Thursday, 6 May 2010, 16:00 - Prague Marriott Hotel, Czech Republic
Co-Chairs: Brian Nisbet, Richard Cox
Scribe: Fergal Cunningham
Jabber: Emile Aben
A. Administrative Matters
Working Group Co-Chair Brian Nisbet opened the session at 16:00 and welcomed attendees.
The minutes from RIPE 59 were approved without comment.
B1. Network Abuse Update - Richard Cox
Working Group Co-Chair Richard Cox gave an update on current abuse trends and recent relevant technical developments.
He started by differentiating between cybercrime and abuse, both of which he said come within the scope of the Anti-Abuse Working Group but which need to be treated differently.
He began by talking about snow shoe spam, which rotates the IP address of sent mail through up to a /20 or /19, and is being carried out by a small number of US-based organisations that are active in Europe. He explained that this type of spam is causing big problems at the moment because it has so far managed to avoid detection. He said there was a new detector for this type of spam at Spamhaus but he thought it would eventually find a way around this.
Moving on to abuse, Richard talked mainly about domain abuse, where domains are registered using fake credit cards and malware is then transmitted through those domains. He said through use of this malware, which employs keyloggers, the criminals can transfer money to their accounts and because it comes from the user's standard IP address it does not appear to the banks to be a fraudulent transaction. He mentioned that one problem is that police tend to pass responsibility for this type of crime to the banks.
Richard mentioned the problem of IPv6 and traceability, which he said was not too visible yet but it would be and is the type of problem that will affect other working groups, such as the Address Policy and Database Working Groups.
He concluded by talking about the UK-specific problem of large organisations and their customer bases being sold from one company to another without providing any precautions regarding the latest exploits.
There were no questions and Brian thanked Richard for his update.
B2. Recent List Discussion - Abuse contacts, Sanctions, etc.
Brian started by mentioning the recent discussion on the Anti-Abuse mailing list, initiated by Frank Gadegast in April 2010, concerning implementation of an abuse monitor system. Brian explained that the proposal was to be able to mail an email address based on an abusive IP address, which would then be passed through a clearing house to the relevant LIR or IP holder. Brian said there was no formal policy proposed on this and there did not seem to be much support for it on the mailing list. Brian said they would wait for comments or further proposals on the mailing list.
Brian said the second item to be discussed was from Tobias Knecht, Abusix, on an abuse contact information policy proposal. Brian said that the proposal is to introduce a mandatory reference to IRT objects in the inetnum, inet6num and aut-num objects in the RIPE Whois Database to provide a more accurate and efficient way for abuse reports to reach the correct network contact and help reporting institutions to find the correct abuse contact information more easily.
Brian explained that the proposal was sent to the list and is a copy of proposals sent to AfriNIC and APNIC. He said the plan was to work with Tobias on creating a formal RIPE proposal but he would like to gather responses from the room before doing so.
Niall O'Reilly, University College Dublin, said that discussion on irrelevant references in such objects took place some years ago and it would be a good idea to look at these discussions so as not to cover old ground.
Brian agreed that this was a good idea and he would compile the relevant sections of the older discussions and post them to the list.
Peter Koch, DENIC, agreed with Niall and asked if there were some restrictions on getting an irt object in the RIPE Database.
Wilfried Woeber, Vienna University, said there were restrictions but these were removed a long time ago.
Brian said another topic that came up on the mailing list was sanctions on people who abused networks. He said that Jochem de Ruig from the RIPE NCC would present on this later in the session that would address this area. Brian said that at this point it was worth mentioning that there was no big red button that anyone can press to legally remove someone from the Internet.
Brian concluded by reminding people that this Anti-Abuse Working Group has replaced the Anti-Spam Working Group. He said this was to widen the focus of the working group.
C. Technical Measures
C1. RIPE NCC Tools update - Paul Palse, RIPE NCC
Paul's presentation is available at:
Paul's presentation included a live demonstration of the prototype Abuse Finder tool, which is available on RIPE Labs at:
Paul asked for feedback on the tool and looked for questions.
Co-Chair Richard Cox thanked Paul and asked said there is a need to find out exactly what investigators are looking for and tune the system accordingly so they can get answers quickly. He suggested talking about this and perhaps involving APNIC so a universal system can be developed that will provide the answers needed by investigators. He said one question asked if he had a problem with a resource, could the tool return results for resources with similar attributes that might be causing problems.
