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Chapter 10 Local Area Network Security > Protocol Decode-Based Analysis

Protocol Decode-Based Analysis

In many ways, intelligent extensions to stateful pattern matches are protocol decode-based signatures. This class of signature is implemented by decoding the various elements in the same manner as the client or server in the conversation would. When the elements of the protocol are identified, the IDS applies rules defined by the request for comments (RFCs) to look for violations. In some instances, these violations are found with pattern matches within a specific protocol field, and some require more advanced techniques that account for such variables as the length of a field or the number of arguments.

Consider the fictitious example of the gwb attack for illustration purposes. Suppose that the base protocol that the attack is being run over is the fictitious OBL protocol, and more specifically, assume that the attack requires that the illegal fictitious argument gpp must be passed in the OBL Type field. To further complicate the situation, assume that the Type field is preceded by a field of variable length called OBL Options. The valid list of fictitious options includes gppi, nppi, upsnfs, and cvjmep. Using the simple or the stateful pattern-matching algorithm in this case leads to false positives because the option gppi contains the pattern that is being searched for. In addition, because the field lengths are variable, it would be impossible to limit such false positives by specifying search start and stop locations. The only way to be certain that gpp is being passed in as the OBL type argument is to fully decode the protocol.


  

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