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Re: Script force - Named probes
From: Martin Holst Swende <martin () swende se>
Date: Sun, 04 Dec 2011 21:26:56 +0100

On 12/04/2011 12:50 PM, Djalal Harouni wrote:
On Sun, Dec 04, 2011 at 04:00:42AM -0500, Patrick Donnelly wrote:
I've followed the development of this patch and find it very
interesting. I have some concerns:

o --script is used for choosing which scripts may run. I'm concerned
that the purpose will become convoluted because not only is the user
now choosing which scripts are allowed to run, the user is also
choosing which scripts *will* run. I feel like changing the meaning of
--script will only explode with the addition of other useful features
into something terribly difficult to manage and, most importantly,
difficult to explain to users.
For users:
The advantage of using '--script' is that users do not have to specify
the script name in '--script' and '--script-args', but yes '--script'
can explode with the addition of new features.
I think this is important. Adding a + sign is tremendously powerful and
simple. I don't think
the complexity regarding what is forced and what is not goes away if we
do it the more
difficult way - on the contrary.

For developers:
Yes I must admit that if we let the code in this form and add other
features it will be hard to manage. In my opinion this patche is
not ready to be committed, we can improve it by using something like
I'm not sure I follow. I actually think it just needs some more tuning
and maybe some
more error messages.

o I'm worried about problems arising from the portrule being "skipped"
and the action function missing data set in the portrule. For example,
dns-zone-transfer.nse sets a few values in the portrule which would
not exist if the script were forced to run against an abnormal port.
The rules should not be skipped (and they are not), we just ignore the
returned results if the force flag is set. I assume when you force a
script to run you know what you are doing!
This is an option for folks who know what they are doing.

But yes from another point of view ignoring the returned results is not
really optimal.

Further, a script can't know it's being forced (with the current
patch) to run.
I thought of this too, but do the scripts really need to know that they
are beeing forced ?
Is that a bad thing? Why should the script second-guess the commander?
Anyway, theoretically, wouldn't it be possible if it really wanted to?
By saving
it's return-value (or checking the portrule again during the action-phase)?

My position would be that this is better solved by the user with
--script-args and scripts having some abstraction to make forcing
execution simple. In your original use-case, you describe the problem
of having scripts run against services on non-standard ports:

"The primary usecase people seem to have is that they e.g. do a
configuration review of a lot of ms-sql servers, say you have a list of
20 servers where the database is located on an uncomon port. They don't
want to have to do -sV --version-all just to run a script, since they
already know what's on the port.

I myself was recently stung by this when testing the new hadoop-*
scripts [1]. If I were to write a solution using the current system, I
would probably change the shortport "port_or_service" function to
allow the user to say "this port is running this service". A user
might say --script-args "services.ms-sql-s = {23,24}" where 23 and 24
are the non-standard ports. Scripts which then do:

portrule = shortport.port_or_service({standard_ports}, {"ms-sql-s"},
"tcp", "open");

would still run. The shortport function would take into account the
--script-arg and understand that the ms-sql-s service is running on
the port(s) 23 and 24 even though version checking wasn't done.
I think this is connected to Patrik suggestion about named probes [1]
or a replacement for it where --script-args "services.*" will set the
service manually.

(1) Patrik's named probe example:
./nmap -sV -p 1433-1500,1521-1600 --probes ms-sql-s,oracle-tns --script oracle-brute,ms-sql-brute

(2) Patrick's --script-args example:--script-args "services.ms-sql-s = {1433,1434}"
Yes, this would also solve the problem. These three have been discussed
as solutions :
1) Named probes. Heavily wished, not implemented.
2) Postulated services: User tells nmap that port 23 is ms-sql-s.
3) Forced scripts

I'd happily go with 1), but noone has created the patch for that. As for
2), well, I could live with that also. There's
some complexity down that path aswell though; for example, the user
would have to look up the portrule for the script he wanted to run in
order to figure out
what service name to use.

As a specific example for my problem with the hadoop scripts [2]. I
would see running the following command instead:

nmap --script hadoop-* --script-arg
namenode.hadoop.example.edu disc1.hadoop.example.edu ...

What's nice about this design is that if the port is closed, the
shortport won't blindly run the script anyway against the port. The
script-arg would essentially be manually setting the service for each
port. The shortport function would ignore the version for the port and
instead use the service -> port mapping given in the script-arg. On
the other hand, if the user doesn't know which ports the services are
running on, the user would be out of luck. But isn't that why we have
version scanning?
Yes, there is also *targeted* version scanning Patrik's proposition, and
services will be set *automatically*.

I'll try to get back to this thread, thanks Patrick.
Yes, I can see som benefit to that approach, since you could more easily
cover several different ports in the case that a service, such as
hadoop, is spread out across several services/ports. Named probes could
also achieve that though if it took a list of probe names as input.

This solution I propose is indeed more complicated and gives more work
to the user. There is a good side and bad side to that argument.
Something to think about...
[1] http://seclists.org/nmap-dev/2011/q1/605

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