Network Security Vulnerabilities: the Root Causes
Sometime last autumn, I was asked to create a short “network security challenges” presentation. Eventually, I turned it into a webinar, resulting in almost four hours of content describing the interesting gotchas I encountered in the past (plus a few recent vulnerabilities like turning WiFi into a thick yellow cable).
Each webinar section started with a short “This is why we have to deal with these stupidities” introduction. You’ll find all of them collected in the Root Causes video starting the Network Security Fallacies part of the How Networks Really Work webinar.
Why Is Source Address Validation Still a Problem?
I mentioned IP source address validation (SAV) as one of the MANRS-recommended actions in the Internet Routing Security webinar but did not go into any details (as the webinar deals with routing security, not data-plane security)… but I stumbled upon a wonderful companion article published by RIPE Labs: Why Is Source Address Validation Still a Problem?.
The article goes through the basics of SAV, best practices, and (most interesting) using free testing tools to detect non-compliant networks. Definitely worth reading!
Should I Care About RPKI and Internet Routing Security?
One of my subscribers sent me this question:
I’m being asked to enter a working group on RPKI and route origination. I’m doing research, listening to Jeff Tantsura, who seems optimistic about taking steps to improve BGP security vs Geoff Huston, who isn’t as optimistic. Should I recommend to the group that the application security is the better investment?
You need both. RPKI is slowly becoming the baseline of global routing hygiene (like washing hands, only virtual, and done once every blue moon when you get new IP address space or when the certificates expire). More and more Internet Service Providers (including many tier-1 providers) filter RPKI invalids thus preventing the worst cases of unintentional route leaks.
Turning WiFi into a Thick Yellow Cable
The “beauty” (from an attacker perspective) of the original shared-media Ethernet was the ability to see all traffic sent to other hosts. While it’s trivial to steal someone else’s IPv4 address, the ability to see their traffic allowed you to hijack their TCP sessions without the victim being any wiser (apart from the obvious session timeout). Really smart attackers could go a step further, insert themselves into the forwarding path, and inject extra payload into unencrypted sessions.
A recently-discovered WiFi vulnerability brought us back to that wonderful world.
ChatGPT on BGP Routing Security
I wanted to include a few examples of BGP bugs causing widespread disruption in the Network Security Fallacies presentation. I tried to find what happened when someone announced beacon prefixes with unknown optional transitive attributes (which should have been passed without complaints but weren’t) without knowing when it happened or who did it.
Trying to find the answer on Google proved to be a Mission Impossible – regardless of how I structured my query, I got tons of results that seemed relevant to a subset of the search words but nowhere near what I was looking for. Maybe I would get luckier with a tool that’s supposed to have ingested all the world’s knowledge and seems to (according to overexcited claims) understand what it’s talking about.
Advantages of Using Generalized TTL Security Mechanism (GTSM) with EBGP
A few weeks ago I described why EBGP TCP packets have TTL set to one (unless you configured EBGP multihop). Although some people claim that (like NAT) it could be a security feature, it’s not a good one. Generalized TTL Security Mechanism (GTSM, described in RFC 5082) is much better.
Most BGP implementations set TTL field in outgoing EBGP packets to one. That prevents a remote intruder that manages to hijack a host route to an adjacent EBGP peer from forming a BGP session as the TCP replies get lost the moment they hit the first router in the path.
Hiding Malicious Packets Behind LLC SNAP Header
A random tweet1 pointed me to Vulnerability Note VU#855201 that documents four vulnerabilities exploiting a weird combination of LLC and VLAN headers can bypass layer-2 security on most network devices.
The security researcher who found the vulnerability also provided an excellent in-depth description focused on the way operating systems like Linux and Windows handle LLC-encapsulated IP packets. Here’s the CliffNotes version focused more on the hardware switches. Even though I tried to keep it simple, you might want to read the History of Ethernet Encapsulation before moving on.
Video: IPv6 Traffic Filtering Details
Did you like the traffic filtering in the age of IPv6 video by Christopher Werny? Time for part two: IPv6 traffic filtering details.
New Webinar: Internet Routing Security
I’m always in a bit of a bind when I get an invitation to speak at a security conference (after all, I know just enough about security to make a fool of myself), but when the organizers of the DEEP Conference invited me to talk about Internet routing security I simply couldn’t resist – the topic is dear and near to my heart, and I planned to do a related webinar for a very long time.
Even better, that conference would have been my first on-site presentation since the COVID-19 craze started, and I love going to Dalmatia (where the conference is taking place). Alas, it was not meant to be – I came down with high fever just days before the conference and had to cancel the talk.
Video: Traffic Filtering in the Age of IPv6
Christopher Werny covered another interesting IPv6 security topic in the hands-on part of IPv6 security webinar: traffic filtering in the age of dual-stack and IPv6-only networks, including filtering extension headers, filters on Internet uplinks, ICMPv6 filters, and address space filters.
Video: Testing IPv6 RA Guard
After discussing rogue IPv6 RA challenges and the million ways one can circumvent IPv6 RA guard with IPv6 extension headers, Christopher Werny focused on practical aspects of this thorny topic: how can we test IPv6 RA Guard implementations and how good are they?
Video: IPv6 RA Guard and Extension Headers
Last week’s IPv6 security video introduced the rogue IPv6 RA challenges and the usual countermeasure – RA guard. Unfortunately, IPv6 tends to be a wonderfully extensible protocol, creating all sorts of opportunities for nefarious actors and security researchers.
For years, the networking vendors were furiously trying to plug the holes created by the academically minded IPv6 designers in love with fragmented extension headers. In the meantime, security researches had absolutely no problem finding yet another weird combination of IPv6 headers that would bypass any IPv6 RA guard implementation until IETF gave up and admitted one cannot have “infinitely extensible” and “secure” in the same sentence.
For more details watch the video by Christopher Werny describing how one could use IPv6 extension headers to circumvent IPv6 RA guard
Video: Rogue IPv6 RA Challenges
IPv6 security-focused presentations were usually an awesome opportunity to lean back and enjoy another round of whack-a-mole, often starting with an attacker using IPv6 Router Advertisements to divert traffic (see also: getting bored at Brussels airport) .
Rogue IPv6 RA challenges and the corresponding countermeasures are thus a mandatory part of any IPv6 security training, and Christopher Werny did a great job describing them in IPv6 security webinar.
Ethernet Encryptor Market Overview (2022 Edition)
Christoph Jaggi, the author of Ethernet Encryption webinar, published a new version of Ethernet Encryptor Market Overview including:
- Network standards and platforms
- Data plane encryption
- Control plane security
- Key- and system management
- Relevant approvals
- Vendors and products, including detailed feature support matrices.
Video: Practical Aspects of IPv6 Security
Christopher Werny has tons of hands-on experience with IPv6 security (or lack thereof), and described some of his findings in the Practical Aspects of IPv6 Security part of IPv6 security webinar, including:
- Impact of dual-stack networks
- Security implications of IPv6 address planning
- Isolation on routing layer and strict filtering
- IPv6-related requirements for Internet- or MPLS uplinks