Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Application Security

4/7/2009
01:39 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Researchers To Unleash Backbone-Hacking Tools At Black Hat Europe

Tools automate attacks on Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) and Ethernet carrier networks

A pair of German researchers at next week's Black Hat Europe will release tools that hack backbone technologies used by service providers in some enterprise network service offerings.

More specifically, the tools -- built by Enno Rey and Daniel Mende, both with German security firm ERNW -- automate attacks on Multiprotocol Layer Switching (MPLS) and Ethernet backbone technologies. They exploit similar, inherent security weaknesses in the two networking technologies -- namely, in how they forward traffic.

The lack of security in MPLS and Ethernet is well-known, but until now the exploitation of these network technologies has been only theoretically possible, Rey says. "Our release of the tools closes that gap of these attacks being only theoretical to being practically exploitable now," he says. "These technologies do not provide any security themselves, but just rely on the assumption that the underlying network is secure."

Network infrastructure security has been in the limelight lately, with researchers uncovering big vulnerabilities in the Domain Name System (DNS), the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), TCP, and in Cisco routers.

MPLS VPNs originally were proprietary networks when they first hit the network scene. But the evolution of service provider networks to Internet-based services has put MPLS, as well as Ethernet, in the hot seat as possible hacking targets, Rey notes. MPLS networks used to have their "own set of switches and management infrastructures, and their own set of surrounding technologies," he says, "and the average attacker could not get his hands on that equipment."

To execute an MPLS or Ethernet carrier network hack, an attacker first must get into the network, either by hacking a router or a management tool. Then Rey and Mende's MPLS hacking tool could be used: It modifies the labels that are added to packets in an MPLS network and determines how those packets are forwarded. This lets an attacker silently redirect traffic to other sites, such as a malicious DNS server or a phony authentication server, Rey says. "The victim doesn't notice anything...and the attacker has both directions of traffic [in his control]," he says. "The whole VPN model of trust is violated."

The attack doesn't target a specific vulnerabilty -- just the way MPLS operates. The story is much the same for Ethernet. VLAN-tagging, for instance, helps carriers separate different customers' traffic across their backbones. "But there's no encryption and no additional security [with Ethernet]," Rey says. "It's just traffic separated by adding some more bits to the traffic, which brings us back to being able to modify those bits [with our hacking tool]."

Rey says enterprises that use these VPN services should be aware they are vulnerable. Perform risk analysis and encrypt your traffic, he says. "Just because it's called MPLS VPN [doesn't mean] you should [automatically] trust it," he says.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Attackers Infiltrate the Supply Chain & What to Do About It
Shay Nahari, Head of Red-Team Services at CyberArk,  7/16/2019
US Mayors Commit to Just Saying No to Ransomware
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  7/16/2019
The Problem with Proprietary Testing: NSS Labs vs. CrowdStrike
Brian Monkman, Executive Director at NetSecOPEN,  7/19/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-12551
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-22
In SweetScape 010 Editor 9.0.1, improper validation of arguments in the internal implementation of the Memcpy function (provided by the scripting engine) allows an attacker to overwrite arbitrary memory, which could lead to code execution.
CVE-2019-12552
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-22
In SweetScape 010 Editor 9.0.1, an integer overflow during the initialization of variables could allow an attacker to cause a denial of service.
CVE-2019-3414
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-22
All versions up to V1.19.20.02 of ZTE OTCP product are impacted by XSS vulnerability. Due to XSS, when an attacker invokes the security management to obtain the resources of the specified operation code owned by a user, the malicious script code could be transmitted in the parameter. If the front en...
CVE-2019-10102
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-22
tcpdump.org tcpdump 4.9.2 is affected by: CWE-126: Buffer Over-read. The impact is: May expose Saved Frame Pointer, Return Address etc. on stack. The component is: line 234: "ND_PRINT((ndo, "%s", buf));", in function named "print_prefix", in "print-hncp.c". Th...
CVE-2019-10102
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-22
aubio 0.4.8 and earlier is affected by: null pointer. The impact is: crash. The component is: filterbank. The attack vector is: pass invalid arguments to new_aubio_filterbank. The fixed version is: after commit eda95c9c22b4f0b466ae94c4708765eaae6e709e.