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Re: GSoC 2011 - IPv6 idea
From: David Fifield <david () bamsoftware com>
Date: Thu, 7 Apr 2011 16:09:04 -0700

On Wed, Apr 06, 2011 at 10:46:58PM +0200, Linh Vu Hong wrote:
Currently I was busy with my study at my school so I did not follow up
with the conversation. I attached my proposal for the project of
adding IPv6 OS detection feature. Please take a look and give me some
Best regards,


I would like to work on the project of adding IPv6 features to Nmap,
especially in the OS detection feature. Based on researching the
related literatures and suggestion from David Fifield, the OS
detection or OS fingerprinting mainly based on the difference in the
implementation of the IP/TCP stack of the vendors. This action of
fingerprinting can be active or passive. According to the report of
Frederic Beck[1], the passive fingerprinting is not effective.

I wouldn't assume that passive IPv6 fingerprinting is not effective. I
haven't seen convincing research either way. But for Nmap, yes, we are
thinking of an active scanner.

Therefore, in this project, we will focus on the active
fingerprinting. The expected timeline for the project is following:
      - Continue to research literatures including the related RFC
      standards, implementing and checking if existing IPv4 tests can
      be used in IPv6. Furthermore, check the effectiveness of various
      tests for IPv6 proposed in [1][2] and the mapping approach of
      SinFP[3] (3 weeks)

Yes, that's a good question to answer: Do operating systems in fact
treat IPv4 and IPv6 the same with respect to header fields, or to they
differ in common configurations?

      - Based on the results of stage 1, propose and implement a
      sample test suit for both one-hop and over-internet IPv6 OS
      fingerprinting. Checking the effectiveness of those test suit.
      (2 weeks)
      - From the results of stage 2 and literatures, build a new tests
      for IPv6 probably based on the extension headers and analyze the
      tests. (3 weeks)
      - In parallel, build new test suit and collect the fingerprint
      database. Implement matching algorithm. (2 weeks)
      - Implement and integrate the feature into Nmap. Testing and
      reviewing (2 weeks) 
      For detect different version of one OS, it should be noticed
      that some vendor may implement the IPv6 stack once and port it
      to all of their OSes, make this task become more complex. 

This is a problem we already deal with in IPv4. Just try counting the
number of Windows XP fingerprints in nmap-os-db to see what kind of
variety is possible within one operating system. I think that we'll be
able to make an IPv6 system even more sensitive than the IPv4 system, so
I don't think distinguishing similar OSes will be a problem. But that's
the point--we don't know until we do the measurements.

David Fifield
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