Overview

Decoding is one of the first processes a packet goes through in Snort. The decoder has the job of determining which underlying protocols are used in the packet (such as Ethernet, IP, TCP, etc."/>

Snort FAQ

README.decode

Overview

Decoding is one of the first processes a packet goes through in Snort. The decoder has the job of determining which underlying protocols are used in the packet (such as Ethernet, IP, TCP, etc.) and saves this data along with the location of the payload/application data in the packet (which it doesn’t try to decode) and the size of this payload for use by the preprocessor and detection engines.

As the decoder steps through the packet headers, it also looks for errors or anomolies in the fields of these headers, which if configured in snort.conf, can be alerted upon and even dropped if Snort is running in inline mode. For example, if the Ethernet protocol field points to IPv4, but the size of the packet that was captured (after the Ethernet header) is less than 20 bytes (the minimum length for an IPv4 header), Snort will (by default) generate an alert and move the packet out of the decoding phase. While Snort doesn’t alert on bad checksums, whether or not Snort is checking them affects how the system responds to packets that have been flagged as having bad checksums. Stream and Frag will not process packets that have been flagged as having bad checksums.

Note: To disable decoding of GRE encapsulated traffic, pass –disable-gre to configure, and to disable decoding of MPLS encapsulated traffic, pass -disable-mpls to configure.

Configuration

The following lists the options available for configuring the decoder. “disable” options mean that those alerts are enabled by default and “enable” options mean they are disabled by default. Snort must be running in inline mode for the “drops” options to have any effect. Also, note that alerting must be enabled for the particular alert/drop option pair in order for the “drops” options to work.

  • Options:

    disable_decode_alerts - By default, decoder alerts are enabled - use this option to disable these alerts. enable_decode_drops - If in inline mode, drop packets that are alerted on.

    disable_ipopt_alerts - Disable alerts generated due to bad IP options. enable_ipopt_drops - Drop packets that are alerted on due to bad IP options.

    disable_tcpopt_alerts - Disable alerts generated due to bad TCP options. enable_tcpopt_drops - Drop packets that are alerted on due to bad TCP options.

    disable_ttcp_alerts - Disable alerts generated due to detection of T/TCP. enable_ttcp_drops - Drop packets that are alerted on due to T/TCP detection.

    disable_tcpopt_obsolete_alerts - Disable alerts generated due to detection of obsolete TCP options - Skeeter, Bubba and Unassigned. enable_tcpopt_obsolete_drops - Drop packets that are alerted on due to obsolete TCP options.

    disable_tcpopt_experimental_alerts - Disable alerts generated due to detection of experimental TCP options (kinds 9,10,15,20,21,22,23,24 - see http://www.iana.org/assignments/tcp-parameters for what these are). enable_tcpopt_experimental_drops - Drop packets that are alerted on due to experimental TCP options.

    enable_decode_oversized_alerts - Enable alerts generated due to the length field (IP, TCP, UDP) indicating a larger packet than we captured. Note that this is the only decoder alert option that is disabled by default. enable_decode_oversized_drops - Drop packets that are alerted on due to the header length field indicating a larger packet than we captured.

    checksum_mode: all|none|noip|notcp|noudp|noicmp|ip|tcp|udp|icmp - By default checksums are computed for IP, TCP, UDP and ICMP. Use this option to disable checksum checking of specific protocols. Use a space separated list.

    checksum_drop: all|none|noip|notcp|noudp|noicmp|ip|tcp|udp|icmp - By default packets with bad checksums are not dropped if in inline mode. Use a space separated list. Note that Snort must be doing checksums for a particular protocol in order to drop packets with bad checksums for that protocol.

Example configurations

To enable oversized alerts:

config enable_decode_oversized_alerts

To enable drops on decode events:

config enable_decode_drops
config enable_decode_oversized_alerts
config enable_decode_oversized_drops

To disable TCP option alerts:

config disable_tcpopt_alerts
config disable_tcpopt_obsolete_alerts
config disable_tcpopt_experimental_alerts

To disable IP and TCP checksum checking

config checksum_mode: noip notcp

To drop all packets that have bad checksums

config checksum_drop: all

Alerts

The decoder uses generator ID 116.

