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new conference paper “Anycast in Context: A Tale of Two Systems” at SIGCOMM 2021

We published a new paper “Anycast in Context: A Tale of Two Systems” by Thomas Koch, Ke Li, Calvin Ardi*, Ethan Katz-Bassett, Matt Calder**, and John Heidemann* (of Columbia, where not otherwise indicated, *USC/ISI, and **Microsoft and Columbia) at ACM SIGCOMM 2021.

From the abstract:

Anycast is used to serve content including web pages and DNS, and anycast deployments are growing. However, prior work examining root DNS suggests anycast deployments incur significant inflation, with users often routed to suboptimal sites. We reassess anycast performance, first extending prior analysis on inflation in the root DNS. We show that inflation is very common in root DNS, affecting more than 95% of users. However, we then show root DNS latency hardly matters to users because caching is so effective. These findings lead us to question: is inflation inherent to anycast, or can inflation be limited when it matters? To answer this question, we consider Microsoft’s anycast CDN serving latency-sensitive content. Here, latency matters orders of magnitude more than for root DNS. Perhaps because of this need, only 35% of CDN users experience any inflation, and the amount they experience is smaller than for root DNS. We show that CDN anycast latency has little inflation due to extensive peering and engineering. These results suggest prior claims of anycast inefficiency reflect experiments on a single application rather than anycast’s technical potential, and they demonstrate the importance of context when measuring system performance.

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Publications Technical Report

new technical report “When the Dike Breaks: Dissecting DNS Defenses During DDoS (extended)”

We released a new technical report “When the Dike Breaks: Dissecting DNS Defenses During DDoS (extended)”, ISI-TR-725, available at https://www.isi.edu/~johnh/PAPERS/Moura18a.pdf.

Moura18a Figure 6a, Answers received during a DDoS attack causing 100% packet loss with pre-loaded caches.

From the abstract:

The Internet’s Domain Name System (DNS) is a frequent target of Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks, but such attacks have had very different outcomes—some attacks have disabled major public websites, while the external effects of other attacks have been minimal. While on one hand the DNS protocol is a relatively simple, the system has many moving parts, with multiple levels of caching and retries and replicated servers. This paper uses controlled experiments to examine how these mechanisms affect DNS resilience and latency, exploring both the client side’s DNS user experience, and server-side traffic. We find that, for about about 30% of clients, caching is not effective. However, when caches are full they allow about half of clients to ride out server outages, and caching and retries allow up to half of the clients to tolerate DDoS attacks that result in 90% query loss, and almost all clients to tolerate attacks resulting in 50% packet loss. The cost of such attacks to clients are greater median latency. For servers, retries during DDoS attacks increase normal traffic up to 8x. Our findings about caching and retries can explain why some real-world DDoS cause service outages for users while other large attacks have minimal visible effects.

Datasets from this paper are available at no cost and are listed at https://ant.isi.edu/datasets/dns/#Moura18a_data.

 

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Presentations

new talk “Internet Outages: Reliablity and Security” from U. of Oregon Cybersecurity Day 2018

John Heidemann gave the talk “Internet Outages: Reliablity and Security” at the University of Oregon Cybersecurity Day in Eugene, Oregon on April 23, 2018.  Slides are available at https://www.isi.edu/~johnh/PAPERS/Heidemann18e.pdf.

Network outages as a security problem.

From the abstract:

The Internet is central to our lives, but we know astoundingly little about it. Even though many businesses and individuals depend on it, how reliable is the Internet? Do policies and practices make it better in some places than others?

Since 2006, we have been studying the public face of the Internet to answer these questions. We take regular censuses, probing the entire IPv4 Internet address space. For more than two years we have been observing Internet reliability through active probing with Trinocular outage detection, revealing the effects of the Internet due to natural disasters like Hurricanes from Sandy to Harvey and Maria, configuration errors that sometimes affect millions of customers, and political events where governments have intervened in Internet operation. This talk will describe how it is possible to observe Internet outages today and what they are beginning to say about the Internet and about the physical world.

This talk builds on research over the last decade in IPv4 censuses and outage detection and includes the work of many of my collaborators.

Data from this talk is all available; see links on the last slide.

