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SAN (Storage Area Network) Security FAQ



What is LUN masking?

LUN (Logical Unit Number) Masking is an authorization process that makes a LUN available to some hosts and unavailable to other hosts.

LUN Masking is implemented primarily at the HBA (Host Bus Adapater) level. LUN Masking implemented at this level is vulnerable to any attack that compromises the HBA.

Some storage controllers also support LUN Masking.

LUN Masking is important because Windows based servers attempt to write volume labels to all available LUN's. This can render the LUN's unusable by other operating systems and can result in data loss.


What is SAN zoning?

SAN zoning is a method of arranging Fibre Channel devices into logical groups over the physical configuration of the fabric.

SAN zoning may be utilized to implement compartmentalization of data for security purposes.

Each device in a SAN may be placed into multiple zones.


What are hard and soft zoning?

Hard zoning is zoning which is implemented in hardware. Soft zoning is zoning which is implemented in software.

Hard zoning physically blocks access to a zone from any device outside of the zone.

Soft zoning uses filtering implemented in fibre channel switches to prevent ports from being seen from outside of their assigned zones. The security vulnerability in soft zoning is that the ports are still accessible if the user in another zone correctly guesses the fibre channel address.


What is port zoning?

Port zoning utilizes physical ports to define security zones. A users access to data is determined by what physical port he or she is connected to.

With port zoning, zone information must be updated every time a user changes switch ports. In addition, port zoning does not allow zones to overlap.

Port zoning is normally implemented using hard zoning, but could also be implemented using soft zoning.


What is WWN zoning?

WWN zoning uses name servers in the switches to either allow or block access to particular World Wide Names (WWNs) in the fabric.

A major advantage of WWN zoning is the ability to recable the fabric without having to redo the zone information.

WWN zoning is susceptible to unauthorized access, as the zone can be bypassed if an attacker is able to spoof the World Wide Name of an authorized HBA.


What is a World Wide Name (WWN)?

A World Wide Name, or WWN, is a 64-bit address used in fibre channel networks to uniquely identify each element in a Fibre Channel network.

Soft Zoning utilizes World Wide Names to assign security permissions.

The use of World Wide Names for security purposes is inherently insecure, because the World Wide Name of a device is a user-configurable parameter.

For example, to change the World Wide Name (WWN) of an Emulex HBA, the users simply needs to run the `elxcfg` command.


What are the classes of attacks against SANs?

  • Snooping: Mallory reads data Alice sent to Bob in private
    Allows access to data
  • Spoofing: Mallory fools Alice into thinking that he is Bob
    Allows access to or destruction of data
  • Denial of Service: Mallory crashes or floods Bob or Alice
    Reduces availability

What are some attacks against FCP?

  • Node Name / Port Name spoofing at Port Login time
  • Source Port ID spoofing on dataless FCP commands
  • Snooping and spoofing on FC-AL
  • Snooping and Spoofing after Fabric reconfiguration
  • Denial of Service attacks can be made in User mode

What is FCAP (Fibre Channel Authentication Protocol)?

FCAP is an optional authentication mechanism employed between any two devices or entities on a Fibre Channel network using certificates or optional keys.


What is FCPAP (Fibre Channel Password Authentication Protocol)?

FCPAP (Fibre Channel Password Authentication Protocol) is an optional password based authentication and key exchange protocol which is utilized in Fibre Channel networks.

FCPAP is used to mutually authenticate Fibre Channel ports to each other. This includes E_Port's, N_Port's, and Domain Controllers.


What is SLAP (Switch Link Authentication Protocol)?

SLAP is an authentication method for Fibre Channel switches which utilizes digital certificates to authenticate switch ports.

SLAP was designed to prevent the unauthorized addition of switches into a Fibre Channel network.


What is FC-SP (Fibre Channel - Security Protocol)?

Fibre Channel - Security Protocol (FC-SP) is a security protocol for Fibre Channel Protocol (FCP) and fiber connectivity (Ficon).

FC-SP is a project of Technical Committee T11 of the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS).

FC-SP is a security framework which includes protocols to enhance Fibre Channel security in several areas, including authentication of Fibre Channel devices, cryptographically secure key exchange, and cryptographically secure communication between Fibre Channel devices.

FC-SP is focused on protecting data in transit throughout the Fibre Channel network. FC-SP does not address the security of data which is stored on the Fibre Channel network.


What is ESP over Fibre Channel?

ESP (Encapsulating Security Payload) is an Internet standard for the authentication and encryption of IP packets.

ESP is defined in RFC 2406: IP Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP).

ESP is widely deployed in IP networks and has been adapted for use in Fibre Channel networks. The IETF iSCSI proposal specifies ESP link authentication and optional encryption.

ESP over Fibre Channel is focused on protecting data in transit throughout the Fibre Channel network. ESP over Fibre Channel does not address the security of data which is stored on the Fibre Channel network.


What is DH-CHAP?

DH-CHAP (Diffie Hellman - Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol) is a forthcoming Internet Standard for the authentication of devices connecting to a Fibre Channel switch.

DH-CHAP is a secure key-exchange authentication protocol that supports both switch-to-switch and host-to-switch authentication.

DH-CHAP supports MD-5 and SHA-1 algorithm-based authentication.


How are iSCSI, iFCP and FCIP secured over IP networks?

The IETF IP Storage (ips) Working Group is responsible for the definition of standards for the encapsulation and transport of Fibre Channel and SCSI protocols over IP networks.

The IPS Working Group's charter includes responsibility for data security:

Security including authentication, keyed cryptographic data integrity and confidentiality, sufficient to defend against threats up to and including those that can be expected on a public network. Implementation of basic security functionality will be required, although usage may be optional.

The IPS Working Group has created RFC 3723: Securing Block Storage Protocols over IP.

RFC 3723 defines the use of the existing IPsec and IKE (Internet Key Exchange) protocols to secure block storage protocols over IP.



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