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30/10/2019

Route Hijacking and Online Freedom

In Panama, LACNIC presented the FORT Project, an initiative developed together with NIC Mexico to strengthen routing security and protect online freedom.

The project seeks to increase the security of Internet routing systems through resource certification, using a validator developed by a team of technicians working at LACNIC and NIC Mexico, with the support of consultants in South America and Europe.

The aim of this initiative is the use of a system that validates route origin by means of digitally signed objects, thus preventing third parties from falsifying information and diverting Internet traffic to their sites for malicious purposes.

Routing Incidents. Augusto Mathurin, one of the participants of the FORT project, presented an analysis of recent routing events and incidents in Latin America and the Caribbean at LACNIC 32 LACNOG 2019. Mathurin researched the possible correlation between Internet route hijacking incidents and the freedom index within the digital ecosystem. Click here to view the full presentation.

According to the expert, these incidents can damage people’s right to freely browse the Internet and, in certain cases, such incidents are the result of censorship or carried out for political purposes. “A vulnerable routing infrastructure can affect online freedom. This is why it is important to address this issue,” Mathurin said.

According to his study, the number of incidents in the region has fallen sharply over the past three years. While in 2017 there were 4,950 incidents, in 2018 this figure dropped to 3,286, and this year is expected to conclude with 2,889 Internet routing incidents in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Mathurin noted that the FORT Project focuses on routing security in order to achieve a free and open Internet. He pointed out the development of a public key infrastructure validator for Internet number resources (RPKI) and a monitoring tool to study routing incidents in the region which are currently underway.

The expert concluded with a call to action to increase awareness of incidents, to understand why they occur, and to try to mitigate them as they unfold.

Secure Information. Gerardo Pias, one of the researchers participating in the development of the LACNIC and NIC MX project, presented the initiative “Tools for the visualization of routing information – How to recognize and detect routing incidents.”

The project collects and unifies data on routing incidents and presents information to facilitate their identification and classification considering their various levels of complexity and for different user profiles.

Pias noted that the unified information allows periodically documenting incidents and providing routing safety information for decision makers with technical or non-technical backgrounds. Click here to watch the complete presentation.