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Your precious firewall can't save you now!

Weak or nonexistent implementations in computer security software can leave otherwise-secure computers wide open for attack – so open, in fact, that in some cases it’s as if there’s no firewall running at all.

Speaking at the annual HOPE (Hackers on Planet Earth) conference in New York, security researcher Joe Klein of Command Information said that the internet is full of computers surreptitiously running IPv6, unbeknownst to their owners. Compounding the problem is the number of operating systems shipped with IPv6 enabled by default, which includes Windows Vista, Linux’s 2.6 kernel, Sun’s Solaris, Mac OS X, and a variety of cell phones operating systems, including Windows Mobile 5 and 6.

Computers with a lackluster IPv6 setup – even if they have a strong IPv4 firewall or Intrusion Detection System (IDS) in place – are just as naked in IPv6 space as they would be in IPv4-space without a firewall, with any program that listens for connections allowed to accept them. Most operating systems, by default, use a handful of “listeners” used for networking and internal processes – and it is these listeners that are frequently the first to be targeted in an attack.

A number of computer worms, including Blaster and its follow-up Welchia, worked by exploiting a buffer overflow with Windows’ internal RPC infrastructure, which listens on port 135 and is ordinarily covered up by a firewall.

Network administrators who don’t keep tabs of their systems face a huge risk, said Klein. Operational dangers aside, administrators who work for organizations that have to comply with regulations like HIPAA or Sarbanes-Oxley risk non-compliance if they don’t secure their IPv6 implementations – whether they realize they have one or not.

“Essentially, we have systems that are wide open to a network,” said Klein. “It's like having wireless on your network without knowing it.”

Security researchers have for some time found hackers exploiting IPv6. A 2002 post from Lance Spitzer of the Honeynet project observed a hacker that broke in to a Solaris-based honeypot through normal means, enabled IPv6 connectivity in the OS, and then set up a tunnel out of the network that went into another country. The break-in was only discovered due to network packet-sniffing, and even then Spitzer says he was unable to decode the data being sent out.

One of the biggest threats is the variety of backwards-compatibility schemes designed to tunnel IPv6 traffic through an IPv4 system, like Teredo or the 6to4 system: the very act of tunneling often circumvents firewalls by nature.

“Teredo/ISATAP is currently and will continue to be a major red flag for networks that have both IP versions enabled, because tunneling confuses the heck out of a lot of firewalls and IDS deployments,” said an unnamed DoD security specialist, in an interview with Wired’s Threat Level.

With internet progressives trying to switch the internet to IPv6 as fast as it can – a widget on Command Interface’s web site estimates that the internet will run out of IPv4 addresses in about two and a half years – some fear that technological progress may be outpacing the security that keeps it safe.



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RE: If ya dont need it...
By drebo on 7/22/2008 6:30:18 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
"Just because you don't understand the threat doesn't mean it isn't there"


By that same token, just because you don't understand the technology does not mean it is a threat.

IPv6 to IPv4 tunneling protocols are NOT enabled by default on any system which supports IPv6. Not Windows XP, not Windows Vista, not Linux, not MacOS X. Which brings us back to the same point: the system must have already been compromised in order to exploit its IPv6 stack as a back door. There is no other way about it.

IPv6 is no more or less vulnerable under any circumstance than IPv4, even when the two are coexisting or when one of the two is not being used.


RE: If ya dont need it...
By trejrco on 7/23/2008 12:09:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
By that same token, just because you don't understand the technology does not mean it is a threat.

Indeed, but I do understand the technology.
quote:

IPv6 to IPv4 tunneling protocols are NOT enabled by default on any system which supports IPv6. Not Windows XP, not Windows Vista, not Linux, not MacOS X. Which brings us back to the same point: the system must have already been compromised in order to exploit its IPv6 stack as a back door. There is no other way about it.

Yes, they are. Sorry, but you are 100% wrong.
See my previous comments.

Or, see for yourself - in WinXP, enable IPv6 and look at the tunnel interfaces that light up, ready to work.
One will start with 2002::/16 if you have a public IPv4 address; that is 6to4.
Another one will include "5efe" in the Interface ID portion of the address, that is ISATAP.
Take a peek for Teredo also, it is there (with some potential qualifiers / caveats).

/TJ


RE: If ya dont need it...
By mindless1 on 7/23/2008 2:26:50 PM , Rating: 2
You seem to be overlooking something, that we're talking about compromised systems. The hacker being mindful of this will plan out the attack, it's not just a vulnerability based on some random chance events. What is enabled by default or built into the OS is not necessarily important.


"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007











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