Laurent Vanbever's research while affiliated with ETH Zurich and other places

Publications (90)

Conference Paper
Full-text available
Pulse-wave DDoS attacks are a new type of volumetric attack formed by short, high-rate traffic pulses. Such attacks target the Achilles' heel of state-of-the-art DDoS defenses: their reaction time. By continuously adapting their attack vectors, pulse-wave attacks manage to render existing defenses ineffective. In this paper, we leverage programmabl...
Preprint
Full-text available
Generalizing machine learning (ML) models for network traffic dynamics tends to be considered a lost cause. Hence, for every new task, we often resolve to design new models and train them on model-specific datasets collected, whenever possible, in an environment mimicking the model's deployment. This approach essentially gives up on generalization....
Chapter
Cryptocurrencies are widely used today for anonymous transactions. Such currencies rely on a peer-to-peer network where users can broadcast transactions containing their pseudonyms and ask for approval. Previous research has shown that application-level eavesdroppers, meaning nodes connected to a large portion of the Bitcoin peer-to-peer network, a...
Article
Application-layer and network-layer defenses are critical for fortifying routing attacks.
Preprint
Today, network devices share buffer across priority queues to avoid drops during transient congestion. While cost-effective most of the time, this sharing can cause undesired interference among seemingly independent traffic. As a result, low-priority traffic can cause increased packet loss to high-priority traffic. Similarly, long flows can prevent...
Preprint
Substantial efforts are invested in improving network security, but the threat landscape is rapidly evolving, particularly with the recent interest in programmable network hardware. We explore a new security threat, from an attacker who has gained control of such devices. While it should be obvious that such attackers can trivially cause substantia...
Article
Each year at ETH Zurich, around 100 students collectively build and operate their very own Internet infrastructure composed of hundreds of routers and dozens of Autonomous Systems (ASes). Their goal? Enabling Internet-wide connectivity. AB@We find this class-wide project to be invaluable in teaching our students how the Internet infrastructure prac...
Preprint
Attacks on Internet routing are typically viewed through the lens of availability and confidentiality, assuming an adversary that either discards traffic or performs eavesdropping. Yet, a strategic adversary can use routing attacks to compromise the security of critical Internet applications like Tor, certificate authorities, and the bitcoin networ...
Conference Paper
Push-In First-Out (PIFO) queues are hardware primitives which enable programmable packet scheduling by allowing to perfectly reorder packets at line rate by providing the abstraction of a priority queue at line rate. However, implementing them in hardware and at scale is not easy: just hardware designs (not implementations) exist, which support onl...
Preprint
Internet routing can often be sub-optimal, with the chosen routes providing worse performance than other available policy-compliant routes. This stems from the lack of visibility into route performance at the network layer. While this is an old problem, we argue that recent advances in programmable hardware finally open up the possibility of perfor...
Preprint
Each year at ETH Zurich, around 100 students build and operate their very own Internet infrastructure composed of hundreds of routers and dozens of Autonomous Systems (ASes). Their goal? Enabling Internet-wide connectivity. We find this class-wide project to be invaluable in teaching our students how the Internet practically works. Our students hav...
Conference Paper
Traditional network control planes can be slow and require manual tinkering from operators to change their behavior. There is thus great interest in a faster, data-driven approach that uses signals from real-time traffic instead. However, the promise of fast and automatic reaction to data comes with new risks: malicious inputs designed towards nega...
Preprint
The concept of "self-driving networks" has recently emerged as a possible solution to manage the ever-growing complexity of modern network infrastructures. In a self-driving network, network devices adapt their decisions in real-time by observing network traffic and by performing in-line inference according to machine learning models. The recent ad...
Conference Paper
Consistency in network updates is a nascent research area, especially in the context of traffic engineering or Software Defined Networks. Various approaches have been proposed and implemented in the problem space of flow migration and congestion, primarily focusing on different flows not breaking the bandwidth capacities of the used links during up...
Conference Paper
We present Blink, a data-driven system that leverages TCPinduced signals to detect failures directly in the data plane. The key intuition behind Blink is that a TCP flow exhibits a predictable behavior upon disruption: retransmitting the same packet over and over, at epochs exponentially spaced in time. When compounded over multiple flows, this beh...
Article
Full-text available
Nowadays Internet routing attacks remain practically effective as existing countermeasures either fail to provide protection guarantees or are not easily deployable. Blockchain systems are particularly vulnerable to such attacks as they rely on Internet-wide communications to reach consensus. In particular, Bitcoin-the most widely-used cryptocurren...
Conference Paper
One design principle of modern network architecture seems to be set in stone: a software-based control plane drives a hardware- or software-based data plane. We argue that it is time to revisit this principle after the advent of programmable switch ASICs which can run complex logic at line rate. We explore the possibility and benefits of accelerati...
Preprint
Routing attacks remain practically effective in the Internet today as existing countermeasures either fail to provide protection guarantees or are not easily deployable. Blockchain systems are particularly vulnerable to such attacks as they rely on Internet-wide communication to reach consensus. In particular, Bitcoin -the most widely-used cryptocu...
Conference Paper
Network operators often need to ensure that important probabilistic properties are met, such as that the probability of network congestion is below a certain threshold. Ensuring such properties is challenging and requires both a suitable language for probabilistic networks and an automated procedure for answering probabilistic inference queries. We...
Article
Network operators often need to ensure that important probabilistic properties are met, such as that the probability of network congestion is below a certain threshold. Ensuring such properties is challenging and requires both a suitable language for probabilistic networks and an automated procedure for answering probabilistic inference queries. We...
Conference Paper
For an Internet Service Provider (ISP), getting an accurate picture of how its network behaves is challenging. Indeed, given the carried traffic volume and the impossibility to control end-hosts, ISPs often have no other choice but to rely on heavily sampled traffic statistics, which provide them with coarse-grained visibility at a less than ideal...
Conference Paper
Network verification has made great progress recently, yet existing solutions are limited in their ability to handle specific protocols or implementation quirks or to diagnose and repair the cause of policy violations. In this positioning paper, we examine whether we can achieve the best of both worlds: full coverage of control plane protocols and...
Conference Paper
BGP, the only inter-domain routing protocol used today, often converges slowly upon outages. While fast-reroute solutions exist, they can only protect from local outages, not remote ones (e.g., a failure in a transit network). To address this problem, we proposed SWIFT, a fast-reroute framework enabling BGP routers to locally restore connectivity u...
Conference Paper
Network operators often face the problem of remote outages in transit networks leading to significant (sometimes on the order of minutes) downtimes. The issue is that BGP, the Internet routing protocol, often converges slowly upon such outages, as large bursts of messages have to be processed and propagated router by router. In this paper, we prese...
Conference Paper
It is a challenge to select the most appropriate vantage points in a measurement platform with a wide selection. RIPE Atlas [2], for example currently has over 9600 active measurement vantage points, with selections based on AS, country, etc. A user is limited to how many vantage points they can use in a measurement. This is not only due to limitat...
Conference Paper
Computer networks are hard to manage. Given a set of high-level requirements (e.g., reachability, security), operators have to manually figure out the individual configuration of potentially hundreds of devices running complex distributed protocols so that they, collectively, compute a compatible forwarding state. Not surprisingly, operators often...
Conference Paper
HTTP is the main protocol used by attackers to establish a command and control (C&C) channel to infected hosts in a network. Identifying such C&C channels in network traffic is however a challenge because of the large volume and complex structure of benign HTTP requests emerging from regular user browsing activities. A common approach to C&C channe...
Conference Paper
Software-Defined Internet eXchange Points (SDXes) are recently gaining momentum, with several SDXes now running in production. The deployment of multiple SDXes on the Internet raises the question of whether the interactions between these SDXes will cause correctness problems, since SDX policies can deflect traffic away from the default BGP route fo...
Conference Paper
Advances in layer 2 networking technologies have fostered the deployment of large, geographically distributed LANs. Due to their large diameter, such LANs provide many vantage points for wiretapping. As an example, Google's internal network was reportedly tapped by governmental agencies, forcing the Web giant to encrypt its internal traffic. While...
Conference Paper
With the rise of stateful programmable data planes, a lot of the network functions that used to be implemented in the controller or at the end-hosts are now moving to the data plane to benefit from line-rate processing. Unfortunately, stateful data planes also mean more complex network updates as not only flows, but also the associated states, must...
Conference Paper
By operating in highly asynchronous environments, SDN controllers often suffer from bugs caused by concurrency violations. Unfortunately, state-of-the-art concurrency analyzers for SDNs often report thousands of true violations, limiting their effectiveness in practice. This paper presents BigBug, an approach for automatically identifying the most...
Conference Paper
The ACM CoNEXT 2016 Student Workshop is held in Irvine, California, USA on December 12, 2016 and co-located with the ACM 12th International Conference on emerging Networking Experiments and Technologies (CoNEXT 2016). The main objective of the workshop is to provide a platform for graduate students in the area of computer networks and communication...
