact and in many cases are difficult to detect.
Last year, a routing leak by a Nigerian ISP caused some of Google’s traffic to be misrouted through China causing outages in many parts of the world, and an ISP from Indonesia hijacked prefixes of multiple US payment processing companies causing re-routing of sensitive data for 30 minutes.
“Routing incidents are global in scale with one operator’s routing problems impacting others. The safety of large network operators such as Microsoft, as well as the security of the Internet as a whole depends on routing security,” explains Olaf Kolkman, Chief Internet Technology Officer for the Internet Society. “The more network operators take the actions as specified by MANRS, the fewer incidents there will be, thereby mitigating damage,” he adds.
MANRS comprises simple but concrete steps for network operators that are essential to improving Internet security and reliability. In joining MANRS, participants commit to implement actions to address common challenges related to routing security:
Filtering: prevents the propagation of incorrect routing information. This technique provides assurance against configuration errors that can lead to “hijacking” traffic directed to other networks, resulting in widespread outages.
Anti-spoofing: prevents traffic with spoofed source IP addresses, a practice that can help dramatically diminish the prevalence and impact of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
Coordination: facilitates timely communication and coordination among peers, which is essential for incident mitigation and better assurance of the technical quality of relationships.
Global validation: encourages network operators to publish routing data, which is essential for limiting the scope of routing incidents, making the global system more resilient.
The first two operational improvements eliminate common routing issues and attacks, while the second two procedural steps provide a bridge to universal adoption and decrease the likelihood of future incidents. Most operators have implemented all four, including Microsoft, while none have acted on fewer than three.
While MANRS was originally created for network operators, Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) also have an important role in routing security. To address the unique needs and concerns of IXPs, the community created a related but separate set of MANRS actions for IXP members.
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