Hardening the TCP/IP stack to SYN attacks

Thursday, 11 September 2003, 4:59 PM EST

Most people know how problematic protection against SYN denial of service attacks can be. Several methods, more or less effective, are usually used. In almost every case proper filtering of packets is a viable solution. In addition to creating packet filters, the modification of the TCP/IP stack of a given operating system can be performed by an administrator. This method, the tuning of the TCP/IP stack in various operating systems, will be described in depth in this article.

While SYN attacks may not be entirely preventable, tuning the TCP/IP stack will help reduce the impact of SYN attacks while still allowing legitimate client traffic through. It should be noted that some SYN attacks do not always attempt to upset servers, but instead try to consume all of the bandwidth of your Internet connection. This kind of flood is outside the scope of scope of this article, as is the filtering of packets which has been discussed elsewhere.

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