DATE: COMMAND SOURCE: AUTHOR: SYN SYSTEMS AFFECTED Win NT 3.51, 4.0 PROBLEM This vulnerability was originally presented on: www.ntshop.com/security and this text (or it's parts) is their credit. "Computer hackers" can target an entire machine, or a specific TCP service such as web services. The attack is focused on the TCP protocol used by all computers on the Internet, and is not specific to the Windows NT operating system. The following information is from Microsoft KB source: A TCP connection request (SYN) is sent to the target computer. The source IP address in the packet is "spoofed," or replaced with an address that is not in use on the Internet, or that belongs to another computer. An attacker will send many of these TCP SYNs to tie up as many resources as possible on the target computer, Upon receiving the connection request, the target computer allocates resources to handle and track the new connection, then responds with a "SYN-ACK". In this case, the response is sent to the "spoofed" non- existent IP address, No response is received to the SYN-ACK. A default-configured Windows NT 3.5x or 4.0 computer will retransmit the SYN-ACK 5 times, doubling the time-out value after each retransmission. The initial time-out value is three seconds, so retries are attempted at 3, 6, 12, 24, and 48 seconds. After the last retransmission, 96 seconds are allowed to pass before the computer gives up on receiving a response, and deallocates the resources that were set aside earlier for the connection. The total elapsed time that resources are in use is 189 seconds. If you suspect that your computer is the target of a SYN attack, you can type the following command at a command prompt to view connections in the "SYN_RECEIVED" state: netstat -n -p tcp This command may cause the following text to appear on your screen: Active Connections Proto Local Address Foreign Address State TCP 127.0.0.1:1030 127.0.0.1:1032 ESTABLISHED TCP 127.0.0.1:1032 127.0.0.1:1030 ESTABLISHED TCP 10.57.8.190:21 10.57.14.154:1256 SYN_RECEIVED TCP 10.57.8.190:21 10.57.14.154:1257 SYN_RECEIVED TCP 10.57.8.190:21 10.57.14.154:1258 SYN_RECEIVED TCP 10.57.8.190:21 10.57.14.154:1259 SYN_RECEIVED TCP 10.57.8.190:21 10.57.14.154:1260 SYN_RECEIVED TCP 10.57.8.190:21 10.57.14.154:1261 SYN_RECEIVED TCP 10.57.8.190:21 10.57.14.154:1262 SYN_RECEIVED TCP 10.57.8.190:21 10.57.14.154:1263 SYN_RECEIVED TCP 10.57.8.190:21 10.57.14.154:1264 SYN_RECEIVED TCP 10.57.8.190:21 10.57.14.154:1265 SYN_RECEIVED TCP 10.57.8.190:21 10.57.14.154:1266 SYN_RECEIVED TCP 10.57.8.190:4801 10.57.14.221:139 TIME_WAIT If a large number of connections are in the SYN_RECEIVED state, it is possible that the system is under attack. A network analyzer can be used to track the problem down further, and it may be necessary to contact your Internet Service Provider for assistance in attempting to trace the source. The effect of tying up connection resources varies, depending upon the TCP/IP stack and applications listening on the TCP port. For most stacks, there is a limit on the number of connections that can be in the half-open (SYN_RECEIVED) state. Once the limit is reached for a given TCP port, the target computer responds with a reset to all further connection requests until resources are freed. Microsoft has confirmed the TCP/IP protocol in Windows NT versions 3.51 and 4.0 to be vulnerable to these attacks. EXPLOIT SOLUTION Use the hot-fixes available from Microsoft (fot both Windows NT 3.51 and Windows NT 4.00). Obtain the Service Packs, or follow some of the suggestions that Microsoft gave in his KB about SYN attacks.