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Design of the native Cyberspace Map

Document Type Active Internet-Draft (individual)
Authors Jilong Wang , Miao Congcong , Changqing An , Shuying Zhuang
Last updated 2022-11-27
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opsawg                                                    WJL. Wang, Ed.
Internet-Draft                                            MCC. Miao, Ed.
Intended status: Informational                              ACQ. An, Ed.
Expires: 31 May 2023                                    ZSY. Zhuang, Ed.
                                                     Tsinghua University
                                                        27 November 2022

                  Design of the native Cyberspace Map


   This memo discusses the design of the native cyberspace map which is
   stable and flexible to describe cyberspace.  Although we have
   accepted the cyberspace as a parallel new world, we even have not
   defined its basic coordinate system, which means cyberspace have no
   its basic space dimension till now.  The objective of this draft is
   to illustrate the basic design methodology of the native coordinate
   system of cyberspace, and show how to design cyberspace map on this

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

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   This Internet-Draft will expire on 31 May 2023.

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   Copyright (c) 2022 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents (
   license-info) in effect on the date of publication of this document.
   Please review these documents carefully, as they describe your rights

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   and restrictions with respect to this document.  Code Components
   extracted from this document must include Revised BSD License text as
   described in Section 4.e of the Trust Legal Provisions and are
   provided without warranty as described in the Revised BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
     1.1.  Requirements Language . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   2.  Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  Use cases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     3.1.  Network Management  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     3.2.  Network Security  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   4.  Selection on Basic Coordinate Vectors . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     4.1.  IP address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     4.2.  Port  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     4.3.  AS number . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     4.4.  MAC Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     4.5.  Domain Name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     4.6.  Conclusion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   5.  Construction of native Cyberspace Map . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     5.1.  IP Map  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     5.2.  IP-Port Map . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     5.3.  AS Map  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
   6.  Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   7.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   8.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   9.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11

1.  Introduction

   There is a new space created by Internet, together with computer
   networks, telecommunication networks, termed as cyberspace.  It is an
   interactive domain that includes users, softwares, processes,
   information in storage or communication, applications, services .etc.
   Unfortunately, we even have not defined its basic coordinate system
   and even the native map.

   Traditional well known coordinate systems seem feasible to visualize
   and represent cyberspace.  However, both coordinate systems have some
   drawbacks.  Although geographic coordinate system(GCS) vividly shows
   geographic information of cyberspace in geographic map, it only
   visualizes a tip of iceberg of cyberspace and hardly describes the
   characteristics of cyberspace (e.g. host, service) all at the once
   from cyberspace point of view.  Network coordinate system (NCS)
   focuses on visualizing network topology with node representing host
   (or IP address) and edge representing network distance between two

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   hosts.  NCS tries to represent and visualize cyberspace from network
   perspective.  It is easy to hierarchically represent different parts
   of cyberspace in network topology map.  However, NCS is a frequent
   change network due to distance changes and host connection status and
   it is difficult to visualize the whole cyberspace.

   This demo discusses and defines a native cyberspace coordination
   model based on AS number and IP address following the principle of
   robustness, orthogonality and effectiveness.  It can present
   cyberspace in a concise and intuitive manner and user can easily
   filter out the specific details of interest.  Based on our cyberspace
   coordination model, we also propose a prototype system of native
   cyberspace map which can be used as the basic tool for network
   management, network security and network resources search .etc.  The
   firstly proposed overall design methodology can help to establish the
   native cyberspace map as a unified backplane for visualization in the

1.1.  Requirements Language

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [RFC2119].

2.  Terminology

   This document does not describe standard requirements.  Therefore,
   key words from RFC 2119 [RFC2119] are not used in the document.

   Manager:An entity that acts in a manager role, either a user or an
   application.  The counterpart to an agent.  A 'management client' in
   NETCONF terminology.

   IANA:Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, an organization that
   oversees global IP address allocation, autonomous system number
   allocation, media types, and other IP-related code point allocations.

   Different granularities of cyberspace: representing the degree of
   visual cyberspace such as AS, Metropolitan area network, Local area
   network, IP blocks .etc.

   Network resources: including physical resources such as traditional
   network facilities and access devices, as well as virtual resources
   such as application services and information resources, which can be
   detected using software or hardware tools based on certain methods,
   techniques and standards

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3.  Use cases

   Our cyberspace map CAN provide a unified drawing backplane, and
   express the cyberspace in a multi-scale, multi-dimensional and multi-
   view way.  Drawing the measured network data on the unified backplane
   CAN be skillfully applied to the expression of network resources, the
   monitoring and management RFC 1052 [RFC1052] of network elements and
   the prevention of cyberspace security, etc.  The following sections
   highlight some of the most common framework for native cyberspace map
   use case scenarios and are in no way exhaustive.

3.1.  Network Management

   Network resources management: The main concern of network managers is
   to have a direct and macroscopical visualization of network
   resources, so that they could manage network resources efficiently.
   In other words, based on the different sizes of network they manage,
   network managers have the demands to visualize network resources at
   different granularity.  For example, network carriers mainly focus on
   the AS-level network and consider the resources with IP blocks, while
   the campus network administrators take care of the local area network
   and manage the resources at the specific IP addresses.  Fortunately,
   our following Cyberspace map provides the ability to show the
   different granularities of cyberspace by setting the order n of
   Hilbert curve mapping algorithm.

   Network traffic monitoring:Network traffic contains the information
   of IP addresses RFC 791 [RFC791] and port.  Therefore, the
   representing of network traffic in our cyberspace map is helpful for
   network managers to monitor the current network traffic status and
   realize network anomaly detection concisely and intuitively.  At the
   large network level, monitoring traffic exchange between ISP networks
   is helpful to understand network traffic status, to realize quality
   of service analysis and congestion prediction, and to achieve
   reasonable bandwidth allocation between large networks.  At the LAN
   level, regional traffic analysis is helpful to extract user network
   behavior characteristics.  For example, monitoring TCP135 port
   traffic activity of target IP and discovering potential infection
   mode of Blaster worm CAN prompt closing abnormal host port to repair
   vulnerabilities for security management.

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3.2.  Network Security

   At present, network security problems are emerging one after another
   RFC 3631 [RFC3631], how to detect and visualize these phenomena has
   always been the focus and difficulty of the network security and
   management field.  Instead of physically attacking the physical host
   of geospatial, the security attacks usually involve virus infection
   against IP addresses and the vulnerabilities of corresponding hosts
   or perform DDoS attacks on specific IPs.  Therefore, the traditional
   geographic coordinate system is difficult to reveal the original
   attack form of network.

   Our cyberspace map based on IP addresses CAN reveal security issues
   from a higher level.  In detail, it CAN intuitively express the
   distribution of DDoS attackers and attacked IP addresses, and further
   express the spread of infected IP addresses.  To Assist security
   analysts to better understand and prevent attacks, effectively cut
   off the infection transmission path, and implement attack shielding
   and prevention.  In addition, by telescopically displaying more
   specific information such as the AS, Network, and Organization to
   which the attacker IP belongs, it CAN help the corresponding network
   security administrators carry out effective vulnerability repair.

4.  Selection on Basic Coordinate Vectors

   It is still suffering a big challenge to construct a native
   coordinate system, given the large amounts of network data and the
   ability to represent sufficient level of detail of interest to the
   different level of administrators.  To tackle these problems, we look
   for the stable numbering system (coordination) in cyberspace as the
   basic coordinate vectors to construct the cyberspace coordinate
   system.  With deep understanding of cyberspace, we observes a number
   of alternative choices such as IP address space, Autonomous System
   (AS) number space RFC 4983 [RFC4983] , MAC address space, Domain name
   space RFC 1034 [RFC1034] and port number space RFC 6056 [RFC6056].
   These coordinates are stable and widely adopted that almost all
   objects in cyberspace possess them as identifiers so that they are
   able to project the cyberspace in its own space.  We are discussing
   each coordination in the following:

4.1.  IP address

   An IP address is a unique fingerprint assigned to each host when
   connecting to network.  It serves two primary functions.  It is used
   as a network interface identification of host and it also provides
   the location of that host in cyberspace, similar to a physical
   address(longitude and latitude) in geographic space.  An IP address
   is a unique address that makes it very suitable as a base vector in

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   cyberspace.  It locates host and allows host to send and receive
   information and communicate with a specific host in cyberspace.  An
   IP address is composed of a fixed bit number, the total number of IP
   address is constant.  Since the total number of IP address doesn't
   change with network status, it is a robust vector in cyberspace,
   defined as Address Space.

4.2.  Port

   An port number is composed of a 16-bit binary number with the fixed
   total number.  An port number is often come up with an IP address
   when establishing a connection and is orthogonal to IP address.  An
   IP address is the network address of a host in address space, while
   port number is the logic address of a specific service in that host.
   For instance, an address may be "IP address:,port
   number:80", written as which represents a web service
   on a specific host.  An port number combining with an IP address
   locates relevant information in cyberspace at a finer granularity.
   While the total number of port also doesn't change with network
   status and it is orthogonal to address space, it is a suitable and
   robust vector for representing and visualizing cyberspace, defined as
   Logic Space.

4.3.  AS number

   ASN, defined for routing policy on the internet, is a collection of
   connected IP under the control of network operators.  The AS number
   is composed of a 16-bit binary number with the fixed total number and
   the AS number is also a stable numbering system.  Each AS contains a
   set of IP addresses and the relationship between IP address and AS
   are operated by RIRs.  Therefore, AS is also regarded as the location
   of aggregated objects in cyberspace.  Projecting the cyberspace into
   AS space provide the aggregated characteristics of IP address space.
   It is also an effective way to demonstrate cyberspace if the viewer
   want to visualize the AS level information of cyberspace such as the
   AS topology.

4.4.  MAC Address

   MAC address, defined as Media Access Control Address, is a unique
   identifier of network interfaces through a physical network segment.
   In other words, it's an identifier of hardware that uses Ethernet,
   which can also be referred as physical address or hardware address.
   Since the MAC address is the stable numbering system that is composed
   of 12 characters, so it could be used for the coordination of
   cyberspace.  Furthermore, the cyberspace is created by the physical
   network resource with MAC address, so that we can project the
   cyberspace into MAC address space which is traced into each physical

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4.5.  Domain Name

   Domain name is alphabetic which is easier to remember.  For example,
   the domain name has a formed name e.g., which is the
   identification of Apple company.  Domain name is a stable numbering
   system which is not change with network status, however, it is
   impossible to enumerate because the length of domain name can be
   variable.  Projecting the cyberspace into domain name space only
   provide the detailed web information of cyberspace.

4.6.  Conclusion

   We discuss some alternatives that can be used as network space
   coordinates.  Each coordinate is a candidate for constructing a
   cyberspace coordinate system.  Obviously, projecting network space to
   MAC address space and domain name space is not very effective, which
   may lead to poor visualization of cyberspace.  The former may lead to
   sparse visualization, because most MAC addresses are not connected to
   the Internet, while the latter only provides detailed network
   information considered as a small part of the cyberspace.  As for IP
   address space, port space and AS space which can be regarded as the
   location of object in cyberspace, they can be selected as the basic
   coordinate vectors to demonstrate cyberspace.