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Papers Publications

new conference paper “Detecting ICMP Rate Limiting in the Internet” in PAM 2018

We have published a new conference “Detecting ICMP Rate Limiting in the Internet” in PAM 2018 (the Passive and Active Measurement Conference) in Berlin, Germany.

Figure 4 from [Guo18a] Confirming a block is rate limited with additional probing
Figure 4 from [Guo18a] confirming a bock is rate limited, comparing experimental results with models of rate-limited and non-rate-limited behavior.
From the abstract of our conference paper:

Comparing model and experimental effects of rate limiting (Figure 4 from [Guo18a] )
ICMP active probing is the center of many network measurements. Rate limiting to ICMP traffic, if undetected, could distort measurements and create false conclusions. To settle this concern, we look systematically for ICMP rate limiting in the Internet. We create FADER, a new algorithm that can identify rate limiting from user-side traces with minimal new measurement traffic. We validate the accuracy of FADER with many different network configurations in testbed experiments and show that it almost always detects rate limiting. With this confidence, we apply our algorithm to a random sample of the whole Internet, showing that rate limiting exists but that for slow probing rates, rate-limiting is very rare. For our random sample of 40,493 /24 blocks (about 2% of the responsive space), we confirm 6 blocks (0.02%!) see rate limiting at 0.39 packets/s per block. We look at higher rates in public datasets and suggest that fall-off in responses as rates approach 1 packet/s per /24 block is consistent with rate limiting. We also show that even very slow probing (0.0001 packet/s) can encounter rate limiting of NACKs that are concentrated at a single router near the prober.

Datasets we used in this paper are all public. ISI Internet Census and Survey data (including it71w, it70w, it56j, it57j and it58j census and survey) are available at https://ant.isi.edu/datasets/index.html. ZMap 50-second experiments data are from their WOOT 14 paper and can be obtained from ZMap authors upon request.

This conference report is joint work of Hang Guo and  John Heidemann from USC/ISI.

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Publications Technical Report

new technical report “Back Out: End-to-end Inference of Common Points-of-Failure in the Internet (extended)”

We released a new technical report “Back Out: End-to-end Inference of Common Points-of-Failure in the Internet (extended)”, ISI-TR-724, available at https://www.isi.edu/~johnh/PAPERS/Heidemann18b.pdf.

From the abstract:

Clustering (from our event clustering algorithm) of 2014q3 outages from 172/8, showing 7 weeks including the 2014-08-27 Time Warner outage.

Internet reliability has many potential weaknesses: fiber rights-of-way at the physical layer, exchange-point congestion from DDOS at the network layer, settlement disputes between organizations at the financial layer, and government intervention the political layer. This paper shows that we can discover common points-of-failure at any of these layers by observing correlated failures. We use end-to-end observations from data-plane-level connectivity of edge hosts in the Internet. We identify correlations in connectivity: networks that usually fail and recover at the same time suggest common point-of-failure. We define two new algorithms to meet these goals. First, we define a computationally-efficient algorithm to create a linear ordering of blocks to make correlated failures apparent to a human analyst. Second, we develop an event-based clustering algorithm that directly networks with correlated failures, suggesting common points-of-failure. Our algorithms scale to real-world datasets of millions of networks and observations: linear ordering is O(n log n) time and event-based clustering parallelizes with Map/Reduce. We demonstrate them on three months of outages for 4 million /24 network prefixes, showing high recall (0.83 to 0.98) and precision (0.72 to 1.0) for blocks that respond. We also show that our algorithms generalize to identify correlations in anycast catchments and routing.

Datasets from this paper are available at no cost and are listed at https://ant.isi.edu/datasets/outage/, and we expect to release the software for this paper in the coming months (contact us if you are interested).

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Presentations

new talk “Digging in to Ground Truth in Network Measurements” at the TMA PhD School 2017

John Heidemann gave the talk “Digging in to Ground Truth in Network Measurements” at the TMA PhD School 2017 in Dublin, Ireland on June 19, 2017.  Slides are available at https://www.isi.edu/~johnh/PAPERS/Heidemann17c.pdf.
From the abstract:

New network measurements are great–you can learn about the whole world! But new network measurements are horrible–are you sure you learn about the world, and not about bugs in your code or approach? New scientific approaches must be tested and ultimately calibrated against ground truth. Yet ground truth about the Internet can be quite difficult—often network operators themselves do not know all the details of their network. This talk will explore the role of ground truth in network measurement: getting it when you can, alternatives when it’s imperfect, and what we learn when none is available.

