Differences between Snort and Snort_inline

Every few weeks the same question comes up: what is the difference between Snort in inline mode and Snort_inline. This makes sense, because the Snort_inline documentation and website fail to explain it. In this post I will try to highlight the main differences. In general I can say that we try to develop Snort_inline as a patchset on top of Snort. Snort_inline is focused at improving the inline part of Snort. Originally of course, Snort’s inline capabilities were developed in the Snort_inline project. With Snort 2.3.0RC1 they were merged into mainline Snort.

Convenience

We did a number of things to make Snort_inline a little more convenient for inline users.

  • inline is enabled by default in ./configure
  • we got rid of libnet 1.0.2a, switched to libdnet 1.1 instead
  • a snort_inline specific manual page was added, as well as some extra docs
  • a example configuration file for inline use is supplied

Added functionality

  • we support Linux’ new queue’ing mechanism called nfqueue. This was contributed by Nitro Security. Nfqueue supports running multiple copies of Snort_inline to take advantage of SMP and reduce risk of denial of service when Snort_inline should crash.
  • stickydrop preprocessor enables you to add options to the rules to block an ipaddress for a configurable amount of time
  • bait-and-switch preprocessor (Linux only) allows you to redirect traffic from a host to a honeypot based on the rules
  • clamav preprocessor is included (you still need to pass –enable-clamav to ./configure)
  • reinject action for FreeBSD: reinjects an accepted packet into the ipfw list at a specific rule number

Improved for inline use

  • reject action can send RST packets to both source and destination
  • stream4 can drop attacks detected in the reassembled stream. It also enforces the TCP window. It implements a number of ideas from Vern Paxson on TCP reassembly, such as a limit on the number of out of order packets and bytes that are accepted in a stream.
  • some fixes for FreeBSD

As the list shows, if you are interested in Snort running inline, using Snort_inline might be a better choice for you!

New WordPress issue + Snort and ModSecurity rules

I just read about a new issue with WordPress here at SecurityFocus. It’s a potential credential stealing vulnerability, so I quickly created these ModSecurity 2 rules:

SecDefaultAction “log,deny,status:403,phase:2,t:lowercase,t:escapeSeqDecode”
SecRule REQUEST_FILENAME “/wp-login.php$” “chain,msg:’WORDPRESS wp-login.php redirect_to credentials stealing attempt’,severity:2,t:normalisePath”
SecRule ARGS_NAMES “^redirect_to$” “chain”
SecRule ARGS:redirect_to “(ht|f)tps?://”

I can still login to my WordPress install, so it seems that the rule does no harm. Use at your own risk!

Update: I’ve created a Snort rule as well:

alert tcp $EXTERNAL_NET any -> $HTTP_SERVERS $HTTP_PORTS (msg:”WORDPRESS wp-login.php redirect_to credentials stealing attempt”; flow:to_server,established; uricontent:”/wp-login.php”; nocase; uricontent:”redirect_to”; pcre:”/redirect_to=(ht|f)tps?://iU”; classtype:web-application-attack; sid:4000003; rev:1;)

Update 2: fixed the Snort rule, thanks to Shirkdog for pointing out that it had some broken pcre in it. The rule is now included in the BleedingThreats ruleset (check here), however that (slightly modified) rule doesn’t detect the attack for me.

Update 3: the Bleeding rule is now fixed. I’ve updated the above rule as well.

Update 4: updated the ModSecurity rule to prevent a possible evasion by prepending tab chars to the redirect url. Thanks to Ryan Barnett for pointing this out.

Experimenting with IPv6

My ISP is one of the few here in the Netherlands that provides a IPv6 tunnel broker. I have played with it some during the last year or so, but now decided to get a little more serious with it. So I’ve decided to enable it for my blog. When opening up my site to IPv6 one thing that is important is security. I will describe the status of IPv6 support of my current setup:

Linux firewalling: IPtables supports IPv6 for quite some time, however it only very recently gained stateful packet filtering support. This hasn’t made it into Debian Sarge or even backports yet, so I’m just using stateless filtering now.

Vuurmuur: my own IPtables frontend has no support for IPv6 at all. I’ve been thinking about adding it for years, but decided to wait at least until stateful support would be available. Next to this my coding time is limited, and many other features are probably more interesting to Vuurmuur users.

Snort/Snort_inline: both Snort and Snort_inline lack support for IPv6. Sourcefire is working on it as far as I know, but no code is available from them. I did find a IPv6 patch for Snort 2.3.3, which can be found here. I ran it in sniffer mode and that works. I haven’t played with it much other than that, but I certainly will in the future.

ModSecurity: my Apache 2 installation has IPv6 enabled by default and ModSecurity 2.x just worked with it without any configuration change! I haven’t looked into how to create rules specific for IPv6 addresses however, so maybe surprises will come up here. I do know from looking at the source that the rbl functionality doesn’t support IPv6 addresses yet, but I haven’t even checked if realtime blacklists exist for IPv6.

Sguil/Modsec2sguil: my modsec2sguil script, that takes ModSecurity alerts and feeds them to Sguil, doesn’t act on the IPv6 alerts because it expects IPv4 addresses. This is not a problem however, since Sguil doesn’t support IPv6 addresses. This makes sense since Snort doesn’t support it either.

So compared to my IPv4 access, protection is somewhat limited. I’m only enabling HTTP for now, so ModSecurity should be able to handle that just fine.

Anyway, it seems to be working fine now, but consider the IPv6 support experimental, as I’m playing with how it all works. So don’t be surpised if it’s broken all of a sudden 😉