Bug 159367 - icmp_echo_ignore_broadcasts should probably default to 1
icmp_echo_ignore_broadcasts should probably default to 1
Product: Fedora
Classification: Fedora
Component: initscripts (Show other bugs)
All Linux
medium Severity medium
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Assigned To: Bill Nottingham
Brock Organ
Depends On:
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Reported: 2005-06-01 19:32 EDT by Dan Hollis
Modified: 2014-03-16 22:54 EDT (History)
4 users (show)

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Fixed In Version:
Doc Type: Bug Fix
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Last Closed: 2005-10-03 21:01:56 EDT
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RHEL 7.3 requirements from Atomic Host:
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Description Dan Hollis 2005-06-01 19:32:05 EDT
Description of problem:
fedora hosts by default will happily participate as smurf amps. we are seeing
this on a disturbingly increasing frequency.

Version-Release number of selected component (if applicable):

How reproducible:

Steps to Reproduce:
1.ping broadcast of a subnet of fedora machines.
2.watch them all respond to a single ping packet.
3.profit (ddos)!
Actual results:
fedora boxen happily participate in smurf amping

Expected results:
they should ignore broadcast ping.

Additional info:
This should probably be added to the default /etc/sysctl.conf:

# Prevents host from being abused as a smurf amp
net.ipv4.icmp_echo_ignore_broadcasts = 1
Comment 2 David Miller 2005-10-03 18:11:58 EDT
Broadcast pings are a useful network diagnostic for many people.

Turning it off is a local decision you can make for yourself, but
not really something that should be imposed by default for every
Comment 3 Alan Cox 2005-10-03 18:17:38 EDT
They also cause problems. One possibility would be to provide an option to reply
to them with a low ttl only. Alternatively we should default to blocking
broadcast icmp ping in the firewall rules.

I disagree with DaveM for two reasons
1. Broadcast ping abuse is a serious problem
2. Mapping by broadcast ping doesn't work reliably nowdays because many other
OS's and setups ignore them for the same reason Dan proposes we do.

Comment 4 Dan Hollis 2005-10-03 18:33:21 EDT
i guess davem has never had to deal with 500mbit/s smurfs. :)

broadcast ping means fedora core is a ddos-enabler out of the box, even with all
services disabled. this is terrible policy. every security organization (CERT,
etc) recommends disabling broadcast ping by default. cisco ios ships with it
disabled by default.


you can achieve what you need almost always with controlled unicast ping.
there's no good reason to ship broadcast enabled out of the box. anyone who
absolutely needs it (probably 1 or 2 people on the entire planet? besides skript
kiddies) can enable it manually.

low ttl means you can still totally remotely nuke someones network with ease,
you just cant use them to relay the attack to a third party victim. tis best to
disable by default.
Comment 5 David Miller 2005-10-03 18:59:57 EDT

There is another side effect to consider however.  In current kernels
turning on icmp_echo_ignore_broadcasts also has the effect of ignoring
broadcast TIMESTAMP icmp messages as well.

To be honest, all of this suggests that it should be disabled by default
in the kernel.
Comment 6 David Miller 2005-10-03 19:10:43 EDT
This bugzilla has provided enough strong evidence that I've decided to
turn this thing off by default in the upstream 2.6.x kernel.  I'll likely
do the same for 2.4.x as well.
Comment 7 Dan Hollis 2005-10-03 19:30:24 EDT
status: closed ? resolved? etc
Comment 8 Dan Hollis 2005-10-03 19:44:01 EDT
one might also argue that accept_source_route should default 0 as this has not
worked anywhere on the internet for the past 15 years ... ? it's deader than
classful routing.
Comment 9 Dan Hollis 2005-10-03 20:22:19 EDT
should probably be a knob somewhere for udp to ignore directed broadcasts too.
something like udp_ignore_broadcasts

papasmurf achieves much the same effect as icmp echo by sending udp broadcasts.
even if the target port is closed (udp/7) the flood of port unreachables has
much the same effect on the victim.


cisco has a knob 'no ip directed-broadcast' for interfaces which disables all
directed broadcasts -- icmp and udp, thus preventing both attacks. 'no ip
directed-broadcast' is the cisco default now.
Comment 10 Bill Nottingham 2005-10-03 21:01:56 EDT
I'll close this as UPSTREAM, as it will be fixed in the upstream kernel and then
trickle back into Fedora that way.

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