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A project aims to help ISPs mind their routing security manners

When my kids were younger, we used to tell them we were going to send them to “manners camp” if they didn’t behave properly at the dinner table. An Internet Society-supported initiative, the Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS), has tried to coax Internet service providers into minding their manners as well—particularly when it comes to how they use the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), the occasionally abused communications method that drives much of how Internet traffic is routed.

On August 13, the MANRS initiative launched the MANRS Observatory, a new Web tool that provides insight into just how well networks comply with routing security standards. The observatory provides a semblance of transparency into a part of the Internet invisible to most users.

Last year, there were more than 12,000 routing outages or attacks, according to the Internet Society, including the use of BGP to hijack or misdirect traffic and internal BGP “leaks” from poorly configured routers. Deliberate BGP attacks can be used to steal data or redirect requests to hostile “spoofed” websites, as some state actors have been known to do.

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