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Re: Port-Knocking vulnerabilities?
From: Ansgar -59cobalt- Wiechers <bugtraq () planetcobalt net>
Date: Mon, 31 Dec 2007 21:50:58 +0100

On 2007-12-31 Robert Inder wrote:
On 29/12/2007, Ansgar -59cobalt- Wiechers <bugtraq () planetcobalt net> wrote:
On 2007-12-28 Jay wrote:
Portknocking is a security mechanism as it is a type of
authentication. "Something you know" in this case the sequence of
ports to knock before a unstarted service or daemon begins listening
for connections.

Since everything is transmitted in the clear port-knocking is as much
of a security mechanism as cleartext passwords. Technically: maybe
(depending on your definition). Realistically: no.

I think your dismissal of port knocking (and, indeed, plain text
passwords) is unrealistic.

If you can intercept my interaction with some remote server, you can
steal the relevant secrets (the password or the sequence of ports).

But isn't that quite a substantial "if"?

The substantial "if" is the question if intercepting the transmission
will allow an attacker to learn the secret without having to compromise
either the sender or the receiver of the communication. If an attacker
can do that, then the authentication mechanism is insecure and thus mere
obscurity. Period.

How are you going to do it?  Aren't you going to have to compromise
some other machine, either where I am, or where the server is (or, I
guess, where the relevant DNS records are), and then plant software to
deliberately wait and watch until a relevant interaction takes place?

http://ettercap.sourceforge.net/

There are other attack vectors as well.

I'm not saying that's impossible.  But it would take considerable
knowledge, planning and effort.

Why doesn't that make it a substantial defence against most kinds of
casual attack?

Because "substantial" is the opposite of "casual". A measure that won't
also stop a determined attacker is just obscurity, not security.

Regards
Ansgar Wiechers
-- 
"All vulnerabilities deserve a public fear period prior to patches
becoming available."
--Jason Coombs on Bugtraq


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