On the scalability and effectiveness of a cache pollution based DoS attack in information centric networks

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Conference Proceeding

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With the exponential growth of content, the Internet is undergoing a transformation from a host-centric approach to a content-centric one, popularly known as an Information Centric Networks (ICN). ICN aims to improve user performance by incorporating in-network caching at storage enabled nodes. In this paper, we explore the scalability and effectiveness of a targeted denial of service attack (DoS) designed for ICN [1]. In this attack, malicious nodes periodically request unpopular content, thereby replacing popular content in the caches enroute to the custodian with unpopular ones. The intuition behind this attack is that legitimate requests for the evicted content cannot be served from enroute caches and have to be forwarded towards the custodian, thus degrading user performance. Our goal in this paper is not to propose a sophisticated attack, but to investigate the scalability and potency of this brute force attack in ICN. By performing exhaustive and rigorous experimentation on realistic Internet topologies, and by exploring a wide range of simulation parameters we observe the following: (i) this attack is moderately successful in small scale networks comprising of less than 100 nodes, (ii) the potency of the attack rapidly decreases, and becomes ineffective as the network size increases to few thousand nodes, and (iii) the attack is more effective against a FIFO caching policy in comparison to LRU. Our results demonstrate that if the entire Internet or large MANETs are transformed into an ICN, this attack is likely to be unsuccessful.

Publication Title

2016 International Conference on Computing, Networking and Communications, ICNC 2016

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