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[20090215] Security Assessment of the Transmission Control Protocol
Fernando Gont posted about a study that's not strictly related to NetBSD, but still on-topic in today's networked world: ``The United Kingdom's Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure has just released the document "Security Assessment of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)", on which I have had the pleasure to work during the last few years.''

Fernando outlines the motivation to produce the study by citing the Preface of the study: ``The TCP/IP protocol suite was conceived in an environment that was quite different from the hostile environment they currently operate in. However, the effectiveness of the protocols led to their early adoption in production environments, to the point that to some extent, the current world's economy depends on them. ''

The Preface goes on to outline the history between TCP/IP with its early days and purpose then, and the change in area of application (and threat!) today. It also outlines the relation between the IETF's standard process and work from the computer / network security area, and understands itself as an assistance for vendors to improve their implementation.

Topics covered in the study include the Transmission Control Protocol, its header fields and common options, mechanisms for connection establishment and termination, implementation details like buffer management and segment reassembly, the TCP API, and resulting problems like blind in-window attacks, information leaking and covert channels. Last, port scanning and interactions with the ICMP and IP protocols is discussed.

For more information see Fernando's posting to tech-net or have a look at the 130 page study yourself. Send your patches & discussions to tech-net. :-)

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Disclaimer: All opinion expressed here is purely my own. No responsibility is taken for anything.

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