The list of SIDs is as follows for each type of alert:

decode_alerts

SID Description — ———– 1 Ethernet protocol is IPv4 but version field in IPv4 header has a value other than 4 2 IPv4 header length field contains a value that is less than 20 bytes (the minimum IPv4 header length) 3 IPv4 length field contains a value that is larger than the captured length of the packet (starting from IPv4 header) 45 The length of the captured packet (starting from TCP header) is less than 20 bytes (the minimum TCP header length) 46 The value of the TCP offset field is less than 5 words (20 bytes) 95 The length of the captured packet (starting from UDP header) is less than 8 bytes (the UDP header length) 96 The value of the UDP length field is less than the size of a UDP header 97 UDP length field contains a value that is larger than the captured length of the packet (starting from UDP header) 105 The length of the captured packet (starting from ICMP header) is less than minimum header length for that ICMP type 106 The length of the payload (starting from ICMP header) is less than minimum header length for ICMP Timestamp Request and Reply types 107 The length of the payload (starting from ICMP header) is less than minimum header length for ICMP Address Mask Request and Reply types 109 The length of the captured packet (starting from ARP header) is less than the length of an ARP header 110 The length of the captured packet (starting from EAPOL header) is less than the length of an EAPOL header 111 The length of the captured packet (starting from EAP key) is less than the length of an EAP key 112 The length of the captured packet (starting from EAP header) is less than the length of an EAP header 120 The length of the captured packet (starting from PPPoE header) is less than the length of a PPPoE header 130 The length of the captured packet (starting from VLAN header) is less than the length of a VLAN (802.1q) header 131 The length of the captured packet (starting from VLAN header) is less than the length of a VLAN (802.1q) header plus the LLC header 132 The length of the captured packet (starting from VLAN header) is less than the length of a VLAN (802.1q) header plus the LLC header plus the SNAP header 133 The length of the captured packet (starting from 802.11 header) is less than the length of a 802.11 data header plus LLC header 140 The length of the captured packet (starting from Token Ring header) is less than the length of a Token Ring header 141 The length of the captured packet (starting from Token Ring header) is less than the length of a Token Ring header plus LLC header 142 The length of the captured packet (starting from Token Ring header) is less than the length of a Token Ring header plus LLC header plus MR header plus value of length field in MR header 143 The length of the captured packet (starting from Token Ring header) is less than the length of a Token Ring header plus LLC header plus MR header 150 The source and/or destination IPv4 address are the loopback address (127.0.0.1) 151 The source and destination IPv4 addresses are the same 250 The length of the captured packet (starting from the ICMP encapsulated IP header) is less than the minimum length of an IPv4 header 251 The encapsulated IPv4 header of an ICMP packet has a value other than 4 in version field 252 The length of the captured packet (starting from the ICMP encapsulated IP header) is less than the ICMP encapsulated IP header length 253 The ICMP encapsulated IP payload is less than 64 bits (at least 64 bits must be included - RFC 792) 254 The ICMP encapsulated IP payload is greater than 576 bytes 255 The ICMP encapsulated IP was fragmented, but the fragment offset is not 0 (an ICMP message is only returned for the first fragment)

If GRE is enabled (–disable-gre was not given to configure) 160 The length of the captured packet (starting from GRE header) is less than the length of a GRE header 161 There are multiple GRE encapsulations in the packet (currently not allowed) 162 GRE version in packet is not 0 or 1. 163 Flags in header are set that should be unset. 164 For PPtP, the ether type is not PPP. 165 For Transparent Ethernet Bridging, the length of the captured packet (starting from the Transparent Ethernet Bridging header) is less than the length of a Transparent Ethernet Bridging header.

ipopt_alerts

SID Message — ——- 4 A bad length was found in IPv4 options 5 Truncated IPv4 options

tcpopt_alerts

SID Message — ——- 54 A bad length was found in TCP options 55 Truncated TCP options

ttcp_alerts

SID Message — ——- 56 T/TCP was detected

tcpopt_obsolete_alerts

SID Message — ——- 57 Obsolete TCP options found

tcpopt_experimental_alerts

SID Message — ——- 58 Experimental TCP options found

decode_oversized_alerts

SID Message — ——- 6 The IPv4 length field contains a value that is greater than the length of the captured packet (starting from the IPv4 header) 47 The TCP header length field contains a value that is greater than the length of the captured packet (starting from the TCP header) 98 The UDP header length field contains a value that is greater than the length of the captured packet (starting from the UDP header)