Cisco: 6 best practice security tips for BGP

As we all know, in today’s digital communication world, there is a very big possibility that your network is or was target for a malicious activity. BGP is one of the most targeted routing protocols when we are talking about network attacks.Why? This is quite simple. BGP is your connection to the exterior world (peer networks, Internet and everything which is outside your LAN/MAN), so it is somehow normal to be the main target of the conducted attacks. If in case of the WWW, DNS, E-mail services we can say that maybe an attack was not intentionally made (e.g. a user got infected with some trojan/malware/botnet tool that is attacking random destinations), in the case of BGP, you can be 90% sure that this is an intentionally conducted attack. The main scope of a BGP attack is to flood the network with false information (e.g. false network prefixes) in this way trying to direct interesting traffic to special destinations where this can be sniffed and decoded.

I will present here 6 tips that I’m using the most to protect BGP against malicious information. This is really easy to implement, if you have any basic idea about how to configure BGP protocol, but it can save you from hours of troubleshooting and investigation.

1. Limit the maximum number of prefixes that you learn from BGP peer, to avoid overload of your machine.
2. Deny updates that include a private AS number in the AS Path (64512 – 65535).
3. Use ACLs on your external interface to permit input/output BGP packets only from your defined source and destination
4. Limit TTL in BGP packets to limit the communication only with next-hop peers.
5. Use a password  to authenticate peer neighbors.
6. Limit the maximum length of  the AS path

Also here I would like to mention, not necessary as a security tip, but more like a best practice,  enable when it is possible logging. This can help you to observe some strange behavior that occur on your machines where you are not arround them.

There is no topology present for this tutorial, but we will assume that we have a point-to-point serial connection between 2 routers, R2 ( and R3 ( Please click the image below to view the tutorial:

BGP Security tips

If for some reasons the tutorial above is not available for you, please check this text file which present in text mode everything  needed to implement BGP security tips presented above.

Cisco: BGP path selection for inbound traffic

In some previous post we saw how we can manipulate BGP paths using attributes for outgoing traffic. Today we will see how to use another BGP attribute, but this time for manipulating inbound traffic. First I would like to ask you to have a look into the topology file and also to check the config files (if you have a basic idea about how BGP is configured that you don’t need the config files).

From the table above:
we see that the attributes needed for inbound traffic manipulation are AS-Path and MED. Today we will use AS-Path for traffic manipulation (MED sometime in closer future).

Beside using BGP attributes, there are other ways to manipulate traffic and paths in a BGP environment, but usually this need that the provider will support your actions. As an example to understand, you can do route tagging in your network (for example in MPLS on your CE) and your ISP will apply rules based on different tags (on PE side), but this is out of the scope of this tutorial and will be discussed maybe in another tutorial.

For our test environment, that you see in the topology, we advertise everything into BGP domain, exactly as draw, so there will be no problems of reachability.

Please see the tutorial and explanations below: