NSA's QUANTUM INSERT attack is probably the most well-known TCP packet injection attack due to the Snowden revelations regarding how GCHQ used this method to hack into Belgacom. However, the “Five Eyes” are not the only ones who perform this type of attack on the Internet. We now release a tool to help incident responders to find these types of packet injection attacks.
I had the opportunity to attend and present at SharkFest Europe last week. My presentation, titled “Dissecting Man-on-the-Side Attacks”, showed how TCP packet injection attacks can be analyzed if they have been recorded in a packet capture. In my talk I used a python script called “finject.py”, which reads PCAP files to find TCP packets with duplicate sequence numbers but different content. This script has previously only been shared with vetted parties, but as of my SharkFest presentation findject is now freely available for everyone.
Findject is not the first tool made available to detect TCP content injection attacks.
Other detection methods include Suricata's
In the example execution above we can see that findject.py detected an injected TCP packet in the file ppp0.150923_081337.pcap, while the other analyzed files contained no injections. The application layer data of the two conflicting TCP segments are printed to standard output with a header indicating whether the segment was the FIRST or LAST one. To find out which segment is the real one and which was the injected one we need to open the PCAP file in either Wireshark, tshark or CapLoader.
The tshark execution above reveals that three packets sent from the web server's IP (220.127.116.11) are carrying data and have the same sequence number (402877220). Packet 25 and 27 are actually identical, while packet 28 is smaller (170 bytes) and has a different payload. The first displayed frame in the tshark output above is the SYN+ACK packet from the TCP 3-way handshake.
So how can we determine which of packets 25, 27 and 28 are real verses injected? Look at the IP-ID and IP-TTL values! Frame 28 has IP-ID and TTL values in line with what we see in the TCP 3-way handshake (TTL=94, IP-ID=0x00002e3e), which implies that this packet is probably authentic. Frames 25 and 27 on the other hand deviate from what we would expect from the server, which tells us that these packets were likely injected (spoofed) into the TCP session through a “man-on-the-side” attack.
To learn more about findject.py and download the tool, please visit: https://www.netresec.com/?page=findject
Example captures containing TCP content injection attacks can be found on our Publicly Available PCAP Files page under the “Packet Injection Attacks / Man-on-the-Side Attacks” section.
Posted by Erik Hjelmvik on Tuesday, 25 October 2016 08:45:00 (UTC/GMT)