Re: NAT external/Public IP

On 30-Oct-07, at 5:32 PM, Ansgar -59cobalt- Wiechers wrote:

On 2007-10-30 Security Incidents wrote:
On 30 October 2007 07:04 PM Ansgar -59cobalt- Wiechers wrote:
On 2007-10-30 Grant Donald wrote:
With PAT private IP addresses are hidden from the outside world.
This basically makes the job of hacking into a system more
difficult, because the original host's IP address and source port is

This is mere obscurity. It doesn't make a host any more or less
secure than it already is. Like I said before: either a host is
secure, then it doesn't matter if an attacker knows the address, or
it isn't secure, then you're "security" is based on the hope that an
attacker won't discover the host.

Depending on firewall capabilities (or lack of capabilities) ports
may need to be opened inbound for certain applications to work
(e.g.. ident & pptp). A horizontal scan of such a network could
produce a wealth of knowledge, if that network does not support port
address translation.

Ummm... wot? Why would you want to allow any inbound connections into
your LAN? And how would an attacker be able to scan your network from
the outside? For some obscure reason you seem to assume that using
public IP addresses in your LAN means that the firewall at the
perimeter magically allows access from WAN to LAN. This assumption is

Why not Security by Design plus Security by Obscurity?

Because when you have security you don't need obscurity. It will only
add to the system's complexity, which in turn may even *reduce* security
(due to increased risk of misconfiguration and such).

If the additional obscurity does not compromise the design, in any
way, then we may in-fact end up with better security.

No, because it's not reliable, and it doesn't add to security in the
first place.

Do you claim that you can make a host "secure"?

That depends on what you mean by "make a host secure". I do claim that
I'm able to identify security risks for a host, and define measures to
mitigate those risks in a reliable manner.

However, we're getting off the subject. I'm still waiting for someone to
explain how public addresses are any less secure than private addresses.
To repeat myself: using public addresses for hosts in your LAN does
*not* mean that those hosts automatically are publicly accessible.

Ansgar, I think that the main contention is that private addresses are generally
not considered routable on the public internet. I wouldn't hazard that the RFC
is always strictly followed as there have been cases where I've seen private
addresses being used (routed across a public interface)

Obscurity can also have two meanings, and I think that one can have obscurity
without complexity (although I'd also agree that in many (most?) cases that this
isn't the defacto standard) You'll find that to obscure something may just mean
not reveal... which you'll agree can increase the complexity of requirements for
successful attacks and exploits. If you don't know what you're looking for because
it's been obscured, then you have increased the big O complexity in a significant

It's true that obscurity in no way means security, and it would be dangerous to
carry on with that line of thinking for day to day operations. It might be better to
consider obscuring something as a 'nuance' to an already well considered defense
in depth security model.


Sean Swayze

Ansgar Wiechers
"All vulnerabilities deserve a public fear period prior to patches
becoming available."
--Jason Coombs on Bugtraq