BGP Hijacking Attacks
In this project you will explore the vulnerability of the AS systems and the BGP protocol.
As you recall from Lesson 4, an autonomous system can be any of the tier ISP providers access
(tier 3), regional (tier 2), or global (tier 1). An autonomous system can also be an IXP (where
ISP’s and CDN’s exchange local traffic) or CDN (like Netflix and Google). An AS is a group of
routers (including the links among them) that operate under the same administrative authority.
The border routers of the ASes use the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) to exchange routing
information with one another.
BGP is used to implement routing policies, which makes it important for ASes to cooperate with
other ASes. Even though each AS can make internal decisions, they look to each other for
routing information provided by BGP. Security was not in original design of BGP, but with the
internet’s increasing complexity and size, so is there a need to provide security measures.
What Is BGP Hijacking?
BGP hijacking occurs when a malicious attackers or rogue AS advertises a false IP prefix that it
does not own or control to reroute internet traffic. These vulnerabilities still cause routing
disruptions and connectivity issues for individual hosts, networks, and sometimes even entire
countries. There have been some notable recent hijacking events that we have linked in the
slides for this project. BGP favors a shorter route to save money for the providers or just to
decrease number of hops to an IP prefix (more specific route).
For a hijack to be successful it must:
A. Advertise a shouter route of a more specific range of IP addresses that another AS already
B. Advertise a shorter route to a block of IP addresses. This can only be made by an operator of
a AS, or by a bad actor that takes control of an AS.
In this project, using an adaptation of an interactive Mininet project, we will explore some of
the vulnerabilities of Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). In particular, we will see how BGP is
vulnerable to abuse and manipulation through a class of attacks called BGP hijacking attacks. A
malicious Autonomous System (AS) can mount these attacks through false BGP announcements
from a rogue AS, causing victim ASes to route their traffic bound for another AS through the
malicious AS. This attack succeeds because the false advertisement exploits BGP routing
behavior by advertising a shorter path to reach a particular prefix, which causes victim ASes to
attempt to use the newly advertised (and seemingly better!) route.
Part 1: Background reading, resources and example BGP router
A. Browse this paper as a reference for subsequent tasks and for some important background
on Prefix Hijack Attacks.
B. Refer to this resource on configuring a BGP router with Quagga.
C. Check out the following example configurations: Example 1 and Example 2
D.The “BGP Bible” is here
Part 2: Interactive Demonstration using a Mininet Topology and simulated
The Part 2 demo creates the network topology shown below, consisting of four ASes and their
peering relationships. AS4 is the malicious AS that will mount the attack. Once again, we will be
simulating this network in Mininet, however there are some important distinctions to make
from our previous projects. In this setup, each object is not a single host, but an entire
autonomous system. In each AS, a router runs a routing daemon (quagga), communicates with
other ASes using BGP (bgpd), and configures its own isolated set of routing entries in the kernel
(zebra). Each AS router has multiple IP addresses, to connect to the hosts in the AS and to other
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