Imported: 17 Feb '17 | Published: 10 Jan '12
USPTO - Utility Patents
A security analyzer includes a single software application that both sends test messages to a device under analysis (DUA) and receives response messages generated by the DUA in response to the test messages. In this way, synchronization of which response messages correspond to which test messages can be reduced or avoided. The software application further determines whether the DUA operated correctly by analyzing the received response messages.
This application claims priority from the following provisional application, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety: U.S. Application No. 60/662,430, filed on Mar. 15, 2005, entitled “Automated Robustness and Security Testing of Network Devices”. This application is related to the following utility applications, which are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety: U.S. application Ser. No. 11/351,403, filed on Feb. 10, 2006, entitled “Platform for Analyzing the Security of Communication Protocols and Channels” and U.S. application Ser. No. 11/351,409, filed on Feb. 10, 2006, entitled “Portable Program for Generating Attacks on Communication Protocols and Channels”.
The present invention relates to a single software application acting as both the sender and recipient of a message sent over a single network channel.
Computerized communication, whether it occurs at the application level or at the network level, generally involves the exchange of data or messages in a known, structured format (a “protocol”). Software applications and hardware devices that rely on these formats can be vulnerable to various attacks that are generally known as “protocol abuse.” Protocol abuse consists of sending messages that are invalid or malformed with respect to a particular protocol (“protocol anomalies”) or sending messages that are well-formed but inappropriate based on a system's state. Messages whose purpose is to attack a system are commonly known as malicious network traffic.
A proactive solution to the attack problem is to analyze a system ahead of time to discover or identify any vulnerabilities. This way, the vulnerabilities can be addressed before the system is deployed or released to customers. This process, which is known as “security analysis,” can be performed using various methodologies. One methodology for analyzing the security of a device-under-analysis (DUA) is to treat the DUA as a black box. Under this methodology, the DUA is analyzed via the interfaces that it presents to the outside world. For example, one or more messages are sent to the DUA, and the DUA responds by generating one or more messages in return.
The sent messages and return messages can be analyzed to determine whether the DUA operated correctly. Usually, a pair of messages is considered, where the first message (or test message) was received by the DUA and the second message (or response message) was generated by the DUA in response to the first message. Depending on the type of DUA, the second message might be identical to the first message, similar to the first message, or radically different from the first message. For example, if the DUA is a switch, bridge, or router, it might merely relay the first message without modifying it. If the DUA is an anti-virus gateway, it might modify the first message by quarantining and removing an attachment that contains a virus. If the DUA is a decryption device, it might generate a decrypted message (the second message) based on the encrypted message that it received (the first message).
However, before the pair of messages can be analyzed, the correct response message must be matched up with the correct test message. If the analysis is automated, a large number of messages may be sent to the DUA during a short period of time, with the DUA generating an equally large number of messages in responses. It may not be obvious which of the response messages was generated in response to which of the test messages. If one device or devices generate the test messages and another device or devices receive the response messages, some method to synchronize the sending devices and receiving devices is usually required so that response messages can be matched up with the corresponding test messages. However, the synchronization requirement can add complexity and cost to the overall system.
Therefore, there is a need for security analysis approaches that can test pass-through devices, and match test and response messages, in a more efficient manner.
The present invention overcomes limitations of the prior art by providing a security analyzer for analyzing a security of a device under analysis (DUA). In one embodiment, the security analyzer comprises a single software application that both sends test messages to the DUA and receives response messages generated by the DUA in response to the test messages. In this way, synchronization of which response messages correspond to which test messages can be reduced or avoided. The software application further determines whether the DUA operated correctly by analyzing the received response messages. In one implementation, the software application is contained as part of a portable appliance that can be transported to different locations to analyze the security of different devices.
In various applications, the security analyzer generates test messages to test a communications protocol of the DUA, to test a channel of the DUA and/or to test an overall security of the DUA. The security analyzer may generate a first test message and then a second test message before a response message for the first test message is received. In this way, the security analysis can be accelerated.
In another aspect of the invention, in a method for analyzing a security of a device under analysis (DUA), a single software application performs the following steps. A connection is established to a DUA, for example by establishing a sending side of the connection, establishing a receiving side of the connection and establishing the connection from the sending side through the DUA to the receiving side. Test messages are sent to the DUA from the sending side of the connection. Response messages are received from the DUA at the receiving side of the connection. Whether the DUA operated correctly is determined by analyzing the received response messages. In one application, the messages are analyzed to determine whether the DUA is performing network address translation (NAT).
Other aspects of the invention include software, systems, components and methods corresponding to the above, and applications of the above for purposes other than security analysis.
A security analyzer tests a device-under-analysis (DUA) by sending one or more test messages to the DUA, receiving one or more response messages from the DUA, possibly continuing the message exchange further, and then analyzing the received messages. Specifically, the security analyzer determines whether the DUA operated correctly by considering a pair of messages (or possibly more if a lengthier message exchange is involved), where the first message was sent to the DUA and the second message was generated by the DUA in response to the first message. FIG. 1 illustrates a system that includes a security analyzer, a device-under-analysis, a first message, and a second message, according to one embodiment of the invention.
In the following description, “device”, “device-under-analysis”, and “DUA” represent software and/or hardware. Software includes, for example, applications, operating systems, and/or communications systems. Hardware includes, for example, one or more devices. A device can be, for example, a switch, bridge, router (including wireline or wireless), packet filter, firewall (including stateful or deep inspection), Virtual Private Network (VPN) concentrator, Network Address Translation (NAT)-enabled device, proxy (including asymmetric), intrusion detection/prevention system, or network protocol analyzer. A DUA can also be multiple devices that are communicatively coupled to form a system or network of devices. For example, a DUA can be two firewall devices that establish an encrypted tunnel between themselves. There can also be devices located between the security analyzer and the DUA, although FIG. 1 omits such devices for clarity.
In one embodiment, a security analyzer tests the communication protocols and/or channels of a device. A “protocol” refers to an exchange of data or messages in a known, structured format. Specifically, a protocol refers to what is being communicated (for example, the data or message content). A security analyzer can test various types of communication protocols, regardless of whether they are public or proprietary. Types of protocols include, for example, networking protocols (including network packets), application program interfaces (APIs; including API calls, remote method invocation (RMI), and remote procedure call (RPC)), and file formats. Appendix A contains exemplary networking protocols, APIs, and file formats.
A protocol generally has three characteristics: structure, semantics, and state. Therefore, when a security analyzer tests a protocol, it tests the protocol's structure, semantics, and/or state. Protocol structure refers to the layout of a message, such as its fields, arguments, or parameters, and its possible length. Protocol semantics refers to the context of a message, such as its actual content and what the content means. Protocol state refers to how the history of previous messages affects later messages. Appendix B contains types of attacks to test a protocol's structure, semantics, and/or state.
A “channel” refers to how protocol data is communicated. Specifically, a channel refers to how a message is delivered to a DUA (for example, using Ethernet on top of a wireless network). One example of a channel attack is sending too many messages at once, thereby flooding a network and resulting in a denial of service (DoS).
In one embodiment, a security analyzer can also test a DUA's overall security. These types of attacks include, for example, negotiating a lower (i.e., less secure) encryption algorithm, dictionary attacks (brute forcing commonly-used passwords), resource exhaustion, identifying misconfiguration of the DUA, identifying mechanisms for sending messages through the DUA that bypass various security checks, and detecting insecure implementations of standard protocols and information disclosure.
Referring again to FIG. 1, the security analyzer includes three components: one component to send a message to the DUA, one component to receive a message from the DUA, and one component to analyze whether the DUA operated correctly. If these components exist independently of each other, it is necessary to determine which message sent by the first component corresponds to which message received by the second component. If the security analyzer sends only one message at a time, it is relatively easy to determine the correspondence between the sent message and the received message.
However, the security analyzer can be used to send several messages simultaneously (or at least in close proximity to one another). This way, the security analyzer can subject the DUA to several different tests in a shorter period of time. If the security analyzer sends several messages to and receives several messages from the DUA, it is more difficult to determine the correspondences between each sent message and each received message.
In one embodiment, the security analyzer uses a single component to both send a message to and receive a message from the DUA. In this embodiment, it is easier for the security analyzer to determine which sent message corresponds to which received message, since they are sent and received by the same component.
In one embodiment, this single component is a single software application that acts as both the sender and recipient of a message sent over a network connection. FIG. 2 illustrates a flow chart of a method for a single software application to act as both the sender and recipient of a message sent over a network connection, according to one embodiment of the invention. In the illustrated embodiment, the network connection uses sockets and the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), although any type of network connection can be used. The “sending interface” and “sending port” will be used to send a message to the DUA, and the “receiving interface” and “receiving port” will be used to receive a message from the DUA. In one embodiment, the sending port and the receiving port differ.
In step 210, the sending side of the connection is established. In one embodiment, this includes: a) creating a TCP socket, b) binding the socket to the sending interface and sending port, and c) enabling non-blocking read/writes for the socket. This socket will be referred to as the sending socket.
In step 220, the receiving side of the connection is established. In one embodiment, this includes: a) creating a TCP socket, b) binding the socket to the receiving interface and receiving port, c) enabling non-blocking read/writes for the socket, d) listening for incoming connections on the socket, and e) accepting incoming connections on the socket. This socket will be referred to as the receiving socket.
Note that steps 210 and 220 are independent of each other and, thus, can be performed in either order.
In step 230, a connection is established from the sending side through the DUA to the receiving side. In one embodiment, this includes: a) the sending socket sending a connection request through the DUA to the receiving socket (for example, by using an Internet Protocol (IP) address), b) the sending socket being selected for writing activity, c) the receiving socket being selected for reading activity, and d) the receiving socket accepting the incoming connection.
The above method can be used in many different ways. In one embodiment, the DUA is a decryption device. In this embodiment, the sending socket initiates an encrypted TCP-based Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) connection to the DUA. When the DUA receives an encrypted message, it decrypts the message and connects back to the receiving socket with a plain-text connection. For example, the sending (encrypted) side of the connection is via TCP port 443 (the standard port for secure HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP)), while the receiving (decrypted, plain-text) side of the connection is via TCP port 80 (the standard port for plain-text HTTP).
In one embodiment, the sending socket or the receiving socket acts like a client, a server, or both.
The above method can also be used to perform automatic discovery on the DUA. For example, the security analyzer interrogates the DUA to determine its capabilities. In one embodiment, the security analyzer sends and receives messages through the DUA in order to determine whether the DUA is performing Network Address Translation (NAT). For example, if the DUA is a router, then the security analyzer determines whether the router is NAT-enabled.
Network Address Translation comprises changing the source address of a received message before transmitting the message. In other words, a device that performs NAT modifies the received message before transmitting it. The security analyzer can determine whether a DUA is NAT-enabled by comparing the message that it sent to the DUA with the message that it received from the DUA.
FIG. 3 illustrates a flow chart of a method for a single software application to determine whether a DUA is NAT-enabled, according to one embodiment of the invention. In the illustrated embodiment, the network connection uses sockets and the User Datagram Protocol (UDP), although any type of network connection can be used. The “sending interface” and “sending port” will be used to send a message to the DUA, and the “receiving interface” and “receiving port” will be used to receive a message from the DUA. In one embodiment, the sending port and the receiving port differ.
In step 310, the sending side of the connection is established. In one embodiment, this includes: a) creating a UDP socket and b) binding the socket to the sending interface. This socket will be referred to as the sending socket.
In step 320, the receiving side of the connection is established. In one embodiment, this includes: a) creating a UDP socket, b) binding the socket to the receiving interface and receiving port (for example, UDP port 53, which is commonly used for Domain Name Services (DNS)), and c) enabling non-blocking read/writes for the socket. This socket will be referred to as the receiving socket.
Note that steps 310 and 320 are independent of each other and, thus, can be performed in either order.
In step 330, the security analyzer determines whether the DUA is NAT-enabled. In one embodiment, this includes: a) the sending socket sending an empty UDP packet through the DUA to the receiving socket and b) comparing the sent packet with the received packet. If the source address of the sent packet is different than the source address of the received packet, then the DUA is NAT-enabled. If the addresses are the same, then the DUA is not NAT-enabled.
In the preceding description, for purposes of explanation, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the invention. It will be apparent, however, to one skilled in the art that the invention can be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, structures and devices are shown in block diagram form in order to avoid obscuring the invention.
Reference in the specification to “one embodiment” or “an embodiment” means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the invention. The appearances of the phrase “in one embodiment” in various places in the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment.
Some portions of the detailed descriptions that follow are presented in terms of algorithms and symbolic representations of operations on data bits within a computer memory. These algorithmic descriptions and representations are the means used by those skilled in the data processing arts to most effectively convey the substance of their work to others skilled in the art. An algorithm is here, and generally, conceived to be a self-consistent sequence of steps leading to a desired result. The steps are those requiring physical manipulations of physical quantities. Usually, though not necessarily, these quantities take the form of electrical or magnetic signals capable of being stored, transferred, combined, compared, and otherwise manipulated. It has proven convenient at times, principally for reasons of common usage, to refer to these signals as bits, values, elements, symbols, characters, terms, numbers, or the like.
It should be borne in mind, however, that all of these and similar terms are to be associated with the appropriate physical quantities and are merely convenient labels applied to these quantities. Unless specifically stated otherwise, as apparent from the following discussion, it is appreciated that throughout the description, discussions utilizing terms such as “processing” or “computing” or “calculating” or “determining” or “displaying” or the like, refer to the action and processes of a computer system, or similar electronic computing device, that manipulates and transforms data represented as physical (electronic) quantities within the computer system's registers and memories into other data similarly represented as physical quantities within the computer system memories or registers or other such information storage, transmission, or display devices.
The present invention also relates to an apparatus for performing the operations herein. This apparatus is specially constructed for the required purposes, or it comprises a general-purpose computer selectively activated or reconfigured by a computer program stored in the computer. Such a computer program is stored in a computer readable storage medium, such as, but not limited to, any type of disk including floppy disks, optical disks, CD-ROMs, and magnetic-optical disks, read-only memories (ROMs), random access memories (RAMs), EPROMs, EEPROMs, magnetic or optical cards, or any type of media suitable for storing electronic instructions, and each coupled to a computer system bus.
The algorithms and displays presented herein are not inherently related to any particular computer or other apparatus. Various general-purpose systems are used with programs in accordance with the teachings herein, or more specialized apparatus are constructed to perform the required method steps. The required structure for a variety of these systems will appear from the description below. In addition, the present invention is not described with reference to any particular programming language. It will be appreciated that a variety of programming languages may be used to implement the teachings of the invention as described herein.
Networking protocols include, for example, Address Resolution Protocol (ARP), Border Gateway'Protocol (BGP), Cisco Discovery Protocol (CDP), Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), File Transfer Protocol (FTP), Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP), HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP), Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP), Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4), Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), Internet Security Association and Key Management Protocol (ISAKMP), Light Weight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), Open Shortest Path First (OSPF), Post Office Protocol 3 (POP3), Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS; including extensions from Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks, and Microsoft), Routing Information Protocol (RIP), Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), Server Message Block (SMB), Remote Administration Protocol (RAP), Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension (MIME), Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP; including SNMP trap), Secure Shell (SSH), Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), Transport Layer Security (TLS), Terminal Access Controller Access Control System Plus (TACACS+), Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), Universal Plug and Play (UPnP), User Datagram Protocol (UDP), and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Networking protocols also include, for example, any protocol defined by an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Request for Comments (RFC).
Application program interfaces (APIs) include, for example, ActiveX, Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA), Interface Definition Language (IDL), Internet Inter-ORB Protocol (HOP), Java Remote Method Invocation (Java RMI), Management Information Base (MIB), Server Message Block (SMB), Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), and Sun Microsystems Remote Procedure Call (SunRPC; including portmapper and statd).
File formats include, for example, image formats, audio formats, multimedia formats, and text formats. Image file formats include, for example, Graphic Interchange Format (GIF), Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG), Microsoft Windows Bitmap (BMP), Portable Document Format (PDF), Portable Network Graphics (PNG), and Tagged Image File Format (TIFF). Audio file formats include, for example, MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 (MP3; Moving Picture Experts Group), MPEG-2 Part 7 (AAC; Advanced Audio Coding), Microsoft Windows Media Audio (WMA), and RealNetworks RealAudio. Multimedia formats include, for example, Apple QuickTime, Microsoft Windows Media Video (WMV), and Adobe Flash. Text file formats include, for example, Document Type Definition (DTD), eXtensible Markup Language (XML), X. 509 (public key certificates), and Microsoft Word (DOC).
Structure attacks are generally based on messages that contain values or parameters that violate an intended protocol. Types of structure attacks include, for example: empty-field, empty-message, extra-data, incomplete, invalid-count, invalid-enum (enumeration), invalid-eol (end-of-line), invalid-field, invalid-index, invalid-length, invalid-offset, invalid-syntax, invalid-type, invalid-utf8 (Unicode Transformation Format), missing-data, missing-field, mixed-case, overflow, repeated-field, too-many-fields, truncated, underflow, and wrong-encoding.
One example of a semantics attack is a message that indicates an invalid (e.g., non-existent) printer instead of a valid printer. This can cause a software application to hang or crash unexpectedly. Another example of a semantics attack is a network packet with a source IP address of “all-broadcast.” Responding to this packet would therefore generate enough packets to flood the network. Types of structure attacks include, for example: fmt-string (format), fragmented-field, invalid-encoding, invalid-field, invalid-ip (IP address), invalid-path, invalid-string, recursion, self-reference, and null-char (character).
One example of a state attack is sending messages out-of-order (e.g., with respect to the type of message the DUA is expecting to receive).