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02/05/01, CERT Advisory CA-2001-09
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Subject: CERT Advisory CA-2001-09
From: CERT Advisory <>
Date: Tue, 1 May 2001 19:00:51 -0400 (EDT)
Mail-from: From Wed May 2 08:06:09 2001
Organization: CERT(R) Coordination Center - +1 412-268-7090


CERT Advisory CA-2001-09 Statistical Weaknesses in TCP/IP Initial Sequence

   Original release date: May 01, 2001
   Last revised: --
   Source: CERT/CC

   A complete revision history can be found at the end of this file.

Systems Affected

     * Systems using TCP stacks which have not incorporated RFC1948 or
       equivalent improvements
     * Systems not using cryptographically-secure network protocols like


   Attacks against TCP initial sequence number (ISN) generation have been
   discussed for some time now. The reality of such attacks led to the
   widespread use of pseudo-random number generators (PRNGs) to introduce
   some randomness when producing ISNs used in TCP connections. Previous
   implementation defects in PRNGs led to predictable ISNs despite some
   efforts to obscure them. The defects were fixed and thought sufficient
   to limit a remote attacker's ability to attempt ISN guessing. It has
   long been recognized that the ability to know or predict ISNs can lead
   to manipulation or spoofing of TCP connections. What was not
   previously illustrated was just how predictable one commonly used
   method of partially randomizing new connection ISNs is in some modern
   TCP/IP implementations.

   A new vulnerability has been identified (CERT VU#498440, CVE
   CAN-2001-0328) which is present when using random increments to
   constantly increase TCP ISN values over time. Because of the
   implications of the Central Limit Theorem, adding a series of numbers
   together provides insufficient variance in the range of likely ISN
   values allowing an attacker to disrupt or hijack existing TCP
   connections or spoof future connections against vulnerable TCP/IP
   stack implementations. Systems relying on random increments to make
   ISN numbers harder to guess are still vulnerable to statistical

I. Description

Some History

   In 1985, Bob Morris first identified potential security concerns
   [ref_morris] with the TCP protocol. One of his observations was that
   if a TCP sequence number could be predicted, an attacker could
   "complete" a TCP handshake with a victim server without ever receiving
   any responses from the server. One result of the creation of such a
   "phantom" connection would be to spoof a trusted host on a local

   In 1989, Steve Bellovin [ref_bellovin] observed that the "Morris"
   attack could be adapted to attack client connections by simulating
   unavailable servers and proposed solutions for strengthening TCP ISN
   generators. In 1995, the CERT Coordination Center issued CA-1995-01,
   which first reported the widespread use of such attacks on the
   Internet at large.

   Later in 1995, as part of RFC1948, Bellovin noted:

          The initial sequence numbers are intended to be more or less
          random. More precisely, RFC 793 specifies that the 32-bit
          counter be incremented by 1 in the low-order position about
          every 4 microseconds. Instead, Berkeley-derived kernels
          increment it by a constant every second, and by another
          constant for each new connection. Thus, if you open a
          connection to a machine, you know to a very high degree of
          confidence what sequence number it will use for its next
          connection. And therein lies the attack.

   Also in 1995, work by Laurent Joncheray [ref_joncheray] further
   describes how an attacker could actively hijack a TCP connection. If
   the current sequence number is known exactly and an attacker's TCP
   packet sniffer and generator is located on the network path followed
   by the connection, victim TCP connections could be redirected.

   In his recently published paper on this issue, [ref_newsham] Tim
   Newsham of Guardent, Inc. summarizes the more generalized attack as

          As a result, if a sequence number within the receive window is
          known, an attacker can inject data into the session stream or
          terminate the connection. If the ISN value is known and the
          number of bytes sent already sent is known, an attacker can
          send a simple packet to inject data or kill the session. If
          these values are not known exactly, but an attacker can guess a
          suitable range of values, he can send out a number of packets
          with different sequence numbers in the range until one is
          accepted. The attacker need not send a packet for every
          sequence number, but can send packets with sequence numbers a
          window-size apart. If the appropriate range of sequence numbers
          is covered, one of these packets will be accepted. The total
          number of packets that needs to be sent is then given by the
          range to be covered divided by the fraction of the window size
          that is used as an increment.

   Many TCP/IP implementers turned to incrementing the global tcp_iss
   [TCP Initial Send Sequence number, a.k.a., an ISN] variable using
   pseudo-random variables instead of constants. Unfortunately, the
   randomness of the pseudo-random-number generators (PRNGs) used to
   generate the "random" increments was sometimes lacking (see
   CVE-1999-0077, CVE-2000-0328, CAN-2000-0916, CAN-2001-0288, among
   others). As noted in RFC1750:

          It is important to keep in mind that the requirement is for
          data that an adversary has a very low probability of guessing
          or determining. This will fail if pseudo-random data is used
          which only meets traditional statistical tests for randomness
          or which is based on limited range sources, such as clocks.
          Frequently such random quantities are determinable by an
          adversary searching through an embarrassingly small space of

   Eastlake, Crocker, and Schiller were focused on randomness in
   cryptographic systems, but their observation was equally applicable in
   any system which relies on random number generation for security. It
   has been noted in the past that using such poor PRNGs can lead to
   smaller search spaces and make TCP ISN generators susceptible to
   practical brute-force attacks.

   However, new research demonstrates that the algorithm implemented to
   generate ISN values in many TCP/IP stacks is statistically weak and
   susceptible to attack even when the PRNG is adequately randomizing its
   increments. The problem lies in the use of increments themselves,
   random or otherwise, to advance an ISN counter, making statistical
   guessing practical.

Some Fresh Analysis: Guardent

   Tim Newsham of Guardent, Inc. has written a paper titled "The Problem
   with Random Increments" [ref_newsham] concerning an observed
   statistical weakness in initial sequence number generation for TCP
   connections. Newsham explains how incrementing the ISN by a series of
   pseudo-random amounts is insufficient to protect some TCP
   implementations from a practical ISN guessing attack in some
   real-world situations. Such attacks would not rely on data sniffed
   from a victim site but only on one or two ISN samples collected by
   previous connections made to a victim site. Newsham's statistical
   analyses provide a theoretical backdrop for practical attacks, drawing
   attention once again to the protocol analysis documented by Steve
   Bellovin (building on work pioneered by Robert Morris) in RFC1948.

   Newsham points out that the current popular use of random increments
   to obscure an ISN series still contains enough statistical information
   to be useful to an attacker, making ISN guessing practical enough to
   lead to TCP connection disruption or manipulation. This attack is
   possible because an attacker can still predict within "a suitable
   range of values" what the next (or a previous) ISN for a given TCP
   connection may be. This range can be derived when looking at the
   normal distribution that naturally arises when adding a large number
   of values together (random or otherwise) due to expected values
   governed by the Central Limit Theorem [ref_clt]:

          Roughly, the central limit theorem states that the distribution
          of the sum of a large number of independent, identically
          distributed variables will be approximately normal, regardless
          of the underlying distribution.

   In addition to statistical analysis of this weakness, Newsham's paper
   demonstrates the weakness inherent in one specific TCP/IP
   implementation. In other recently-published research, Michal Zalewski
   of BindView surveys over 20 different ISN generators included in many
   of the most widely available operating systems on the Internet today.
   Their work shows in graphic detail how observable this statistical
   weakness is.

Some Fresh Empirical Evidence: BindView

   Analysts at BindView have produced interesting research that analyzes
   the patterns many of the most popular TCP/IP stacks produce when
   producing ISNs. In a paper titled "Strange Attractors and TCP/IP
   Sequence Number Analysis," [ref_zalewski] author Michal Zalewski uses
   phase analysis to show patterns of correlation within sets of 32-bit
   numbers generated by many popular operating systems' TCP ISN
   generators. As Zalewski explains:

          Our approach is built upon this widely accepted observation
          about attractors:

          If a sequence exhibits strong attractor behavior, then future
          values in the sequence will be close to the values used to
          construct previous points in the attractor.

          Our goal is to construct a spoofing set, and, later, to
          calculate its relative quality by empirically calculating the
          probability of making the correct ISN prediction against our
          test data. For the purpose of ISN generators comparison , we
          established a limit of guess set size at the level of 5,000
          elements, which is considered a limit for trivial attacks that
          does not require excessive network bandwidth or processing
          power and can be conducted within few seconds.

