Paper Review:
Hash-Based IP Traceback

Reviewer: Robert Dugas


The problem dealt with is that of the inherent anonymity of the IP layer, and it's adverse effects on accountability and security.


This paper proposes a computationally and spacially feasible scheme, SPIE, for reliable ip traceback which does not require a massive infrastructure overhaul.

Main Ideas


The issue of DDoS and other types of attacks is large and growing. To date, most solutions rely on either probabilistic techniques, excessive logging, or enormous infrastructure alteration. The proposed idea presents a scalable alternative.

Both analytical and simulation results are presented for the proposed scheme. Although the environment for the simulation results seems extensively realistic, the attack simulations seem less so. All are based on 1000 attack packets send at a constant rate from source to victim. What about attacks involving only a few packets or irregularly spaced packets? Also, what about the DDoS issue in which billions of packets are involved and SPIE traffic may be compromised?

The limitation inherent in any traceback or accountability scheme is that the intended audience is sophisticated and attempting to break the scheme. In the case of SPIE, although the measures taken seem appropriate, there will undoubtedly be work-arounds for dedicated crackers.

The major lesson seems to be that efficient traceback can be achieved without overhauling the internet or storing every packet ever sent.