Neohapsis is currently accepting applications for employment. For more information, please visit our website www.neohapsis.com or email hr@neohapsis.com
Subject: Re: Bypassing firewall
From: Darren Reed (darrenrreed.wattle.id.au)
Date: Thu Feb 03 2000 - 18:46:38 CST

In some email I received from Marcus J. Ranum, sie wrote:
> >The only context I can think of this making any sense is when you
> >have an inside agent program that makes an SSL connection to an
> >external host for the express purpose of providing access to systems
> >on the inside (sort of like dial-back).
> You mean like if someone made a back orifice plug in or
> something like that?

Hmmm. Not sure. Let me explain. If I somehow get an internal box with
an agent installed which makes connections outbound on port 80 and only
does so in response to a magic email message that I send, then it is
highly likely a proxy will dump it if it's not HTTP. Then again, if the
end is effectly an in.rshd, compiled with SSL, and *connects* to my rsh
process that listens on port 443 (again in response to a magic email),
then no magic proxy can determine if it's HTTP or anything else.

In the second case, the only way you *might* determine it's not HTTP is
through packet analysis - HTTP doesn't send lots of short packets in
both directions, in measurable levels of spurtiness.

> >The `solutions' are not pretty: disable any protocol using encryption
> >because the firewall cannot validate the message's integrity or force
> >everything to be decrypted and re-encrypted as required to allow the
> >message to be checked that it matches the right protocol.
> No, it's worse. The 'solution' is to disable any protocol
> that issues connections which are not immediately tied to
> an authentication that isn't performed by a computer.

Is that sufficient ? Users are pretty dumb, after all.