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Path-Quality Monitoring in the Presence of Adversaries

Report ID:
November 2007
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Edge networks connected to the Internet need effective monitoring techniques to drive routing decisions and detect violations of Service Level Agreements (SLAs). However, existing measurement tools, like ping, traceroute, and trajectory sampling, are vulnerable to attacks that make a path look better than it really is. In this paper, we design and analyze path-quality monitoring protocols that robustly raise an alarm when packet-loss rate and delay exceeds a threshold, even when adversary tries to bias monitoring results by selectively delaying, dropping, modifying, injecting, or preferentially treating packets.

Despite the strong threat model we consider in this paper, our protocols are efficient enough to run at line rate on high-speed routers. We present a \emph{secure sketching} protocol for identifying
when packet loss and delay degrade beyond a threshold. This protocol is extremely lightweight, requiring only 250--600 bytes of storage and periodic transmission of a comparably sized
IP packet. We also present secure sampling protocols that provide faster feedback and more accurate round-trip delay estimates, at the expense of somewhat higher storage and
communication costs. We prove that all our protocols satisfy a precise definition of secure path-quality monitoring and derive analytic expressions for the trade-off between statistical
accuracy and system overhead. We also compare how our protocols perform in the client-server setting, when paths are asymmetric, when clocks are not synchronized, and when packet marking is not permitted.

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