CCNA-SEC Lec#4 | Securing Data Plane

After we finished the discussion of securing the management plane and control plane at the two previous lectures, We are about discuss how to protect the Data plane in the upcoming lines to cover all about the Network Foundation Protection “NFP” Framework.
What’s the Data plane ?

Data plane is the name of the router/switch part which responsible to handle traffic that is being forwarded through the network (sometimes called transit traffic), so it sometimes data plane called as a forwarding plane.
Data Plane is taking charge of Forward traffic to the next hop along the path to the selected destination network according to control plane logic.
Actually, t
he routers/switches use what the control plane built to dispose of incoming and outgoing frames and packets.
A failure of some component in the data plane results in the customer’s traffic not being able to be forwarded. Other times, based on policy, you might want to deny specific types of traffic that is traversing the data plane.


Securing the Data plane
Now We are about cover the methods available for implementing policy related to traffic allowed
through (transit traffic) network devices .
As mentioned,  For the data plane, this discussion concerns traffic that is going through your network device.
There are some ways to control and protect data plane-

■ Access Control list (ACL) used for filtering
ACLs are used to secure the data plane in a variety of ways such as 
Block unwanted traffic or users, reduce the chance of DoS attacks, mitigate spoofing attacks and Provide bandwidth control.

■ Antispoofing
IP spoofing is a technique of generating IP packets with a source address that belongs to someone else, 
Features such as Unicast Reverse Path Forwarding (uRPF) can be used to complement the antispoofing strategy.
■ Port security
To prevent MAC address spoofing and MAC address flooding attacks which occur when a switch has no more room in its tables for dynamically learned MAC addresses, there is the possibility of the switch not knowing the destination Layer 2 address (for the user’s frames) and forwarding a frame to all devices in the same VLAN. This might give the attacker the opportunity to eavesdrop.
■ DHCP Snooping
Which enable switch to listen in on DHCP traffic and stop any malicious DHCP packets. DHCP servers are often used in man in the middle or denial of service attacks for malicious purposes.
For more info about this feature and how to implement it you can refer to below link.
■ Dynamic ARP inspection (DAI)
It can protect against Address Resolution Protocol (ARP ) spoofing, ARP poisoning (which is advertising incorrect IP-to-MAC address mapping information), and resulting Layer 2 man-in-the-middle attacks.
DAI is a security feature that validates ARP packets in a network. DAI intercepts, logs, and discards ARP packets with invalid IP-t o-MAC address bindings.
DAI determines the validity of an ARP packet based on valid IP-to-MAC address bindings stored in a trusted database “DHCP snooping binding database”.

■ IP source Guard
This feature helps to prevent IP spoofing, which is when an attacker claims the IP address of a server or device on your network. By pretending to be that device, the attacker could potentially direct sensitive data towards a port he’s connected to.
Also, source guard relies on a switch’s knowledge of DHCP-assigned host addresses 
“DHCP snooping binding database”  in order to validate and restrict spoofed source addresses.
By: Hatem Farag | CCIE#54446

CCNA-SEC Lec#3 | Securing Control Plane

We will discuss in this topic how to secure the control plane after we finished at the previous lecture  Securing the Management Plane“.
Control plane packets are network device–generated or received packets that are used for the creation and operation of the network itself.
From the perspective of the network device,control plane packets always have a receive destination IP address and are handled by the CPU in the network device route processor. Some examples of control plane functions include routing protocols (for example, BGP, OSPF, EIGRP), as well as protocols like Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) and the Resource Reservation Protocol (RSVP).
So, The fateful issue to protect the control plane is minimizing the amount of CPU load as much as we can.
Some of the packets and traffic which handled by the CPU:
Receive adjacency traffic:  This indication is for any IP address that requires direct handling by the Cisco device CPU which is refereed by the term receive in the show ip cef command-line interface (CLI) output.

■ Access control list (ACL) logging:
The log and log-input options apply to an  ACL entries and cause packets that match the ACL entry to be logged.

■ Unicast Reverse Path Forwarding (URPF):
Security feature works by enabling a router to verify the reachability of the source address in packets being forwarded.

■ IP options:
Any IP packets with options included must be processed by the CPU.

■ Fragmentation:
Any IP packet that requires fragmentation must be passed to the CPU for processing.

■ Time-To-Live (TTL) expiry:
Packets that have a TTL value less than or equal to 1.

■ Traffic requiring an ARP request:
Destinations for which an ARP entry does not exist require processing by the CPU.

