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November 28, 2014

Global network operators urged to commit to MANRS

Without backing, the full potential of the initiative will not be realised.

By Ellie Burns

The global network operator community has been urged to publicly commit to the Internet Society’s MANRS (Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security) initiative.

The initiative aims to tackle the current challenges faced with the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet’s operation. Without the backing of network operators across the board, Claranet believes that the full benefits of the initiative will fail to be realised.

Organised and coordinated by the Internet Society, MANRS recognises the interdependent nature of the global routing system and integrates best practices relating to routing security and resilience.

Claranet was one of the first adopters of MANRS and is one of 12 networks today that participate. Network operators that have signed up to the initiative must publicly commit to aspects of the scheme.

According to David Freedman, Infrastructure Manager at Claranet, the vulnerabilities of the global routing system will take coordinated effort to overcome.

Freedman said: "Without safeguards like MANRS there’s every chance that we could see a repeat of the YouTube hijacking in Pakistan or see perpetrators of DoS attacks evade prosecution. Although MANRS can’t address operator competency, it will at the very least create established practises to help catch issues before damage is caused. This really lies at the heart of what MANRS is all about."

"Although the initiative has already attracted support from many of the major network operators in the US, including Comcast and NTT, uptake in the UK and Europe remains low. This, I suspect, owes much to the lack of direct commercial advantage to be had from adherence, but this is short-termist and short-sighted.

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"The issues MANRS addresses don’t directly affect network operators, but do have major implications for the wider ecosystem. Trust between network operators is fundamental to the smooth running of the Internet, and I’d hope to see many more operators sign up to the scheme over the next few months to contribute to the Internet community as a whole and improve the availability, performance and security of applications running over it," Freedman concluded."

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