What's up at RIPE77?

2018-10-10 News

By Monika Ermert, eLance Journalist – The hottest topics these days include IoT, machine learning and bitcoin, so operators at RIPE77 in Amsterdam (15-19 October 2018) will take a close look at these buzz areas. At the same time, this RIPE meeting will also look ahead at some of the upcoming big governance conferences – especially the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference – and can be expected to entertain yet another fight over a policy proposal coming from Europol.

IoT and other buzz tech topics

The agenda of the newly-opened IoT Working Group of the RIPE community is packed, which seems to make sense given that operators will see more and more traffic coming from things over their networks. Topics include the secure home gateway project from CIRALabs, which based on the upcoming IETF standard Manufacturer Usage Description (MUD), tries to “secure IoT devices from the Internet” and “the Internet from IoT devices”. More on IoT security challenges will be presented by Thomas Stols (Computest) and Arman Noroozian (TU Delft). The Dutch police will also be talking about how law enforcement views the IoT security threats.

The weaknesses of bitcoin will be illustrated by Maria Apostolaki (ETH Zurich) during the plenary meeting. Two routing attacks, one using partition and one delay today are already viable, according the Swiss researchers.

A team from KIProtect, a Berlin start-up working on “secure data science”, will speak about machine learning from networking data. On the hardware side, participants will have a look into the next generation of transceivers, offering 400G speedy optical transmission (Thomas Weible Flexoptic).

Another Europol proposal on obligations for the RIPE database

Besides addressing IoT security, law enforcement will present a new policy proposal during the RIPE Services WG. According to proposal 5/2018, law enforcers hope to win community approval for an obligation to publish validated postal addresses of internet number resource holders.

Proposer Sara Veronica Marcolla from Europol already had to answer a flurry of opposing comments on the mailing list, especially about why this would help against address hijacks and how it would be in line with the GDPR, especially where resource holders are private individuals. This is the second RIPE policy proposal introduced by Europol since theobligation to regularly validate abuse-c fields in the database has been accepted in June. Marcolla certainly has secured herself a hefty debate.

Whither DNS?

DNS expert Sara Dickinson (Sinodun) will make her argument that DNS operators have to pay attention to potentially historic changes to the DNS during the opening plenary of RIPE77. The move to DNS over HTTPS as a privacy-enabling mechanism comes with a push to centralise DNS services, she argued. It will be interesting to see how administrators gathered in Amsterdam will take this on. For those looking for more on this topic: Olafur Gudmundsson will take a look at Operational experience for DNS over HTTPS (DoH) and DNS over TLS (DoT) from Cloudflare's perspective during the OARC meeting. The OARC meeting precedes RIPE77 and is held together with CENTR for this occasion in Amsterdam.

There is always a considerable number of DNS presentations during the RIPE meeting. During the plenary, SIDN and Arbor Networks will both take look at DDoS attacks, while Cloudflare will share a story on the “technical debt” of Anycast.

The DNS WG will hear a condensed report from the OARC meeting. It will have a timely update on the (hopefully) just completed rollover of the DNS KSK (11 October) from Roy Arends (ICANN). There will also be an update on the upcoming DNS flagday, during which several DNS software providers will disable non-standard workarounds that have been in place for some years. Flagday presenter Petr Špaček from cz.nic will also show the new GeoIP plus DNSSEC feature in Knot DNS. The feature will allow providers to tailor responses to clients according to geolocation.

More practical contributions also include a presentation on how to use GIT to keep and edit zone files for DNS providers.

(Self-)Governance issues

The Cooperation WG will discuss worries of the RIPE community regarding the Plenipotentiary meeting of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Every four years, the so-called Plenipot settles on the work agenda for the ITU, including standardisation topics. With recent proposals for IPv6 addressing made to the relevant study groups, RIPE NCC elaborates at the potential pitfalls of the intergovernmental mega-conference.

Naturally, no IT conference can be missing a presentation on the GDPR, so the Cooperation WG will be holding one, and will be taking another look at the more general regulatory developments at EU level. A glimpse of the EuroDIG 2019 meeting will be given by the Dutch government and while the upcoming Paris IGF is not on the agenda, it will be easy to find people at RIPE77 preparing to go there.

Besides governance through legislation and other bodies, self-governance and RIPE's approach to it will again be on the agenda. Human Rights researcher Niels ten Oever (University of Amsterdam) will question whether self-regulation has delivered on its promise combined with another update on the “RIPE Accountability Task Force Report”.