Conference Paper
For Internet Service Provider (ISP) operators, getting an accurate picture of how their network behaves is challenging. Given the traffic volumes that their networks carry and the impossibility to control end-hosts, ISP operators are typically forced to randomly sample traffic, and rely on aggregated statistics. This provides coarse-grained visibil...
Article
Full-text available
Computer networks are hard to manage. Given a set of high-level requirements (e.g., reachability, security), operators have to manually figure out the individual configuration of potentially hundreds of devices running complex distributed protocols so that they, collectively, compute a compatible forwarding state. Not surprisingly, operators often...
Conference Paper
Video streaming, in conjunction with social networks, have given birth to a new traffic pattern over the Internet: transient, localized traffic surges, known as flash crowds. Traditional traffic-engineering methods can hardly cope with these surges, as they are unpredictable by nature. Consequently, networks either have to be overprovisioned, which...
Conference Paper
Concurrency violations are an important source of bugs in Software-Defined Networks (SDN), often leading to policy or invariant violations. Unfortunately, concurrency violations are also notoriously difficult to avoid, detect and debug. This paper presents a novel approach and a tool, SDNRacer, for detecting concurrency violations of SDNs. Our appr...
Article
Concurrency violations are an important source of bugs in Software-Defined Networks (SDN), often leading to policy or invariant violations. Unfortunately, concurrency violations are also notoriously difficult to avoid, detect and debug. This paper presents a novel approach and a tool, SDNRacer, for detecting concurrency violations of SDNs. Our appr...
Article
Bitcoin is without a doubt the most successful cryptocurrency in circulation today, making it an extremely valuable target for attackers. Indeed, many studies have highlighted ways to compromise one or several Bitcoin nodes. In this paper, we take a different perspective and study the effect of large-scale network-level attacks such as the ones tha...
Conference Paper
SDN controllers must be periodically upgraded to add features, improve performance, and fix bugs, but current techniques for implementing dynamic updates---i.e., without disrupting ongoing network functions---are inadequate. Simply halting the old controller and bringing up the new one can cause state to be lost, leading to incorrect behavior. For...
Conference Paper
Software Defined Internet Exchange Points (SDXes) increase the flexibility of interdomain traffic delivery on the Internet. Yet, an SDX inherently requires multiple participants to have access to a single, shared physical switch, which creates the need for an authorization mechanism to mediate this access. In this paper, we introduce a logic and me...
Article
The Internet routing system faces serious scalability challenges due to the growing number of IP prefixes that needs to be propagated throughout the network. Although IP prefixes are assigned hierarchically and roughly align with geographic regions, today's Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) and operational practices do not exploit opportunities to aggr...
Conference Paper
Network failures are inevitable. Interfaces go down, devices crash and resources become exhausted. It is the responsibility of the control software to provide reliable services on top of unreliable components and throughout unpredictable events. Guaranteeing the correctness of the controller under all types of failures is therefore essential for ne...
Conference Paper
Public measurement platforms composed of low-end hardware devices such as RIPE Atlas have gained significant traction in the research community. Such platforms are indeed particularly interesting as they provide Internet-wide measurement capabilities together with an ever growing set of measurement tools. To be scalable though, they allow for concu...
Article
SDN controllers must be periodically modified to add features, improve performance, and fix bugs, but current techniques for implementing dynamic updates are inadequate. Simply halting old controllers and bringing up new ones can cause state to be lost, which often leads to incorrect behavior-e.g., if the state represents hosts blacklisted by a fir...
Article
Full-text available
Centralizing routing decisions offers tremendous flexibility, but sacrifices the robustness of distributed protocols. In this paper, we present Fibbing, an architecture that achieves both flexibility and robustness through central control over distributed routing. Fibbing introduces fake nodes and links into an underlying link-state routing protoco...
Article
By enabling logically-centralized and direct control of the forwarding behavior of a network, Software-Defined Networking (SDN) holds great promise in terms of improving network management, performance, and costs. Realizing this vision is challenging though as SDN proposals to date require substantial and expensive changes to the existing network a...
Conference Paper
With the rise of video streaming and cloud services, enterprise and access networks receive much more traffic than they send, and must rely on the Internet to offer good end-to-end performance. These edge networks often connect to multiple ISPs for better performance and reliability, but have only limited ways to influence which of their ISPs carri...
Conference Paper
Software-Defined Networking (SDN) control software executes in highly asynchronous environments where unexpected concurrency errors can lead to performance or, worse, reachability errors. Unfortunately, detecting such errors is notoriously challenging, and SDN is no exception. Fundamentally, two ingredients are needed to build a concurrency analyze...
