With the recent Snort vulnerabilities we had to make a choice if we would backport the fixes to our Snort_inline 18.104.22.168 patch or that we would upgrade to 22.214.171.124. Upgrading makes most sense since SourceFire improves Snort with every release, but since the upgrade process has been very painful the last couple of releases, we weren’t really looking forward to it.
Earlier I wrote about my testing with Subversion for Snort_inline, and I found out that using Subversion made the upgrade procedure much easier and much less time consuming. So upgrading it was. Generally there were little changes to the Snort_inline patch required.
One thing however, messed up the way the new stream4inline code works. A new option in Snort’s Stream4, which is enabled by default, is session dropping. The way it works is that when a packet is dropped, the session it belongs to is instructed to drop every packet from that session from that time on.
This makes sense in many cases, but not in all. In stream4inline, we have created options to drop out-of-order packets, out-of-window packets, bad reset packets, and more. Generally, in these cases we want just drop those individual packets, not kill off the session.
Especially killing the session on bad reset packets would be making it easier to kill sessions by third parties. One might argue that sessions writing outside of the window can be killed, but when looking at the out-of-order limits, this can’t be done.
The out-of-order limits are enforced not because it is bad traffic, but to prevent resource starvation attacks against Snort_inline’s stream reassebler. Out-of-order packets will have to be put in the right order before processing, taking CPU time. Also, they have to be queue’d so re-order, taking memory.
By setting out-of-order limits, the burden of getting the stream in order is on the sender of the packets. He will have to retransmit the right packets first, before sending more out-of-order packets. In this case, we don’t want InlineDrop() to kill the entire session. To deal with this, we introduced InlineDropPacketOnly(), that just drops the packet.
A official beta should be out RealSoonNow(tm) 😉