congratulations to ASM Rizvi for his PhD

I would like to congratulate Dr. ASM Rizvi for defending his PhD at the University of Southern California in June 2024 and completing his doctoral dissertation “Mitigating Attacks that Disrupt Online Services Without Changing Existing Protocols”.

From the dissertation abstract:

ASM Rizvi and John Heidemann, after Rizvi's PhD defense.

Service disruption is undesirable in today’s Internet connectivity due to its impacts on enterprise profits, reputation, and user satisfaction. We describe service disruption as any targeted interruptions caused by malicious parties in the regular user-to-service interactions and functionalities that affect service performance and user experience. In this thesis, we propose new methods that tackle service disruptive attacks using measurement without changing existing Internet protocols. Although our methods do not guarantee defense against all the attack types, our example defense systems prove that our methods generally work to handle diverse attacks. To validate our thesis, we demonstrate defense systems against three disruptive attack types. First, we mitigate Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks that target an online service. Second, we handle brute-force password attacks that target the users of a service. Third, we detect malicious routing detours to secure the path from the users to the server. We provide the first public description of DDoS defenses based on anycast and filtering for the network operators. Then, we show the first moving target defense utilizing IPv6 to defeat password attacks. We also demonstrate how regular observation of latency helps cellular users, carriers, and national agencies to find malicious routing detours. As a supplemental outcome, we show the effectiveness of measurements in finding performance issues and ways to improve using existing protocols. These examples show that our idea applies to different network parts, even if we may not mitigate all the attack types.

Rizvi’s PhD work was supported by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s HSARPA Cyber Security Division (HSHQDC-17-R-B0004-TTA.02-0006-I, PAADDOS) in a joint project with the Netherlands Organisation for scientific research (4019020199), the U.S. National Science Foundation (grant NSF OAC-1739034, DDIDD; CNS-2319409, PIMAWAT; CRI-8115780, CLASSNET; CNS-1925737, DIINER ) and U.S. DARPA (HR001120C0157, SABRES), and Akamai.

Most data from his papers is available at no cost from ANT; please see specific publications for details.


new conference paper: Anycast Polarization in The Wild

Our new paper “Anycast Polarization in The Wild” will appear at the 2024 Conference on Passive and Active Measurements (PAM 2024).

From the abstract:

The left figure shows the impacts of polarization. The Dallas, USA site for a CDN is receiving traffic from all over the world due to polarization. The red dots indicate high latency from Europe and Asia, even if Europe and India have anycast sites in their continent. We show this type of polarization is not uncommon. The right figure shows how a change in the routing configuration can improve the polarization problem. We can see almost no red dots from Europe and Asia continents.

IP anycast is a commonly used method to associate users with services provided across multiple sites, and if properly used, it can provide efficient access with low latency. However, prior work has shown that polarization can occur in global anycast services, where some users of that service are routed to an anycast site on another continent, adding 100 ms or more latency compared to a nearby site. This paper describes the causes of polarization in real-world anycast and shows how to observe polarization in third-party anycast services. We use these methods to look for polarization and its causes in 7986 known anycast prefixes. We find that polarization occurs in more than a quarter of anycast prefixes, and identify incomplete connectivity to Tier-1 transit providers and route leakage by regional ISPs as common problems. Finally, working with a commercial CDN, we show how small routing changes can often address polarization, improving latency for 40% of clients, by up to 54%.

This paper is a joint work by ASM Rizvi from USC/ISI and Akamai Technologies, Tingshan Huang from Akamai Technologies, Rasit Esrefoglu from Akamai Technologies, and John Heidemann from USC/ISI. ASM Rizvi and John Heidemann’s work was partially supported by DARPA under Contract No. HR001120C0157. John Heidemann’s work was also partially supported by the NFS projects CNS-2319409, CRI-8115780, and CNS-1925737. ASM Rizvi’s work was begun while on an internship at Akamai.