NetBSD Can Be Crashed By Remote Users Sending Bogus Fragmented IP Packets
SecurityTracker Alert ID: 1001648|
SecurityTracker URL: http://securitytracker.com/id/1001648
(Links to External Site)
Date: May 30 2001
Denial of service via network|
Fix Available: Yes Vendor Confirmed: Yes |
Version(s): NetBSD 1.4, 1.5, -current|
A vulnerability was reported in the NetBSD operating system that may allow remote users to cause the operating system to crash by sending a large amount of bogus fragmented IP packets to the server.|
The vulnerability is due to no limitation in the number of packet reassembly queues. The code to reassemble IPv4 packets (sys/netinet/ip_input.c) will queue packets to be reassembled for 30 seconds to allow fragmented datagrams to be reassembled. Because of the lack of an upper limit in the number of reassembly queues, a remote user that can transmit a large amount of bogus fragmented packets (with different IPv4 identification field - ip_id) may, in some cases, cause the target host to enter an mbuf starvation state.
It is reported that, for this vulnerability to be triggered, the remote user must have high bandwidth connectivity to the target host.
A remote user could cause the host to crash or effectively stop processing.|
The vendor has released fixed versions [NetBSD-current: April 17, 2001 (1.5U); NetBSD-1.5 branch: April 24, 2001 (1.5.1 will include the fix); NetBSD-1.4 branch: (not yet available)]. The fixed versions include a new sysctl(3) - net.inet.ip.maxfragpackets. This allows users to configure an upper limit to the number of reassembly queues, if desired.|
Vendor URL: www.netbsd.org/ (Links to External Site)
|Underlying OS: UNIX (NetBSD)|
Source Message Contents
Subject: NetBSD Security Advisory 2001-006: Denial of service using bogus fragmented IPv4 packets|
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NetBSD Security Advisory 2001-006
Topic: Denial of service using bogus fragmented IPv4 packets
Version: NetBSD 1.4, 1.5, -current
Severity: Network-connected systems can be crashed remotely
Fixed: NetBSD-current: April 17, 2001 (1.5U)
NetBSD-1.5 branch: April 24, 2001 (1.5.1 will include the fix)
NetBSD-1.4 branch: (not yet available)
Malicious parties may be able to prevent a NetBSD node from
communicating with other nodes by transmitting a lot of bogus
fragmented IPv4 packets.
For the attack to be effective, the attacker needs to have good
network connectivity to the victim node (like logged onto the victim
machine itself, connected by a fat LAN, or whatever).
There are exploits for this problem available on the Internet.
However, the attack is timing dependent and the attack is not
In the IPv4 input path (sys/netinet/ip_input.c), there's code to
reassemble fragmented IPv4 datagrams. Datagram fragments destined to
the node will be queued for 30 seconds, to allow fragmented datagrams to
Until recently, there was no upper limit in the number of reassembly
queues. Therefore, a malicious party may be able to transmit a
lot of bogus fragmented packets (with different IPv4 identification
field - ip_id), and may be able to put the target machine into mbuf
Recently we introduced a new sysctl(3) - net.inet.ip.maxfragpackets.
With this, you can configure an upper limit to the number of reassembly
queues. If you want the old behavior (no limit), you can set the
value to a negative value.
Solutions and Workarounds
(1) Upgrade the system from newer sources or binaries:
Compile and install a kernel which has the sysctl(3) variable
net.inet.ip.maxfragpackets in the sysctl MIB. With this
variable, you can limit the number of IPv4 fragment reassembly
queues kept on the system. The value needs to be picked
carefully, considering the role of the node (i.e. if the
node is a busy web server, you may want to set the value
higher). Note that, however, even with the configuration
knob, it is possible for attackers to transmit a lot of
bogus IPv4 fragmented packets, and prevent other fragmented
IPv4 traffic from getting reassembled. Unfragmented IPv4
communication will be kept safe by the variable.
Systems running NetBSD-current dated from before April 17,
2001 should be upgraded to NetBSD-current dated April 17,
2001 or later.
Systems running NetBSD 1.5.x systems dated from before
April 24, 2001 should be upgraded to NetBSD 1.5.x dated
April 24, 2001 or later.
NetBSD 1.5.1 will ship with the fix.
There is no fix to 1.4.x available at this time.
(2) Increase the kernel option NMBCLUSTERS
Use an appropriate value for NMBCLUSTERS for the node.
Normally, it is the cluster mbufs which go into a starvation
state with this attack. By setting NMBCLUSTERS to a higher
value, you may be able to prevent the mbuf memory pool from
Note that a couple of NetBSD device drivers pre-allocate
cluster mbufs within the driver, for performance reasons
and DMA management reasons. For example, the fxp driver
pre-allocates 64 cluster mbufs per interface. If you
are using such network cards, you will want to raise
NMBCLUSTERS even more.
James Thomas for bringing this problem to our attention, and
Jun-ichiro Hagino for providing a fix for the problem.
2001-05-29 - Initial Release
An up-to-date PGP signed copy of this release will be maintained at
Information about NetBSD and NetBSD security can be found at
http://www.NetBSD.ORG/ and http://www.NetBSD.ORG/Security/.
Copyright 2001, The NetBSD Foundation, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
$NetBSD: NetBSD-SA2001-006.txt,v 1.7 2001/05/29 05:58:41 lukem Exp $
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