DOTS WG                                                  R. Dobbins, Ed.
Internet-Draft                                            Arbor Networks
Intended status: Informational                                 S. Fouant
Expires: November 9, 2017
                                                              D. Migault
                                                            R. Moskowitz
                                                          HTT Consulting
                                                               N. Teague
                                                            Verisign Inc
                                                                  L. Xia
                                                            K. Nishizuka
                                                      NTT Communications
                                                             May 8, 2017

 Use cases for DDoS Open Threat Signaling (DDoS) Open Threat Signaling


   The DDoS Open Threat Signaling (DOTS) effort is intended to provide a
   dynamic solution for DDoS cooperation between networks to
   appropriately react to DDoS attacks.  This document presents use
   cases to evaluate the interactions expected between the DOTS
   components as well as the DOTS exchanges.  The purpose of the use
   cases is to identify the interacting DOTS components, how they
   collaborate and what are the types of information to be exchanged.

Status of This Memo

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   This Internet-Draft will expire on November 9, 2017.

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   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Terminology and Acronyms  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  Use Cases Scenarios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     3.1.  Inter-domain Use Cases  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
       3.1.1.  Enterprise with an upstream transit provider DDoS
               mitigation Service  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
       3.1.2.  Enterprise with a Cloud DDoS Mitigation Provider  . .   5
     3.2.  Intra-domain Use Cases  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
       3.2.1.  Homenet DDoS Detection Collaboration for ISP network
               management  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
       3.2.2.  DDoS Orchestration  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
   4.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
   5.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
   6.  Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
   7.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13

1.  Introduction

   Currently, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack mitigation
   solutions are largely based upon siloed, proprietary communications
   schemes which result in vendor lock-in.  As a side-effect, this makes
   the configuration, provisioning, operation, and activation of these
   solutions a highly manual and often time-consuming process.
   Additionally, coordination of multiple DDoS mitigation solutions
   simultaneously engaged in defending the same organization (resources)
   against DDoS attacks is fraught with both technical and process-
   related hurdles.  This greatly increase operational complexity and
   often results in suboptimal DDoS attack mitigation efficacy.

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   The DDoS Open Threat Signaling (DOTS) effort is intended to specify a
   protocol that facilitates interoperability between multivendor DDoS
   mitigation solutions and ensures more automation in term of
   mitigation requests and attack characterization patterns.  As DDoS
   solutions are broadly heterogeneous among different vendors, the
   primary goal for DOTS is to provide a high level interaction with
   these DDoS solutions such as initiating or terminating DDoS
   mitigation assistance.

   It should be noted that DOTS is not in and of itself intended to
   perform orchestration functions duplicative of the functionality
   being developed by the [I2NSF] WG; rather, DOTS is intended to allow
   devices, services, and applications to request DDoS attack mitigation
   assistance and receive mitigation status updates.

   These use cases are expected to provide inputs for the design of the
   DOTS protocol(s).

2.  Terminology and Acronyms

   This document makes use of the terms defined in

   In addition, this document introduces the following terms:

      Inter-domain: a DOTS communications relationship between distinct
      organizations with separate spans of administrative control.
      Typical inter-domain DOTS communication relationships would be
      between a DDoS mitigation service provider and an end-customer who
      requires DDoS mitigation assistance; between multiple DDoS
      mitigation service providers coordinating mutual defense of a
      mutual end-customer; or between DDoS mitigation service providers
      which are requesting additional DDoS mitigation assistance in for
      attacks which exceed their inherent DDoS mitigation capacities
      and/or capabilities.

      Intra- domain: a DOTS communications relationship between various
      (network) elements that are owned and operated by the same
      administrative entity.  A typical intra-domain DOTS communications
      relationship would be between DOTS agents [I-D.ietf-dots-
      requirements] within the same organization.