 

This talk builds on research over the last decade with many people, and the slides include some discussion from the TMA PhD school audience.

Travel to the TMA PhD school was supported by ACM, ISI, and the DHS Retro-Future Bridge and Outages project.

Update 2017-07-05: The TMA folks have posted video of this “Ground Truth” talk to YouTube if you want to relive the glory of a warm afternoon in Dublin.

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Papers Publications

new conference paper “Do You See Me Now? Sparsity in Passive Observations of Address Liveness” in TMA 2017

The paper “Do You See Me Now? Sparsity in Passive Observations of Address Liveness” will appear in the 2017 Conference on Network Traffic Measurement and Analyais (TMA) July 21-23, 2017 in Dublin, Ireland.   The datasets from the paper that we can make public will be at https://ant.isi.edu/datasets/sparsity/.

Visibility of addresses and blocks from possible /24 virtual monitors (Figure 2 from [Mirkovic17a])
From the abstract of the paper:

Accurate information about address and block usage in the Internet has many applications in planning address allocation, topology studies, and simulations. Prior studies used active probing, sometimes augmented with passive observation, to study macroscopic phenomena, such as the overall usage of the IPv4 address space. This paper instead studies the completeness of passive sources: how well they can observe microscopic phenomena such as address usage within a given network. We define sparsity as the limitation of a given monitor to see a target, and we quantify the effects of interest, temporal, and coverage sparsity. To study sparsity, we introduce inverted analysis, a novel approach that uses complete passive observations of a few end networks (three campus networks in our case) to infer what of these networks would be seen by millions of virtual monitors near their traffic’s destinations. Unsurprisingly, we find that monitors near popular content see many more targets and that visibility is strongly influenced by bipartite traffic between clients and servers. We are the first to quantify these effects and show their implications for the study of Internet liveness from passive observations. We find that visibility is heavy-tailed, with only 0.5% monitors seeing more than 10\% of our targets’ addresses, and is most affected by interest sparsity over temporal and coverage sparsity. Visibility is also strongly bipartite. Monitors of a different class than a target (e.g., a server monitor observing a client target) outperform monitors of the same class as a target in 82-99% of cases in our datasets. Finally, we find that adding active probing to passive observations greatly improves visibility of both server and client target addresses, but is not critical for visibility of target blocks. Our findings are valuable to understand limitations of existing measurement studies, and to develop methods to maximize microscopic completeness in future studies.

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Presentations

new talk “Anycast Latency: How Many Sites are Enough?” at DNS-OARC

John Heidemann gave the talk “Anycast Latency: How Many Sites are Enough?” at DNS-OARC in Dallas, Texas, USA on October 16, 2016.  Slides are available at http://www.isi.edu/~johnh/PAPERS/Heidemann16b.pdf.

Comparing actual (obtained) anycast latency against optimal possible anycast latency, for 4 different anycast deployments (each a Root Letter). From the talk [Heidemann16b], based on data from [Moura16b].
Comparing actual (obtained) anycast latency against optimal possible anycast latency, for 4 different anycast deployments (each a Root Letter). From the talk [Heidemann16b], based on data from [Moura16b].
From the abstract:

This talk will evaluate anycast latency. An anycast service uses multiple sites to provide high availability, capacity and redundancy, with BGP routing associating users to nearby anycast sites. Routing defines the catchment of the users that each site serves. Although prior work has studied how users associate with anycast services informally, in this paper we examine the key question how many anycast sites are needed to provide good latency, and the worst case latencies that specific deployments see. To answer this question, we must first define the optimal performance that is possible, then explore how routing, specific anycast policies, and site location affect performance. We develop a new method capable of determining optimal performance and use it to study four real-world anycast services operated by different organizations: C-, F-, K-, and L-Root, each part of the Root DNS service. We measure their performance from more than worldwide vantage points (VPs) in RIPE Atlas. (Given the VPs uneven geographic distribution, we evaluate and control for potential bias.) Key results of our study are to show that a few sites can provide performance nearly as good as many, and that geographic location and good connectivity have a far stronger effect on latency than having many nodes. We show how often users see the closest anycast site, and how strongly routing policy affects site selection.

