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Versions: 00 01 02 draft-ietf-tsvwg-port-randomization

tsvwg                                                          M. Larsen
Internet-Draft                                                  Ericsson
Intended status: Standards Track                                 F. Gont
Expires: May 12, 2007                                            UTN/FRH
                                                        November 8, 2006


                           Port Randomization
                draft-larsen-tsvwg-port-randomization-00

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Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2006).













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Abstract

   Recently, awareness has been raised about a number of "blind" attacks
   that can be performed against the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)
   and similar protocols.  The consequences of these attacks range from
   throughput-reduction to broken connections or corrupted data.  These
   attacks rely on the attacker's ability to guess or know the four-
   tuple (Source Address, Destination Address, Source port, Destination
   Port) that identifies the transport protocol instance to be attacked.
   This document describes a simple and efficient method for random
   selection of the client port number, such that the possibility of an
   attacker guessing the exact value is reduced.  While this is not a
   replacement for cryptographic methods, the described port number
   randomization algorithms provide improved security/obfuscation with
   very little effort and without any key management overhead.


Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
   2.  Randomizing Ports  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
     2.1.  Ephemeral Port Range . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
     2.2.  Choosing the Port  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
     2.3.  Secret Key . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
     2.4.  Choosing Algorithm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
   3.  Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9
   4.  Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
   5.  References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
     5.1.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
     5.2.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
   Appendix A.  Changes from previous versions of the draft . . . . . 13
     A.1.  Changes from draft-larsen-tsvwg-port-randomisation-00  . . 13
   Authors' Addresses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
   Intellectual Property and Copyright Statements . . . . . . . . . . 15

















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1.  Introduction

   Recently, awareness has been raised about a number of "blind" attacks
   that can be performed against the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)
   [RFC0793] and similar protocols.  The consequences of these attacks
   range from throughput-reduction to broken connections or corrupted
   data [I-D.ietf-tcpm-icmp-attacks] [I-D.ietf-tcpm-tcp-antispoof]
   [Watson].

   All these attacks rely on the attacker's ability to guess or know the
   four-tuple (Source Address, Source port, Destination Address,
   Destination Port) that identifies the transport protocol instance to
   be attacked.

   Services are usually located at fixed, 'well-known' ports [IANA] at
   the host supplying the service (the server).  Client applications
   connecting to any such service will contact the server by specifying
   the server IP address and service port number.  The IP address and
   port number of the client are normally left unspecified by the client
   application and thus chosen automatically by the client networking
   stack.  Ports chosen automatically by the networking stack are known
   as ephemeral ports [Stevens].

   While the server IP address and the well-known port and client IP
   address may be available to the attacker, the ephemeral port of the
   client is usually unknown and must be guessed.

   This document describes a method for random selection of the client
   ephemeral port, thereby reducing the possibility of an off-path
   attacker guessing the exact value.  This is not a replacement for
   cryptographic methods such as IPsec [RFC4301] or the TCP MD5
   signature option [RFC2385].  However, the proposed algorithm provides
   improved obfuscation with very little effort and without any key
   management overhead.

   The mechanism described is a local modification that may be
   incrementally deployed, and does not violate the specifications of
   any of the transport protocols that may benefit from it [RFC0793]
   [RFC0768] [RFC2960] [RFC4340].

   Since the mechanism is an obfuscation technique, focus has been on a
   reasonable compromise between level of obfuscation and ease of
   implementation.  Thus the algorithm must be computationally
   efficient, and not require substantial data structures.







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2.  Randomizing Ports

2.1.  Ephemeral Port Range

   The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) assigns the unique
   parameters and values used in protocols developed by the Internet
   Engineering Task Force (IETF), including well-known ports [IANA].
   IANA has traditionally reserved the following use of the 16-bit port
   range of TCP and UDP:

   o  The Well Known Ports, 0 through 1023.

   o  The Registered Ports, 1024 through 49151

   o  The Dynamic and/or Private Ports, 49152 through 65535

   The range for assigned ports managed by the IANA is 0-1023, with the
   remainder being registered by IANA but not assigned.

