Commit 7b423fdd authored by Mike Hibler's avatar Mike Hibler

Beef up Dave's description of IPOD, hopefully not trading clarity and

accuracy for verbosity!
parent ab4657d2
Authenticated ICMP Ping of Death Specification
The IPOD is designed to provide remote machine reboot at the kernel level.
This allows for non-powercycle reboots of many wedged machine problems,
but not all. (Any system administrator who has found themselves 20 miles
away from a machine that pings but otherwise doesn't respond has thought
of this!)
The design of the IPOD needs to prevent spoofing and replay attacks, but
no confidentiality is needed.
Via an authenticated, encrypted out-of-band channel (ssh, ssl), the
administrator preconfigures an IPOD code (key) on the target machine,
and tells it the host from which the IPOD may be sent. When the
machine needs to be rebooted, the administrator sends an ICMP message
of type 6, subtype 6 containing the key. The machine checks the key
against its stored code, and if they match, the kernel reboots.
The reboot does NOT attempt to perform a graceful shutdown (e.g.,
syncing the disks) it is essentially a hardware reset.
Authentication mechanisms:
The IPOD employs two authentication mechanisms. The first is a check
of the host from which the IPOD packet came. Host in this case is an
address/mask pair so it is possible to allow an IPOD packet from a
subnet as well as from an individual host. This level of authentication
is sufficient in an environment in which IP address spoofing is not
The second mechanism is the aforementioned key, which must be
communicated securely to the client at client boot time. This provides
a degree of security when IP spoofing cannot be prevented. By changing
the key at each reboot, replay attacks can be avoided.
System interfaces:
In Linux and FreeBSD, IPOD is configured via the sysctl interface
using five variables:
version (read-only):
Tells the version of the IPOD implementation in use. Current
version is 2.
enabled (read-write):
If set to zero, ICMP type 6 subtype 6 packets are treated
as normal for the OS. If set to one, an IPOD check is performed
and the machine rebooted if necessary. Default value is zero.
host (read-write):
mask (read-write):
The usual address and netmask combination. An address of ~0,
is considered invalid and IPOD is disabled as though the enabled
MIB were set to zero. Default values for both host and mask are ~0.
key (write-only):
A 32-byte ASCII string. If set to the null string, no key check
is made and the machine is rebooted if the host/mask check was
successful. Default value is "SETMETOSOMETHINGTHIRTYTWOBYTES!!"
(Should probably be random instead.)
The exact sysctl names for these variables are different in Linux/BSD.
For FreeBSD:
net.inet.icmp.ipod.version # a signed int
net.inet.icmp.ipod.enabled # a signed int # a signed int, ugh!
net.inet.icmp.ipod.mask # a signed int, ugh!
net.inet.icmp.ipod.key # a string
and Linux:
net.ipv4.icmp_ipod_version # a signed int
net.ipv4.icmp_ipod_enabled # a signed int
net.ipv4.icmp_ipod_host # a signed int, ugh!
net.ipv4.icmp_ipod_mask # a signed int, ugh!
net.ipv4.icmp_ipod_key # a string
Packet format:
A standard ICMP packet, addressed directly to the destination node.
ICMP type is 6, ICMP code is 6. Length of the ICMP must be at least
32 bytes if key checking is enabled.
Use in Netbed:
At boot, a node checks in with Netbed Central ("boss" node) over a
secure SSL connection using the TMCD protocol ("tmcc ipodinfo"). During
this checkin, the boss generates a random key for the IPOD, stores the key
in its database, and replies to the node sending the key and its own IP
information. The node parses the addr/mask/key information and configures
the kernel using sysctls. If the node cannot contact Netbed Central,
it does not configure an IPOD key and IPOD processing is disabled.
(Perhaps a better way to do this would be a challenge-response protocol,
but that might add complexity, and the goal of IPOD is to be completely
Checking the IPOD:
doit = 0;
* If IPOD not enabled or wrong ICMP code, ignore.
if (!ipod_enabled || icp->icmp_code != 6)
* First check the source address info.
* If host not set, ignore.
if (ipod_host != 0xffffffff &&
(ntohl(ip->ip_src.s_addr) & ipod_mask) == ipod_host) {
* Now check the key if enabled.
* If packet doesn't contain enough data or key
* is otherwise invalid, ignore.
if (ip->ip_len >= strlen(ipod_key) &&
doit = 1;
} else {
doit = 1;
if (doit) {
ipod_enabled = 0;
printf("IPOD: reboot forced by %lx...\n",
} else {
log(LOG_ERR, "IPOD: from %lx rejected\n",
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