The beginning of January saw the start of a new era for Internet routing. Well, it almost did. Four of the five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) have deployed the Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI), a robust security framework for verifying the association between resource holders and their Internet resources.
The RIRs, like the RIPE Network Coordination Centre (which is responsible for the European part of the Internet), provide Internet resource allocations, registration services and co-ordination activities. RPKI allows ISPs and network operators to verify the accuracy of routes on the Internet and to prevent fraudulent or erroneous misdirection of Internet traffic. A famous example of erroneous routing happened in 2008 when the YouTube web site was unavailable in several different parts of the world because Pakistan Telecom incorrectly co-opted YouTube’s IP address range as its own.
The only RIR not to implement RPKI yet is the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN). According to their website their deployment has been delayed until “very early in the second quarter of 2011”.
Once AIRN is up and running the use of Resource Certificates will mean that worldwide each resource holder will own a certificate which lists the Internet resources (IPv4 addresses, IPv6 addresses, and Autonomous System Numbers) that are owned by the certificate holder (e.g. an ISP). The certificate are of course encrypted and by using the public keys associated with the certificate owner the list of Internet resources can be easily verified.