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NAME:WRECK is a collection of vulnerabilities in DNS implementations, discovered by Forescout and JSOF Research. This body of research can be seen as a continuation of Ripple20 and AMNESIA:33, as it builds on a class of vulnerability discovered in other network stacks, problems with DNS message compression.

Their PDF Whitepaper contains a brief primer on the DNS message format, which is useful for understanding the class of problem. In such a message, a DNS name is encoded with a length-value scheme, with each full name ending in a null byte. So in a DNS Request, Hackaday.com would get represented as [0x08]Hackaday[0x03]com[0x00]. The dots get replaced by these length values, and it makes for an easily parsable format.

Very early on, it was decided that continually repeating the same host names in a DNS message was wasteful of space, so a compression scheme was devised. DNS compression takes advantage of the maximum host/domain length of 63 characters. This max size means that the binary representation of that length value will never contain “1”s in the first two digits. Since it can never be used, length values starting with a binary “11” are used to point to a previously occurring domain name. The 14 bits that follow this two bit flag are known as a compression pointer, and represent a byte offset from the beginning of the message. The DNS message parser pulls the intended value from that location, and then continues parsing.

The problems found were generally based around improper validation. For example, the NetX stack doesn’t check whether the compression pointer points at itself. This scenario leads to a tight infinite loop, a classic DoS attack. Other systems don’t properly validate the location being referenced, leading to data copy past the allocated buffer, leading to remote code execution (RCE). FreeBSD has this issue, but because it’s tied to DHCP packets, the vulnerability can only be exploited by a device on the local network. While looking for message compression issues, they also found a handful of vulnerabilities in DNS response parsing that aren’t directly related to compression. The most notable here being an RCE in Seimens’ Nucleus…

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