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RE: STP mitm attack idea

-----Original Message-----
From: Ivan Jager [mailto:aij+@xxxxxxxx] 
Sent: Thursday, April 29, 2010 1:22 PM
To: Jason T. Masker
Cc: bugtraq@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: STP mitm attack idea

On Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 05:26:09PM -0400, Jason T. Masker scribbled
> Best practice is to implement layer 2 security mechanisms which would
> identify these ports as "access" ports and shut them down if any STP
> traffic was received through these interfaces. On Cisco equipment,
> this is known as BPDU guard.

>I don't have an account with Cisco any more, but why would
>shutting down the port be the right thing to do? CMU does that,
>and it means you have to be very careful when plugging in a
>higher-end switch, which was recently a problem for Computer
>Club. It seems like simply ignoring STP packets from that port
>would be just as effective and much less disruptive.


Shutting down the port is useful for security in the way that it helps
prevent the type of attack that Xperience has described. When BPDU Guard
is implemented the port will be shut down if any Spanning Tree packets
are seen. It is risky turning off Spanning Tree as any loops in the
network will create a denial of service by causing broadcast traffic to
be sent out every port on the switch in a continuous loop. An
interesting thing to note is what happens if a cable is plugged into two
ports on a switch, essentially creating a loop. For this reason when
BPDU is implemented and a port comes up it will send out two Spanning
Tree packets. The opposing port sees these packets and shuts down. One
other feature of BPDU guard is that it can be configured to stay in an
error state for a specified period of time by using the "errdisable
recovery cause bpduguard" command. When configured using the "errdisable
recovery interval xxx" This allows the port to return to normal usage
after the error condition has been resolved. Another reason to implement
these features is that it prevents Access ports from "sharing" Spanning
Tree information and "leaking" the network topology. From a security
stand point it might be useful disabling CDP on Access ports as well.