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Defense Event

A Brave New World: Studies on the Deployment and Security of the Emerging IPv6 Internet

Jakub Czyz


 
Thursday, March 24, 2016
09:00am - 11:00am
3725 Beyster Bldg.

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About the Event

Recent IPv4 address exhaustion events are ushering in a new era of rapid transition to the next generation Internet protocol---IPv6. Via Internet-scale experiments and data analysis, this dissertation characterizes the adoption and security of the emerging IPv6 network. The work includes three studies, each the largest of its kind, examining various facets of the new network protocol's deployment, routing maturity, and security. The first study provides an analysis of ten years of IPv6 deployment data, including quantifying twelve metrics across ten global-scale datasets, and affording a holistic understanding of the state and recent progress of the IPv6 transition. Based on cross-dataset analysis of relative global adoption rates and across features of the protocol, we find evidence of a marked shift in the pace and nature of adoption in recent years and observe that higher-level metrics of adoption lag lower-level metrics. Next, a network telescope study covering the IPv6 address space of the majority of allocated networks provides insight into the early state of IPv6 routing. Our analyses suggest that routing of average IPv6 prefixes is less stable than that of IPv4. This instability is responsible for the majority of the captured misdirected IPv6 traffic. Observed dark (unallocated destination) IPv6 traffic shows substantial differences from the unwanted traffic seen in IPv4---in both character and scale. Finally, a third study examines the state of IPv6 network security policy. We tested a sample of 25 thousand routers and 520 thousand servers against sets of TCP and UDP ports commonly targeted by attackers. We found systemic discrepancies between intended security policy---as codified in IPv4---and deployed IPv6 policy. Such lapses in ensuring that the IPv6 network is properly managed and secured are leaving thousands of important devices more vulnerable to attack than before IPv6 was enabled. Taken together, findings from our three studies suggest that IPv6 has reached a level and pace of adoption and shows patterns of use that indicate serious production employment of the protocol on a broad scale. However, weaker IPv6 routing and security are evident, and these are leaving early IPv6 networks less robust than the IPv4 networks they are meant to replace.

Additional Information

Sponsor(s): Michael D. Bailey and J. Alex Halderman

Open to: Public