Paul said the RIPE NCC could definitely look at that and try to improve the system based on this type of extremely helpful feedback.
Richard said, as an example, he could look at announced ASN numbers but not see what is assigned, and this would be very helpful. He also suggested that if you found a certain maintainer, it would be useful to see what else that maintainer was maintaining.
Wilfried Woeber said it would be useful to have a discussion about this on RIPE Labs, because this is what RIPE Labs is for and people could suggest a number of similar ideas to improve the tool.
Wilfried said the tool sounds like a freetext search across all data in the database. He said he was not convinced it was a good idea to offer something like that publicly. He also said that 80% to 90% of what you want to do is available already through methods such as inverse lookups, but the problem lies in combining query X with query X+1.
Paul said this was basically what the tool did.
Denis Walker from the RIPE NCC commented that the Database Group in the RIPE NCC could run a script for whatever needed to be found. He said that if users told them what they wanted to find and gave use cases, then the Database Group could write a script that return exactly what they want. Brian supported this and asked that people come to the Anti-Abuse Working Group with examples of what they would like to see.
Niall O'Reilly said the beauty of a RESTful wrapper is that you can make a single query of anything in whatever way you wish.
Paul said the Abuse Finder tool has a bit more to it and can present material in a very concise way.
D1. Working Groups
Brian noted that the interactions with other working groups are covered by other agenda items in this session.
Brian also noted that all law enforcement interaction and cooperation would now reside in the Anti-Abuse Working Group rather than the Cooperation Working Group, where such interactions originated.
D2. RIPE NCC LEA Interactions Update - Jochem de Ruig, RIPE NCC
There were no questions.
D3. Law Enforcement Interaction - Wout de Natris, London Action Plan
Brian reiterated that the Anti-Abuse Working Group would be the channel for communication between LEAs and the RIPE community. He said this interaction could take place on the mailing list and at future RIPE Meetings, or people could contact himself or Richard.
A member of the Serious Organised Crime Agency in the UK said that revocation is one of the major issues for law enforcement agencies. He added that a major part of this was the question of how to stop the routing of revoked resources.
Brian said there was some discussion in the Address Policy Working Group about certified routing and revocation of certificates. He said that at the moment there was no real way to stop routing in this way because people route what they want to route.
Wilfried Woeber said that interfering with the routing layer could have an impact on completely unrelated parties across the globe. He asked law enforcement representatives to be aware that if you have a mechanism for removing people from the Internet, it will be used to do so for political purposes. He said it was difficult to determine right and wrong in this situation because right and wrong can mean different things in different places.
RIPE Chair Rob Blokzijl wanted to bring attention to Geoff Huston of APNIC's presentation earlier in the week on measuring traffic on the Internet from network number 1. Rob said this network has never been announced but there is a huge amount of traffic on the Internet claiming to come from that network. He said that removing an address block from the registry would not stop anything, so it would be more profitable to think about actions that would help. He said he would be reluctant to have a mechanism that allows third parties tell the RIPE community what they can register and what they can't. He concluded that law enforcement should be concerned with having the best registry data possible available.
Richard Cox said it can be very difficult to identify the origin of a packet that caused harm on the Internet, so the important thing is to identify who contributed to the harm. He said there needs to be a mechanism to identify what problems are associated with a particular routing and get that information to people who are handling the traffic. He said the community can then decide to accept a route or not, and if 90% of the Internet decides not to accept a route then its harm will be limited. He concluded by reminding people that it is better to regulate yourself before government steps in to do it for you.
Alex le Heux from the Registration Services Department in the RIPE NCC outlined a proposal about address space reclaimed by the RIPE NCC. He said after an appropriate quarantine period the address space is re-allocated, but it might previously have been used by people who were not the best Internet citizens and the resources are on anti-abuse and anti-spam lists across the Internet. He explained that these addresses go back into the free pool after the quarantine period but the people who receive them can be unhappy they are not receiving brand new addresses, and replacing the addresses with new ones does not really solve the problem. He said this problem would only get worse as the last phase of RIPE Policy Proposal 2007-01 approached. He proposed that during the quarantine period, which typically lasts three months, the addresses could be published so that anti-spam groups could remove them from their lists. He asked the community to give feedback on this proposal.
Richard Cox said Spamhaus has been arguing for something like this for some time. He said people operating anti-abuse lists take the view that if people are working towards solving a problem like this, then it is sensible to try to help them. He suggested creating an RFC that will define a standard by which the information can be published by all the RIRs on a standard webpage within their website that can be downloaded by those maintaining the anti-abuse lists. He said this could be used to reset the status of resources on a regular basis. He said there just needs to be an assurance that the resources are not handed back and then reclaimed by the same organisation, which is happening in some cases at the moment.
Alex said that the RIPE NCC does not allow people to come in and choose the address space they want.
Brian said it would be good for the RIPE NCC and other RIRs to publish such information with the caveats that Richard mentions.
Rob Blokzijl said he was talking about this issue with John Curran, CEO of ARIN, about this specific problem. Rob said ARIN has procedures in place and he recommended that Alex look at these. He said it would also be good if all RIRs have the same procedure in place so the anti-abuse lists would be more up to date with reality.
Carsten Scheifner, DENIC, said perhaps that list already exists through the RIPE Database and by doing an indirect search on unallocated space.
Alex replied that the proposal applies to address space that was allocated and then reclaimed and which is waiting to be allocated to someone else. He said it was possible to do as Carsten suggested and look for holes in the database but this proposal might be an easier way to accomplish the same thing.
Peter Koch, DENIC, said if the RIPE NCC uses a white list to override blacklists then that sounds fishy. He asked if it was possible that it would be a case of asking anti-abuse groups to do the same thing as those groups who take multiple addresses from the database. He asked who would be the target audience.
Alex said groups like Spamhaus would be the target audience. He said the proposed list would make the assertion that the addresses were in use by someone else previously and will be used by someone else in the future.
Paul Vixie, ARIN Board of Trustees, said there is a lot of space mentioned on black hole operator lists and he said this space is like toxic waste and there can only be clean-up efforts if there is no revolving door whereby the people who created the toxic waste cannot simply get another block of resources they can contaminate. He said many black list operators would say this is the RIPE NCC's fault and it should resolve this.
Brian said this issue is to do with reclamation and clean-up, and this proposal aims to make it easier to do that and to make best use of the remaining IPv4 address space rather than solve all problems.
Richard Cox said, in response to the assertion from Peter Koch, that it takes a lot of time to conduct a clean-up. He said an RFC-defined list at a designated place would be a big help. He said there needs to be agreement, including among RIRs, and there are certain definitions that need to apply. He said people cause abuse of address space and the RIPE NCC has to ask if it is right to allocate space in certain situations to certain LIRs.
Alex said he would talk to the relevant parties as soon as possible.
Richard Cox presented two proposals that he said would inevitably be discussed on the working group mailing list. He said that RIPE needs to make some changes to make it less easy for cybercriminals who specifically come to RIPE because they see RIPE as more of a pushover than ARIN.
Richard's first proposal was to ask the DB WG to make available in the RIPE Database two additional fields so that a standard query with no switches will get data on the LIR that assigned a block and data on the most recent change of that block. He said for good reasons the existing fields cannot be altered so the date of change would need to go out under a different object to avoid breaking anything that currently exists. He said providing the LIR data would allow investigators to see patterns, and if the data is available in the RIPE Database, people will know immediately who to go to resolve a problem.
Richard's second proposal suggestion was on allocations. He asked if the process in the RIPE NCC is optimal for dealing with problems and he asked that the RIPE NCC make provision for dealing faster with allocation problems. He said it would be helpful if there was a published RIPE NCC address that people could use when people get a dodgy allocation. He suggested a small group of people from community could work on this under a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).
Wilfried asked Richard to elaborate on the NDA aspect of this because he wasn't sure if the NDAs were suitable for the RIPE environment.
Brian said the proposals were not fully formed yet. He asked Richard to write them up and bring them to the mailing list, and he asked the community to comment on them when they were posted to help make them fully formed proposals.
There was no further business. Brian thanked the presenters and the attendees and said he hoped to see everyone at the next Anti-Abuse Working Group session in Rome in November 2010.
The session adjourned at 17:47.
A full recording of this Anti-Abuse Working Group session is available at: