The Internet Society  and Internet Service Providers Association of India signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Monday to undertake initiatives and activities to promote Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS) in India. MANRS is a program whose primary objective is to reduce the most common threats to the Internet’s routing system. The ISP association includes Airtel, ACT, Aircel, D-VoiS, and several small and medium-sized internet providers.

“Routing security is vital to the future and stability of the Internet and MANRS provides simple but concrete steps for network operators that enable dramatically improved Internet security and reliability,” ISOC said in a release about the MoU. As part of the MoU, both ISPAI and ISOC will focus on capacity building to promote adoption of MANRS in India, and for mutual assistance.

What MANRS does

Why is this important? While the Internet is a global network of networks with shared protocols, it is significantly decentralized. That can be risky if users and networks are getting their internet from an ISP that is vulnerable to common attacks.

MANRS is a community-driven project, and its first principle urges ISPs to understand “the interdependent nature of the global routing system and [ISPs’] own role in contributing to a secure and resilient Internet”. MANRS helps in addressing network-level security challenges:

  • Filtering: Helps prevent the propagation of incorrect routing information. This technique provides assurance against unintentional configuration errors that can lead to “hijacking” traffic directed to other networks, resulting in widespread outages.
  • Anti-spoofing: Involves preventing traffic with spoofed source IP addresses, a practice that can help dramatically diminish the prevalence and impact of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
  • Coordination: Facilitates timely communication and coordination among peers, which is essential for incident mitigation and better assurance of the technical quality of relationships.
  • Global validation: Encourages network operators to publish routing data, which limits the scope of routing incidents and makes the global system more resilient.