5.  Construction of native Cyberspace Map

   After determining the basic coordinate vectors, i.e. IP address, port
   and AS, the specifications for the design of cyberspace maps based on
   these coordinates will be described in detail.  Similar to ground
   military systems with 2-D horizontal coordinates or 3-D Cartesian
   coordinates, we define three types of map suitable for different

5.1.  IP Map

   Effectively presenting the IP address in our IP map is an extremely
   challenging problem for decades.  One of the primary causes of this
   problem is that the total unique IP addresses is about 4 billion
   (IPv4), each of which needs to be visualized in the map.  We have to
   make creative use of various techniques, and it is also significant
   to visualize IP addresses with meaningful aggregations where
   possible.  The one-dimensional IP map expresses the network elements
   in the form of lines and points discretely and unintuitively.
   Therefore, we introduce the space filling curves to design a unified
   drawing backplane, and realize the association mapping between one-
   dimensional IP address space and two-dimensional IP address space.

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   That is, the network is gathered to two-dimensional space plane with
   length and width are both the n-th power of 2, where n represents
   two-dimensional space order.  The space filling curves mainly include
   Z curve, C curve, Gray curve, Hilbert curve.

   Hilbert space algorithm is optimal for the continuity and regional of
   space filling.  It can shows a two-dimensional visualization of an IP
   block of, where the IP sub-blocks of,, and are
   adjacent.  The Hilbert curves CAN provide people the ability to view
   cyberspace elements in aggregated or non-aggregated mode.  For non-
   aggregated mode, the IPv4 address space REQUIRED the order n equals
   32, which is preferable when detailed IP addresses need to be
   examined.  While for aggregation mode, the order n needs changing for
   visualizing different granularities of cyberspace elements, which is
   beneficial when viewing data from an AS or a network backbone.  For
   example, prefix CAN be aggregated to a grid with setting
   the order equal to 8.  Based on the Hilbert curve, the IP address
   could be extrapolated from one dimension into two dimension to
   generate the 2-D IP Map with coordinate(X,Y).

   It CAN be used in various security-related applications, such as
   network resources management, Internet interruption and secret
   scanning of Botnet coordination. compared to the geographic
   coordinate system ,it CAN realize the search, positioning and
   description of managed elements at different network levels (AS,
   Network, Organization, IP address) instead of continuously zooming in
   geographic locations without a clear network hierarchy.  It CAN
   represent multi-aspect information of cyberspace all at the once.  In
   additional, benefit from the regionality and aggregation of our
   coordinate system, the administrator CAN perform unified management
   and configuration and operates on IP address blocks of key resources
   such as links and backbone networks.

5.2.  IP-Port Map

   In order to represent the detail information for cyberspace, it can
   extent the basic two-dimensional spatial plane drawn by the Hilbert
   curve mapping algorithm into the three-dimensional map by adding the
   logical port orthogonal to the IP address.  Although the basic
   coordinate system constructed by the IP address can better locate the
   cyberspace elements to the corresponding hosts and visualize the IP
   attribute of the them, it would be difficult to describe cyberspace
   from different cognitive perspectives such as services, which are of
   great interest to people.  Therefore, aside from the IP address, the
   logical port is RECOMMENDED to be used effectively to visualize
   cyberspace by constructing the 3-D IP-Port map.

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   Specifically, the port numbers from 1 to 65536 CAN be represented on
   the z-axis and the height of each item CAN be used to visualize the
   traffic data of this port.  In this three-dimensional IP-Port map,
   the traffic volume data that people concern about can be easily
   represented to perform diagnosis of flow anomaly.  In addition, the
   different network aggregation of traffic data can be simply realized
   by zooming in/out.  It CAN reflect the cyberspace elements more
   accurately and comprehensively compared to the two-dimensional IP
   map.  It also CAN be used for application layer management, such as
   abnormal application monitoring and application layer traffic

5.3.  AS Map

   The above IP map and IP-Port map constructed based on the IP address
   can better express cyberspace in most scenarios.  They visualize the
   essential characteristics of the cyberspace (IP dimension space)
   compared to the geographic map, and retain the adjacent attributes
   between the IP addresses,express different granularities of
   cyberspace IP address prefixes, services, traffic .etc in aggregated
   or non-aggregated mode.  In additional, the inherent existence of the
   IP address makes them more stable than the topological map.  However,
   in some scenarios, such as representing the network traffic and
   attack characteristics of an AS in cyberspace, the assignment of IP
   address segments under an AS MAY be discontinuous, resulting in poor
   visualization of the IP address-based map, although continuous IP
   addresses remain adjacent through the Hilbert curve.

   Here we define a native AS map model to represent cyberspace.
   Similar to the IP map, we use the Hilbert mapping algorithm to
   visualize the one-dimensional ASN, and construct the two-dimensional
   coordinate plane(2-D AS Map) to represent the AS information, which
   is similar to the expression of national information by latitude and
   longitude in the geospatial model.

   Next, considering the IP address is a critical element of cyberspace,
   we also construct the 3-D IP-AS map model.  The allocation time
   sequence of the IP address under the AS is RECOMMENDED to be a third-
   dimensional basic vector, which is orthogonal to the AS address, and
   its positive direction indicates the sequence is increasing,
   realizing the analysis and mapping of the IP address in cyberspace.
   Specifically, the Z-axis mapping algorithm is defined as follows:

   Input : an IP address P

   Output : the coordinate of Z-axis

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   1.  Get the AS where the address P is located based on the IP

   2.  There are n IP addresses IPs=[IP1,IP2,IP3,IP4,IP5,IP6,...,IPn ]
   under this AS, and their corresponding allocation time is
   T=[T1,T2,T3,T4,T5,T6,...,Tn ], where the unallocated IP address
   allocation time is defined as MAXINT > max Allocated
   time[T1,T2,T3,T4,T5,T6,...,Tm], accurate to the second.

   3.  for i from 1 to n:

   4.  dict[IPs[i]]=T[i]

   5.  dictnew=sort(dict)

   6.  z= dictnew.index(P)

   7. return z

   z=10000 indicates that an IP address is located at the 10000th
   position after being sorted according to the allocation time.
   According to the Hilbert algorithm and the Z-axis mapping algorithm,
   the positioning coordinate (X, Y, Z) are used to analyze and map an
   IP address, and many cyberspace resource elements can be located
   based on the key identification IP address of communication.

   Instead of representing the topological relationship using abstract
   points and lines, it provides the ability to describe and express in
   a detail and native manner compared to the map of Internet topology.
   At the same time, the AS backplane is fixed so that some changes in
   links will not affect the entire map, which also reflects the
   superiority of AS Map.

6.  Acknowledgements

   The authors would like to thank the support of Tsinghua University
   and National Key Research and Development Program of China under
   Grant No.2016YFB0801301 and 2016QY12Z2103.

7.  IANA Considerations

   This memo includes no request to IANA.

8.  Security Considerations

   This document only defines a framework for network resources
   categorization.  This document itself does not directly introduce
   security issues.

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9.  Normative References

              RFC 1034, November 1987,

   [RFC1052]  Cerf, V., "IAB Recommendations for the Development of
              Internet Network Management Standards", RFC 1052, April
              1988, <>.

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", RFC 2119, March 1997,

   [RFC3631]  Bellovin, S., "Security Mechanisms for the Internet",
              RFC 3631, December 2003,

   [RFC4983]  Vohra, Q., "BGP Support for Four-octet AS Number Space",
              RFC 4983, May 2007,

   [RFC6056]  Larsen, M., "Recommendations for Transport-Protocol Port
              Randomization", RFC 6056, January 2011,

   [RFC791]   Postel, JB., "Internet protocol", RFC 791, September 1981,

Authors' Addresses

   Jilong Wang (editor)
   Tsinghua University

   Congcong Miao (editor)
   Tsinghua University

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   Changqing An (editor)
   Tsinghua University

   Shuying Zhuang (editor)
   Tsinghua University

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