An investigation to cybersecurity countermeasures for global Internet infrastructure

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


The Internet is comprised of entities. These entities are called Autonomous Systems (ASes). Each one of these ASes is managed by an Internet Service Provider (ISP). In return each group of ISPs are managed by Regional Internet Registry (RIR). Finally, all RIRs are managed by Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA). The different ASes are globally connected via the inter-domain protocol that is Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). BGP was designed to be scalable to handle the massive Internet traffic; however, it has been studied for improvements for its lack of security. Furthermore, it relies on Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) which, in return, makes BGP vulnerable to whatever attacks TCP is vulnerable to. Thus, many researchers have worked on developing proposals for improving BGP security, due to the fact that it is the only external protocol connecting the ASes around the globe. In this thesis, different security proposals are reviewed and discussed for their merits and drawbacks. With the aid of Artificial Immune Systems (AIS), the research reported in this thesis addresses Man-In-The-Middle (MITM) and message replay attacks. Other attacks are discussed regarding the benefits of using AIS to support BGP; however, the focus is on MITM and message replay attacks. This thesis reports on the evaluation of a novel Hybrid AIS model compared with existing methods of securing BGP such as S-BGP and BGPsec as well as the traditional Negative Selection AIS algorithm. The results demonstrate improved precision of detecting attacks for the Hybrid AIS model compared with the Negative Selection AIS. Higher precision was achieved with S-BGP and BGPsec, however, at the cost of higher end-to-end delays. The high precision shown in the collected results for S-BGP and BGPsec is largely due to S-BGP encrypting the data by using public key infrastructure, while BGPsec utilises IPsec security suit to encapsulate the exchanged BGP packets. Therefore, neither of the two methods (S-BGP and BGPsec) are considered as Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS). Furthermore, S-BGP and BGPsec lack in the decision making and require administrative attention to mitigate an intrusion or cyberattack. While on the other hand, the suggested Hybrid AIS can remap the network topology depending on the need and optimise the path to the destination.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Bournemouth University
  • Phalp, Keith, Supervisor, External person
  • Engen, Vegard, Supervisor, External person
Award date1 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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