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25 January 2021

EU Cybersecurity Strategy (I)

I like reading Cybersecurity Strategies to know what are the next steps about Cybersecurity in the world. I’ve read lots of them since I wrote about “Spain is sold in 2013. I’ve read about Security Directives for the European Union, DoD Cyber Strategy of the U.S. of America, National Cyber Strategy of the U.S. of America, Revue Stratégique Cyberdéfense de France and National Cybersecurity Strategy of Spain. I’m going to write today about the new EU Cybersecurity Strategy which has been released recently.

The new EU Cybersecurity Strategy addresses three areas of action – (1) resilience, technological sovereignty and leadership, (2) building operational capacity to prevent, deter and respond, and (3) advancing a global and open cyberspace. I’m going to write today about the first one which is the largest area of action.

First of all, the Commission proposes to reform the Security Directives for the European Union. The reformed NIS Directive will provide the basis for more specific rules for strategically important sectors such as energy, transport and health. In addition, the Cybersecurity Strategy proposes to build a European Cyber Shield with Security Operation Centres across the EU. In fact, the goal would be to connect as many centres as possible across the EU to create collective knowledge and share best practices.

An ultra-secure communication infrastructure is also required by the European Union to transmit confidential information using an ultra-secure form of encryption to shield against cyberattacks. What’s more, it will be built with European Technology. In addition, it will have two main components: terrestrial fibre communication networks and space satellites covering the whole EU. Moreover, securing the next generation of broadband mobile communications such as 5G and future generations of networks are of great interest in this Cybersecurity Strategy because we should avoid dependencies and to foster a sustainable and diverse supply chain.

As the Internet of Things proliferates, the Commission also wants to prepare European cybersecurity certification schemes for the purpose of ensuring an adequate level of cybersecurity for IoT products, IoT services and IoT processes in the Union. In addition to an Internet of Secure Things, the Commision intends to develop a contingency plan for dealing with extreme scenarios affecting the integrity and availability of the global DNS root system. Right now, there are thirteen DNS root servers, two of them in the EU, which should be protected against cyberattacks.

List of Root DNS Servers

Finally, the Cybersecurity Strategy intends to reinforce the presence on the technology supply chain and develop, attract and retain the best cybersecurity talent. The first one put special focus through dedicated activities under the Digital Innovation Hubs in the Digital Europe Programme. The second one pays attention to develop, attract and retain more diverse talent as well as encourage women’s participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education through relevant EU actors such as the ENISA, the EDA and the European Security and Defense College (ESDC).

That’s all! I encourage you to read this interesting Cybersecurity Strategy! See you soon!

18 January 2021

F5 BIG-IQ – Real-Time Application Visibility

There are lots of companies that don’t know why their applications are working slowly. Applications usually work well but when they get slow, lots of companies don’t know where they can look at. However, there are lots of tools really useful which can help us to monitor applications as well as the network. It’s really easy to install a network monitoring tool where we can import and add switches and servers to know bandwidth consumption, throughput, packets transmitted and received, etc. This kind of tools should be mandatory in most companies for monitoring services.

I’ve already written about F5 BIG-IQ and I told you where installing these devices are recommended. Most of all it’s recommended where there are lots of BIG-IP devices with lots of virtual servers, pools and nodes. However, I would also like to highlight an interesting feature for monitoring application services which is really useful for real-time application and network visibility. F5 BIG-IQ help us to know what’s happening thanks to Application Visibility and Analysis in Real Time feature.

First of all, F5 BIG-IQ can monitor HTTP Application Services. In fact, it can monitor all of the HTTP virtual servers which pass through the BIG-IP devices. Therefore, it’s easy to get Application Response Time, Request Errors, which are the response code 4XX, Server Errors, which are the response code 5XX, Transactions Per Seconds (TPS), Incomplete Transactions, etc. All of them are needed to know how applications are going on. All of them are needed to have application visibility. However, there are many other interesting metrics such as E2E Time, Page Load Time, etc. Lots of companies would like to have this kind of metrics when their web applications are getting slow.

Monitoring HTTP traffic data

F5 BIG-IQ can also monitor TCP Application Services. There are lots of useful metrics for troubleshooting. In addition, these metrics can be used along with HTTP Application metrics to improve the troubleshooting process. For instance, we can know the Server Side RTT (in ms) and the Client Side RTT (in ms). We can also know the Throughput (in Mbps) and the Goodput (in Mpbs). This last metric is important because Goodput is the rate at which useful data traverse a link. Therefore, assuming an uncongested path between endpoints, goodput and throughput will be as close as they are theoretically able to be. However, there are many other interesting TCP metrics such as Packets Lost, Connections or Delay States (3WHS, RWND, CWND, etc). 

