Monday, July 13, 2009

Invisible IPv6 Traffic Poses Serious Network Threat

Carolyn Duffy Marsan writes on

Experts say that most U.S. organizations have hidden IPv6 traffic running across their networks, and that few network managers are equipped to see, manage or block it. Increasingly, this rogue IPv6 traffic includes attacks such as botnet command and controls.

"If you aren't monitoring your network for IPv6 traffic, the IPv6 pathway can be used as an avenue of attack," says Tim LeMaster, director of systems engineering for Juniper's federal group. "What network managers don't understand is that they can have a user running IPv6 on a host and someone could be sending malicious traffic to that host without them knowing it."

Most U.S. network managers are blind to rogue IPv6 traffic because they don't have IPv6-aware firewalls, intrusion detection systems or network management tools. Also, IPv6 traffic is being tunneled over IPv4 connections and appears to be regular IPv4 packets unless an organization has deployed security mechanisms that can inspect tunneled traffic. (See also: 5 of the biggest IPv6-based threats facing CIOs.)

"At least half of U.S. CIOs have IPv6 on their networks that they don't know about, but the hackers do," says Yanick Pouffary, technology director for the North American IPv6 Task Force and an HP Distinguished Technologist. "You can't ignore IPv6. You need to take the minimum steps to secure your perimeter. You need firewalls that understand IPv4 and IPv6. You need network management tools that understand IPv4 and IPv6."

More here.


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