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The Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) determines how Internet traffic is
routed throughout the entire world; malicious behavior by one or more
BGP speakers could create serious security issues. Since the protocol
depends on a speaker honestly reporting path information sent by
previous speakers and involves a large number of independent speakers,
the Secure BGP (S-BGP) approach uses public-key cryptography to ensure
that a malicious speaker cannot fabricate this information. However,
such public-key cryptography is expensive: S-BGP requires a digital
signature operation on each announcement sent to each peer, and a
linear (in the length of the path) number of verifications on each
receipt. We use simulation of a 110 AS system derived from the
Internet to evaluate the impact that the processing costs of
cryptography have on BGP convergence time. We find that under heavy
load the convergence time using ordinary S-BGP is nearly twice as
large as under BGP. We examine the impact of highly aggressive caching
and pre-computation optimizations for S-BGP, and find that convergence
time is much closer to BGP. However, these optimizations may be
unrealistic, and are certainly expensive of memory. We consequently
use the structure of BGP processing to design optimizations that
reduce cryptographic overhead by amortizing the cost of private-key
signatures over many messages. We call this method
Signature-Amortization (S-A). We find that S-A provides as good or
better convergence times as the highly optimized S-BGP, but without
the cost and complications of caching and pre-computation. It is
possible therefore to minimize the impact route validation has on
convergence, by being careful with signatures, rather than consumptive
Revision 2 released May 9, 2003.
Original revision 1, of February 2003, is available in
Bibliographic citation for this report: [plain text] [BIB] [BibTeX] [Refer]
Or copy and paste:
David M. Nicol, Sean W. Smith, and Meiyuan Zhao, "Efficient Security for BGP Route Announcements." Dartmouth Computer Science Technical Report TR2003-440, May 2003.
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