Feeds

Serious TCP/IP vuln exposed

But don't panic

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The UK's National Infrastructure Security Co-ordination Centre yesterday reported a fundamental flaw with the core Internet protocol - TCP/IP - which creates a mechanism for hackers to crash vulnerable routers and severely disrupt Internet traffic. The problem stems from the fact that it's far easier to reset TCP/IP sessions using spoofed packets than previously thought.

Routers running Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) are most severely affected by the vulnerability because the protocol relies on a persistent TCP session between BGP peers. These sessions, though easily restarted, could be disrupted as a result of the flaw. Other application protocols such as DNS (Domain Name System) and SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) are potentially vulnerable but to a lesser extent than BGP.

The vulnerability is serious but early predictions of doom are somewhat wide of the mark. Various workarounds exist and vendors like Cisco are rushing out fixes. Also, the attack does not directly compromise data integrity or confidentiality. The worst aspect of the problem is that a huge range of networking kit (firewalls, switches, and routers) from multiple vendors need attention.

The National Infrastructure Security Co-ordination Centre advisory on the vulnerability follows months of behind-the-scenes work on the issue. Security researcher Paul A. Watson is credited with mathematical analysis that first highlighted the potential problem, as explained by US-CERT here. ®

Related stories

MS score card: four patches, 20 vulns, heaps of trouble
Blaster worm spreading rapidly
UK.gov aims to demystify security for SMEs

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.