I just released a new Vuurmuur version: 0.8rc1. The first release candidate for the 0.8 series. This release improves IPv6 support a lot. The wizard is now also fully functional. Try “vuurmuur_conf –wizard”.
Improved IPv6 support: #115
Improved Debian packages, switching to nflog as default for logging.
Fix connection viewer not showing accounting on newer systems. #141
Amd64 packages for Debian and Ubuntu are now available through the apt server. #83
Switch from “state” match to “conntrack” match for connection tracking.
Lots of activity on the IPv6 front lately. There was a talk on a conference on bypassing IDS using IPv6 tricks. Also a new scan tool (Topera) claimed to scan a host while staying below the radar of an IDS was released. To start with the latter, even though Suricata doesn’t have a dedicated port scan detector, the tool’s traffic lights up like a Christmas tree. The trick it pulls is to pack a lot of duplicate DST OPTS extension headers in the IPv6 packets. These options are just fillers, the only options they use are the “pad” option. In Suricata we’ve had an event for duplicate DST OPTS headers since 1.3 and the padding only headers generate an event in 1.4. Both alerts will be very noisy, so calling this a stealth attack rather dubious.
The other thing was a talk on IPv6 evasions, where the author compared Snort and Suricata. Suricata didn’t do very well. Sadly the authors chose not to contact us. On closer inspection it turned out an old Suricata version was used. Which one wasn’t specified, but as they did mention using Security Onion, I’m assuming 1.2. In the 1.3 branch (current stable) we’ve fixed and improved IPv6 in a lot of areas. Nonetheless, while testing the various protocol tricks, we did find some bugs that are now fixed in the git masters for the 1.3 stable branch and the 1.4 development branch.
I think these developments serve as a reminder that staying current with your IDS software’s version is critical. For that reason it’s too bad that distro’s like Security Onion, Debian, Ubuntu all lag significantly. The reasons differ through. For the guys from Security Onion it’s mostly a time problem (so go help them if you can!) for Debian and Ubuntu it’s actually policy. For that reason we’re providing PPAs for Ubuntu and for Debian we’re working on getting Suricata into the “backports” repo. The only mainstream distro that does it right for us is Fedora. They just update to the latest stable as soon as it’s out.
Given the complexity of protocols like IPv6 and the new developments all over the board, I see no viable case for staying on older versions. I know it’s a hassle, but stay current. It’s important.
The Vuurmuur website runs Trac and overall I’m pretty happy with it. The only thing that Trac doesn’t do well, is dealing with spammers. Spammers target Trac a lot, so that’s a real problem.
To prevent spammers from making it through, I run Scallywhack and a number of custom ModSecurity rules. So far, spams only made it through as new tickets in the ticket tracker, so I installed the TicketDeletePlugin.
Yesterday, I saw the first spam as a comment to an existing and valid ticket. Like tickets themselves, ticket comments can not be removed by Trac by default. Luckily, upstream Trac seems to have fixed this. I’m running Debian’s version of Trac 0.11.1 however, so I decided to patch that. The patches in the Trac ticket #454 didn’t apply cleanly, so I had to patch it manually. To save others the work, it’s available here: http://www.inliniac.net/files/trac_0.11.1-debian-comment_edit.patch
To use it, make a copy of your /usr/share/pyshared/trac directory.
Next, go into the trac directory and run the command:
patch -p1 < /path/to/trac_0.11.1-debian-comment_edit.patch
After this, each comment in the comment system will have a “edit” button and you can remove the spam message content. It’s not possible to remove the entire comment, but this works for me.
Thanks to the hard work of Debian’s Daniel Baumann Vuurmuur has been included in Debian unstable/Sid. This hopefully means that Vuurmuur will be getting a lot more users. Eventually it should get into testing and even stable, although the next release “lenny” will come too soon for that. The “lenny” feature freeze was already in place before Vuurmuur got included in Sid. Anyway, for me this is big news!
Last weeks I’ve spend many hours on my Vuurmuur Firewall project. First I’ve been improving the code to prepare for a new release. I’ve added NFQUEUE support to Vuurmuur, so I could use it with nfnetlink enabled Snort_inline. Also the connection killing has been improved. The rules limit options were extended, to allow more flexibility.
Second, with the great help of Adi Kriegisch, I’ve been working on setting up a new build server for Debian and Ubuntu packages. Credits mostly go to Adi, who did most of the work and hosts the server. So many thanks to Adi! The new build server supports all version of Debian from Sarge up and of Ubuntu from Dapper and up.
Third, I have been busy setting up a new site for Vuurmuur. It is based on the Trac software and replaces both the static site at sourceforge.net and the tikiwiki based wiki. The new site can be found at http://www.vuurmuur.org/
Last but not least, and the reason for this post, is that today I’ve released a new version of Vuurmuur. The version, 0.5.73, is the first non-test release since January. This has taken a lot longer than I wanted, but work and other projects and of course ‘real life’ have taken much of the time from Vuurmuur. I don’t think this will change any time soon, unless someone will join the project to contribute some serious amount of coding time, or someone wants to fund me to do so.
On the roadmap (which is a nice feature of Trac btw) one can see the future directions of Vuurmuur. Ideas and comments are welcome. So are bug reports of course
Last week there was some discussion in the #snort IRC channel about why Debian distributes such an ancient version of Snort, namely version 2.3.3. This release is more than 2 years old and no longer supported by SourceFire. The snort.org website says about the old versions:
You should not use these unless you really know what you are doing. Many bugs may have been fixed, including remote vulnerabilities
Even though Debian is able to fix any security bugs themselves, and they don’t need to rely on SourceFire for this, Snort 2.3.3 is still going to be inferior to the recent 188.8.131.52. Why? Well recent Snort versions have many more and improved detection options, such as a better pattern matcher, defragmentation preprocessor, improved stream preprocessor, smtp plugin, etc, etc.
So why is Debian not updating Snort? The answer can be found in the Debian bugtracker. Snort is released under the GPL and up to and including version 2.3.3 included a ruleset. But since then only Snort itself is distributed under the GPL, the (VRT) rules are now under a less free license. Of course the user can get them for free, but with a 30 day delay and only after registering with SourceFire. Big deal, I would say, just remove the rules from the package and put some doc describing how to get rules. But the Debian maintainer doesn’t like this idea:
“Consequently, upgrading to 2.4 would mean providing just an IDS engine, not an IDS “service”.” (source)
I think this reasoning makes no sense, for a number of reasons:
Snort can be useful even without any rules: it can detect anomalies in stream tracking, dns, ftp, http, smtp. It can provide statistics, capture traffic.
Managing the Snort rules through the very static Debian packages system make no sense in the first place. Many of the rules change weekly or even daily. Debian would never update the package for this. Oinkmaster should be used for this, and Debian provides this tool as well.
Sguil 0.7 is getting shape quite nicely. One of the most interesting new features is the splitting up of different types of agents and the option to create ‘net groups’. This are groups of agents that Sguil considers part of the same network. You can use this to spread the agents over multiple servers, but still use it from Sguil as if it was one single sensor. For example, this way you can easily create a Snort sensor and a separate full content logging capture server. When you request the full content for a Snort event in Sguil, it will know that it needs to request the packet data from the capture server. This way you can also have multiple Snort agents without the need for capturing the same sancp and full content data over and over again.
David Bianco has written a very nice guide for installing Sguil 0.7 on Redhat Enterprise 4. I used this guide to install the server and sensor on a Debian Etch installation. The main difference is that I used Debian packages where ever possible. These packages could be used: