Gaston S. Ormazabal, Ph.D.
Distinguished Member, Technical Staff, Verizon Laboratories, White Plains, New York

Gaston Ormazabal is a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff at Verizon Laboratories. He holds a B.A from Harvard University, and M.A., M. Phil., and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University, all in Physics. While at Columbia he conducted research in particle physics at both the Fermi and Brookhaven National Accelerator Laboratories. After graduation, he went to work at Bell Communications Research (Bellcore) where he spent most of his time developing packet switching technology. From Bellcore, he went, as one of the founding members, to NYNEX Science and Technology where he has worked in various projects ranging in areas from speech recognition, video compression, data warehousing and data mining, to Fast Packet, SONET and IP technologies. He has developed a predictive analysis expert systems tool using performance-monitoring data to predict a circuit failure using a modified Markov Model. He is presently responsible for Network Security Systems Integration and Testing, concentrating in areas of VoIP Security Protocols for H.323 and SIP as well as the Management Systems, and has been involved in designing a Security Management Infrastructure for the Next Generation Network (NGN). Plans for the next year include the setting up of a Security Testing Lab in the Verizon Laboratories White Plains facility to perform exploratory research on new security technologies such as, Intrusion Detection Systems, Honeynets (Deception Technologies), Perimeter Protection Technologies and Integrated Attack tools. Most recently, Dr. Ormazabal has conceived a research project on VoIP Security at Columbia University Internet Real-Time Laboratory, in the Department of Computer Science, in which a high scalability SIP aware Application Layer Gateway was developed using a highly distributed hardware platform, along with the testing environment to verify its performance at carrier-class traffic rates; the latter based on his patented design and methodology (US Patents 7,076,393, 7,421,734). Subsequently, the project was expanded to develop a SIP-based denial-of-service detection and mitigation system that is the first of its kind. This research was conducted under the co-direction of Department of Computer Science Chairman, Professor Henning Schulzrinne. Results of this work were recently presented at NANOG-38 and featured in VON Magazine, Global 3G Evolution Forum in Tokyo, Japan, demonstrated at IPTComm 2007, in New York City, and the full paper presented in IPTComm 2008, in Heidelberg, Germany. Dr. Ormazabal was also an invited guest at the "Third International IMS Workshop", at the prestigious Fraunhofer-FOKUS research institute in Berlin, Germany. Verizon has filed for six joint patent applications, the culmination of three years of research by the Columbia-Verizon Research project. This breakthrough security technology is about to be commercialized through licensing agreements with several high technology companies eager to take it to the marketplace. As a former particle physicist, Dr. Ormazabal has recently been also involved investigating cosmic rays as the source of single event upsets (SEU) in router memory chips. Dr. Ormazabal has previously managed other University Research Programs both at Columbia University (Softswitch Technologies) and at the Center for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications (CATT) at Polytechnic Institute of New York University (Intelligent Automation Tools for SS7 Quad Interoperability Testing) where he has been a regular featured speaker at the annual CATT Research Day, most recently on "Post 9/11 Security Strategies". Dr. Ormazabal has also been elected to be a member of the prestigious CATT Advisory Board to help manage a grant from the New York State Office of Science Technology and Advanced Research, to research and develop security technologies. He was the recipient of the "CATT 25th Anniversary Technological Impact Award" for his technical contributions to academic-industry research, in November 2007. Dr. Ormazabal has been a contributor to ANSI standards committees, and is Verizon's representative to the VoIP Security Alliance (VoIPSA); and has twelve patents (some pending) on VoIP and Optical technologies. Dr. Ormazabal has ample experience as an internationally known presenter and lecturer to both highly technical academic audiences as well as Senior Management of technology companies.


This talk presents an overview of a three year Verizon-sponsored research program on VoIP security technologies at Columbia University. The talk presents a newly discovered vulnerability in VoIP, namely the ability to cause Denial of Service both at the signaling level for SIP, as well as the media (RTP) level, and the mitigation strategies developed including novel SIP filtering techniques and dynamic pinhole filtering techniques performing at carrier class scales for the first time. The talk will include a description of the VoIP Security Alliance (VoIPSA) VoIP Threat Model with special emphasis on VoIP based DoS attacks. The second half of the talk will concentrate on a case study of a research prototype solution that attempts to solve the DoS problem in a scalable manner using deep packet inspection and the high-powered testbed and distributed computing-based test tools used to evaluate these DoS protection devices at carrier class rates.