Seminars and Events

Cybersecurity Seminar Series

Automating Testbed Analysis of DoS Mitigations

Event Details


Denial of Service mitigation has become an essential service in the Internet, yet its costs remain poorly understood. Ideally mitigations operate by leveraging abundant resources to preserve more scarce ones, but resource requirements and availability both vary greatly throughout the network. As a result, deploying a mitigation in the wrong context risks degrading performance rather than improving it. In this talk we present a framework for accurately measuring a given DoS mitigation’s efficacy at weakening an attack, its overhead outside periods of attack, and its net utility across a distribution of attack rates. We conduct controlled experiments in the Merge network testbed to illustrate how these metrics can be influenced by myriad context variables. To facilitate repeatable experimentation across large parameter sets we have developed a toolkit that fully automates the process of configuring devices and collecting measurements on Merge, as well as a database schema that mirrors the existing Merge workflow to enable flexible and efficient analysis of results. In addition to re-evaluating existing DoS mitigations and testing new ones before deployment, our framework can also be applied to compare different versions of a protocol implementation or even distinct protocols that offer similar functionality.


ZOOM Link for Virtual Participation:


Speaker Bio

Sam DeLaughter is a PhD Candidate in Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as an Instructor for MIT's Computer System Engineering course. His research focuses on the analysis and mitigation of Denial of Service vulnerabilities in network protocols and internet architectures. He also completed a minor in Public Policy through the Harvard Kennedy School to explore interests in Internet governance and digital privacy. Sam has interned at Akamai Technologies, designing a patent-pending distributed consensus mechanism; at The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, evaluating delay- and disruption-tolerant networks; and at Aarno Labs, developing a self-propagating NAT-traversing overlay network. He was a Visiting Research Scientist at the Technical University of Berlin, and spent four years working as a System Administrator at UMass Amherst. Sam holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from Hampshire College, and an SM in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT.