Yesterday, following up after recording the podcast on clickjacking, I was talking with Robert Hansen about the TCP flaw some contacts of his found over in Sweden. He wrote it up in his column on Dark Reading, and Dennis Fisher over at TechTarget also has some information up.
Basically, it’s massive unpatched denial of service attack that can take down nearly anything that uses TCP, in some cases forcing remote systems to reboot or potentially causing local damage. Codified in a tool called “Sockstress”, Robert E. Lee and Jack C. Louis seem to be having trouble getting the infrastructure vendors to pay attention. I can’t but help think it’s because they are with a smaller company in Sweden; had this fallen into the hands of one of the major US vendors/labs methinks the alarm bells would be ringing a tad louder.
From what Robert told me, supported by the articles, this tool allows an attacker to basically take down anything they want from nearly anywhere (like a home connection).
Robert and Jack are trying to report and disclose responsibly, and I sure as heck hope the vendors are listening. Now might be the time for you big end users to start asking them questions about this. It’s hard to block an attack when it takes down your firewall, IPS, and the routers connecting everything.
One interesting tidbit- since this is in TCP, it also affects IPv6.