   The ephemeral port range traditionally includes the 49152-65535
   range, and should also include the 1024-49151 range.  Since this
   range includes user-specific server ports this may not always be
   possible.  However, transport protocols SHOULD use the largest
   possible range, since this improves the obfuscation provided by
   randomizing the ephemeral ports.

2.2.  Choosing the Port

   Transport protocols SHOULD randimize the ephemeral ports they use.

   Choosing a random port can, if a suitable random source is available,
   be implemented as a simple random selection, i.e.:


       port = min_ephemeral + random() % (max_ephemeral - min_ephemeral)

                                 Figure 1

   Several well-know operating systems use this approach.

   However, since the resulting connection four-tuple must be unique,
   the chosen port may already be in use with identical IP addresses and
   server port, and thus the resulting four-tuple might not be unique.
   Consequently multiple ports may have to be tried and verified against
   all existing connections before a port can be chosen.

   Although carefully chosen random sources and optimized four-tuple
   lookup mechanisms (e.g., optimized through hashing), will mitigate



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   the cost of this verification, some systems may still not want to
   incur this unknown search time.

   Systems that may be specially susceptible to this kind of repeated
   four-tuple collisions are those that create many connections from a
   single local IP address to a single service (i.e. both IP addresses
   and server port are fixed).  Gateways such as proxy servers are an
   example of such a system.

   Finding ports that result in a unique four-tuple are handled by some
   operating systems by having a global 'next ephemeral port' variable
   that is equal to the previously chosen ephemeral port + 1, i.e. the
   selection process is:


       next_ephemeral_port = 1024;  /*initialization, could be random */

       do {
           port = next_ephemeral_port;
           if (next_ephemeral_port == max_ephemeral_port) {
               next_ephemeral_port = min_ephemeral_port;
           } else {
               next_ephemeral_port++;
           }
       } until (four-tuple is unique);

                                 Figure 2

   We will refer to this as 'Algorithm 1'.  Note that the loop
   prevention mechanism has been left out for clarity.

   This works well, since the number of connections (globally, across
   all four-tuples) that has a life-time longer than it takes to exhaust
   the total ephemeral port range is small, thus four-tuple collisions
   are rare.

   However, this method has the drawback, that the 'next_ephemeral_port'
   variable and thus the ephemeral port range is shared between all
   connections and it is easy to predict the next ports chosen by the
   client.  If an attacker operates an "innocent" server to which the
   client connects, it is easy to obtain a reference point for the
   current value of 'next_ephemeral_port'.

   Ideally, we would like a 'next_ephemeral_port' value for each set of
   (local IP address, remote IP addresses, remote port).  These should
   be initialized with random values within the ephemeral port range and
   would thus separate the ephemeral port ranges of the connections
   entirely.  Since we do not want to store all these



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   'next_ephemeral_port' values, we propose an offset function F(), that
   can be computed from the local IP address, remote IP address, remote
   port and a secret key.  F() will yield (practically) different values
   for each set of arguments, i.e.:


       next_ephemeral_port = 1024;  /*initialization, could be random */

       offset = F(local_IP, remote_IP, remote_port, secret_key);
       do {
           port = min_ephemeral +
                  (next_ephemeral_port + offset)
                      % (max_ephemeral - min_ephemeral);
           next_ephemeral_port++;
       } until (four-tuple is unique);

                                 Figure 3

   We will refer to this as 'Algorithm 2'.  Note that the loop
   prevention mechanism has been left out for clarity.

   In other words, the function F() provides a per-connection fixed
   offset of the global ephemeral port range controlled by
   'next_ephemeral_port'.  Both the 'offset' and 'next_ephemeral_port'
   variables may take any value within the storage type range since we
   are restricting the resulting port similar to that shown in Figure 1.
   This allows us to simply increment the 'next_ephemeral_port' variable
   and rely on the unsigned integer to simply wrap-around.

   The function F() should be a cryptographic hash function like MD5
   [RFC1321].  The function should use both IP addresses, the remote
   port and a secret key value to compute the offset.  The remote IP
   address is the primary separator and must be included in the offset
   calculation.  The local IP address and remote port may in some cases
   be constant and not improve the connection separation, however, they
   should also be included in the offset calculation.

