02-22-2003, 11:58 PM
my firewall just popped up that it blocked an SYN Port Scan Attack. could someone tell me what that means?
02-23-2003, 12:20 AM
i know. i just realized this shouldda been in the tech support forum :rolleyes:
02-23-2003, 02:57 AM
I realize this is wordy, but here is your answer:
When a system (called the client) attempts to establish a TCP connection to a system providing a service (the server), the client and server exchange a set sequence of messages. This connection technique applies to all TCP connections--telnet, Web, email, etc.
The client system begins by sending a SYN message to the server. The server then acknowledges the SYN message by sending SYN-ACK message to the client. The client then finishes establishing the connection by responding with an ACK message. The connection between the client and the server is then open, and the service-specific data can be exchanged between the client and the server. Here is a view of this message flow:
Client and server can now
send service-specific data
The potential for abuse arises at the point where the server system has sent an acknowledgment (SYN-ACK) back to client but has not yet received the ACK message. This is what we mean by half-open connection. The server has built in its system memory a data structure describing all pending connections. This data structure is of finite size, and it can be made to overflow by intentionally creating too many partially-open connections.
Creating half-open connections is easily accomplished with IP spoofing. The attacking system sends SYN messages to the victim server system; these appear to be legitimate but in fact reference a client system that is unable to respond to the SYN-ACK messages. This means that the final ACK message will never be sent to the victim server system.
The half-open connections data structure on the victim server system will eventually fill; then the system will be unable to accept any new incoming connections until the table is emptied out. Normally there is a timeout associated with a pending connection, so the half-open connections will eventually expire and the victim server system will recover. However, the attacking system can simply continue sending IP-spoofed packets requesting new connections faster than the victim system can expire the pending connections.
In most cases, the victim of such an attack will have difficulty in accepting any new incoming network connection. In these cases, the attack does not affect existing incoming connections nor the ability to originate outgoing network connections.
However, in some cases, the system may exhaust memory, crash, or be rendered otherwise inoperative.
Systems providing TCP-based services to the Internet community may be unable to provide those services while under attack and for some time after the attack ceases. The service itself is not harmed by the attack; usually only the ability to provide the service is impaired. In some cases, the system may exhaust memory, crash, or be rendered otherwise inoperative.
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