   (A "spoofing set" is defined as "a set of guessed values for ISNs that
   are used to construct a packet flood that is intended to corrupt some
   established TCP connections." Please see [ref_zalewski] for more
   information about phase space analysis and attractor reconstruction).

   In effect, using this technique for data visualization, they are able
   to highlight emergent patterns of correlation. Such correlation, when
   present in TCP ISN generators, can dramatically shrink the set of
   numbers that need to be guessed in order to attack a TCP session.

   Since the sequence number for TCP sessions is stored in packet headers
   using 32-bits of data, it was generally assumed that an attacker would
   have a very small chance of correctly guessing a sequence number to
   attack established (or to-be established) connections. BindView's
   research shows attackers actually have much smaller bit-spaces to
   guess within due to dependencies on system clocks and other
   implementation defects.

   Zalewski further notes in his paper [ref_zalewski]:

          What comes to our attention is that most every implementation
          described above, except maybe current OpenBSD and Linux, has
          more or less serious flaws that make short-time TCP sequence
          number prediction attacks possible. Solaris 7 and 8 with
          tcp_strong_iss set to 2 results are a clear sign there are a
          lot of things to do for system vendors. We applied relatively
          loose measures, classifying attacks as "feasible" if they can
          be accomplished using relatively low bandwidth and a reasonable
          amount of time. But, as network speeds are constantly growing,
          it would be not a problem for an attacker having access to
          powerful enough uplink to search the entire 32-bit ISN space in
          several hours, assuming a local LAN connection to the victim
          host and assuming the network doesn't crash, although an attack
          could be throttled to compensate.

   The work done by Guardent and BindView illustrates that not all
   current TCP/IP ISN generators have implemented the suggestions made by
   Steve Bellovin in RFC1948 to address prediction-based ISN attacks, or
   provided a equivalent fixes. In particular, TCP/IP stacks based on
   operating system software which has not previously incorporated
   RFC1948 or equivalent fixes will be susceptible to classic TCP
   hijacking in the absence of other cryptographically secure hardening
   (i.e., when not using IPSec or an equivalent secure networking
   technology). Much work remains to be done to ensure the systems
   deployed using TCP today and tomorrow have strengthened their ISN
   generators using RFC1948 recommendations or equivalent fixes.

II. Impact

   If the ISN of an existing or future TCP connection can be determined
   within some practical range, a malicious agent may be able to close or
   hijack the TCP connections. If the ISNs of future connections of a
   system are guessed exactly, an agent may be able to "complete" a TCP
   three-way handshake, establish a phantom connection, and spoof TCP
   packets delivered to a victim.

   The ability to spoof TCP packets may lead to other types of system
   compromise, depending on the use of IP-based authentication protocols.
   Examples of such attacks have been previously described in CA-1995-01
   and CA-1996-21.

III. Solution

   The design of TCP specified by Jon Postel in RFC793 specifically
   addressed the possibility of old packets from prior instantiations of
   a connection being accepted as valid during new instantiations of the
   same connection, i.e., with the same 4-tuple of <local host, local
   port, remote host, remote port>:

          To avoid confusion we must prevent segments from one
          incarnation of a connection from being used while the same
          sequence numbers may still be present in the network from an
          earlier incarnation. We want to assure this, even if a TCP
          crashes and loses all knowledge of the sequence numbers it has
          been using. When new connections are created, an initial
          sequence number (ISN) generator is employed which selects a new
          32-bit ISN. The generator is bound to a (possibly fictitious)
          32-bit clock whose low order bit is incremented roughly every 4
          microseconds. Thus, the ISN cycles approximately every 4.55
          hours. Since we assume that segments will stay in the network
          no more than the Maximum Segment Lifetime (MSL) and that the
          MSL is less than 4.55 hours we can reasonably assume that ISN's
          will be unique.

   Several criteria need to be kept in mind when evaluating each of the
   following solutions to this problem:

    1. Does the soulution address the security concerns identified in
       this advisory?
    2. How well does the solution conform for TCP reliability and
       interoperability requirements?
    3. How easily can the solution be implemented?
    4. How much of a performance cost is associated with the solution?
    5. How well will the solution stand the test of time?

   In the discussions following the initial report of this statistical
   weakness, several approaches to solving this issue were identified.
   All have various strengths and weaknesses themselves. Many have been
   implemented independently by various vendors in response to other
   reported weaknesses in specific ISN generators.

  Deploy and Use Cryptographically Secure Protocols

   TCP initial sequence numbers were not designed to provide proof
   against TCP connection attacks. The lack of cryptographically-strong
   security options for the TCP header itself is a deficiency that
   technologies like IPSec try to address. It must be noted that in the
   final analysis, if an attacker has the ability to see unencrypted TCP
   traffic generated from a site, that site is vulnerable to various TCP
   attacks - not just those mentioned here. The only definitive proof
   against all forms of TCP attack is end-to-end cryptographic solutions
   like those outlined in various IPSec documents.

   The key idea with an end-to-end cryptographic solution is that there
   is some secure verification that a given packet belongs in a
   particular stream. However, the communications layer at which this
   cryptography is implemented will determine its effectiveness in
   repelling ISN based attacks. Solutions that operate above the
   Transport Layer (OSI Layer 4), such as SSL/TLS and SSH1/SSH2, only
   prevent arbitrary packets from being inserted into a session. They are
   unable to prevent a connection reset (denial of service) since the
   connection handling will be done by a lower level protocol (i.e.,
   TCP). On the other hand, Network Layer (OSI Layer 3) cryptographic
   solutions such as IPSec prevent both arbitrary packets entering a
   transport-layer stream and connection resets because connection
   management is directly integrated into the secure Network Layer
   security model.

   The solutions presented above have the desirable attribute of not
   requiring any changes to the TCP protocol or implementations to be
   made. Some sites may want to investigate hardening the TCP transport
   layer itself though. RFC2385 ("Protection of BGP Sessions via the TCP
   MD5 Signature Option") and other technologies provide options for
   adding cryptographic protection within the TCP header at the cost of
   some potential denial of service, interoperability, and performance

   The use of cryptographically secure protocols has several advantages
   over other possible solutions to this problem. Protection against
   hijacking and disruption are provided by the cryptography, while the
   TCP layer is free to return to a simple increasing sequence number
   mechanism, providing the greatest level of reliability. The
   performance, durability, and practicality of implementation will vary
   according to the protocol selected, but IPSec in particular appears to
   have a number of positive attributes in this regard.

  Use RFC1948 Implementations

   In RFC1948, Bellovin observed that if the 32-bit ISN space could be
   segmented across all the ports available to a system, collecting
   sample ISNs from one connection could yield little or no information
   about the ISNs being generated in other connections. Breaking the
   reliance on a global ISN pool by using cryptographically hashed
   secrets and [IP, port] 4-tuples effectivly eliminates TCP ISN attacks
   by remote users (unless, of course, attackers able to sniff traffic on
   a local network segment).

   Newsham notes in his paper [ref_newsham]:

          RFC 1948 [ref1] proposes a method of TCP ISN generation that is
          not vulnerable to ISN guessing attacks. The solution proposed
          partitions the sequence space by connection identifiers. Each
          connection identifier, which is composed of the local address
          and port and the remote address and port of a connection, is
          assigned its own unique sequence space starting at an offset
          that is a function of the connection identifier. The function
          is chosen in such a way that it cannot be computed by an
          attacker. The ISN is then [...] generated by increments to this
          offset. ISN values generated in this way are not vulnerable to
          ISN range prediction methods outlined in this paper since an
          attacker cannot gain knowledge of the ISN space for any
          connection identifiers he cannot directly observe.

   Once the global ISN space becomes segmented among all the TCP ports
   available on a system, attacking TCP ISNs remotely becomes
   impractical. However, it should be noted that even when using RFC1948
   implementations, some forms of ISN attack remain viable under very
   specific conditions, as discussed in further detail below.

   In addition, using a cryptographically strong hash function to perform
   this segmentation may lead to longer TCP connection establishment
   time. Some implementors (like those of the Linux kernel) have chosen
   to use a reduced-round MD4 hash function to provide a "good enough"
   solution from a security standpoint to keep performance degradation to
   a minimum. One cost of weakening the hash algorithm is the need to
   re-key the generator every few minutes. Each time a re-keying occurs,
   security is strengthened, but other reliability issues identified in
   RFC793 become a concern.

