Towards More Error-Tolerant Internet Protocols
Date and Time
Wednesday, April 24, 2002 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Computer Science Small Auditorium (Room 105)
David Wetherall, from University of Washington
The Internet protocols were designed from the start to tolerate failures, and they have proved exceedingly resilient to fiber cuts, earthquakes, router meltdowns, and so forth. Yet not all faults are alike. Software failures, whether due to implementation bugs, incorrect operation or deliberate attack, have occasionally wreaked havoc in which the party at fault damages not only themselves, but also potentially large regions of the Internet. We believe that software failures need to be addressed at the protocol design stage, and that only by doing so can we build a network on which we can depend. Understanding how to do this is a work in progress. In this talk, we will autopsy several protocols that proved surprisingly vulnerable to software failures, and describe improved designs that are less fragile. To work towards more robust protocols, we then abstract from these and other examples and speculate on design techniques that can be used to harden protocols.