Verifying and enforcing network paths with ICING

Jad Naous, Michael Walfish, Antonio Nicolosi, David Mazières, Michael Miller, and Arun Seehra

Proceedings of the ACM International Conference on Emerging Networking Experiments and Technologies (CoNEXT) 2011.

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Security, Networking

We describe a new networking primitive, called a Path Verification Mechanism (PVM). There has been much recent work about how senders and receivers express policies about the paths that their packets take. For instance, a company might want fine-grained control over which providers carry which traffic between its branch offices, or a receiver may want traffic sent to it to travel through an intrusion detection service. While the ability to express policies has been well-studied, the ability to enforce policies has not. The core challenge is: if we assume an adversarial, decentralized, and high-speed environment, then when a packet arrives at a node, how can the node be sure that the packet followed an approved path? Our solution, ICING, incorporates an optimized cryptographic construction that is compact, and requires negligible configuration state and no PKI. We demonstrate ICING's plausibility with a NetFPGA hardware implementation. At 93% more costly than an IP router on the same platform, its cost is significant but affordable. Indeed, our evaluation suggests that ICING can scale to backbone speeds.