Peering into the Darkness: The Use of UTRS in Combating DDoS Attacks


Remotely Triggered Black Hole (RTBH) is a common DDoS mitigation approach that has been in use for the last two decades. Usually, it is implemented close to the attack victim in networks sharing some type of physical connectivity. The Unwanted Traffic Removal Service (UTRS) project offers a free, global, and relatively low-effort-to-join and operate RTBH alternative by removing the requirement of physical connectivity. Given these unique value propositions of UTRS, this paper aims to understand to what extent UTRS is adopted and used to mitigate DDoS attacks. To reach this goal, we collected two DDoS datasets describing amplification and Internet-of-Things-botnet-driven attacks and correlated them with the information from the third dataset containing blackholing requests propagated to the members of UTRS. Our findings suggest that, currently, just a small portion of UTRS members (approximately 10%) trigger mitigation attempts: out of 1200+ UTRS members, only 124 triggered blackholing events during our study. Among those, with high probability, 25 Autonomous Systems (ASes) reacted on AmpPot attacks mitigating 0.025% of them globally or 1.03% targeting UTRS members; 2 countered IoT-botnet-driven attacks alleviating 0.001% of them globally or 0.06% targeting UTRS members. This suggests that UTRS can be a useful tool in mitigating DDoS attacks, but it is not widely used.

European Symposium on Research in Computer Security