Reality check: IPFW sees SSH traffic that sshd does not?

This note is essentially a request for a reality check.

I use IPFW & natd on the box that provides the interface between my home
networks and the Internet; the connection is (static) residential DSL.

I configured IPFW to accept & log all SSH "setup" requests, and use natd
to forward such requests to an internal machine that only accepts public
key authentication; that machine's sshd logs SSH-specific information.

Usually, the SSH setup requests logged by IPFW correspond with sshd
activity (whether authorized or not); I expect this.

What has come as rather a surprise, though, is that every once in a
while, I will see IPFW logging setup requests that have no corresponding
sshd activity logged at all.

This morning (in reviewing the logs from yesterday), I found a set of
580 such setup requests logged from Mar 20 19:30:06 - Mar 20 19:40:06
(US/Pacific; currently 7 hrs. west of GMT/UTC), each from
(part of a VAULT-NETWORKS netblock). The sshd on the internal machine
never logged anything corresponding to any of this.

I cannot imagine any valid reason for SSH traffic to my home to be
originating from that netblock. I perceive nothing comforting in the
lack of sshd logging the apparent activity.

Lacking rationale to do otherwise, I interpret this as an attack:
I've modified my IPFW rules to include a reference to a table rather
early on; IP addresses found in this table are not permitted to
establish SSH sessions to my networks, and the attempted activity
is logged. (I also use the same technique on my laptop and my work
desktop, and -- manually, so far -- keep the tables in question

I have accordingly added the VAULT-NETWORKS netblocks to this table,
pending either information or reason to remove those specifications.

Granted, there appears to be no access granted, but the lack of sshd
logging makes me nervous.

Have other folks noticed this type of behavior? Have I gone off the
deep end of paranoia? (Yes, I expect that some of "them" really are out
to get me. What can I say; it's an occupational hazard.)


David H. Wolfskill david@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Believe SORBS at your own risk: has been static since Aug 1999.

See for my public key.

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