   It had been understood (but not widely noted) that ISNs generated by a
   "strictly-compliant" RFC1948 generator would still allow ISN guessing
   attacks to be made against previously-owned IP addresses. If an
   attacker could "own" an IP address used by a potential victim at some
   point afterward, given enough sample ISNs collected within the shared
   [IP, port] 4-tuple ISN space, an attacker could make reasonable
   guesses about the ISNs of subsequent connections.

   This is because strict RFC1948 suggests the following algorithm:
        ISN = M + F(sip, sport, dip, dport, <some secret>)


        ISN   = 32-bit initial sequence number
        M     = monotonically increasing clock/counter
        F     = crypto hash (typically MD4 or MD5)
        sip   = source IP
        sport = source port
        dip   = destination IP
        dport = destination port

        <some secret> = an optional fifth input into the hash function
                        to make remote IP attacks unfeasible.

   For the ISN itself to monotonically (constantly) increase, F() needs
   to remain fairly static. So the <some secret> envisioned by Bellovin
   was a system-specific value (such as boot time, a passphrase, initial
   random value, etc) which would infrequently change. Each time it
   changes, the value of F() (a hash) changes and there is no guarantee
   that subsequent ISNs will be sufficiently distanced from the previous
   value assigned, raising the potential RFC793 reliability concern

   When viewed from the perspective of a particular [IP, port] 4-tuple,
   the ISN sequence is predictable and therefore subject to practical
   attacks. When looking at the Solaris tcp_strong_iss generator
   (RFC1948) from the perspective of a remote IP attacker, for example,
   the ISNs generated appear random. However, the Zalewski paper analyzes
   data which looks at both the remote and same-IP address attack
   vectors. Their data confirms the same-IP attack vector against Solaris
   tcp_strong_iss=2 (RFC1948) is a practical attack.

   The Linux TCP implementors avoided this issue by rekeying <some
   secret> every five minutes. Unfortunately, this breaks the
   monotonicity of the algorithm, weakening the iron-clad reliability
   guarantee that Bellovin was hoping to preserve by segmenting the ISN
   space among ports in the first place.

   Some have proposed that the following algorithm may be a better answer
   to this issue:
        M   = M + R(t)
        ISN = M + F(sip, sport, dip, dport, <some secret> )


        R(t)   = some random value changing over time

   This is essentially adding a random increment to the RFC1948 result.
   This makes most attacks impractical, but still theoretically possible.
   (It would still be "RFC1948-compliant" as well ... RFC1948 makes as
   few assumptions about the F() incrementing function as possible,
   requiring only that the connection [IP, port] 4-tuple be inputs to the
   function and that it be practically irreversible.) However, the
   "problem" of random increments was what brought this issue back into
   the spotlight to begin with.

  Use Some Other Non-RFC1948 Approaches

   A more direct solution chosen by some TCP implementors is to simply
   feed random numbers directly into the ISN generator itself. That is,
   given a 32-bit space to choose from, assign:
        ISN = R(t)

   Solutions which essentially randomize the ISN seem to mitigate against
   the practical guessing attack once and for all (assuming strong
   pseudo-random number generation). However, a purely-random approach
   allows for overlapping sequence numbers among subsequently-generated
   TCP connnections sharing [IP, port] 4-tuples. For example, a random
   generator can produce the same ISN value three times in a row. This
   runs contrary to multiple RFC assumptions about monotonically
   increasing ISNs (RFC 793, RFC 1185, RFC 1323, RFC1948, possibly others
   as well). It is unclear what practical effect this will have on the
   long-term reliability guarantees the TCP protocol makes or is assumed
   to make.

