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Towards Secure Multipath TCP Communication
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. (PriSec)
2017 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The evolution in networking coupled with an increasing demand to improve user experience has led to different proposals to extend the standard TCP. Multipath TCP (MPTCP) is one such extension that has the potential to overcome few inherent limitations in the standard TCP. While MPTCP's design and deployment progresses, most of the focus has been on its compatibility. The security aspect is confined to making sure that the MPTCP protocol itself offers the same security level as the standard TCP.

The topic of this thesis is to investigate the unexpected security implications raised by using MPTCP in the traditional networking environment. The Internet of today has security middle-boxes that perform traffic analysis to detect intrusions and attacks. Such middle-boxes make use of different assumptions about the traffic, e.g., traffic from a single connection always arrives along the same path. This along with many other assumptions may not be true anymore with the advent of MPTCP as traffic can be fragmented and sent over multiple paths simultaneously.

We investigate how practical it is to evade a security middle-box by fragmenting and sending traffic across multiple paths using MPTCP. Realistic attack traffic is used to evaluate such attacks against Snort IDS to show that these attacks are feasible. We then go on to propose possible solutions to detect such attacks and implement them in an MPTCP proxy. The proxy aims to extend the MPTCP performance advantages to servers that only support standard TCP, while ensuring that intrusions can be detected as before. Finally, we investigate the potential MPTCP scenario where security middle-boxes only have access to some of the traffic. We propose and implement an algorithm to perform intrusion detection in such situations and achieve a nearly 90% detection accuracy. Another contribution of this work is a tool, that converts IDS rules into equivalent attack traffic to automate the evaluation of a middle-box.

Abstract [en]

Multipath TCP (MPTCP) is an extension to standard TCP that is close to being standardized. The design of the protocol is progressing, but most of the focus has so far been on its compatibility. The security aspect is confined to making sure that the MPTCP protocol itself offers the same security level as standard TCP. The topic of this thesis is to investigate the unexpected security implications raised by using MPTCP in a traditional networking environment. Today, the security middleboxes make use of different assumptions that may not be true anymore with the advent of MPTCP.We investigate how practical it is to evade a security middlebox by fragmenting and sending traffic across multiple paths using MPTCP. Realistic attack traffic generated from a tool that is also presented in this thesis is used to show that these attacks are feasible. We then go on to propose possible solutions to detect such attacks and implement them in an MPTCP proxy. The proxy aims to extend secure MPTCP performance advantages. We also investigate the MPTCP scenario where security middleboxes can only observe some of the traffic. We propose and implement an algorithm to perform intrusion detection in such situations and achieve a high detection accuracy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2017. , 91 p.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2017:12
Keyword [en]
network security, MPTCP, TCP, IDS, snort, edit-distance
National Category
Computer Science
Research subject
Computer Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-48172ISBN: 978-91-7063-763-6 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7063-764-3 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-48172DiVA: diva2:1082824
Presentation
2017-04-28, 1B364, Karlstad, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
HITS
Available from: 2017-04-10 Created: 2017-03-17 Last updated: 2017-05-16Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Multipath TCP IDS Evasion and Mitigation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Multipath TCP IDS Evasion and Mitigation
2015 (English)In: Information Security: 18th International Conference, ISC 2015, Trondheim, Norway, September 9-11, 2015, Proceedings, Springer, 2015, Vol. 9290, 265-282 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The existing network security infrastructure is not ready for future protocols such as Multipath TCP (MPTCP). The outcome is that middleboxes are configured to block such protocols. This paper studies the security risk that arises if future protocols are used over unaware infrastructures. In particular, the practicality and severity of cross-path fragmentation attacks utilizing MPTCP against the signature-matching capability of the Snort intrusion detection system (IDS) is investigated. Results reveal that the attack is realistic and opens the possibility to evade any signature-based IDS. To mitigate the attack, a solution is also proposed in the form of the MPTCP Linker tool. The work outlines the importance of MPTCP support in future network security middleboxes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2015
Series
Lecture Notes in Computer Science, ISSN 0302-9743 ; 9290
National Category
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-39058 (URN)10.1007/978-3-319-23318-5_15 (DOI)000363678700015 ()978-3-319-23317-8 (ISBN)
Conference
The 18th Information Security Conference (ISC), Trondheim, Norway, September 9-11, 2015.
Available from: 2016-01-18 Created: 2016-01-18 Last updated: 2017-03-17Bibliographically approved
2. Towards Multipath TCP Aware Security Technologies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards Multipath TCP Aware Security Technologies
2016 (English)In: New Technologies, Mobility and Security (NTMS), 2016 8th IFIP International Conference on, IEEE conference proceedings, 2016Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Multipath TCP (MPTCP) is a proposed extension to TCP that enables a number of performance advantages that have not been offered before. While the protocol specification is close to being finalized, there still remain some unaddressed challenges regarding the deployment and security implications of the protocol. This work attempts to tackle some of these concerns by proposing and implementing MPTCP aware security services and deploying them inside a proof of concept MPTCP proxy. The aim is to enable hosts, even those without native MPTCP support, to securely benefit from the MPTCP performance advantages. Our evaluations show that the security services that are implemented enable proper intrusion detection and prevention to thwart potential attacks as well as threshold rules to prevent denial of service (DoS) attacks.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE conference proceedings, 2016
National Category
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-47594 (URN)10.1109/NTMS.2016.7792485 (DOI)000391578700063 ()978-1-5090-2914-3 (ISBN)
Conference
8th IFIP International Conference on New Technologies, Mobility and Security (NTMS), Larnaka, 21-23 Nov. 2016
Available from: 2017-01-06 Created: 2017-01-06 Last updated: 2017-09-06Bibliographically approved
3. Partial Signature Matching in an MPTCP World using Insert-only Levenshtein Distance
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Partial Signature Matching in an MPTCP World using Insert-only Levenshtein Distance
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper proposes a methodology consisting of a constrained version of the Levenshtein distance that can be used to detect signatures from partial traffic. The proposed algorithm is formally presented, implemented, and tested using the latest available version of the Snort ruleset. The results show that the algorithm can successfully detect all partial signatures with nearly 90% accuracy.

National Category
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-48173 (URN)
Available from: 2017-03-17 Created: 2017-03-17 Last updated: 2017-05-17
4. IDS rule management made easy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>IDS rule management made easy
2016 (English)In: Electronics, Computers and Artificial Intelligence (ECAI), 2016 8th International Conference on, IEEE conference proceedings, 2016Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Signature-based intrusion detection systems (IDSs) are commonly utilized in enterprise networks to detect and possibly block a wide variety of attacks. Their application in industrial control systems (ICSs) is also growing rapidly as modem ICSs increasingly use open standard protocols instead of proprietary. Due to an ever changing threat landscape, the rulesets used by these IDSs have grown large and there is no way to verify their precision or accuracy. Such broad and non-optimized rulesets lead to false positives and an unnecessary burden on the IDS, resulting in possible degradation of the security. This work proposes a methodology consisting of a set of tools to help optimize the IDS rulesets and make rule management easier. The work also provides attack traffic data that is expected to benefit the task of IDS assessment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE conference proceedings, 2016
National Category
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-48016 (URN)10.1109/ECAI.2016.7861119 (DOI)978-1-5090-2048-5 (ISBN)
Conference
8th International Conference on Electronics, Computers and Artificial Intelligence (ECAI), 30 June-2 July 2016, Ploiesti, Romania
Available from: 2017-02-24 Created: 2017-02-24 Last updated: 2017-07-05Bibliographically approved

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