Re: [OSPF] Dropping malformed LSAs (was: OSPF - Owning the Routing Table Attack)

Gabi Nakibly <> Mon, 05 August 2013 21:04 UTC

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Date: Mon, 5 Aug 2013 14:03:55 -0700 (PDT)
From: Gabi Nakibly <>
To: Acee Lindem <>, David Lamparter <>, Glen Kent <>
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Subject: Re: [OSPF] Dropping malformed LSAs (was: OSPF - Owning the Routing Table Attack)
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Hi all,
My name is Gabi. I am the researcher who presented the new attack at Black Hat last week. I have noticed the discussion on the list and I would be happy to try to clarify how the attack is different from known ones. 
Indeed the attack assumes that the attacker is an insider, meaning that the attacker has already gained control of one of the router within the AS. I agree 100% that once an attacker is an insider he can already do all sorts of attacks that can harm the network and indeed a few past works have already reported on this. Nonetheless,  the crux of the new attack, as Acee has already pointed out, is that an attacker is now able to falsify an LSA on behalf of another router while evading the fight-back mechanism. This new capability allows an attacker to *persistently* and *stealthily* subvert the LSA DB of other routers that install the false LSA and thereby altering their routing tables. This gives rise to a new class of attacks that in my opinion have not existed before and, in many times, are more desirable for an attacker (due to their stealth and persistence).
To my best knowledge, no other general technique to stealthily evade fight back is known. The only general attack technique to evade fight back is periodic injection (flooding false LSAs at a rate higher thanone every MinLSInterval)  presented in in Section However,  using such technique the attack is hardly stealthy.

BTW, I have also presented in the past another general technique to evade fight back called 'Disguised LSA'. It is described in in Section 4.2.

I would appreciate your continued feedback on the new attack.


> From: Acee Lindem <>
>To: David Lamparter <>et>; Glen Kent <> 
>Cc: "" <> 
>Sent: Monday, August 5, 2013 5:28 AM
>Subject: Re: [OSPF] Dropping malformed LSAs (was: OSPF - Owning the Routing Table Attack)
>On 8/4/13 6:06 AM, "David Lamparter" <> wrote:
>>On Fri, Aug 02, 2013 at 10:11:01PM +0530, Glen Kent wrote:
>>> Does anybody have details on what this OSPF vulnerability is?
>>As people may have noticed by now (the embargo on providing details has
>>expired as the talk was presented), this issue consists of Router LSAs
>>where the Router ID is different from the Link State ID.  As such, this
>>attack is implementable from any router in an OSPF area against any
>>other router in the OSPF.
>>(Quite honestly, IMHO this is seriously far fetched.  If your control
>>plane got compromised this far you have other problems.)
>I agree that once the OSPF control plane is open, you are susceptible to
>many attacks. However, this attack is a bit more insidious than most since
>the actual OSPF router corresponding to the link state ID will most likely
>not recognize the LSA as self-originated and re-originate a more recent
>version when the malformed one is received. Hence, the malicious LSA will
>remain in the routing domain and, depending upon the OSPF implementation,
>could result in traffic being redirected.
>>While Quagga is unaffected by this, we've implemented a warning.  We're
>>also considering dropping the LSA outright, but I'm somewhat split on
>>that (tilted towards dropping).  I'd be interested if the WG has
>>comments on that?
>I can't speak for the WG but my implementation will skip the LSA in the
>Link-State Update packet.
>>OSPF mailing list
>OSPF mailing list