   Another novel approach introduced by Niels Provos of the OpenBSD group
   tries to strike a balance between the fully-random and segmented
   (RFC1948) approaches:
        ISN = ((PRNG(t)) << 16) + R(t)


        PRNG(t) = a pseudo-randomly ordered list of
                  sequentially-generated 16-bit numbers
        R(t)    = a 16-bit random number generator
                  with its msb always set to zero

          (This formula is an approximation of the results the OpenBSD
          implementation actually generates. Please see their actual code

   What the Provos implementation effectively does is generate a
   psuedo-random sequence that will not generate duplicate ISN values
   within a given time period. Additionally, each ISN value generated is
   guaranteed to be at least 32K away from other ISN values. This avoids
   the purely-random ISN collision problem, as well as makes a stronger
   attempt to keep sequence number spaces of subsequent [IP, port]
   4-tuple connections from overlapping. It also avoids the use of a
   cryptographic hash which could degrade performance. However,
   monotonicity is lost, potentially causing reliability problems, and
   the generator may leak information about the system's global ISN

   Further discussion and analysis on the importance of such attributes
   needs to occur in order to ascertain the characteristics present in
   each ISN generator implemented. Empirical evidence provided by
   BindView may indicate that from a predictability standpoint, the
   solutions are roughly equivalent when viewed from a remote attackers
   perspective. It is unclear at the time of this writing what the
   security, performance, and reliability tradeoffs truly are.

Appendix A. - Vendor Information

   This appendix contains information provided by vendors for this
   advisory. When vendors report new information to the CERT/CC, we
   update this section and note the changes in our revision history. If a
   particular vendor is not listed below, we have not received their

    Cisco Systems

   Cisco systems now use a completely random ISN generator.

   Please see the following for more details:

    Compaq Computer Corporation

   At the time this document was written, Compaq is investigating the
   potential impact to Compaq's Tru64 UNIX and OPENVMS operating systems.
   Compaq views the problem to be a concern of moderate severity. Compaq
   implementations of TCP/IP sequence randomization for Tru64 UNIX for
   Alpha and OpenVMS for Alpha follow current practices for
   implementation of TCP/IP initial sequence numbers.

   If and when further information becomes available Compaq will provide
   notice of the completion/availability of any necessary patches or
   tuning recommendations through AES services (DIA, DSNlink FLASH and
   posted to the Services WEB page) and be available from your normal
   Compaq Global Services Support channel. You may subscribe to several
   operating system patch mailing lists to receive notices of new patches

    FreeBSD, Inc.

   FreeBSD has adopted the code and algorithm used by OpenBSD 2.8-current
   in FreeBSD 4.3-RELEASE and later, and this release is therefore
   believed not to be vulnerable to the problems described in this
   advisory (for patches and information relating to older releases see
   FreeBSD Security Advisory 01:39). We intend to develop code in the
   near future implementing RFC 1948 to provide a more complete solution.


   Fujitsu is currently working on the patches for the UXP/V operating
   system to address the vulnerabilities reported in VU#498440.

   The patches will be made available with the following ID numbers:

  OS Version,PTF level    patch ID
  --------------------    --------
   UXP/V V20L10 X01021    UX28164
   UXP/V V20L10 X00091    UX28163
   UXP/V V10L20 X01041    UX15529

    Hewlett-Packard Company

   HP has been tracking tcp randomization issues over the years, and has
   to date implemented the following:

   For 11.00 and 11.11 (11i):

   For 11.00, if you want HP's solution for randomized ISN numbers then
   apply TRANSPORT patch PHNE_22397. Once you apply PHNE_22397, there's
   nothing more to do --- default is randomized ISNs.

   (Note: PHNE_22397 has patch dependencies unrelated to ISN randomized
   ISN number modification listed in the dependency section, but they
   should still be also applied. One is a PHKL kernel patch dependency
   and the other STREAMS/UX minimum level patch dependency.)

   The LR release of 11.11 (11i) has the same random ISN implementation
   as the patched 11.00.

   For releases up to, but not including 10.30:

   HP has key parameters that were made tunable to be able to select two
   levels of levels of randomization with patch PHNE_5361, a TRANSPORT
   Megapatch, which applies to releases up to (but not including) 10.30.
   Check patch text for details.

   It is done with nettune, and requires a reboot:
        tcp_random_seq set to 0  (Standard TCP sequencing)
        tcp_random_seq set to 1  (Random TCP sequencing)
        tcp_random_seq set to 2  (Increased Random TCP sequencing)

    IBM Corporation

We have studied the document written by Guardent regarding
vulnerabilities caused by statistical analysis of random increments,
that may allow a malicious user to predict the next sequence of chosen
TCP connections.

