On Aug 21, 2006, at 3:51 PM, Bill Royds wrote:
> ASN.1 is a formal language to describe data structures for use of a
> number of
> protocols.


Agreed.

> One would expect that protocols that use ASN.1 as their structure
> grammar should be quite secure.


How does this follow?

I would expect that using ASN.1 would make it easier to validate
whether a protocol statement is grammatical, and make it easier to
write a sane LR(0,1) or LALR(1) parser for it, but that doesn't mean
that J. Random Hacker isn't going to roll their own parser and maybe
allocate a 1024-byte buffer which can be over-run regardless. Good
specification != good implementation.

This also says nothing about whether the protocol has paid any
attention to security. Just because something parses, doesn't mean
it makes sense or that the application should answer the query
without considering whether the request is legit and properly
authorized. In particular, people very rarely define security
policies or access rules within the grammar of a protocol, with the
notable exception of firewall ruleset languages like PF, IPFW,
Cisco's IOS, etc....

> But there have probably been more vulnerabilities in ASN.1 based
> protocols
> than any other. SO even a formal grammar is probably not good
> enough to define
> "correct" input.


What are you counting, here? :-)

--
-Chuck

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