Article
Software Defined Networking (SDN) is a promising approach for improving the performance and manageability of future network architectures. However, little work has gone into using SDN to improve the performance and manageability of existing networks without requiring a major overhaul of the existing network infrastructure. In this paper, we show ho...
Article
Full-text available
The Tor network is a widely used system for anonymous communication. However, Tor is known to be vulnerable to attackers who can observe traffic at both ends of the communication path. In this paper, we show that prior attacks are just the tip of the iceberg. We present a suite of new attacks, called Raptor, that can be launched by Autonomous Syste...
Article
Full-text available
The Internet routing system faces serious scalability challenges, due to the growing number of IP prefixes it needs to propagate throughout the network. For example, the Internet suffered significant outages in August 2014 when the number of globally routable prefixes went past 512K, the default size of the forwarding tables in many older routers....
Conference Paper
Link-state routing protocols (e.g., OSPF and IS-IS) are widely used because they are scalable, robust, and based on simple abstractions. Unfortunately, these protocols are also relatively inflexible, since they direct all traffic over shortest paths. In contrast, Software Defined Networking (SDN) offers fine-grained control over routing, at the exp...
Article
Anonymity systems like Tor are known to be vulnerable to malicious relay nodes. Another serious threat comes from the Autonomous Systems (ASes) that carry Tor traffic due to their powerful eavesdropping capabilities. Indeed, an AS (or set of colluding ASes) that lies between the client and the first relay, and between the last relay and the destina...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Network operators often need to change their routing policy in response to network failures, new load balancing strategies, or stricter security requirements. While several recent works have aimed at solving this problem, they all assume that a fast and conveniently dimensioned out-of band network is available to communicate with any device. Unfort...
Article
Full-text available
BGP severely constrains how networks can deliver traffic over the Internet. Today's networks can only forward traffic based on the destination IP prefix, by selecting among routes offered by their immediate neighbors. We believe Software Defined Networking (SDN) could revolutionize wide-area traffic delivery, by offering direct control over packet-...
Article
BGP severely constrains how networks can deliver traffic over the Internet. Today's networks can only forward traffic based on the destination IP prefix, by selecting among routes offered by their immediate neighbors. We believe Software Defined Networking (SDN) could revolutionize wide-area traffic delivery, by offering direct control over packet-...
Article
Full-text available
BGP severely constrains how networks can deliver traffic over the Internet. Today's networks can only forward traffic based on the destination IP prefix, by selecting among routes offered by their immediate neighbors. We believe Software Defined Networking (SDN) could revolutionize wide-area traffic delivery, by offering direct control over packet-...
Article
Full-text available
BGP severely constrains how networks can deliver traffic over the Internet. Today's networks can only forward traffic based on the destination IP prefix, by selecting among routes offered by their immediate neighbors. We believe Software Defined Networking (SDN) could revolutionize wide-area traffic delivery, by offering direct control over packet-...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Simultaneously providing flexibility, evolvability and correctness of routing is one of the basic and still unsolved problems in networking. Route redistribution provides a tool, used in many enterprise networks, to either partition a network into multiple routing domains or merge previously independent networks. However, no general technique exist...
Article
Full-text available
Software Defined Networking (SDN) promises to ease design, operation and management of communication networks. However, SDN comes with its own set of challenges, including incremental deployability, robustness, and scalability. Those challenges make a full SDN deployment difficult in the short-term and possibly inconvenient in the longer-term. In t...
Conference Paper
Cellular core networks suffer from inflexible and expensive equipment, as well as from complex control-plane protocols. To address these challenges, we present SoftCell, a scalable architecture that supports fine-grained policies for mobile devices in cellular core networks, using commodity switches and servers. SoftCell enables operators to realiz...
Conference Paper
Because of its practical relevance, the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) has been the target of a huge research effort since more than a decade. In particular, many contributions aimed at characterizing the computational complexity of BGP-related problems. In this paper, we answer computational complexity questions by unveiling a fundamental mapping b...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Like any complex software, SDN programs must be updated periodically, whether to migrate to a new controller platform, repair bugs, or address performance issues. Nowadays, SDN operators typically perform such upgrades by stopping the old controller and starting the new one---an approach that wipes out all installed flow table entries and causes su...
Article
The network infrastructure of Internet service providers (ISPs) undergoes constant evolution. Whenever new requirements arise (e.g., the deployment of a new Point of Presence or a change in the business relationship with a neighboring ISP), operators need to change the configuration of the network. Due to the complexity of the Border Gateway Protoc...