3.  Use Cases Scenarios

   This section provides a high-level description of scenarios addressed
   by DOTS.  In both sub-sections, the scenarios are provided in order
   to illustrate the use of DOTS in typical DDoS attack scenarios.  They

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   are not definitive, and other use cases are expected to emerge with
   widespread DOTS deployment.

   All scenarios present a coordination between the targeted
   organization, the DDoS attack telemetry and the mitigator.  The
   coordination and communication between these entities depends, for
   example, on the characteristic or functionality of the entity itself,
   the reliability of the information provided by DDoS attack telemetry,
   and the business relationship between the DDoS target domain and the

   More explicitly, in some cases, the DDoS attack telemetry may simply
   activate a DDoS mitigation, whereas in other cases, it may
   collaborate by providing some information about an attack.  In some
   cases, the DDoS mitigation may be orchestrated, which includes
   selecting a specific appliance as well as starting/ending a

3.1.  Inter-domain Use Cases

3.1.1.  Enterprise with an upstream transit provider DDoS mitigation

   In this scenario, an enterprise network with self-hosted Internet-
   facing properties such as Web servers, authoritative DNS servers, and
   VoIP service platforms has a DDoS mitigation system (DMS) deployed to
   protect those servers, applications, and network resources from DDoS
   attacks.  In addition to their on-premise DDoS defense capability,
   they have contracted with their Internet access provider for DDoS
   mitigation services which threaten to overwhelm their WAN
   interconnection link(s) bandwidth.

   The DMS is configured such that if the incoming Internet traffic
   volume exceeds, e.g., 50% of the provisioned upstream Internet
   interconnection link(s) capacity, the DMS will request DDoS
   mitigation assistance from the upstream access provider.

   Before any communication takes place between DOTS agents, security
   credentials are provisioned on these agents so that only authorized
   entities can trigger mitigation actions.

   The communication to trigger, manage, and terminate a DDoS mitigation
   between the enterprise DMS and the access provider(s) is performed
   using DOTS.  The enterprise DMS implements a DOTS client while the
   access provider implements a DOTS server.  A DOTS client can
   establish communications with multiple DOTS servers, if the
   enterprise is multi-homed or of distinct access technologies are used
   (e.g., fixed, LTE).

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   When the DMS detects an inbound DDoS attack targeting the enterprise
   resources, it immediately begins mitigating the attack.

   During the course of the attack, the inbound traffic volume exceeds
   the 50% threshold; the DMS DOTS client signals its DOTS server(s) on
   the upstream access provider network(s) to initiate DDoS mitigation
   immediately.  The DOTS server signals the DOTS client that it can
   service this request, and mitigation is initiated on the access
   provider network.

   Over the course of the attack, the DOTS server on the transit
   provider network periodically signals the DOTS client on the
   enterprise DMS in order to provide mitigation status information,
   statistics related to DDoS attack traffic mitigation, and related
   information .  Such information are collected by the DOTS server, but
   the way these are collected are outside of DOTS.  Once the DDoS
   attack has ended, the DOTS server signals the enterprise DMS DOTS
   client that the attack has subsided.  This signal may not be sent
   immediately, but once the peace time is judged stable; the duration
   observation of the peace time after an attack is deployment-specific.

   The enterprise DMS then requests that DDoS mitigation services on the
   upstream access provider network be terminated.  The DOTS server on
   the access provider network receives this request, communicates with
   the access provider orchestration system controlling its DDoS
   mitigation system to terminate attack mitigation, and once the
   mitigation has ended, confirms the end of upstream DDoS mitigation
   service to the enterprise DMS DOTS client.

   Request termination will be repeated with each of the upstream DOTS
   servers reachable through links that were under DDoS attack.

3.1.2.  Enterprise with a Cloud DDoS Mitigation Provider

   This use case details an enterprise that has a local DDoS detection
   and classification capability and may or may not have a mitigation
   capability.  The enterprise is contracted with a cloud DDoS
   mitigation provider who can redirect (off-ramp) traffic away from the
   enterprise, provide scrubbing services, and return "clean" traffic
   back to the enterprise (on-ramp) on an ad-hoc, on demand basis.

