Feeds

Serious TCP/IP vuln exposed

But don't panic

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole
Update your gear now to avoid early attacks hitting the web
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.