Non-IP traffic:
All non-IP traffi c is processed by the CPU.

Through the use of control plane policing (CoPP) and control plane protection (CPPr) we can secure the control plane.
Control Plane Policing(CoPP):
It’s a  feature designed to allow users to manage the flow of traffic handled by the router processor of their network devices.
Control plane policing can be performed through the use of granular classification ACLs  and the use of the show policymap control-plane command to display it.
Benefits of Control Plane Policing
Configuring the Control Plane Policing feature on your Cisco router or switch provides the following benefits:
• Protection against DoS attacks at infrastructure routers and switches.
• QoS control for packets that are destined to the control plane of Cisco routers or switches.
• Ease of configuration for control plane policies.
• Better platform reliability and availability
In below example we are about permit only the BGP and OSPF and discard any ip packet has a ttl less than 2 to  reach the Cisco device CPU.
Control Plane Protection(CPPr):
The Control Plane Protection feature is an extension of the policing functionality provided by the existing Control-plane Policing feature. The Control-plane Policing feature allows Quality of Service (QoS) policing of aggregate control-plane traffic destined to the route processor.

Additionally , the CPPr feature provides the following:

• Port-filtering feature: Enables the policing and dropping of packets that are sent to closed or non-listening TCP or UDP ports.
Queue-thresholding feature: Limits the number of packets for a specified protocol that are allowed in the control-plane IP input queue.
For more details about this technique, you can refer to below link.

By: Hatem Farag | CCIE#54446


CCNA-SEC Lec#2 | Securing Management Plane

We will discuss at this lecture with more details about NFP and how to secure the three planes “Management plane, Control plane and Data plane”
As discussed at the previous lecture Cisco NFP (Network Foundation Protection) is a framework which provides the technologies and tools to protect different types of network traffic; Cisco has classified different type of network traffic as different planes of communication. Cisco NFP (Network Foundation Protection) defines three planes and they are Management plane, Control plane and Data plane.

Securing Management Plane

The management plane performs management functions for a network and coordinates functions among all the planes (management, control, data). The management plane also is used to manage a device through its connection to the network.
Examples of protocols processed in the management plane are Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), Telnet, HTTP, Secure HTTP (HTTPS), and SSH. These management protocols are used for monitoring and for CLI access. Restricting access to devices to internal sources (trusted networks) is critical.
There are many methods you can manage a device “VTY, AUX, and Console” lines and ports and you should do your best to keep access through it more secure as you can among some procedures such as :-
Strong passwords
Make passwords very difficult to break,  An attacker can break a password in several ways, including a dictionary and/or a brute force attack. In addition to this, you should use the encrypted password “enable secret” instead of plain text password “enable password”; Enable secrets are hashed using the MD5 algorithm. Also, work on enforcing password policy, including features such as maximum number of login attempts and minimum password length. 
Encrypted management protocols
Undoubtedly, accessing devices through “Telnet or HTTP” is not secure anymore as the password sent in plain text, so encrypted communications should be used, such as Secure Shell (SSH) or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS).
User authentication and AAA
AAA stands for Authentication, Authorization and Accounting.
In large networks it isn’t logic to depend on the local user database for authenticating users.
The goal of AAA is to identify who users are before giving them any kind of access to the network, and once they are identified, only give them access to the part they are authorized to use, see, or manage.
Cisco provides many ways to implement AAA services for Cisco devices, such as  ACS server, TACACS server, or RADIUS server and we will cover this point in more details at our next sessions.

 Role-based access control (RBAC)

 With RBAC,we can create a role (like a group) and assign that role to the users who will be acting in that role. With the role comes the permissions and access. Ways to implement RBACs include using Access Control Server (ACS) and CLI parser views.
 Logging is a way to create an audit trail,  Logging may be done in many different ways, logging includes not only what administrators have changed or done, but also system events that are generated by the router or switch because of some problem that has occurred or some threshold that has been reached. This logging information may be  sent to a syslog server. SNMP one of the most important protocols can be used here.
Network Time Protocol (NTP)
NTP is a protocol which is used widely in networking industry to synchronize the clocks of network infrastructure devices (Servers, Routers, Switches, Computers) over a network,  This becomes very important to correlate logs between devices in case there is ever a breach and you need to reconstruct (or prove in a court of law) what occurred.
Now, We are about discuss some practical issues about: 
1- How to enable SSH to access a router or switch
To enable SSH on a router or switch, the following items need to be in place:
Hostname other than the default name of router.
Domain name.
Generating a public/private key pair, used behind the scenes by SSH.
Requiring user login via the vty lines, instead of just a password. Local authentication or
authentication using an ACS server are both options.
Having at least one user account to log in with, either locally on the router, or on an ACS