Monitoring TCP statistics

Finally, F5 BIG-IQ can also notify us about Web Exploits and L7 DDoS Attacks. However, WAF should be deployed in BIG-IP devices to get Security Alerts. For instance, we can see Bad Traffic Trends which will be useful to investigate transactions and fine tune the security policy for new threats. We can also see Potentially Harmful Attacks which will be used to change the security policy to blocking mode. Of course, we will be able to see the Blocked Attacks to know the security policy is working properly.

Do you have a Real Time Application Visibility? How do you get these metrics? Have a nice day!

11 January 2021

La vie devant soi

J’ai lu le roman “La vie devant soi” de Romain Gary ces vacances de Noël. Je pense que c'est un roman où on peut voir comment vivent les enfants et les personnes âgées dans les quartiers plus pauvres. C’est un roman où il n’y a pas seulement des problèmes économiques mais aussi des problèmes moraux parce que les personnes âgées sont vues comme un obstacle.

Le roman s’agit principalement d’un enfant arabe qui s’appelle Momo. Il a dix ans et il habite à Paris avec Madame Rosa qui est une vieille femme juive. Elle faisait de la prostitution mais comme elle est déjà vieille, elle s’occupe des enfants de prostituées. Cependant, il y a plus de personnages. Par exemple, Madame Lola qui est un transsexuel sénégalais et Monsieur Waloumba qui est camerounais. Il y a beaucoup de cultures et de religions.

C’est un roman où on peut voir l’humanité et la fraternité parce que Madame Rosa est malade et tous les voisins l’aident à profiter les derniers jours de sa vie. Alors Momo tombe amoureux d’elle, ensuite il s’occupe d’elle et il reste avec elle jusqu’au dernier jour de sa vie.

Ces vacances de Noël ont été très différentes où un bon roman m’a aidé à rester à la maison!!

4 January 2021


We are at the beginning of 2021 and it seems this year will bring new protocol adoptions. I wrote about HTTP/2 in 2015 and I think it’s getting old because I wrote about Moving the Web from TCP to UDP a year later and this will be the new standard for the next years. There are still lots of websites with HTTP/1.1 and nearly 50% of websites run with HTTP/2. However, the third version is already an Internet Draft and has multiple improvements and new features. HTTP/3 is already supported by some browsers, appliances and web servers.

Percentages of websites using various site elements

HTTP/3 run over QUIC, which is a new transport protocol developed by Google. This new protocol can address some of the known shortcomings of doing HTTP/2 over TCP and TLS. For instance, one of the shortcomings is the TCP head of line blocking because HTTP/2 is done over TCP and typical browsers do tens or hundreds of parallel transfers over a single TCP connection, as a result, if a single packet is lost or dropped in the network, the entire TCP connection is brought to a halt while the lost packet is re-transmitted. HTTP/3 can avoid the block with independent streams using QUIC over UDP.

High-level overview of HTTP transport stacks

QUIC is on top of UDP and it also then uses UDP port numbers to identify specific network services. However, all known QUIC implementations are currently in user-space instead of kernel-space because it allows more rapid evolution. Therefore, QUIC uses UDP ports above 1024. In addition, parallel streams can transfer data simultaneously over a single connection without affecting the other streams. Actually, there are lots of more features such as fast handshakes or TLS 1.3, which are really important.

Fast handshakes

The QUIC transport protocol works really simple. Firstly, QUIC set up a connection which is a single conversation between two QUIC endpoints. Connection ID are used to identify the connection, which can thus migrate between IP addresses and network interfaces in ways TCP never could. Secondly, connections start a secure layer with TLS 1.3, which is mandatory. There is no way to avoid using TLS. Finally, QUIC uses streams to send data over the connection. 

HTTP Request over QUIC (with 0-RTT)

HTTP/3 is the first protocol to transport over QUIC. It’s like HTTP/1.1 and HTTP/2 because it has requests, responses, headers, body, cookies, etc. However, there are also changes. For instances, the alternate service (Alt-svc:) header is used to tell clients that web server supports and wants to start connections using HTTP/3. There are a lot of changes. Another interesting change is HTTP/3 has much faster handshakes, thanks to QUIC, than HTTP/1.1 or even HTTP/2 with TCP + TLS.

Alternate service header

To sum up, HTTP/3 is still an Internet Draft and HTTP/2 is increasingly deployed in lots of web services. HTTP/3 is on top of QUIC, which has lots of new features and improvements. I think, we will see HTTP/3 running in main web servers soon such as Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google. In fact, they are already thinking in the new version QUICv2.

Have you already deployed HTTP/2? Are you thinking in the new version HTTP/3? Bye my friends!

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