   The enterprise may, either by hard coding or on a case by case basis,
   determine thresholds at which a request for mitigation is triggered
   indicating to the cloud provider that traffic should be redirected
   and scrubbed.

   The communication to trigger, manage, and terminate a DDoS mitigation
   between the enterprise and the Cloud provider is performed using

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   DOTS.  The enterprise implements a DOTS client while the Cloud
   Provider implements a DOTS server.

   The enterprise detection and classification systems encompass a DOTS
   client and the cloud provider a DOTS server.

   When an attack is detected an automated or manual DOTS mitigation
   request will be generated and sent to the cloud provider.  The cloud
   provider will assess the request for validity and if passed a
   mitigation action may then be initiated.  This action will usually
   involve the off-ramp of all traffic destined to the target for
   further scrutiny and filtering by the cloud provider.  This should
   not only result in an alleviation of pressure on the enterprise
   network but also on its upstream provider and peers.  How traffic
   redirection is implemented is out of scope.

   The cloud provider should signal via DOTS to the enterprise that a
   mitigation request has been received and acted upon and should also
   include a basic situational status of the attack.  The cloud provider
   may respond periodically with additional updates on the status to
   enable the enterprise to make an informed decision on whether to
   maintain or cancel the mitigation.  An alternative approach would be
   for the DOTS client mitigation request to include a time to live
   (TTL) for the mitigation which may be extended by the client should
   the attack still be ongoing as the TTL reaches expiration.

   A variation of this use case may be that the enterprise is providing
   a flow-based monitoring and analysis service to customers whose
   networks may be protected by any one of a number of 3rd party
   providers.  The enterprise in question may integrate with these 3rd
   party providers using DOTS and signal accordingly when a customer is
   attacked - the enterprise may then manage the life-cycle of the
   attack on behalf of the enterprise.

3.2.  Intra-domain Use Cases

3.2.1.  Homenet DDoS Detection Collaboration for ISP network management

   Home networks run with (limited) bandwidth as well as limited routing
   resources, while they are expected to provide services reachable from
   the outside [RFC7368].  This makes such networks some easy targets to
   DDoS attacks via their WAN interface.  As these DDoS attacks are easy
   to perform, they may remain undetected by the upstream ISP.  When the
   CPE is congested, the customer is likely to call the ISP hotline.  In
   order to improve the quality of experience of the connectivity as
   well as to automate the request for DDoS mitigation, ISPs are likely
   to consider a standard mean for CPEs to automatically inform a

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   dedicated service mitigation platform when they are under a suspected

   Note also that this section only considers DDoS attacks CPE or
   services in the home network are encountering.  This differs from
   DDoS attacks the CPE or any device within the home network may take
   part of - such as botnets.  In the later attacks, the home network
   generates traffic under the control of a botmaster.  Such attacks may
   only be detected once the attacks have been characterized.  It would
   be tempting to consider a feature in the DOTS protocol to allow a
   DOTS server to inform a CPE that some suspect traffic is being sent
   by the CPE so that appropriate actions are undertaken by the CPE/
   user.  Nevertheless, this feature would require some interaction with
   the CPE administrator.  Such scenario is outside the scope of this

   In this use case, ISPs are willing to prevent their customer
   undergoing DDoS attacks in order to enhance the quality of experience
   of their customers, to avoid unnecessary costly call on hot lines as
   well as to optimize the bandwidth of their network.  A key challenge
   for the ISP is to detect DDoS attacks.  In fact, DDoS detection is
   not only fine grained but is also expected to be different for each
   home network or small businesses networks (SOHO), and the ISP is
   unlikely to have sufficient resource to inspect the traffic of all
   its customers.

   In order to address these challenges, ISPs are delegating the DDoS
   detection to CPE of home network or SOHO.  Outsourcing the detection
   on the CPE provides the following advantages to the ISP: 1) Avoid the
   ISP to dedicate a huge amount of resource for deep packet inspection
   over a large amount of traffic with a specific security policies
   associated to each home network.  It is expected that such traffic
   only constitutes a small fraction of the total traffic the ISP is
   responsible for. 2) DDoS detection is deployed in a scalable way. 3)
   Provide more deterministic DDoS attack detection.  For example, what
   could be suspected to be an UDP flood by the ISP may be consented by
   the terminating point hosted in the home network or SOHO.  In fact,
   without specific home network security policies, the ISP is likely to
   detect DDoS attack over regular traffic or to miss DDoS attacks
   targeting a specific home network or CPE.  In the first case, this
   would result in the ISP spending unnecessary resources and in the
   second case this would directly impact the quality of experience of
   the customer.

   Note that in this scenario slightly differs from the "Enterprise with
   an upstream transit provider DDoS mitigation Service" scenario
   described in Section 3.1.1.  In this scenario, the detection DDoS is
   motivated by the ISP in order to operate appropriately its network.

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   For that purpose, it requires some collaboration with the home
   network.  In Section 3.1.1, the target network requests a mitigation
   service from the upstream transit provider in order to operate its

   Even though the motivations differ, there are still significant
   advantages for the home network to collaborate.  On the home network
   or SOHO perspective such collaboration provides the following
   advantages: 1) If it removes the flows contributing to a DDoS
   attacks, then it enhances the quality of experience of the users of
   the targeted services or the entire home network. 2) If mitigation is
   being handled by the ISP rather then the home network, then it
   reduces the management of DDoS attacks by the network administrator
   which involves detection as well as mitigation as well as the
   provisioning of extra resources. 3) If the DDoS detection is based on
   information specific to the home network, such as for example the
   description of the services, the hosts capacities or the network
   topology, then performing the DDoS detection by the home network
   instead of the ISP avoids the home network to leak private
   information to the ISP.  In that sense, it better preserves the home
   network or SOHO privacy while enabling a better detection.  However,
   the request for mitigation may still leak some informations.  ISPs
   must not retrieve sensitive data without the consent of the user.
   This is usually captured in administrative contracts that are out of
   scope of this document.

   When the CPE suspects an attack, it notifies automatically or the
   ISP.  The contact address of the DDoS Mitigation service of the ISP
   may be hard coded or may be configured manually or automatically
   (e.g., eventually the DHCP server may provide the DDoS mitigation
   service via specific DHCP options).

   The communication to trigger a DDoS mitigation between the home
   network and the ISP is performed using DOTS.  The home network CPE
   implements a DOTS client while the ISP implements a DOTS server.

   The DOTS client on the CPE monitors the status of CPE's resource and
   WAN link bandwidth usage.  If something unusual happens based on
   preconfigured throughput, traffic patter, explicit action from the
   user, or some heuristics methods, the DOTS client sends a DOTS
   mitigation request to the ISP DOTS server.  Typically, a default
   configuration with no additional information associated to the DOTS
   mitigation request is expected.  The ISP derives traffic to mitigate
   from the CPE IP address.

   In some cases, the DOTS mitigation request contains options such as
   some IP addresses or prefixes that belongs to a whitelist or a
   blacklist.  In this case, the white and black lists are not

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   associated to some analysis performed by the CPE -- as the CPE is
   clearly not expected to analyze such attacks.  Instead these are part
   of some configuration parameters.  For example, in the case of small
   business, one may indicate specific legitimate IP addresses such as
   those used for VPNs, or third party services the company is likely to
   set a session.  Similarly, the CPE may provide the IP addresses
   targeting the assets to be protected inside the network.  Note that
   the IP address is the IP address used to reach the asset from the
   internet, and as such is expected to be globally routable.  Such
   options may include the IP address as well as a service description.
   Similarly to the previous blacklist and whitelist, such information
   are likely not derived from a traffic analysis performed by the CPE,
   but instead are more related to configuration parameters.