2- User Authentication with AAA
There are two models to implement AAA server:-
Self-Contained AAA

AAA services in this model is a self-contained in the router. It is also known as local authentication.
1. The client establishes a connection with the router.
2. The AAA router prompts the user for a username and password.
3. The router authenticates the username and password using the local database and the user is authorized to access the network based on information in the local
Sample of the configuration
Server-Based AAA
Uses an external database server to authenticate the username/Password.
1. The client establishes a connection with the router.
2. The AAA router prompts the user for a username and password.
3. The router authenticates the username and password using a remote AAA server.
4. The user is authorized to access the network based on information on the remote AAA Server.server-aaa
There are many names and access methods associated with the central server, including calling it an authentication server, AAA server,ACS server, TACACS server, or RADIUS server.
The following list describes a few of these centralized server types:
Cisco Secure ACS Solution Engine: It’s  a server appliance with the Access Control Server (ACS) software preinstalled, Cisco ACS uses the two distinct protocols for AAA services RADIUS & TACACS+. 
Cisco Secure ACS for Windows ServerThis software package may be used for user and administrator authentication,  AAA services on the router contact an external Cisco Secure ACS (running on a Microsoft Windows system).
By: Hatem Farag | CCIE#54446

CCNA-SEC Lec#1 | Types of Network Attacks

Why Network Security?

By increasing network security techniques, you decrease the chance of unauthorized access, data theft, network misuse, wasting assets and so on.

Goals of an Information Security Program:

Prevent the disclosure of sensitive information from unauthorized people or attacks.
The protection of system information or processes from intentional or accidental modification.
The assurance that systems , data or resources accessible by authorized users when needed.cia

Risk Management Terms “Key Definitions”:

  • Vulnerability: A system, network or device weakness.
  • Threat: potential danger posed by a vulnerability.
  • Threat Agent: the entity that identifies a vulnerability and uses it to attack the victim.
  • Risk: likelihood of a threat agent taking advantage of a vulnerability and the corresponding business impact.
  • Exposure: potential to experience losses from a threat agent.
  • Countermeasure: put into place to mitigate the potential risk.

Specific Network Attacks:

ARP Attack “ٍSpoofing”:
ARP spoofing is a type of attack in which a malicious actor sends fake ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) messages over a local area network, which results in the linking of an attacker’s MAC address with the IP address of a legitimate computer or server on the network.
Brute Force Attack:
A brute force attack is a trial-and-error method used to obtain information such as a user password or personal identification number (PIN). In a brute force attack, automated software is used to generate a large number of consecutive guesses as to the value of the desired data.
A spoofing attack is when a malicious party impersonates another device or user on a network in order to launch attacks against network hosts, There are several different types of spoofing attacks such as :
Protocol (IP) Spoofing
MAC Spoofing
DNS Spoofing
A sniffer is an application that can capture network packets, it used by hackers to have a capture from packets, which if it isn’t encrypted, it can be read using a sniffer.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack:
The idea of DOS attack is to reduce the availability of a certain network device by crash it with a heavy work load, it’s characterized by an explicit attempt by attackers to prevent legitimate users of a service from using that service.
Man-In-The-Middle attack:
where attackers intrude into an existing communication between two hosts to monitor, capture, and manipulate the traffic.

How to secure a device?

NFP (Network Foundation Protection) is a framework used to break the infrastructure down into smaller components, and then systematically focusing on how to secure each of those components.
NFP is broken down into three basic planes/sections:
Cisco NFP (Network Foundation Protection) framework provides the technologies and tools which are required to secure Management plane, Control plane and Data plane.
Management plane: The management plane includes traffic that a network administrator uses to configure network devices. Management plane traffic is usually consists protocol traffic like telnet (in an insecure network), SSH or SNMP.
Control plane: Control plane traffic includes the traffic that the network devices send between each other for automatic network discovery and configuration. Example of Control plane traffic is routing protocol update and Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) traffic.
Data plane: Data plane traffic is the real end user traffic happening in the network. Example of Data plane traffic is the network traffic generated by a user sitting inside the company network and browsing a website.
By: Hatem Farag | CCIE#54446