Peering into the Darkness: The Use of UTRS in Combating DDoS Attacks

Radu Anghel, Swaathi Vetrivel, Elsa Turcios Rodriguez, Kaichi Sameshima, Daisuke Makita, Katsunari Yoshioka, Carlos Gañán, Yury Zhauniarovich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Remotely Triggered Black Hole (RTBH) is a common DDoS mitigation approach that has been in use for the last two decades. Usually, it is implemented close to the attack victim in networks sharing some type of physical connectivity. The Unwanted Traffic Removal Service (UTRS) project offers a free, global, and relatively low-effort-to-join and operate RTBH alternative by removing the requirement of physical connectivity. Given these unique value propositions of UTRS, this paper aims to understand to what extent UTRS is adopted and used to mitigate DDoS attacks. To reach this goal, we collected two DDoS datasets describing amplification and Internet-of-Things-botnet-driven attacks and correlated them with the information from the third dataset containing blackholing requests propagated to the members of UTRS. Our findings suggest that, currently, just a small portion of UTRS members (approximately 10 % ) trigger mitigation attempts: out of 1200+ UTRS members, only 124 triggered blackholing events during our study. Among those, with high probability, 25 Autonomous Systems (ASes) reacted on AmpPot attacks mitigating 0.025 % of them globally or 1.03 % targeting UTRS members; 2 countered IoT-botnet-driven attacks alleviating 0.001 % of them globally or 0.06 % targeting UTRS members. This suggests that UTRS can be a useful tool in mitigating DDoS attacks, but it is not widely used.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComputer Security – ESORICS 2023 - 28th European Symposium on Research in Computer Security, The Hague, The Netherlands, September 25–29, 2023, Proceedings
EditorsGene Tsudik, Mauro Conti, Kaitai Liang, Georgios Smaragdakis
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-51475-3
Publication statusPublished - 2024
Event28th European Symposium on Research in Computer Security, ESORICS 2023 - The Hague, Netherlands
Duration: 25 Sept 202329 Sept 2023

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume14345 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference28th European Symposium on Research in Computer Security, ESORICS 2023
CityThe Hague

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • DDoS attacks
  • RTBH
  • UTRS


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