   Upon receiving the DOTS mitigation request, the DOTS server
   acknowledges its reception and confirms DDoS mitigation starts or
   not.  Such feed back is mostly to avoid retransmission of the

   Note that the ISP is connected to multiple CPEs and as such the CPE
   can potentially perform DDoS attack to the DOTS server.  ISP may use
   gateways to absorbs the traffic.  These gateways, will typically
   aggregate a smaller number of CPEs and retransmit to the destination
   DOTS Server a selected information.  Note that such gateways may
   somehow act as a DOTS relay, which is implemented with a DOTS Server
   and a DOTS Client.  Note also that the case of a large DDoS attack
   targeting simultaneously multiple CPEs is expected to be detected and
   mitigated by the upstream architecture, eventually without DOTS
   alerts sent by each single CPE.

   ISP may activate mitigation for the traffic associated to the CPE
   sending the alert or instead to the traffic associated to all CPE.
   Such decisions are not part of DOTS, but instead depend on the
   policies of the ISP.

   It is unlikely the CPE will follow the status of the mitigation.  The
   ISP is only expected to inform the CPE the mitigation has been

   Upon receipt of such notification the CPE may, for example, re-
   activate the monitoring jobs and thus is likely to provide some
   further DOTS alert.

3.2.2.  DDoS Orchestration

   In this use case, one or multiple DDoS telemetry systems like a flow
   collector monitor a network -- typically an ISP network.  Upon
   detection of a DDoS attack, these telemetry systems alert an

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   orchestrator in charge of coordinating the various DDoS mitigation
   systems within the domain.  The telemetry systems may be configured
   to provide some necessary or useful pieces of information, such as a
   preliminary analysis of the observation to the orchestrator.

   The orchestrator analyses the various information it receives from
   specialized equipment, and elaborates one or multiple DDoS mitigation
   strategies.  In some case, a manual confirmation may also be required
   to choose a proposed strategy or to start the DDoS mitigation.  The
   DDoS mitigation may consists in multiple steps such as configuring
   the network, the various hardware or already instantiated DDoS
   mitigation functions.  In some cases, some specific virtual DDoS
   mitigation functions need to be instantiated and properly chained
   between each other.  Eventually, the coordination of the mitigation
   may involve external DDoS resources such as a transit provider
   (Section 3.1) or a cloud provider (Section 3.1.2).

   The communication to trigger a DDoS mitigation between the telemetry
   and monitoring systems and the orchestrator is performed using DOTS.
   The telemetry systems implements a DOTS client while the Orchestrator
   implements a DOTS server.

   The communication between a network administrator and the
   orchestrator is also performed using DOTS.  The network administrator
   via its web interfaces implements a DOTS client while the
   Orchestrator implements a DOTS server.

   The communication between the Orchestrator and the DDoS mitigation
   systems is performed using DOTS.  The Orchestrator implements a DOTS
   client while the DDoS mitigation systems implement a DOTS server.

   The configuration aspects of each DDoS mitigation systems, as well as
   the instantiations of DDoS mitigation functions or network
   configuration is not part of DOTS.  Similarly the discovery of the
   available DDoS mitigation functions is not part of DOTS.

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           | network  |C
           | adminis  |<-+
           | trator   |  |
           +----------+  |
                         |                       (internal)
           +----------+  | S+--------------+     +-----------+
           |telemetry/|  +->|              |C   S| DDoS      |+
           |monitoring|<--->| Orchestrator |<--->| mitigation||
           |systems   |C   S|              |<-+  | systems   ||
           +----------+     +--------------+C |  +-----------+|
                                              |    +----------+
                                              |  (external)
                                              |  +-----------+
                                              | S| DDoS      |
                                              +->| mitigation|
                                                 | systems   |
           * C is for DOTS client functionality
           * S is for DOTS server functionality

   Figure 1: DDoS Orchestration

   The telemetry systems monitor various traffic network and perform
   their measurement tasks.  They are configured so that when an event
   or some measurements reach a predefined level to report a DOTS
   mitigation request to the Orchestrator.  The DOTS mitigation request
   may be associated with some element such as specific reporting.

