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USENIX, The Advanced Computing Systems Association

2006 USENIX Annual Technical Conference Abstract

Pp. 157–170 of the Proceedings

Reval: A Tool for Real-time Evaluation of DDoS Mitigation Strategies

Rangarajan Vasudevan and Z. Morley Mao, University of Michigan; Oliver Spatscheck and Jacobus van der Merwe, AT&T Labs—Research


There is a growing number of DDoS attacks on the Internet, resulting in significant impact on users. Network operators today have little access to scientific means to effectively deal with these attacks in real time. The need of the hour is a tool to accurately assess the impact of attacks and more importantly identify feasible mitigation responses enabling real-time decision making. We designed and implemented Reval, a tool that reports DDoS attack impact in real time, scaling to large networks. This is achieved by modeling resource constraints of network elements and incorporating routing information. We demonstrate the usefulness of the tool on two real network topologies using empirical traffic data and examining real attack scenarios. Using data from a tier-1 ISP network (core, access and customer router network) of size in excess of 60000 nodes, Reval models network conditions with close to 0.4 million traffic flows in about 11 seconds, and evaluates a given mitigation deployment chosen from a sample set in about 35 seconds. Besides real-time decision support, we show how the simulator can also be used in longer term network planning to identify where and how to upgrade the network to improve network resilience. The tool is applicable for networks of any size and can be used to analyze other network anomalies like flash crowds.
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Last changed: 15 Sept. 2006 ch