Common Attack Pattern Enumeration and Classification
A Community Resource for Identifying and Understanding Attacks
An adversary uses a TCP FIN scan to determine if ports are closed on the target machine. This scan type is accomplished by sending TCP segments with the FIN bit set in the packet header. The RFC 793 expected behavior is that any TCP segment with an out-of-state Flag sent to an open port is discarded, whereas segments with out-of-state flags sent to closed ports should be handled with a RST in response. This behavior should allow the adversary to scan for closed ports by sending certain types of rule-breaking packets (out of sync or disallowed by the TCB) and detect closed ports via RST packets.
In addition to its relative speed in comparison with other types of scans, the major advantage a TCP FIN Scan is its ability to scan through stateless firewall or ACL filters. Such filters are configured to block access to ports usually by preventing SYN packets, thus stopping any attempt to 'build' a connection. FIN packets, like out-of-state ACK packets, tend to pass through such devices undetected. FIN scanning is still relatively stealthy as the packets tend to blend in with the background noise on a network link.
This table shows the other attack patterns and high level categories that are related to this attack pattern. These relationships are defined as ChildOf and ParentOf, and give insight to similar items that may exist at higher and lower levels of abstraction. In addition, relationships such as CanFollow, PeerOf, and CanAlsoBe are defined to show similar attack patterns that the user may want to explore.
This table shows the views that this attack pattern belongs to and top level categories within that view.
This table specifies different individual consequences associated with the attack pattern. The Scope identifies the security property that is violated, while the Impact describes the negative technical impact that arises if an adversary succeeds in their attack. The Likelihood provides information about how likely the specific consequence is expected to be seen relative to the other consequences in the list. For example, there may be high likelihood that a pattern will be used to achieve a certain impact, but a low likelihood that it will be exploited to achieve a different impact.
A Related Weakness relationship associates a weakness with this attack pattern. Each association implies a weakness that must exist for a given attack to be successful. If multiple weaknesses are associated with the attack pattern, then any of the weaknesses (but not necessarily all) may be present for the attack to be successful. Each related weakness is identified by a CWE identifier.
Many operating systems, however, do not implement RFC 793 exactly and for this reason FIN scans do not work as expected against these devices. Some operating systems, like Microsoft Windows, send a RST packet in response to any out-of-sync (or malformed) TCP segments received by a listening socket (rather than dropping the packet via RFC 793), thus preventing an attacker from distinguishing between open and closed ports. FIN scans are limited by the range of platforms against which they work. Additionally, because open ports are inferred via no responses being generated, one cannot distinguish an open port from a filtered port without further analysis. For instance, FIN scanning a system protected by a stateful firewall may indicate all ports being open. For these reasons, FIN scanning results must always be interpreted as part of a larger scanning strategy.
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