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Page history last edited by Leigh Honeywell 15 years, 5 months ago




Tracking and monitoring DNS, Routing and Availabilty


InfoTrace is a tracking and monitoring tool that collects, processes and displays a domain name's dns resolution, tcp traceroute and (web) server information from multiple points of access geographically dispersed around the world.


Why? InfoTrace is a tool for research programs (see "Who below) that seek to understand global reachability under adverse or abnormal circumstances.  In some cases the focus may be on the global distribution of "mirroring" services. Domain names often resolve to different ip addresses in different parts of the world. For example, major web sites often use services such as Akamai to ensure high performance and global accessibility. In other cases, the monitoring may focus on the migration of domain names from one hosting service to another, for example, when a domain moves to a hosting service in another country because it is under attack, such as a DDOS attack, or a DNS poisoning attack, or because its content is deemed illegal in the current host country. Routing information obtained from aggregating tcp traceroutes from multiple locations globally is important for understanding actual routing policy and global reachability of hosts, especially those that may be under attack. The available paths to target hosts (IP's) along with latency metrics may help detect (or confirm/deny) targets of DDOS attacks.


How? InfoTrace leverages the Planet Lab (http://www.planet-lab.org/) network to resolve a domain name from multiple locations around the world, execute tcp traceroutes to the IP addresses returned from the DNS resolution and query the destination's (web) server. The data is collected and processed to determine the routing paths taken from the monitoring locations to the target destinations. The data is stored in a database and displayed as a svg network map. 


Who? The Citizen Lab (http://www.citizenlab.org/) is an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto, Canada focusing on advanced research and development at the intersection of digital media and world civic politics. The Citizen Lab is a partner in multiple research programs that monitor forms of reachabilty including the Infowar Monitor (http://infowar-monitor.net/)and the OpenNet Initiative (http://opennet.net).




  • Web-based Interface - Specify and manage targets (domain names or ip addresses), network tests (dns resolution, tcp traceroute, http requests) and outputs (svg network maps, csv raw data dumps). 

    • Query Interface -- Generate data sets using historical data.


  • Network Tools -- Software tools deployed on the Planet Lab infrastructure to conduct the tests.




  • Security - keeping the user data and the research network safe...


Why contribute to this project?




  • Planet Lab API. If you are interested in further research into global routing, peer-to-peer applications and/or any "planetary-scale services" familiarity with Planet Lab's API is a definite asset.


Resources: Network Measurement/Monitoring Projects



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