   Cryptographic algorithms stronger than e.g.  MD5 should not be
   necessary, given that port randomization is simply an obfuscation
   technique.  The secret should be chosen as random as possible, see
   [RFC1750] for recommendations on choosing secrets.

   Note that on multiuser systems, the function F() could include user
   specific information, thereby providing protection not only on a host
   to host basis, but on a user to service basis.






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2.3.  Secret Key

   Every complex manipulation (like MD5) is no more secure than the
   input values, and in the case of ephemeral ports, the secret key.  If
   an attacker is aware of which cryptographic hash function is being
   used by the victim (which we should expect), and the attacker can
   obtain enough material (e.g. ephemeral ports chosen by the victim),
   the attacker may simply search the entire secret key space to find
   matches.

   To protect against this, the secret key should be of a reasonable
   length.  Key-lengths of 32-bits should be adequate, since a 32-bit
   secret would result in approximately 65k possible secrets if the
   attacker is able to obtain a single ephemeral port (assuming a good
   hash function).  If the attacker is able to obtain more ephemeral
   ports, key-lengths of 64-bits or more should be used.

   Another possible mechanism for protecting the secret key is to change
   it after some time.  If the host platform is capable of producing
   reasonable good random data, the secret key can be changed.

   Changing the secret will cause abrupt shifts in the chosen ephemeral
   ports, and consequently collisions may occur.  Thus the change in
   secret key should be done with consideration and could be performed
   whenever one of the following events occur:

   o  Some predefined/random time has expired.

   o  The secret has been used N times (i.e. we consider it insecure).

   o  There are few active connections (i.e., possibility of collision
      is low).

   o  There is little traffic (the performance overhead of collisions is
      tolerated).

   o  There is enough random data available to change the secret key
      (pseudo-random changes should not be done).

2.4.  Choosing Algorithm

   Algorithm 1 has the advantage that it provides complete
   randomization, but may not scale well with many simultaneous
   connections.  Algorithm 2 provides complete separation in local and
   remote IP addresses and remote port space, and only limited
   separation in other dimensions (See Section Section 2.3), however,
   this algorithm scales well.




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   Thus Algorithm 1 should be used when the cost of choosing an
   ephemeral port is not important, or when the ratio of used ports to
   available ports is low (for a given local IP address, remote IP
   address, and remote port).  A switch to algorithm 2 should happen if
   the cost of choosing an ephemeral port is important and when the
   ratio between used ports and available ports increase.

   Note that when the ratio between used ports and available ports
   increase, the obfuscation resulting from port randomization decreases
   and has no effect when the entire port space is in use.

   The ratio at which to switch between algorithms depends on the cost
   of the four-tuple uniqueness test.  Systems capable of handling many
   simultaneous connections normally have an efficient PCB-lookup.
   However, verifying a four-tuple for uniqueness requires a lookup
   against all existing connections, even unconnected (but bound).
   Additionally, for some protocols (e.g., TCP) options exist that allow
   reuse of port numbers, making the detection even more complex than a
   PCB-lookup.  The cost of a four-tuple verification may easily be many
   times that of a single PCB lookup.

   While the ratio is very implementation-dependent and calculating the
   exact ratio may be difficult without using additional resources, an
   appropriate ratio can be estimated and used for an algorithm switch.
   E.g. if the ephemeral port range contains N possible ports, the
   switch to algorithm 2 may happen when the total number of connections
   reaches N/2.
























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3.  Security Considerations

   Randomizing ports is no replacement for cryptographic mechanisms,
   such as IPsec [RFC4301].

   An eavesdropper, which can monitor the packets that correspond to the
   connection to be attacked could learn the IP addresses and port
   numbers in use (and also sequence numbers etc.) and easily attack the
   connection.  Randomizing ports does not provide any additional
   protection against this kind of attacks.  In such situations, proper
   authentication mechanisms such as those described in [RFC4301] should
   be used.

   If the local offset function F() results in identical offsets for
   different inputs, the port-offset mechanism proposed in this document
   has no or reduced effect.

