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How to: Linux Iptables block common attacks

Following list summaries the common attack on any type of Linux computer:

Syn-flood protection

In this attack system is floods with a series of SYN packets. Each packets causes system to issue a SYN-ACK responses. Then system waits for ACK that follows the SYN+ACK (3 way handshake). Since attack never sends back ACK again entire system resources get fulled aka backlog queue. Once the queue is full system will ignored incoming request from legitimate users for services (http/mail etc). Hence it is necessary to stop this attack with iptables.

Force SYN packets check

Make sure NEW incoming tcp connections are SYN packets; otherwise we need to drop them:

iptables -A INPUT -p tcp ! --syn -m state --state NEW -j DROP

Force Fragments packets check

Packets with incoming fragments drop them. This attack result into Linux server panic such data loss.

iptables -A INPUT -f -j DROP

XMAS packets

Incoming malformed XMAS packets drop them:

iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --tcp-flags ALL ALL -j DROP

Drop all NULL packets

Incoming malformed NULL packets:

iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --tcp-flags ALL NONE -j DROP

Block Spoofing and bad addresses

Using iptables you can filter to drop suspicious source address. Network server should not accept packets claiming from the Internet that claim to originate from inside your network. Spoofing can be classified as:
a) IP spoofing – Disable the source address of authentication, for example rhosts based authentication. Filter RPC based services such as portmap and NFS,
b) DNS spoofing
Please see Iptables: How to avoid Spoofing and bad addresses attack tip for more information.

Also use NAT for your internal network. This makes difficult for attacker to spoof IP address from outside.

Filter incoming ICMP, PING traffic

It includes the ping of death attack and ICMP floods. You should block all ICMP and PING traffic for outside except for your own internal network (so that you can ping to see status of your own server) . See Linux : Iptables Allow or block ICMP ping request article.

Once system is secured, test your firewall with nmap or hping2 command:
# nmap -v -f FIREWALL-IP
# nmap -v -sX FIREWALL-IP
# nmap -v -sN FIREWALL-IP
# hping2 -X FIREWALL-IP

Further readings

  • Man page : hping2(8), nmap(1), iptables(8)