RIPE has published a policy proposal to deal with BGP hijacks.
The policy proposal is fairly simple at one level:
BGP Hijacking is a RIPE Policy Violation
The text of the proposal goes on to explain that BGP hijacks happen frequently and that while some might be accidental the proposal is meant to address those that are intentional.
this proposal aims to clarify that BGP hijacking is not accepted as normal practice within the RIPE NCC service region, primarily because it negates the core purpose of running a (Regional Internet) Registry. The proposal is not concerned with simple operational mistakes – it is intended to address deliberate BGP hijacking events.
BGP hijacking is not acceptable behaviour. A “BGP hijack” is defined by announcing a prefix to another network without the resource holder’s consent.
There must be consequences for hijacking for members or individuals/organisations that have a service agreement (either directly or indirectly) with the RIPE NCC. This proposal aims to clarify that an intentional hijack is indeed a policy violation.
So what is a BGP hijack?
BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) is, simply, the way that different networks talk to each other. Your ISP has a block (or blocks) of IP addresses on their network. They have to let the rest of the internet know which IP addresses are in their network and how the traffic should be routed to them. (I am simplifying this!)
A BGP hijack is simply when a network operator tells the rest of the internet that IP ranges that they do NOT control are in their network. That means, for example, that traffic that should go from Ireland to Germany ends up going to Peru. This could happen due to a technical issue eg. somebody misconfiguring their network equipment accidentally, but often the hijacks are much more nefarious. Imagine if traffic to a bank or big e-commerce site was routed somewhere nefarious for example. The implications are pretty dire.
The policy proposal is currently under discussion within RIPE’s anti-abuse working group. Over the past few days there has been a fairly robust discussion of the proposal and it’s expected that the current discussion period will close on April 17th. You do not need to be a member of RIPE to engage in the discussions.