Today, we’re excited to announce a new phase for Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS). The Internet Society has partnered with the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA), an international nonprofit specializing in addressing cybersecurity challenges at scale by mobilizing stakeholders toward collective action. As part of this partnership, the GCA will take on the functions of the MANRS secretariat and operations, while the Internet Society will maintain significant funding, advocacy, and training functions over the next five years.
With this partnership, MANRS will continue to achieve greater heights and be further established as the globally recognized benchmark for global routing security.
How it Started
In 2014, the Internet Society recognized the industry’s willingness for collaborative agreement on best practices for routing security and helped initial participants to capture and share those practices in what became MANRS. Since then, the Internet Society has advocated globally for MANRS uptake, encouraged industry collaboration, supported the evolution of the norms, and evolved to become the secretariat of MANRS.
Fast forward a decade, and MANRS has grown from nine original operators to a community of more than 1,000 participants ranging from small enterprise networks to Tier-1 transit providers, from IXPs of various sizes to content delivery network (CDN) and cloud providers publicly professing their commitment to the MANRS requirements. MANRS is now globally recognized as a beacon for securing global routing.
As MANRS matured, so did the community-led governance model with the establishment of the community-elected Steering Committee. The Internet Society has proudly served as the secretariat, in addition to supporting the initiative with both financial and staff resources as well as operations support to ensure MANRS’ growth. In 2019 the MANRS Observatory, a conformance measurement tool for routing security, was launched. Since then, many new features have been added to the MANRS Observatory, such as alerts and monthly MANRS readiness reports. Growth also happened through capacity building, and over the years, thousands of network engineers have gone through online courses, virtual labs, and on-site workshops. In 2020, the Internet Society, together with the MANRS community, launched the Mentors and Ambassadors program promoting routing security in the areas of research, policy, and training. Now it’s in its fourth year with three Mentors and nine Ambassadors from across the globe.
“Community efforts like MANRS are rare, and their success difficult. Without constant development and care, they may stagnate and disappear, but MANRS has generated a spirit of community collaboration and motivated participants and partners to ensure its success. Along with strong governance and community involvement, MANRS evolution needs financial and operational sustainability. For quite some time, we at the Internet Society were looking for a model to achieve the latter. GCA’s willingness to step up and more actively support MANRS by partnering with the Internet Society presents an excellent opportunity for growth.” – Andrei Robachevsky, one of the original organizers of MANRS.
Today, MANRS has more than one thousand participating operators across three programs, as well as six network equipment vendors. The initiative has been a tremendous success, but the task of supporting MANRS has grown well beyond the scope of what was a startup initiative 10 years ago.
This partnership is an important evolution of a successful initiative that the Internet Society launched, incubated, and nurtured. GCA is honored and excited to step into this role and provide the basis for the long-term sustainability and evolution of MANRS.
Routing security is one of the focus areas of GCA, and the Internet Society and GCA have been collaborating around MANRS since 2021 with excellent results. GCA conducted a survey of network operators to learn more about the state of routing security implementation, the level of concern within network operations and business decision-making, and plans for next steps.
The Internet Society is dedicated to improving routing security and ensuring the best future for MANRS. Over the next five years, the Internet Society will focus on funding and support through training and global advocacy activities, while GCA will provide the secretariat function and operate the MANRS Observatory. GCA is uniquely placed to lead the next evolution of MANRS as its focus on building communities to collectively drive action towards addressing cybersecurity challenges at scale allows it to step into this role and provide the best future home for the operational growth MANRS is experiencing.
GCA is committed to maintaining the vision of MANRS and continuing to expand its global impact. With this partnership, MANRS will continue to achieve greater heights and be further established as the globally recognized benchmark for global routing security.
“At a time when proposals for the “complete solution” for routing security outstripped operational feasibility, MANRS sparked a movement by focusing on what operators agreed could be done to improve the state of routing security. It has been inspiring to watch that movement grow in size and scope of routing security practices, through industry collaboration and the Internet Society’s stewardship. I’m excited for GCA to take on the task of supporting the MANRS project, because fostering that kind of collaboration in a sustainable framework is at the heart of all the work we are doing with cybersecurity issues in the Internet names, numbers and routing space. Doing it in partnership with the Internet Society, with its complementary focus on advocacy and outreach, will bring the best of all futures for MANRS.” – Leslie Daigle, Chief Technical Officer & Internet Integrity Program Director, Global Cyber Alliance.
The partnership builds on the strengths of both organizations—GCA’s global footprint of mobilizing communities towards collective action to deliver a secure, trustworthy Internet that enables social and economic progress for all, and the Internet Society’s training and advocacy expertise. Together, the Internet Society and GCA are committed to maintaining and expanding the vision of MANRS to continue to increase the awareness and uptake of MANRS principles and improve the Internet’s functional integrity.
“We are fully confident that MANRS will continue to be a thriving community. We look forward to GCA’s stewardship of the program and ISOC’s continued support of the community’s efforts. What does not change in this transition is our commitment to the current and future MANRS participants, to ensure that the program continues to grow and remain relevant,” the MANRS Steering Committee stated. [Read full statement below (*)]
Everyone who runs a network has a responsibility to ensure a globally robust and secure routing infrastructure. Your network’s safety depends on a routing infrastructure that stops bad actors and mitigates accidental misconfigurations that wreak havoc on the Internet. The more network operators work together, the fewer incidents there will be, and the less damage they can do.
(*) Full statement from the Steering Committee
“The Internet Society has announced the transition of the MANRS secretariat function to the Global Cyber Alliance. The MANRS Steering Committee has discussed this transition and has met with both the Internet Society and GCA to discuss how and why this transition is taking place. We are fully confident that the MANRS will continue to be a growing, thriving community dedicated to the reliable operation of the Internet’s core routing function. We look forward to GCA’s stewardship of the program and the Internet Society’s continued support of the community’s efforts. MANRS is nearly a decade-long effort, and the Internet Society has been running the program since its inception. MANRS has grown to encompass almost a thousand network operators and has expanded to include cloud providers and Internet Exchange operators. This growth would not have been possible without the engagement of ISOC and the tireless efforts of the individuals who made and continue to make this a great community. The Steering Committee thanks all involved for their effort. What does not change in this transition is our commitment to you, the current and future MANRS participants, to ensure that the program continues to grow and remain relevant. We remain open to your feedback and encourage you to participate in the community.” – Warrick Mitchell, Chair.
The authors, Leslie Daigle, CTO & Internet Integrity Program Director at GCA, and Andrei Robachevsky, one of the original organizers of MANRS.