This talk is based on the work in the technical report “Anycast Latency: How Many Sites Are Enough?” (ISI-TR-2016-708), by Ricardo de O. Schmidt, John Heidemann, and Jan Harm Kuipers.

Datasets from the paper are available at https://ant.isi.edu/datasets/anycast/

Categories
Publications Technical Report

new technical report “Do You See Me Now? Sparsity in Passive Observations of Address Liveness (extended)”

We have released a new technical report “Do You See Me Now? Sparsity in Passive Observations of Address Liveness (extended)”, ISI-TR-2016-710, available at http://www.isi.edu/~johnh/PAPERS/Mirkovic16a.pdf

How many USC addresses are visible from virtual remote monitors, based on the monitor's overall visibility.
How many USC addresses are visible from virtual remote monitors, based on the monitor’s overall visibility.

From the abstract:

Full allocation of IPv4 addresses has prompted interest in measuring address liveness, first with active probing, and recently with the addition of passive observation. While prior work has shown dramatic increases in coverage, this paper explores what factors affect contributions of passive observers to visibility. While all passive monitors are sparse, seeing only a part of the Internet, we seek to understand how different types of sparsity impact observation quality: the interests of external hosts and the hosts within the observed network, the temporal limitations on the observation duration, and coverage challenges to observe all traffic for a given target or a given vantage point. We study sparsity with inverted analysis, a new approach where we use passive monitors at four sites to infer what monitors would see at all sites exchanging traffic with those four. We show that visibility provided by monitors is heavy-tailed—interest sparsity means popular monitors see a great deal, while 99% see very little. We find that traffic is bipartite, with visibility much stronger between client-networks and server-networks than within each group. Finally, we find that popular monitors are robust to temporal and coverage sparsity, but they greatly reduce power of monitors that start with low visibility.

This technical report is joint work of  Jelena Mirkovic, Genevieve Bartlett, John Heidemann, Hao Shi, and Xiyue Deng, all of USC/ISI.

Categories
Publications Technical Report

new technical report “Anycast Latency: How Many Sites Are Enough?”

We have released a new technical report “Anycast Latency: How Many Sites Are Enough?”, ISI-TR-2016-708, available at http://www.isi.edu/%7ejohnh/PAPERS/Schmidt16a.pdf.

[Schmidt16a] figure 4: distribution of measured latency (solid lines) to optimal possible latency (dashed lines) for 4 Root DNS anycast deployments.
[Schmidt16a] figure 4: distribution of measured latency (solid lines) to optimal possible latency (dashed lines) for 4 Root DNS anycast deployments.
From the abstract:

Anycast is widely used today to provide important services including naming and content, with DNS and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs). An anycast service uses multiple sites to provide high availability, capacity and redundancy, with BGP routing associating users to nearby anycast sites. Routing defines the catchment of the users that each site serves. Although prior work has studied how users associate with anycast services informally, in this paper we examine the key question how many anycast sites are needed to provide good latency, and the worst case latencies that specific deployments see. To answer this question, we must first define the optimal performance that is possible, then explore how routing, specific anycast policies, and site location affect performance. We develop a new method capable of determining optimal performance and use it to study four real-world anycast services operated by different organizations: C-, F-, K-, and L-Root, each part of the Root DNS service. We measure their performance from more than worldwide vantage points (VPs) in RIPE Atlas. (Given the VPs uneven geographic distribution, we evaluate and control for potential bias.) Key results of our study are to show that a few sites can provide performance nearly as good as many, and that geographic location and good connectivity have a far stronger effect on latency than having many nodes. We show how often users see the closest anycast site, and how strongly routing policy affects site selection.

This technical report is joint work of Ricardo de O. Schmidt and Jan Harm Kuipers (U. Twente) and John Heidemann (USC/ISI).  Datasets in this paper are derived from RIPE Atlas and are available at http://traces.simpleweb.org/.