   If random numbers are used as the only source of the secret key, they
   must be chosen in accordance with the recommendations given in
   [RFC1750].

   If all ports available in the ephemeral port range are in use,
   randomization provides no obfuscation.

   If an attacker uses dynamically assigned IP addresses, the current
   ephemeral port offset (Algorithm 2) for a given four-tuple can be
   sampled and subsequently be used to attack an innocent peer reusing
   this address.  However, this is only possible until a re-keying
   happens as described above.  Also, since ephemeral ports are only
   used on the client side (e.g. the one initiating the connection),
   both the attacker and the new peer need to act as servers in the
   scenario just described.  While servers using dynamic IP addresses
   exist, they are not very common and with an appropriate re-keying
   mechanism the effect of this attack is limited.

















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4.  Acknowledgements

   The offset function was inspired by the mechanism proposed by Steven
   Bellovin in [RFC1948] for defending against TCP sequence number
   attacks.














































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5.  References

5.1.  Normative References

   [RFC0793]  Postel, J., "Transmission Control Protocol", STD 7,
              RFC 793, September 1981.

   [RFC0768]  Postel, J., "User Datagram Protocol", STD 6, RFC 768,
              August 1980.

   [RFC1321]  Rivest, R., "The MD5 Message-Digest Algorithm", RFC 1321,
              April 1992.

   [RFC1750]  Eastlake, D., Crocker, S., and J. Schiller, "Randomness
              Recommendations for Security", RFC 1750, December 1994.

   [RFC1948]  Bellovin, S., "Defending Against Sequence Number Attacks",
              RFC 1948, May 1996.

   [RFC2385]  Heffernan, A., "Protection of BGP Sessions via the TCP MD5
              Signature Option", RFC 2385, August 1998.

   [RFC4301]  Kent, S. and K. Seo, "Security Architecture for the
              Internet Protocol", RFC 4301, December 2005.

   [RFC2960]  Stewart, R., Xie, Q., Morneault, K., Sharp, C.,
              Schwarzbauer, H., Taylor, T., Rytina, I., Kalla, M.,
              Zhang, L., and V. Paxson, "Stream Control Transmission
              Protocol", RFC 2960, October 2000.

   [RFC4340]  Kohler, E., Handley, M., and S. Floyd, "Datagram
              Congestion Control Protocol (DCCP)", RFC 4340, March 2006.

5.2.  Informative References

   [Watson]   Watson, P., "Slipping in the Window: TCP Reset attacks",
              december 2003.

   [IANA]     "IANA Port Numbers",
              <http://www.iana.org/assignments/port-numbers>.

   [Stevens]  Stevens, W., "Unix Network Programming, Volume 1:
              Networking APIs: Socket and XTI,  Prentice Hall", 1998.

   [I-D.ietf-tcpm-tcp-antispoof]
              Touch, J., "Defending TCP Against Spoofing Attacks",
              draft-ietf-tcpm-tcp-antispoof-05 (work in progress),
              October 2006.



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   [I-D.ietf-tcpm-icmp-attacks]
              Gont, F., "ICMP attacks against TCP",
              draft-ietf-tcpm-icmp-attacks-01 (work in progress),
              October 2006.















































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Appendix A.  Changes from previous versions of the draft

A.1.  Changes from draft-larsen-tsvwg-port-randomisation-00

   o  Document resubmitted after original document by M. Larsen expired
      in 2004

   o  References were included to current WG documents of the TCPM WG

   o  The document was made more general, to apply to all transport
      protocols

   o  Miscellaneous editorial changes






































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Authors' Addresses

   Michael Vittrup Larsen
   Ericsson
   Skanderborgvej 232
   Aarhus  DK-8260
   Denmark

   Phone: +45 8938 5100
   Email: michael.vittrup.larsen@ericsson.com


   Fernando Gont
   Universidad Tecnologica Nacional / Facultad Regional Haedo
   Evaristo Carriego 2644
   Haedo, Provincia de Buenos Aires  1706
   Argentina

   Phone: +54 11 4650 8472
   Email: fernando@gont.com.ar































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