An adversary engages in UDP scanning to gather information about UDP port status on the target system. UDP scanning methods involve sending a UDP datagram to the target port and looking for evidence that the port is closed. Open UDP ports usually do not respond to UDP datagrams as there is no stateful mechanism within the protocol that requires building or establishing a session. Responses to UDP datagrams are therefore application specific and cannot be relied upon as a method of detecting an open port. UDP scanning relies heavily upon ICMP diagnostic messages in order to determine the status of a remote port. During a UDP scan, a datagram is sent to a target port. If an 'ICMP Type 3 Port unreachable' error message is returned then the port is considered closed. Different types of ICMP messages can indicate a filtered port. UDP scanning is slower than TCP scanning. The protocol characteristics of UDP make port scanning inherently more difficult than with TCP, as well as dependent upon ICMP for accurate scanning. Due to ambiguities that can arise between open ports and filtered ports, UDP scanning results often require a high degree of interpretation and further testing to refine. In general, UDP scanning results are less reliable or accurate than TCP-based scanning.
The table below 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.
Standard Attack Pattern - A standard level attack pattern in CAPEC is focused on a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. It is often seen as a singular piece of a fully executed attack. A standard attack pattern is meant to provide sufficient details to understand the specific technique and how it attempts to accomplish a desired goal. A standard level attack pattern is a specific type of a more abstract meta level attack pattern.
The ability to send UDP datagrams to a host and receive ICMP error messages from that host. In cases where particular types of ICMP messaging is disallowed, the reliability of UDP scanning drops off sharply.
The ability to craft custom UDP Packets for use during network reconnaissance. This can be accomplished via the use of a port scanner, or via socket manipulation in a programming or scripting language. Packet injection tools are also useful. It is also necessary to trap ICMP diagnostic messages during this process. Depending upon the method used it may be necessary to sniff the network in order to see the response.
The table below 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.
Bypass Protection Mechanism
Firewalls or ACLs which block egress ICMP error types effectively prevent UDP scans from returning any useful information.
UDP scanning is complicated by rate limiting mechanisms governing ICMP error messages.
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.
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Page Last Updated or Reviewed:
September 30, 2019