Anycast vs. DDoS: Evaluating the November 2015 Root DNS Event

Giovane C.M. Moura, Ricardo de O. Schmidt, John Heidemann, Wouter B. de Vries, Moritz Müller, Lan Wei, Cristian Hesselman

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    45 Citations (Scopus)
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    Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks continue to be a major threat in the Internet today. DDoS attacks over- whelm target services with requests or other traffic, causing requests from legitimate users to be shut out. A common defense against DDoS is to replicate the service in multiple physical locations or sites. If all sites announce a common IP address, BGP will associate users around the Internet with a nearby site, defining the catchment of that site. Anycast ad- dresses DDoS both by increasing capacity to the aggregate of many sites, and allowing each catchment to contain attack traffic leaving other sites unaffected. IP anycast is widely used for commercial CDNs and essential infrastructure such as DNS, but there is little evaluation of anycast under stress. This paper provides the first evaluation of several anycast services under stress with public data. Our subject is the Internet’s Root Domain Name Service, made up of 13 inde- pendently designed services (“letters‿, 11 with IP anycast) running at more than 500 sites. Many of these services were stressed by sustained traffic at 100× normal load on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 2015. We use public data for most of our anal- ysis to examine how different services respond to the these events. We see how different anycast deployments respond to stress, and identify two policies: sites may absorb attack traffic, containing the damage but reducing service to some users, or they may withdraw routes to shift both good and bad traffic to other sites. We study how these deployments policies result in different levels of service to different users. We also show evidence of collateral damage on other services located near the attacks.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationLos Angeles, CA, USA
    PublisherUniversity of Southern California
    Number of pages15
    Publication statusPublished - May 2016

    Publication series

    NameInformation Sciences Institute technical report
    PublisherInformation Sciences Institute, University of Southern California


    • DDoS
    • Anycast
    • DNS


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