Best practices for BGP security

Best practices for BGP security
Best practices for BGP security 

By William Jackson
GCN Staff

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has released a set of 
best practices to help protect the Border Gateway Protocol, the core 
routing protocol used on the Internet.

Although it can be used within large IP networks, BGP most commonly is 
used by gateway hosts for routing between autonomous networks on the 
Internet. It maintains a table of prefixes designating IP networks that 
can be reached. It is a decentralized routing protocol.

Although end users do not often use BGP, Internet service providers 
often use it to establish routing with each other, so it is integral to 
the Internet. NIST Special Publication 800-54 [1], titled Border Gateway 
Protocol Security, gives an introduction to the protocol along with 
guidelines for securing it. The guidelines are intended to be easily 
implemented on most BGP routers using the current version of the 
protocol, Version 4.

While enhanced protocols for BGP have been proposed, these generally 
require substantial changes to the protocol and may not interoperate 
with current BGP implementations, NIST said. The recommendations offered 
are intended to improve security within the present framework.

The recommendations include the use of access control lists, 
restrictions on which networks and blocks are announced, the use of 
filtering and allowing peers to connect only through port 179.


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