CA2456118C - System and method for providing passive screening of transient messages in a distributed computing environment - Google Patents

System and method for providing passive screening of transient messages in a distributed computing environment

Info

Publication number
CA2456118C
CA2456118C CA 2456118 CA2456118A CA2456118C CA 2456118 C CA2456118 C CA 2456118C CA 2456118 CA2456118 CA 2456118 CA 2456118 A CA2456118 A CA 2456118A CA 2456118 C CA2456118 C CA 2456118C
Authority
CA
Grant status
Grant
Patent type
Prior art keywords
network
further
reassembled
packet
protocol
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Active
Application number
CA 2456118
Other languages
French (fr)
Other versions
CA2456118A1 (en )
Inventor
Davide Libenzi
Victor Kouznetsov
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
McAfee LLC
Original Assignee
McAfee LLC
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Grant date

Links

Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L63/00Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security
    • H04L63/14Network architectures or network communication protocols for network security for detecting or protecting against malicious traffic
    • H04L63/1441Countermeasures against malicious traffic

Abstract

A system (20) and method (90) for providing passive screening of transient messages (61) in a distributed computing environment (10) is described. A
transient packet stream is passively monitored at a network boundary. Incoming datagrams (61) structured in compliance with a network protocol layer (70) are received. One or more to the incoming datagrams (61) are reassembled into a segment (62) structured in compliance with a transport protocol layer (72).
Contents of the reassembled segment (62) are scanned for a presence of at least one of a computer virus and malware to identify infected message contents.

Description

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR PROVIDING PASSIVE SCREENING OF TRANSIENT
MESSAGES IN A DISTRIBUTED COMPUTING ENVIRONMENT
TECHNICAL FIELD
The present invention relates in general to passive message screening and, in particular, to a system and method for providing passive screening of transient messages in a distributed computing environment. -BACKGROUND OF THE 1NVENTIO~T
Computer viruses, or simply "viruses," are executable programs or procedures, often masquerading as legitimate files, messages or attachments that cause malicious and sometimes destructive results. More precisely, computer viruses include any form of self-replicating computer code which can be stored, disseminated, and directly or indirectly executed by unsuspecting clients. Viruses travel between machines over network connections or via infected media and can be executable code disguised as application programs, functions, macros, electronic mail (email) attaclunents, images, applets, and even hypertext links.
The earliest computer viruses infected boot sectors and files. Over time, computer viruses became increasingly sophisticated and diversified into various genre, including cavity, cluster, companion, direct action, encrypting, multipartite, mutating, polymorphic, overwriting, self-garbling, and stealth viruses, such as described in "Virus Information Library,"
http://vil.mcafee.com/default.asp? Networks Associates Technology, Inc., (2001).
. Macro viruses are presently the most popular form of virus. These viruses are written as scripts in macro programming languages, which are often included with email as innocuous-looking attachments.
The problems presented by computer viruses, malware, and other forrns of bad content are multiplied within a bounded network domain interfacing to external internetworks through a limited-bandwidth service portal, such as a gateway, bridge or similar routing device. The I

2 PCT/US02/23827 routing device logically forms a protected enclave within which clients and servers exchange data, including email and other content. All data originating from or being sent to systems outside the network domain must pass through the routing device. Maintaining high throughput at the routing device is paramount to optimal network performance.
Routing devices provide an efficient solution to interfacing an intranetwork of clients and servers to external internetworks. Most routing devices operate as store-and-forward packet routing devices, which can process a high volume of traffic transiting across the network domain boundary. Duplicate messages, however, introduce inefficiencies and can potentially degrade performance. For exainple, a message can be sent with multiple recipients who each receive a separate copy. Nevertheless, the routing device must process each duplicate message as if the message were unique.
A firewall can be used with a routing device to provide limited security. The firewall filters incoming packets to deny access by unauthorized users. Thus, the firewall can protect indirectly against the introduction of coinputer viruses and other malware into a network domain.
As each duplicate message must still be scanned prior to delivery, a firewall does not relieve packet congestion at a network boundary and can actually degrade throughput by delaying delivery.
The bottleneck created by the routing device and firewall create a security risk that can be exploited in a denial of service (DoS) attack. The "ILOVEYOU" virus, released in May 2000, dramatically demonstrated the vulnerability of network infrastructure components by propagating copies of emails containing the virus using addresses obtained from a user address book on each client system. Each email message contained identical content but listed a different recipient.
The resultant email flood saturated servers with massively duplicated copies of substantially the same email and denied service through resource depletion and network bandwidth consumption.
Most firewalls failed to detect the presence of the "ILOVEYOU" virus.
Firewalls require a priori knowledge of network addresses corresponding to proscribed servers to effectively filter out potentially bad packets. Therefore, infected emails were delivered and unwittingly opened by unsuspecting users, creating a flood of infected message traffic.
Active packet scanners can be used in lieu of or in addition to firewalls to dynamically analyze an incoming packet stream at a network domain boundary. Each packet is intercepted and analyzed while in transit into a protected enclave. However, active scanners can adversely affect the timing of packet delivery. Detecting computer viruses, malware and other bad content embedded in upper layer network protocols, in particular, at the transport and application layers, requires the analysis of a stream of lower layer packets collectively comprising upper layer messages. Interrupting the flow of the packet stream, though, can cause the recipient client to timeout and erroneously generate a retransmission request, tliereby hindering throughput. As well, active scanners are installed at the gateway and require administrator-level permissions and privileges and create further potential security risks.
Therefore, there is a need for an approach to passively screening a multiplicity of substantially duplicate message packets transiting the boundary of a network domain. Preferably, such an approach would detect protocol-specific computer viruses, malware and other bad content without causing an interruption of an incoming data packet stream.
There is a further need for an approach to identifying patterns in a transient packet stream for events indicative of a network service or similar type of attack, preferably in combination with the detection of computer viruses, malware and other bad content.
DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION
The present invention provides a system and method for passively detecting computer viruses, malware, and bad content in transient packets and denial of service and related network attacks. Incoming network packets are passively copied from a packet stream into an incoming message queue. The network packets in the stream are reassembled into and identified as upper layer network protocol packets. Each reassembled packet is scanned by a network protocol-specific scanner to identify computer viruses, malware, and other bad content.
ConcuiTently, the reassembled packets are analyzed as a packet stream to identify a denial of service or related type of network attack. By passively processing the incoming packet stream, each packet can be examined for potential security without affecting network throughput.
An einbodiment provides a system and a method for providing passive screening of transient messages in a distributed computing environment. A transient packet stream is passively monitored at a network boundary. Incoming datagrams structured in compliance with a network protocol layer are received. One or more of the incoming datagrams are reassembled into a segment structured in compliance with a transport protocol layer.
Contents of the reassembled segment are scanned for a presence of at least one of a computer virus and malware to identify infected message contents.
A further embodiment provides a system and method for passively detecting computer viruses and malware and denial of service-type network attacks in a distributed computing environment. Copies of datagrams transiting a boundary of a network domain are received into an incoming packet queue. Each datagram is copied from a packet stream. One or more such datagrams from the incoming packet queue are reassembled into network protocol packets. Each network protocol packet is staged in a reassembled packet queue. Each network protocol packet from the reassembled packet queue is scanned to ascertain an infection of at least one of a

3 computer virus and malware. Events identified from the datagrams in the packet stream are evaluated to detect a denial of service-type network attack on the network domain.
Still otlier embodiments of the present invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, wherein is described embodiments of the invention by way of illustrating the best mode contemplated for carrying out the invention.
As will be realized, the invention is capable of otlier and different embodiments and its several details are capable of modifications in various obvious respects, all without departing from the spirit and the scope of the present invention. Accordingly, the drawings and detailed description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature and not as restrictive.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIGURE 1 is a block diagram showing a system for providing passive screening of transient messages in a distributed computing environment, in accordance with the present invention.
FIGURE 2 is a functional block diagram showing the software modules of the antivirus system of FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 3 is a functional block diagram showing the protocol-specific message queue of the antivirus system of FIGURE 2.
FIGURE 4 is a process flow diagram showing the passive screening of a transient message using the antivirus system of FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 5 is a block diagram showing the interrelationships between transient packets processed by the antivirus system of FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 6 is a flow diagram showing a method for providing passive screening of transient messages in a distributed computing environment, in accordance with the present invention.
FIGURE 7 is a flow diagram showing the routine for receiving a packet for use in the method of FIGURE 6.
FIGURE 8 is a flow diagram showing the routine for reassembling a packet for use in the routine of FIGURE 7.
FIGURE 9 is a flow diagram showing the routine for scanning a message for use in the method of FIGURE 6.
FIGURE 10 is a flow diagram showing the routine for processing an infection for use in the routine of FIGURE 9.
FIGURE 11 is a flow diagram showing the routine for correlating events for use in the method of FIGURE 6.

4 BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION
FIGURE 1 is a block diagram showing a system for providing passive screening of transient messages in a distributed computing environment 10, in accordance with the present invention. By way of example, a gateway 15 (or bridge, router, or similar packet routing device) interfaces an intranetwork 14 to an internetwork 16, including the Internet.
The intranetwork 14 interconnects one or more servers 12 with one or more clients 11a-b within a bounded network domain defined by a common network address space. The server 12 includes a storage device 13 for common file storage and sharing. The clients 11a-b can also include storage devices (not shown).
The individual servers 12 and clients 11a-b externally connect to one or more remote servers 17 and remote clients 19 over the internetwork 16 via the gateway 15.
The gateway 15 operates as a store-and-forward packet routing device, which processes a high volume of packet traffic transiting across the network domain boundary. The gateway 15 provides an efficient solution to interfacing the individual servers 12 and clients 11a-b to external systems operating over the internetwork 16. Optionally, a firewa1120 can provide limited security to the intranetwork 14 by providing filtering of packets originating from unauthorized users. Other network topologies and configurations are feasible, as would be recognized by one skilled in the art.
In addition to the firewall 20, an antivirus system (AVS) 21 passively analyzes message packets incoming to the bounded network domain for the presence of computer viruses, malware, and other bad content, and provides passive screening of a transient packet stream, as further described below with reference to FIGURE 2. Each component in the distributed computing environment 10 executes a layered network protocol stack for processing different types of packets, including packets compliant with the Internet Protocol (IP) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP).
The individual computer systems, including servers 12, 17 and clients 11a-b, 19 are general purpose, programmed digital computing devices consisting of a central processing unit (CPU), random access memory (RAM), non-volatile secondary storage, such as a hard drive or CD ROM drive, network interfaces, and peripheral devices, including user interfacing means, such as a keyboard and display. Program code, including software programs, and data are loaded into the RAM for execution and processing by the CPU and results are generated for display, output, transmittal, or storage.
FIGURE 2 is a functional block diagram showing the software modules 30 of the antivirus system 21 of FIGURE 1. The antivirus system 21 includes three functionally separate modules: event correlator 31, antivirus scanner 32, packet receiver 33, and network interface 34.

5 The network interface 34 operates in a promiscuous mode to copy each incoming packet 43 into an incoming packet queue 42. The transient message packets are preferably exchanged in compliance with the SMTP protocol, such as described in W.R. Stevens, "TCP/IP
illustrated, Vol. 1, The Protocols," Ch. 28, Addison Wesley Longman, Inc. (1994).

The packet receiver 33, antivirus scanner 32, and event controller 31 are functionally separate modules. The packet receiver 33 retrieves the incoming packets 43 from the inconzing packet queue 42. The packet receiver 33 operates at a network protocol layer.
In the described embodiment, only packets compliant with the IP protocol are processed. The incoming packets 43 are reassembled by a reassembler submodule 39 into TCP protocol layer segments which are then parsed by a parser 40 to identify the specific upper layer protocol employed. The reassembled packets are staged in protocol-specific queues 41, as further described below with reference to FIGURE 3.

The antivirus scanner 32 includes a plurality of protocol-specific scanning submodules 35-38, including submodules for the Hypertext Protocol (HTTP), File Transfer Protocol (FTP), Simple Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP), and Network News Transport Protocol (NNTP), although other upper layer network protocols could also be implemented, as would be recognized by one skilled in the art.
Through each protocol-specific submodule 35-38, the antivirus scanner 32 retrieves each re-assembled packet from the appropriate protocol-specific queue 41 for scanning using standard antivirus techniques, as are known in the art. Upon detecting the presence of an infected message, the antivirus scanner 32 logs the occurrence in a log 47. In addition, the antivirus scanner 32 can optionally generate a warning 46 to the network administrator or other appropriate user. As well, the antivirus scanner 32 can optionally "spoof' the origin server by sending a legitimate packet in place of the infected packet. The legitimate packet is placed as an outgoing packet 49 in the outgoing packet queue 48 for sending over the internetwork via the network interface 34.
The antivirus scanner 32 operates in an event-based manner by processing reassembled packets in the appropriate protocol-specific queue 41. The protocol-specific queues 41 function as event-handlers by creating logical connections between the packet receiver 33 and the antivirus scanner 32. Protocol-specific queues 41 provide an intermediate store in which reassembled packets are staged based on the upper layer protocol employed.
The antivirus scanner 32 can fall behind in processing if the protocol-specific queues 41 become saturated with reassembled packets. As the packet receiver 33 can process transient messages at a higher rate than the antivirus scanner 32, the packet receiver 33 maintains the

6 protocol-specific queues 41 at a constant size in pace with the antivirus scanner 32 and prevents protocol-specific queues 41 from becoming saturated by reassembled packets awaiting scanning.
The event correlator 31 optionally provides a meta computer virus screening functionality to the antivirus system 21. The event coiTelator 31 analyzes the reassembled packets in the protocol-specific queues 41 to identify patterns in the incoming packet stream indicative of a network service attack or other type of network event. Upon detecting an event of interest, the event correlator 31 stores each event 45 in an event database 44.
Each module, including network interface 34, packet receiver 33, antivirus scanner 32, and event correlator 31 is a computer program, procedure or module written as source code in a conventional programming lailguage, such as the C++ programming language, and is presented for execution by the CPU as object or byte code, as is known in the art. The various implementations of the source code and object and byte codes can be held on a computer-readable storage medium or embodied on a transmission medium in a carrier wave. The modules operates in accordance with a sequence of process steps, as further described below with reference to FIGURE 6.
FIGURE 3 is a functional block diagram showing the protocol-specific message queue 40 of the anti-virus system 21 of FIGURE 2. For efficiency, the protocol-specific queue 40 categorizes the individual reassembled packets according to the upper-layer network protocol employed. The anti-virus system 21 supports one protocol-specific queue per upper-layer protocol, although other logical combinations and separations of protocol-specific queues are possible.
Each reassembled packet 51 staged in a protocol-specific queue 40 includes two types of information. First, protocol-dependent information 52 is stored with each reassembled packet 51.
The protocol-dependent information 52 includes, by way of example, a source address, source port number, destination address, destination port number, and Uniform Resource Locator (URL) for HTTP; a file name and user name for FTP; and a sender identification, recipient identification, and subject for SMTP. Other types of protocol-dependent information could also be stored, as would be recognized by one skilled in the art.
In addition to the protocol-dependent information 52, the actual content of each reassembled packet is stored as data 53. The data 53 is stored in the data format employed by the specific network protocol. Importantly, while each incoming packet is received as part of a transient packet streain, the only portion of the stream that is actually stored as data 53 is the individual upper layer protocol-packets, incorporating encoding as appropriate. Thus, if ordinarily stored as encoded data, the data 53 would need to be decoded prior to scanning by the

7 antivirus scanner 32. For instance, the SMTP, POP3 and NNTP network protocols require MIME decoding prior to antivirus scanning.
FIGURE 4 is a process flow diagram showing passive screening 60 of a transient message using the antivirus system 21 of FIGURE 1. In the described embodiment, incoming IP
datagrams 61 are received from the internetwork. One or more of the incoming IP datagrams 61 are reassembled (step (D) into a reassembled TCP segment 62. The reassembled TCP segment 62 is then parsed. Protocol-dependent information 63 stored (step ) with the reassembled TCP
segment 62. In addition, the actual data 64 is staged (step (Z) with the reassembled TCP segment 62. The HTTP, FTP, SMTP, POP3, NNTP, and Gnutella protocol formats are supported, although one skilled in the art would recognize that other protocol formats could also be supported.
FIGURE 5 is a block diagram showing the interrelationships 70 between transient packets processed by the antivirus system 21 of FIGURE 1. The transient packets are structured in compliance with standard TCP/IP network protocol layers, such as described in W. R. Stephens, TCP/IP Illustrated, Vol. 1, "The Protocols," Ch. 1-3, cited above.
Raw network data is copied by the antivirus scanner 21 (shown in FIGURE 1) as IP
datagrams 74 in a network data layer 71. The IP datagrams 74 are reassembled into TCP
segments 75 in a transport protocol layer 72. Finally, the TCP segments 75 are stored as protocol-specific packets, including HTTP packets 76, FTP files 77, SMTP
messages 78, NNTP
articles 79, and Gnutella files 80, to name a few, in an application protocol layer 73. For simplicity and clarity of presentation, the term packets is used to refer generically to files, messages, articles, datagrams, and packets. The described embodiment performs the necessary antivirus scanning on packets of these types through passive packet screening.
Thus, the throughput of message traffic through the network domain boundary remains unaffected by on-going antivirus packet analyses.
FIGURE 6 is a flow diagram showing a method for providing passive screening of transient messages in a distributed computing environment 90, in accordance with the present invention. The method initializes and executes three independent processes for receiving packets (block 91), scanning packets (block 92), and correlating events (block 93), as further described below with reference to FIGURES 7, 9 and 11, respectively. Following completion of the foregoing independent processes (blocks 91-93), the method terminates.
FIGURE 7 is a flow diagram showing the routine for receiving a packet 100 for use in the method 90 of FIGURE 6. The purpose of this routine is to receive and parse incoming packets 43 (shown in FIGURE 2) from the incoming packet queue 42.

8 Thus, the routine 100 begins by initializing internal data structures (block 101). Incoming packets 43 are then iteratively processed (blocks 102-107), as follows. Each incoming packet 43 is received from the incoming packet queue 42 (block 103). The incoming packet 43 is then reassembled (block 104), as further described below with reference to FIGURE
8. In a further embodiment, the incoining packet stream can be stopped if an infected packet is identified. Thus, upon request (block 1.05), the current incoming packet stream is stopped (block 106). Processing continues with each incoming packet 43 (block 107), after which the routine returns.
FIGURE 8 is a flow diagram showing the routine for reassembling a packet 110 for use in the routine 100 of FIGURE 7. The purpose of this routine is to reassemble incoming IP
datagrams 74 into TCP segments 75 (shown in FIGURE 5). The described embodiment specifically reassembles TCP segments from IP datagrams as the TCP network protocol is widely used by applications executing in the network and application protocol layers.
Thus, if the IP datagram 74 does not contain a TCP segment 75 (block 111), the incoming packet 43 is discarded (block 112). Otherwise, if the IP datagram 74 contains the first part of a TCP segment 75 (block 113), a new TCP segment is started (block 114) by staging the first part in temporary storage. If the IP datagrain 74 is not the last part of a TCP
segment 75 (block 115), the part is added to the current TCP segment (block 116) in temporary storage.
Otherwise, if the IP datagram 74 contains the last part of a TCP segment 75 (block 115), the current TCP segment is ended (block 117) and the appropriate upper layer protocol for the TCP
segment 75 is determined (block 118). In the described embodiment, the HTTP, FTP, SMTP, POP3, NNTP, and Gnutella upper layer network protocols are supported. The TCP segment 75 is then enqueued into the proper protocol-specific queue 41 (shown in FIGURE 2) (block 119), after which the routine returns.
FIGURE 9 is a flow diagram showing the routine for scanning a message 130 for use in the method 90 of FIGURE 6. The purpose of this routine is to identify protocol-specific indicia of computer viruses and malware in transient upper layer network protocol packets.
Each TCP segment 75 is iteratively processed (blocks 131-139), as follows.
First, a TCP
segment 75 (shown in FIGURE 5) is retrieved from a protocol-specific queue 41 (shown in FIGURE 2) (block 132). If necessary (block 133), the TCP segment 75 is decoded (block 134).
In the described embodiment, the SMTP, POP3, and NNTP application layer network protocols require MIlVIE decoding.
The packet is then scanned for protocol-specific indicia of computer viruses, malware, and other bad content (block 135), as is known in the art. If the packet is infected (block 136), the infection is processed (block 137), as further described below with reference to FIGURE 10.
Following scanning and any necessary processing, the TCP segment 75 is discarded (block 138).

9 Processing continues with each remaining TCP segment 75 (block 139), after which the routine returns.
FIGURE 10 is a flow diagram showing the routine for processing an infection 140 for use in the routine 130 of FIGURE 9. The purpose of this routine is to perform one or more actions following the detection of a computer virus infection.
Each computer virus infection is logged into a log 47 (shown in FIGURE 2) (block 141).
If opted (block 142), a warning is generated (block 143) to the network administrator and other appropriate user. As well, if opted (block 144), a valid packet is sent as a spoof of an infected packet (block 145) by way of the outgoing packet queue 48. The routine then returns.
FIGURE 11 is a flow diagrain showing the routine for correlating events 150 for use in the method 90 of FIGURE 6. The purpose of this routine is to analyze the incoming packet stream for patterns indicating a denial of service or related network attack.
Each TCP seginent 75 (shown in FIGURE 5) is retrieved from the protocol-specific queues 41 (shown in FIGURE 2) (block 152). The retrieved TCP segment 75 is compared to the existing events 45 stored in the event database 44 (block 153) to detect a pattern indicative of a denial of service or related network attack. If a pattern is detected (block 154), a warning is generated (block 155). The TCP segment 75 is then enqueued back onto the appropriate protocol-specific queue 41 (block 156). Processing continues with each TCP
segment 75 in the appropriate protocol-specific queue 41 (block 157), after which the routine returns.
While the invention has been particularly shown and described as referenced to the embodiments thereof, those skilled in the art will understand that the foregoing and other changes in form and detail may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

Claims (50)

1. A system (20) for providing passive screening of transient messages (61) in a distributed computing environment (10), comprising:
a network interface (34) passively monitoring a transient packet stream at a network boundary comprising receiving incoming datagrams (61) structured in compliance with a network protocol layer (70);
a packet receiver reassembling one or more of the incoming datagrams (61) into a segment (62) structured in compliance with a transport protocol layer (72);
and an antivirus scanner (32) scanning contents of the reassembled segment (62) for a presence of at least one of a computer virus and malware to identify infected message contents.
2. A system according to Claim 1, further comprising:
an incoming queue (42) staging each incoming datagram (61) intermediate to reassembly.
3. A system according to Claim 1, further comprising:
a network protocol-specific decoder (35-38) decoding the reassembled segment prior to scanning.
4. A system according to Claim 1, wherein the antivirus scanner (32) terminates the transient packet stream if the reassembled segment (62) is not infected with at least one of a computer virus and malware.
5. A system according to Claim 1, wherein the antivirus scanner (32) takes an action if the reassembled segment (62) is infected with at least one of a computer virus and malware.
6. A system according to Claim 5, wherein the action comprises at least one of logging an infection (46); generating a warning (46); spoofing a valid datagram in place of the infected datagram; and acquiescing to the infection.
7. A system according to Claim 1, further comprising:
a protocol-specific queue (41) staging each reassembled segment (62) with other reassembled segments (62) sharing the same transport protocol layer (72).
8. A system according to Claim 7, further comprising:
an information record (63) storing information dependent on the same transport protocol layer (72) with the staged reassembled segment (62).
9. A system according to Claim 8, further comprising:

a contents record (64) storing the contents with the staged reassembled segment (62).
10. A system according to Claim 8, wherein the information (63) comprises at least one of a source address, source port number, destination address, destination port number, URL, file name, user name, sender identification, recipient identification, and subject.
11. A system according to Claim 1, further comprising:
a protocol-specific module (35-38) processing each reassembled datagram (62) based on the transport layer protocol (72) employed by the reassembled datagram (62).
12. A system according to Claim 11, wherein the transport layer protocol comprises at least one of HTTP, FTP, SMTP, POP3, NNTP, and Gnutella.
13. A system according to Claim 1, further comprising:
an event correlator (31) analyzing the transient packet stream for events (45) indicative of a network service attack.
14. A system according to Claim 13, further comprising:
a data repository (44) maintaining each event (45).
15. A system according to Claim 1, wherein the distributed computing environment (10) is TCP/IP-compliant and each incoming message (61) is SMTP-compliant.
16. A method (90) for providing passive screening of transient messages (61) in a distributed computing environment (10), comprising:
passively monitoring a transient packet stream at a network boundary comprising receiving incoming datagrams (61) structured in compliance with a network protocol layer;
reassembling one or more of the incoming datagrams (61) into a segment (62) structured in compliance with a transport protocol layer (70); and scanning contents of the reassembled segment (62) for a presence of at least one of a computer virus and malware to identify infected message contents.
17. A method according to Claim 16, further comprising:
staging each incoming datagram (61) intermediate to reassembly.
18. A method according to Claim 16, further comprising:
decoding the reassembled segment (62) prior to scanning.
19. A method according to Claim 16, further comprising:

terminating the transient packet stream (61) if the reassembled segment (62) is not infected with at least one of a computer virus and malware.
20. A method according to Claim 16, further comprising:
taking an action if the reassembled segment (62) is infected with at least one of a computer virus and malware.
21. A method according to Claim 20, further comprising:
executing the action, comprising at least one of:
logging an infection (47);
generating a warning (46);
spoofing a valid datagram in place of the infected datagram; and acquiescing to the infection.
22. A method according to Claim 16, further comprising:
staging each reassembled segment (62) with other, reassembled segments sharing the same transport protocol layer (72).
23. A method according to Claim 22, further comprising:
storing information dependent on the same transport protocol layer (72) with the staged reassembled segment (62).
24. A method according to Claim 23, further comprising:
storing the contents with the staged reassembled segment (62).
25. A method according to Claim 23, wherein the information comprises at least one of a source address, source port number, destination address, destination port number, URL, file name, user name, sender identification, recipient identification, and subject.
26. A method according to Claim 16, further comprising:
processing each reassembled datagram (62) based on the transport layer protocol (72) employed by the reassembled datagram (62).
27. A method according to Claim 26, wherein the transport layer protocol comprises at least one of HTTP, FTP, SMTP, POP3, NNTP, and Gnutella.
28. A method according to Claim 16, further comprising:
analyzing the transient packet stream for events (45) indicative of a network service attack.
29. A method according to Claim 28, further comprising:
maintaining each event (45) in a data repository (44).
30. A method according to Claim 16, wherein the distributed computing environment (10) is TCP/IP-compliant and each incoming message (61) is SMTP-compliant.
31. A computer-readable storage medium holding code for performing the method according to Claim 16.
32. A system (20) for passively detecting computer viruses and malware and denial of service-type network attacks in a distributed computing environment, comprising:
a network interface (34) receiving copies of datagrams (61) transiting a boundary of a network domain into an incoming packet queue (42), each datagram (61) being copied from a packet stream;
a packet receiver (33) reassembling one or more such datagrams (61) from the incoming packet queue (42) into network protocol packets (51), each staged in a reassembled packet queue (40);
an antivirus scanner (32) scanning each network protocol packet (51) from the reassembled packet queue (50) to ascertain an infection of at least one of a computer virus and malware; and an event correlator (31) evaluating events (45) identified from the datagrams (61) in the packet stream to detect a denial of service-type network attack on the network domain (10).
33. A system according to Claim 32, further comprising:
a parser (40) parsing each reassembled datagram (61) into network protocol-specific information and packet content (53).
34. A system according to Claim 33, wherein the network protocol-specific information (52) comprises a source address, source port number, destination address, destination port number, and URL for HTTP; a file name and user name for FTP; and a sender identification, recipient identification, and subject for SMTP.
35. A system according to Claim 33, further comprising:
a decoder decoding the packet content (53) prior to performing the operation of scanning.
36. A system according to Claim 32, further comprising:
a log (47) logging an occurrence of at least one of the infection and the network attack.
37. A system according to Claim 32, further comprising:
a warning module (46) generating a warning responsive to an occurrence of at least one of the infection and the network attack.
38. A system according to Claim 32, further comprising:
a spoof module sending a spoofed network protocol packet responsive to, an occurrence of at least one of the infection and the network attack.
39. A system according to Claim 32, further comprising:
one or more protocol-specific modules implementing one of HTTP, FTP, SMTP, POP3, NNTP, and Gnutella network protocols.
40. A system according to Claim 32, wherein the distributed computing environment is TCP/IP-compliant, each datagram (61) is IP-compliant, and each network protocol packet is TCP-compliant.
41. A method (90) for passively detecting computer viruses and malware and denial of service-type network attacks in a distributed computing environment, comprising:
receiving copies of datagrams (61) transiting a boundary of a network domain into an incoming packet queue (42), each datagram (61) being copied from a packet stream;
reassembling one or more such datagrams (61) from the incoming packet queue (42) into network protocol packets (51), each staged in a reassembled packet queue (40);
scanning each network protocol packet (51) from the reassembled packet queue (50) to ascertain an infection of at least one of a computer virus and malware; and evaluating events (45) identified from the datagrams (61) in the packet stream to detect a denial of service-type network attack on the network domain (10).
42. A method according to Claim 41, further comprising:
parsing each reassembled datagram (61) into network protocol-specific information (52) and packet content (53).
43. A method according to Claim 42, wherein the network protocol-specific information (52) comprises a source address, source port number, destination address, destination port number, and URL for HTTP; a file name and user name for FTP; and a sender identification, recipient identification, and subject for SMTP.
44. A method according to Claim 42, further comprising:

decoding the packet content (53) prior to performing the operation of scanning.
45. A method according to Claim 41, further comprising:
logging an occurrence of at least one of the infection and the network attack.
46. A method according to Claim 41, further comprising:
generating a warning responsive to an occurrence of at least one of the infection and the network attack.
47. A method according to Claim 41, further comprising:
sending a spoofed network protocol packet responsive to an occurrence of at least one of the infection and the network attack.
48. A method according to Claim 41, further comprising:
implementing at least one of HTTP, FTP, SMTP, POP3, NNTP, and Gnutella network protocols.
49. A method according to Claim 41, wherein the distributed computing environment (10) is TCP/IP-compliant, each datagram (61) is IP-compliant, and each network protocol packet (51) is TCP-compliant.
50. A computer-readable medium with computer-readable code stored thereon for performing the method according to Claim 41.
CA 2456118 2001-08-03 2002-07-26 System and method for providing passive screening of transient messages in a distributed computing environment Active CA2456118C (en)

Priority Applications (7)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US30983501 true 2001-08-03 2001-08-03
US30985801 true 2001-08-03 2001-08-03
US60/309,858 2001-08-03
US60/309,835 2001-08-03
US10/061,415 2002-02-01
US10061415 US7461403B1 (en) 2001-08-03 2002-02-01 System and method for providing passive screening of transient messages in a distributed computing environment
PCT/US2002/023827 WO2003014932A3 (en) 2001-08-03 2002-07-26 System and method for providing passive screening of transient messages in a distributed computing environment

Publications (2)

Publication Number Publication Date
CA2456118A1 true CA2456118A1 (en) 2003-02-20
CA2456118C true CA2456118C (en) 2008-10-28

Family

ID=27370048

Family Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
CA 2456118 Active CA2456118C (en) 2001-08-03 2002-07-26 System and method for providing passive screening of transient messages in a distributed computing environment

Country Status (2)

Country Link
CA (1) CA2456118C (en)
WO (1) WO2003014932A3 (en)

Families Citing this family (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US7512808B2 (en) 2003-08-29 2009-03-31 Trend Micro, Inc. Anti-computer viral agent suitable for innoculation of computing devices
GB0421148D0 (en) * 2004-09-23 2004-10-27 Agilent Technologies Inc Monitoring apparatus and method therefor
US8549639B2 (en) 2005-08-16 2013-10-01 At&T Intellectual Property I, L.P. Method and apparatus for diagnosing and mitigating malicious events in a communication network
EP1994486B1 (en) 2006-03-22 2015-03-04 BRITISH TELECOMMUNICATIONS public limited company Method and apparatus for automated testing of software

Family Cites Families (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5968176A (en) * 1997-05-29 1999-10-19 3Com Corporation Multilayer firewall system
CA2297341A1 (en) * 1999-08-18 2001-02-18 Alma-Baba Technical Research Laboratory Co., Ltd. System for monitoring network for cracker attack

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date Type
WO2003014932A3 (en) 2003-12-18 application
CA2456118A1 (en) 2003-02-20 application
WO2003014932A2 (en) 2003-02-20 application

Similar Documents

Publication Publication Date Title
US7624444B2 (en) Method and apparatus for detecting intrusions on a computer system
US5414833A (en) Network security system and method using a parallel finite state machine adaptive active monitor and responder
US7080408B1 (en) Delayed-delivery quarantining of network communications having suspicious contents
US8176553B1 (en) Secure gateway with firewall and intrusion detection capabilities
US7222366B2 (en) Intrusion event filtering
US20060107318A1 (en) Detection of grid participation in a DDoS attack
US7290283B2 (en) Network port profiling
US7076803B2 (en) Integrated intrusion detection services
US20080196099A1 (en) Systems and methods for detecting and blocking malicious content in instant messages
US20050229254A1 (en) Detecting public network attacks using signatures and fast content analysis
US7644151B2 (en) Network service zone locking
US7735116B1 (en) System and method for unified threat management with a relational rules methodology
US20050229246A1 (en) Programmable context aware firewall with integrated intrusion detection system
US20040093521A1 (en) Real-time packet traceback and associated packet marking strategies
US20090316698A1 (en) Processing of packet fragments
US7463590B2 (en) System and method for threat detection and response
US20060161983A1 (en) Inline intrusion detection
Koziol Intrusion detection with Snort
US6910134B1 (en) Method and device for innoculating email infected with a virus
US20040187032A1 (en) Method, data carrier, computer system and computer progamme for the identification and defence of attacks in server of network service providers and operators
US20070022479A1 (en) Network interface and firewall device
US20090307776A1 (en) Method and apparatus for providing network security by scanning for viruses
US6745192B1 (en) System and method for providing a multi-tiered hierarchical transient message store accessed using multiply hashed unique filenames
US8291495B1 (en) Identifying applications for intrusion detection systems
US20080320499A1 (en) Method and System for Direct Insertion of a Virtual Machine Driver

Legal Events

Date Code Title Description
EEER Examination request