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Re: NAT external/Public IP
From: PCSC Information Services <info () pcsage biz>
Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2007 13:56:31 -0500

Hi Craig,

I agree totally, it is shocking to find that there isn't better routing control at the highest levels, and as such I can see how NAT addresses in no way are inherently more secure than public addresses with this in mind. It then falls to the configuration of each system that is exposed to the public network as has already been mentioned.

In an ideal world we would see RFCs maintained network wide and our internetworking could be that much more secure. Education and cooperation are key to success in that effort, however the transition to v6 will make much of this discussion moot shortly (?)


Sean Swayze

On 5-Nov-07, at 1:37 PM, Craig Wright wrote:

It is stated that, "the main contention is that private addresses are
generally not considered routable on the public internet. I wouldn't hazard that the RFC is always strictly followed as there have been cases where I've seen
private addresses being used (routed across a public interface)"

The issues is Should Not be Routed. First, they will not be blocked as a source on most routers, Next, it is amazing how often they are routed. I remember working for an ISP a long while back that was threatened to be disconnected from the Internet if they did not stop routing the 10.x range in their BGP tables (and this was an International ISP).

Further, finding source route paths over the Internet is not difficult. Thus it is possible to route "private" address ranges.

Craig Wright GSE-Compliance

Craig Wright
Manager of Information Systems

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From: listbounce () securityfocus com on behalf of PCSC Information Services
Sent: Tue 6/11/2007 1:11 AM
To: Ansgar -59cobalt- Wiechers
Cc: security-basics () securityfocus com
Subject: Re: NAT external/Public IP

On 30-Oct-07, at 5:32 PM, Ansgar -59cobalt- Wiechers wrote:

On 2007-10-30 Security Incidents wrote:
On 30 October 2007 07:04 PM Ansgar -59cobalt- Wiechers wrote:
On 2007-10-30 Grant Donald wrote:
With PAT private IP addresses are hidden from the outside world.
This basically makes the job of hacking into a system more
difficult, because the original host's IP address and source port

This is mere obscurity. It doesn't make a host any more or less
secure than it already is. Like I said before: either a host is
secure, then it doesn't matter if an attacker knows the address, or
it isn't secure, then you're "security" is based on the hope that an
attacker won't discover the host.

Depending on firewall capabilities (or lack of capabilities) ports
may need to be opened inbound for certain applications to work
(e.g.. ident & pptp). A horizontal scan of such a network could
produce a wealth of knowledge, if that network does not support
address translation.

Ummm... wot? Why would you want to allow any inbound connections
your LAN? And how would an attacker be able to scan your network
the outside? For some obscure reason you seem to assume that using
public IP addresses in your LAN means that the firewall at the
perimeter magically allows access from WAN to LAN. This assumption

Why not Security by Design plus Security by Obscurity?

Because when you have security you don't need obscurity. It will only
add to the system's complexity, which in turn may even *reduce*
(due to increased risk of misconfiguration and such).

If the additional obscurity does not compromise the design, in any
way, then we may in-fact end up with better security.

No, because it's not reliable, and it doesn't add to security in the
first place.

Do you claim that you can make a host "secure"?

That depends on what you mean by "make a host secure". I do claim that I'm able to identify security risks for a host, and define measures to
mitigate those risks in a reliable manner.

However, we're getting off the subject. I'm still waiting for
someone to
explain how public addresses are any less secure than private
To repeat myself: using public addresses for hosts in your LAN does
*not* mean that those hosts automatically are publicly accessible.

Ansgar, I think that the main contention is that private addresses are
not considered routable on the public internet. I wouldn't hazard that
the RFC
is always strictly followed as there have been cases where I've seen
addresses being used (routed across a public interface)

Obscurity can also have two meanings, and I think that one can have
without complexity (although I'd also agree that in many (most?) cases
that this
isn't the defacto standard) You'll find that to obscure something may
just mean
not reveal... which you'll agree can increase the complexity of
requirements for
successful attacks and exploits. If you don't know what you're looking
for because
it's been obscured, then you have increased the big O complexity in a

It's true that obscurity in no way means security, and it would be
dangerous to
carry on with that line of thinking for day to day operations. It
might be better to
consider obscuring something as a 'nuance' to an already well
considered defense
in depth security model.


Sean Swayze

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

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