IBM's AIX operating system should not be vulnerable as we have
implemented RFC 1948 in our source coding. According to Guardent, we
do not expect an exploit described in the document to affect our AIX
OS because we employ RFC 1948.


The Linux kernel has used a variant of RFC1948 by default since
1996. Please see:


post-2.8 we no longer use random increments, but a much more
sophisticated way.


SGI implemented RFC 1948 with MD5 on IRIX 6.5.3 and above using the tcpiss_md5
tunable kernel parameter, but the default is disabled.

To enablee tcpiss_md5 kernel parameter, use the following command as root:

        # /usr/sbin/systune -b tcpiss_md5 1

To verify RFC 1948 has been enabled in IRIX, use the following command as root:

        # /usr/sbin/systune tcpiss_md5

This should return:

        tcpiss_md5 = 1 (0x1)

The latest IRIX 6.5 Maintenance Releases can be obtained from the URL:

   An SGI security advisory will be issued for this issue via the normal
   SGI security information distribution methods including the wiretap
   mailing list and .

    Sun Microsystems, Inc.

   Sun implemented RFC 1948 beginning with Solaris 2.6, but it isn't
   turned on by default. On Solaris 2.6, 7 and 8, edit
   /etc/default/inetinit to set TCP_STRONG_ISS to 2.

   On a running system, use:
   ndd -set /dev/tcp tcp_strong_iss 2

Appendix B. - References

    2. Eastlake, D., Crocker, S., Schiller, J., "RFC 1750: Randomness
       Recommendations for Security," December 1994.
    3. Bellovin, S., "RFC 1948: Defending Against Sequence Number
       Attacks," May 1996.
    4. Heffernan, A., "RFC 2385: Protection of BGP Sessions via the TCP
       MD5 Signature Option," August 1998.
    5. Thayer, R., Doraswamy, N., Glenn, R., "RFC 2411: IP Security
       Document Roadmap," November 1998.
    6. CERT Advisory CA-1995-01: IP Spoofing Attacks and Hijacked
       Terminal Connections
    7. CERT Advisory CA-1996-21: TCP SYN Flooding and IP Spoofing
    8. A Weakness in the 4.2BSD UNIX TCP/IP Software, Morris, R.,
       ComputingScience Technical Report No 117, ATT Bell Laboratories,
       Murray Hill,New Jersey, 1985.
    9. Security Problems in the TCP/IP Protocol Suite, Bellovin, S.,
       Computer Communications Review, April 1989.
   10. Simple Active Attack Against TCP, Joncheray, L., Proceedings, 5th
       USENIX UNIX Security Symposium, June 1995.
   11. Newsham, T., "Guardent White Paper: The Problem with Random
       Increments," February 2001. 
   12. Zalewski, M., "Razor Paper: Strange Attractors and TCP/IP Sequence
       Number Analysis," April 2001.
   13. Virtual Laboratories in Probability and Statistics, Random Samples
       Section 5: The Central Limit Theorem
   14. CVE-1999-0077
   15. CVE-2000-0328
   16. CAN-2000-0916
   17. CAN-2001-0288
   18. CAN-2001-0328
   19. Havrilla, J., "CERT Vulnerability Note VU#498440: Multiple TCP/IP
       implementations may use statistically predictable initial sequence
       numbers", March 2001.

   The CERT/CC thanks Guardent, Inc. and BindView for their invaluable
   contributions to this advisory. We also thank all the vendors who
   participated in the discussion about this vulnerability and proposed

   We also thank the following people for their individual contributions
   to this advisory:
     * Steve Bellovin, AT&T Labs
     * Kris Kennaway, FreeBSD
     * Mark Loveless, Bindview
     * Tim Newsham, Guardent, Inc.
     * Niels Provos, OpenBSD
     * Damir Rajnovic, Cisco
     * Theo de Raadt, OpenBSD
     * Theodore Tso, MIT

   Authors:  Jeffrey S. Havrilla, Cory F. Cohen, Roman Danyliw, and Art

   This document is available from:

CERT/CC Contact Information

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May 01, 2001:  Initial release

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