Defending TCP Against Spoofing Attacks, July 2007
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Recent analysis of potential attacks on core Internet infrastructure indicates an increased vulnerability of TCP connections to spurious resets (RSTs), sent with forged IP source addresses (spoofing). TCP has always been susceptible to such RST spoofing attacks, which were indirectly protected by checking that the RST sequence number was inside the current receive window, as well as via the obfuscation of TCP endpoint and port numbers. For pairs of well-known endpoints often over predictable port pairs, such as BGP or between web servers and well-known large-scale caches, increases in the path bandwidth-delay product of a connection have sufficiently increased the receive window space that off-path third parties can brute-force generate a viable RST sequence number. The susceptibility to attack increases with the square of the bandwidth, and thus presents a significant vulnerability for recent high-speed networks. This document addresses this vulnerability, discussing proposed solutions at the transport level and their inherent challenges, as well as existing network level solutions and the feasibility of their deployment. This document focuses on vulnerabilities due to spoofed TCP segments, and includes a discussion of related ICMP spoofing attacks on TCP connections. This memo provides information for the Internet community.
For the definition of Status, see RFC 2026.
For the definition of Stream, see RFC 4844.