Prof. Yehuda Afek

Blavatnik School of Computer Science

Tel-Aviv University

Publications

Poster and brief announcement
Yehuda Afek, Anat Bremler-Barr, Shani Stajnrod
Usenix Security ,
2023

To fully understand the root cause of the NRDelegationAttack and to analyze its amplification factor, we developed mini- lab setup, disconnected from the Internet, that contains all
the components of the DNS system, a client, a resolver, and authoritative name servers. This setup is built to analyze and examine the behavior of a resolver (or any other component) under the microscope. On the other hand it is not useful for performance analysis (stress analysis).
Here we provide the code and details of this setup enabling to reproduce our analysis. Moreover, researchers may find it useful for farther behavioral analysis and examination of different components in the DNS system.

Conferences & Workshops
Yehuda Afek, Anat Bremler-Barr, Shani Stajnrod
Usenix Security ,
2023

Malicious actors carrying out distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are interested in requests that consume a large amount of resources and provide them with ammunition. We present a severe complexity attack on DNS resolvers, where a single malicious query to a DNS resolver can significantly increase its CPU load. Even a few such concurrent queries can result in resource exhaustion and lead to a denial of its service to legitimate clients. This attack is unlike most recent DDoS attacks on DNS servers, which use communication amplification attacks where a single query generates a large number of message exchanges between DNS servers.

The attack described here involves a malicious client whose request to a target resolver is sent to a collaborating malicious authoritative server; this server, in turn, generates a carefully crafted referral response back to the (victim) resolver. The chain reaction of requests continues, leading to the delegation of queries. These ultimately direct the resolver to a server that does not respond to DNS queries. The exchange generates a long sequence of cache and memory accesses that dramatically increase the CPU load on the target resolver. Hence the name non-responsive delegation attack, or NRDelegationAttack.

We demonstrate that three major resolver implementations, BIND9, Unbound, and Knot, are affected by the NRDelegationAttack, and carry out a detailed analysis of the amplification factor on a BIND9 based resolver. As a result of this work, three common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs) regarding NRDelegationAttack were issued by these resolver implementations. We also carried out minimal testing on 16 open resolvers, confirming that the attack affects them as well.

Conferences & Workshops
Yehuda Afek, Anat Bremler-Barr, Dor Israeli and Alon Noy
The International Symposium on Cyber Security, Cryptology and Machine Learning (CSCML),
2023

This paper presents a new localhost browser based vulnerability and corresponding attack that opens the door to new attacks on private networks and local devices. We show that this new vulnerability may put hundreds of millions of internet users and their IoT devices at risk. Following the attack presentation, we suggest three new protection mechanisms to mitigate this vulnerability.
This new attack bypasses recently suggested protection mechanisms designed to stop browser-based attacks on private devices and local applications.

Talk
Yehuda Afek
GÉANT Innovation Programme 2021 - showcase,
2022
Conferences & Workshops
Yehuda Afek, Anat Bremler-Barr, David Hay, Avraham Shalev
IEEE iThings,
2021

Manufacturer Usage Description (MUD) is a new, whitelist-based cybersecurity framework that was recently proposed by the IETF to cope with the huge attack surface and a constantly increasing number of IoT devices connected to the Internet.
MUD allows the IoT manufacturers themselves to publish the legitimate communication patterns of their devices, making it easier for security devices to enforce this policy, filter out non-complying traffic, and block a device in case it has been compromised.
Typically, MUD includes a set of legitimate endpoints, specified either by domain names or by IP addresses, along with the legitimate port numbers and protocols. While these descriptions are adequate when IoT devices connect (as clients) to servers (e.g., services in the cloud), they cannot adequately describe the cases where IoT devices act as servers to which endpoints connect [1]. These endpoints (e.g., users’ mobile devices) typically do not have fixed IP addresses, nor do they associate with a domain name. In this case, accounting for 78% of IoT devices we have surveyed, MUD degrades nowadays to allow all possible endpoints and cannot mitigate any attack. In this work, we evaluate this phenomenon and show it has a high prevalence today, thus harming dramatically the MUD framework security efficiency. We then present a solution, MUDirect, which enhances the MUD framework to deal with these cases while preserving the current MUD specification. Finally, we have implemented our solution (extending the existing osMUD implementation [2]) and showed that it enables P2P IoT devices protection while having minimal changes to the osMUD code.