Fragmentation Attack

An attack that exploits vulnerabilities in the fragment reassembly functionality of the TCP/IP protocol stack.


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A piece of a packet. When a router is forwarding an IP packet to a network with a Maximum Transmission Unit smaller than the packet size, it is forced to break up that packet into multiple fragments. These fragments will be reassembled by the IP layer at the destination host. When a network receives a packet larger than its maximum allowable packet size, it breaks it up into two or more fragments. These fragments are each assigned a size (corresponding to the length of the fragment) and an offset (corresponding to the starting location of the fragment).
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A set of communications protocols that encompasses media access, packet transport, session communications, file transfer, electronic mail, terminal emulation, remote file access, and network management. TCP/IP provides the basis for the Internet. The structure of TCP/IP is as follows: Process layer clients: FTP, Telnet, SMTP, NFS, DNS; Transport layer service providers: TCP (FTP, Telnet, SMTP), UDP (NFS, DNS); Network layer: IP (TCP, UDP); and Access layer: Ethernet (IP), Token ring (IP).
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The process in which an IP datagram is broken into smaller pieces to fit the requirements of a given physical network. The reverse process is termed “reassembly. ”
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This type of attack exploits statistical weaknesses in a cryptosystem, such as such as floating-point errors or an inability to produce random numbers. It attempts to find vulnerabilities in the hardware or operating system hosting the cryptography application.
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An attack on a system that exploits vulnerabilities that are unknown to others. Typically, it indicates that a vulnerability known to one or more attackers isn’t known to the vendor. In some cases the vendor may know about the vulnerability but hasn’t written or released a patch for the vulnerability yet.
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