Michael Rash, Security Researcher

Wireshark Case Study Published

Wireshark Case Study Published Syngress Publishing has published a case study entitled "Active Response" I wrote for the book Wireshark & Ethereal Network Protocol Analyzer Toolkit (see pages 398-402). This case study explores the usage of Wireshark to examine the structure of TCP RST (reset) packets that are generated by the iptables REJECT target and by the flexresp and flexresp2 Snort detection plugins in response to malicious traffic sent against a webserver. Because each of these mechanisms employs a different strategy for creating the RST packets, it is possible for an attacker to perform some passive fingerprinting in an effort to discover the response mechanism. For example, iptables rules that utilize the REJECT target (see the iptables command below) generate packets from within the Linux kernel and hard code the TTL value at 255 for all kernel versions < 2.6.16.
# iptables -I INPUT 1 -p tcp --dport 80 -m string --string "/etc/passwd" --algo bm -j REJECT --reject-with tcp-reset The REJECT target can only send the RST packet to the source IP that matched the REJECT rule. The flexresp detection plugin can send RST packets to both sides of a TCP connection, always sets the TCP window size to zero, and selects a random TTL value between 64 and 255. The remaining analysis can be found in the book, and provides additional details on characteristics of the RST packets sent by each response mechanism.