Network Working Group T. King
Internet-Draft C. Dietzel
Intended status: Informational DE-CIX Management GmbH
Expires: January 2, 2017 J. Snijders
G. Döring
SpaceNet AG
G. Hankins
July 1, 2016

BLACKHOLE BGP Community for Blackholing


This document describes the use of a well-known Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) community for destination based blackholing in IP networks. This well-known advisory transitive BGP community, namely BLACKHOLE, allows an origin AS to specify that a neighboring network should discard any traffic destined towards the tagged IP prefix.

Requirements Language

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119] only when they appear in all upper case. They may also appear in lower or mixed case as English words, without normative meaning.

Status of This Memo

This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

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This Internet-Draft will expire on January 2, 2017.

Copyright Notice

Copyright (c) 2016 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the document authors. All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Network infrastructures have been increasingly hampered by DDoS attacks. In order to dampen the effects of these DDoS attacks, IP networks have offered BGP blackholing to neighboring networks via various mechanisms such as described in [RFC3882] and [RFC5635].

DDoS attacks targeting a certain IP address may cause congestion of links used to connect to other networks. In order to limit the impact of such a scenario on legitimate traffic, networks adopted a mechanism called BGP blackholing. A network that wants to trigger blackholing needs to understand the triggering mechanism adopted by its neighboring networks. Different networks provide different mechanisms to trigger blackholing, including but not limited to pre-defined blackhole next-hop IP addresses, specific BGP communities or via an out-of-band BGP session with a special BGP speaker.

Having several different mechanisms to trigger blackholing in different networks makes it an unnecessarily complex, error-prone and cumbersome task for network operators. Therefore a well-known BGP community [RFC1997] is defined for operational ease.

Having such a well-known BGP community for blackholing also supports networks because:

Making it considerably easier for network operators to utilize blackholing makes operations easier.

2. BLACKHOLE Attribute

This document defines the use of a new well-known BGP transitive community, BLACKHOLE.

The semantics of this attribute allow a network to interpret the presence of this community as an advisory qualification to drop any traffic being sent towards this prefix.

3. Operational Recommendations

3.1. IP Prefix Announcements with BLACKHOLE Community Attached

When a network is under DDoS duress, it MAY announce an IP prefix covering the victim's IP address(es) for the purpose of signaling to neighboring networks that any traffic destined for these IP address(es) should be discarded. In such a scenario, the network operator SHOULD attach BLACKHOLE BGP community.

3.2. Local Scope of Blackholes

A BGP speaker receiving a BGP announcement tagged with the BLACKHOLE BGP community SHOULD add a NO_ADVERTISE, NO_EXPORT or similar community to prevent propagation of this route outside the local AS.

Unintentional leaking of more specific IP prefixes to neighboring networks can have adverse effects. Extreme caution should be used when purposefully propagating IP prefixes tagged with the BLACKHOLE BGP community outside the local routing domain.

3.3. Accepting Blackholed IP Prefixes

It has been observed that announcements of IP prefixes larger than /24 for IPv4 and /48 for IPv6 are usually not accepted on the Internet (see section 6.1.3 [RFC7454]). However, blackhole routes should be as small as possible in order to limit the impact of discarding traffic for adjacent IP space that is not under DDoS duress. Typically, the blackhole route's prefix length is as specific as /32 for IPv4 and /128 for IPv6.

BGP speakers SHOULD only accept and honor BGP announcements carrying the BLACKHOLE community if the announced prefix is covered by a shorter prefix for which the neighboring network is authorized to advertise.

4. Vendor Implementation Recommendations

Without an explicit configuration directive set by the operator, network elements SHOULD NOT discard traffic destined towards IP prefixes which are tagged with the BLACKHOLE BGP community. The operator is expected to explicitly configure the network element to honor the BLACKHOLE BGP community in a way that is compliant with the operator's routing policy.

Vendors MAY provide a short-hand keyword in their configuration language to reference the well-known BLACKHOLE BGP community attribute value. The suggested string to be used is "blackhole".

5. IANA Considerations

The IANA is requested to register BLACKHOLE as a well-known BGP community with global significance:

The low-order two octets in decimal are 666, amongst network operators a value commonly associated with BGP blackholing.

6. Security Considerations

BGP contains no specific mechanism to prevent the unauthorized modification of information by the forwarding agent. This allows routing information to be modified, removed, or false information to be added by forwarding agents. Recipients of routing information are not able to detect this modification. Also, RPKI [RFC6810] and BGPSec [I-D.ietf-sidr-bgpsec-overview] do not fully resolve this situation. For instance, BGP communities can still be added or altered by a forwarding agent even if RPKI and BGPSec are in place.

The unauthorized addition of the BLACKHOLE BGP community to an IP prefix by an adversery may cause a denial of service attack based on denial of reachability.

In order to further limit the impact of unauthorized BGP announcements carrying the BLACKHOLE BGP community, the receiving BGP speaker SHOULD verify by applying strict filtering (see section [RFC7454]) that the peer announcing the prefix is authorized to do so. If not, the BGP announcement should be filtered out.

7. References

7.1. Normative References

[RFC1997] Chandra, R., Traina, P. and T. Li, "BGP Communities Attribute", RFC 1997, DOI 10.17487/RFC1997, August 1996.
[RFC2119] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997.

7.2. Informative References

[I-D.ietf-sidr-bgpsec-overview] Lepinski, M. and S. Turner, "An Overview of BGPsec", Internet-Draft draft-ietf-sidr-bgpsec-overview-08, June 2016.
[RFC3882] Turk, D., "Configuring BGP to Block Denial-of-Service Attacks", RFC 3882, DOI 10.17487/RFC3882, September 2004.
[RFC5635] Kumari, W. and D. McPherson, "Remote Triggered Black Hole Filtering with Unicast Reverse Path Forwarding (uRPF)", RFC 5635, DOI 10.17487/RFC5635, August 2009.
[RFC6810] Bush, R. and R. Austein, "The Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI) to Router Protocol", RFC 6810, DOI 10.17487/RFC6810, January 2013.
[RFC7454] Durand, J., Pepelnjak, I. and G. Doering, "BGP Operations and Security", BCP 194, RFC 7454, DOI 10.17487/RFC7454, February 2015.

Appendix A. Acknowledgements

The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge many people who have contributed discussions and ideas to the making of this proposal. They include Petr Jiran, Yordan Kritski, Christian Seitz, Nick Hilliard, Joel Jaeggli, Christopher Morrow, Thomas Mangin, Will Hargrave, Niels Bakker and David Farmer.

Authors' Addresses

Thomas King DE-CIX Management GmbH Lichtstrasse 43i Cologne, 50825 Germany EMail:
Christoph Dietzel DE-CIX Management GmbH Lichtstrasse 43i Cologne, 50825 Germany EMail:
Job Snijders NTT Communications, Inc. Theodorus Majofskistraat 100 Amsterdam, 1065 SZ NL EMail:
Gert Döring SpaceNet AG Joseph-Dollinger-Bogen 14 Munich, 80807 Germany EMail:
Greg Hankins Nokia 777 E. Middlefield Road Mountain View, CA 94043 USA EMail: