Withdrawing the BGP Re-Routing Curtain: Understanding the Security Impact of BGP Poisoning via Real-World Measurements
The security of the Internet's routing infrastructure has underpinned much of the past two decades of distributed systems security research. However, the converse is increasingly true. Routing and path decisions are now important for the security properties of systems built on top of the Internet. In particular, BGP poisoning leverages the de facto routing protocol between Autonomous Systems (ASes) to maneuver the return paths of upstream networks onto previously unusable, new paths. These new paths can be used to avoid congestion, censors, geo-political boundaries, or any feature of the topology which can be expressed at an AS-level. Given the increase in BGP poisoning usage as a security primitive, we set out to evaluate poisoning feasibility in practice beyond simulation. To that end, using an Internet-scale measurement infrastructure, we capture and analyze over 1,400 instances of BGP poisoning across thousands of ASes as a mechanism to maneuver return paths of traffic. We analyze in detail the performance of steering paths, the graph-theoretic aspects of available paths, and re-evaluate simulated systems with this data. We find that the real-world evidence does not completely support the findings from simulated systems published in the literature. We also analyze filtering of BGP poisoning across types of ASes and ISP working groups. We explore the connectivity concerns when poisoning by reproducing a decade old experiment to uncover the current state of an Internet triple the size. We build predictive models for understanding an ASes' vulnerability to poisoning. Finally, an exhaustive measurement of an upper bound on the maximum path length of the Internet is presented, detailing how security research should react to ASes leveraging poisoned long paths. In total, our results and analysis expose the real-world impact of BGP poisoning on past and future security research.