Mitigating SSH Vulnerabilities Using Single Packet Authorization
Note: This is a 2008 post I managed to recover from my archive of Securethoughts.net
This past week has seen a bit of activity on the SSH security front. To begin with, on Tuesday (13/05/08) Linux distributions Debian and Ubuntu announced that due to a flaw in the random number generator used to generate cryptographic keys used by OpenSSL, OpenSSH and OpenVPN, making these keys far more predictable than they should be, and can be discovered by performing a brute force attack. This is particularly true of the encryption keys used by OpenSSH. HD Moore of the Metasploit project has created a page cover these vulnerabilities, with links to tools that can be used to check for weak keys, as well as key blacklists.
A very robust implementation of SPA is the Firewall Knock Operator (fwknop), developed in Perl by Michael Rash, which includes features such as replay-protection. I’ll be posting a tutorial on setting up fwknop on OS X very soon. Aldaba, another implementation by Luis Martin Garcia, is written entirely in C, and offers similar functionality to fwknop. Finally the latest implementation that has come to my attention in the past few days is “Ramius“, written entirely in Bash by John Brendler. Although I have not tested it yet, it’s good to see new implementations using readily-available tools.