   Upon receipt of the DOTS mitigation request from the telemetry
   system, the Orchestrator responds with an acknowledgement, to avoid
   retransmission of the request for mitigation.  The status of the DDoS
   mitigation indicates the Orchestrator is in an analysing phase.  The
   Orchestrator begins collecting various information from various
   telemetry systems in order to correlate the measurements and provide
   an analysis of the event.  Eventually, the Orchestrator may ask
   additional information to the telemetry system, however, the
   collection of these information is performed outside DOTS.

   The Orchestrator may be configured to start a DDoS mitigation upon
   approval from a network administrator.  The analysis from the
   orchestrator is reported to the network administrator via a web
   interface.  If the network administrator decides to start the
   mitigation, she orders through her web interface a DOTS client to
   send a request for DDoS mitigation.  This request is expected to be
   associated with a context that identifies the DDoS mitigation

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   Upon receiving the DOTS request for DDoS mitigation from the network
   administrator, the orchestrator orchestrates the DDoS mitigation
   according to the specified strategy.  Its status indicates the DDoS
   mitigation is starting while not effective.

   Orchestration of the DDoS mitigation systems works similarly as
   described in Section 3.1 and Section 3.1.2.  The Orchestrator
   indicates with its status whether the DDoS mitigation is effective.

   When the DDoS mitigation is finished on the DDoS mitigation systems,
   the Orchestrator indicates to the telemetry systems as well as to the
   network administrator the DDoS mitigation is finished.

4.  Security Considerations

   DOTS is at risk from three primary attacks: DOTS agent impersonation,
   traffic injection, and signaling blocking.  Associated security
   requirements and additional ones are defined in

   Impersonation and traffic injection mitigation can be managed through
   current secure communications best practices.  DOTS is not subject to
   anything new in this area.  One consideration could be to minimize
   the security technologies in use at any one time.  The more needed,
   the greater the risk of failures coming from assumptions on one
   technology providing protection that it does not in the presence of
   another technology.

5.  IANA Considerations

   No IANA considerations exist for this document at this time.

6.  Acknowledgments

   The authors would like to thank among others Tirumaleswar Reddy, ,
   Andrew Mortensen, Mohamed Boucadaire, the DOTS WG chairs Roman D.
   Danyliw and Tobias Gondrom for their valuable feed backs.

7.  Informative References

              Mortensen, A., Moskowitz, R., and T. Reddy, "Distributed
              Denial of Service (DDoS) Open Threat Signaling
              Requirements", draft-ietf-dots-requirements-04 (work in
              progress), March 2017.

   [I2NSF]    "Interface to Network Security Functions (i2nsf)",

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   [RFC7368]  Chown, T., Ed., Arkko, J., Brandt, A., Troan, O., and J.
              Weil, "IPv6 Home Networking Architecture Principles",
              RFC 7368, DOI 10.17487/RFC7368, October 2014,

Authors' Addresses

   Roland Dobbins (editor)
   Arbor Networks
   30 Raffles Place
   Level 17 Chevron House
   Singapore 048622


   Stefan Fouant


   Daniel Migault
   8400 boulevard Decarie
   Montreal, QC  H4P 2N2

   Phone: +1 514-452-2160

   Robert Moskowitz
   HTT Consulting
   Oak Park, MI  48237


   Nik Teague
   Verisign Inc
   12061 Bluemont Way
   Reston, VA  20190

   Phone: +44 791 763 5384

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   Liang Xia
   No. 101, Software Avenue, Yuhuatai District


   Kaname Nishizuka
   NTT Communications
   GranPark 16F 3-4-1 Shibaura, Minato-ku
   Tokyo 108-8118


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