Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Robert P. Graham, PhD


The Department of Defense (DoD) relies heavily on the Non-secure Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRNET) to exchange information freely between departments, services, bases, posts, and ships. The NIPRNET is vulnerable to various attacks, to include physical and cyber attacks. One of the most frequently used cyber attacks by criminally motivated hackers is a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. DDoS attacks can be used to exhaust network bandwidth and router processing capabilities, and as a leveraging tool for extortion. Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) black hole routing is a responsive defensive network technique for mitigating DDoS attacks. BGP black hole routing directs traffic destined to an Internet address under attack to a null address, essentially stopping the DDoS attack by dropping all traffic to the targeted system. This research examines the ability of BGP black hole routing to effectively defend a network like the NIPRNET from a DDoS attack, as well as examining two different techniques for triggering BGP black hole routing during a DDoS attack. This thesis presents experiments with three different DDoS attack scenarios to determine the effectiveness of BGP black hole routing. Remote-triggered black hole routing is then compared against customer-triggered black hole routing to examine how well each technique reacts under a DDoS attack. The results from this study show BGP black hole routing to be highly successful. It also shows that remote-triggered black hole routing is much more effective than customer-triggered.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number