Information About Dynamic ARP Inspection
Dynamic ARP Inspection
Dynamic ARP inspection (DAI) helps prevent malicious attacks on the switch by not relaying invalid ARP requests and responses to other ports in the same VLAN.
ARP provides IP communication within a Layer 2 broadcast domain by mapping an IP address to a MAC address. For example, Host B wants to send information to Host A but does not have the MAC address of Host A in its ARP cache. Host B generates a broadcast message for all hosts within the broadcast domain to obtain the MAC address associated with the IP address of Host A. All hosts within the broadcast domain receive the ARP request, and Host A responds with its MAC address. However, because ARP allows a gratuitous reply from a host even if an ARP request was not received, an ARP spoofing attack and the poisoning of ARP caches can occur. After the attack, all traffic from the device under attack flows through the attacker’s computer and then to the router, switch, or host.
A malicious user can attack hosts, switches, and routers connected to your Layer 2 network by poisoning the ARP caches of systems connected to the subnet and by intercepting traffic intended for other hosts on the subnet. Figure 26-1 shows an example of ARP cache poisoning.
Figure 26-1 ARP Cache Poisoning
Hosts A, B, and C are connected to the switch on interfaces A, B and C, all of which are on the same subnet. Their IP and MAC addresses are shown in parentheses; for example, Host A uses IP address IA and MAC address MA. When Host A needs to communicate to Host B at the IP layer, it broadcasts an ARP request for the MAC address associated with IP address IB. When the switch and Host B receive the ARP request, they populate their ARP caches with an ARP binding for a host with the IP address IA and a MAC address MA; for example, IP address IA is bound to MAC address MA. When Host B responds, the switch and Host A populate their ARP caches with a binding for a host with the IP address IB and the MAC address MB.
Host C can poison the ARP caches of the switch, Host A, and Host B by broadcasting forged ARP responses with bindings for a host with an IP address of IA (or IB) and a MAC address of MC. Hosts with poisoned ARP caches use the MAC address MC as the destination MAC address for traffic intended for IA or IB. This means that Host C intercepts that traffic. Because Host C knows the true MAC addresses associated with IA and IB, it can forward the intercepted traffic to those hosts by using the correct MAC address as the destination. Host C has inserted itself into the traffic stream from Host A to Host B, the classic man-in-the middle attack.
DAI is a security feature that validates ARP packets in a network. It intercepts, logs, and discards ARP packets with invalid IP-to-MAC address bindings. This capability protects the network from certain man-in-the-middle attacks.
DAI ensures that only valid ARP requests and responses are relayed. The switch performs these activities:
- Intercepts all ARP requests and responses on untrusted ports
- Verifies that each of these intercepted packets has a valid IP-to-MAC address binding before updating the local ARP cache or before forwarding the packet to the appropriate destination
- Drops invalid ARP packets
DAI determines the validity of an ARP packet based on valid IP-to-MAC address bindings stored in a trusted database, the DHCP snooping binding database. This database is built by DHCP snooping if DHCP snooping is enabled on the VLANs and on the switch. If the ARP packet is received on a trusted interface, the switch forwards the packet without any checks. On untrusted interfaces, the switch forwards the packet only if it is valid.
Interface Trust States and Network Security
DAI associates a trust state with each interface on the switch. Packets arriving on trusted interfaces bypass all DAI validation checks, and those arriving on untrusted interfaces undergo the DAI validation process.
In a typical network configuration, you configure all switch ports connected to host ports as untrusted and configure all switch ports connected to switches as trusted. With this configuration, all ARP packets entering the network from a given switch bypass the security check. No other validation is needed at any other place in the VLAN or in the network. You configure the trust setting by using the ip arp inspection trust interface configuration command.
Use the trust state configuration carefully. Configuring interfaces as untrusted when they should be trusted can result in a loss of connectivity.
In Figure 26-2, assume that both Switch A and Switch B are running DAI on the VLAN that includes Host 1 and Host 2. If Host 1 and Host 2 acquire their IP addresses from the DHCP server connected to Switch A, only Switch A binds the IP-to-MAC address of Host 1. Therefore, if the interface between Switch A and Switch B is untrusted, the ARP packets from Host 1 are dropped by Switch B. Connectivity between Host 1 and Host 2 is lost.
Figure 26-2 ARP Packet Validation on a VLAN Enabled for DAI
Configuring interfaces to be trusted when they are actually untrusted leaves a security hole in the network. If Switch A is not running DAI, Host 1 can easily poison the ARP cache of Switch B (and Host 2, if the link between the switches is configured as trusted). This condition can occur even though Switch B is running DAI.
DAI ensures that hosts (on untrusted interfaces) connected to a switch running DAI do not poison the ARP caches of other hosts in the network. However, DAI does not prevent hosts in other portions of the network from poisoning the caches of the hosts that are connected to a switch running DAI.
If some switches in a VLAN run DAI and other switches do not, configure the interfaces connecting these switches as untrusted. However, to validate the bindings of packets from non-DAI switches, configure the switch running DAI with ARP ACLs. When you cannot determine the bindings, at Layer 3 isolate switches running DAI from switches not running DAI switches.
Note Depending on the setup of the DHCP server and the network, it might not be possible to validate a given ARP packet on all switches in the VLAN.
Rate Limiting of ARP Packets
The switch CPU performs DAI validation checks; therefore, the number of incoming ARP packets is rate-limited to prevent a denial-of-service attack. By default, the rate for untrusted interfaces is 15 packets per second (pps). Trusted interfaces are not rate-limited. You can change this setting by using the ip arp inspection limit interface configuration command.
When the rate of incoming ARP packets exceeds the configured limit, the switch places the port in the error-disabled state. The port remains in that state until you intervene. You can use the errdisable recovery global configuration command to enable error-disable recovery so that ports automatically emerge from this state after a specified timeout period.
Note Unless you configure a rate limit on an interface, changing the trust state of the interface also changes its rate limit to the default value for that trust state. After you configure the rate limit, the interface retains the rate limit even when its trust state is changed. If you enter the no ip arp inspection limit interface configuration command, the interface reverts to its default rate limit.
Relative Priority of ARP ACLs and DHCP Snooping Entries
DAI uses the DHCP snooping binding database for the list of valid IP-to-MAC address bindings.
ARP ACLs take precedence over entries in the DHCP snooping binding database. The switch uses ACLs only if you configure them by using the ip arp inspection filter vlan global configuration command. The switch first compares ARP packets to user-configured ARP ACLs. If the ARP ACL denies the ARP packet, the switch also denies the packet even if a valid binding exists in the database populated by DHCP snooping.
Logging of Dropped Packets
When the switch drops a packet, it places an entry in the log buffer and then generates system messages on a rate-controlled basis. After the message is generated, the switch clears the entry from the log buffer. Each log entry contains flow information, such as the receiving VLAN, the port number, the source and destination IP addresses, and the source and destination MAC addresses.
You use the ip arp inspection log-buffer global configuration command to configure the number of entries in the buffer and the number of entries needed in the specified interval to generate system messages. You specify the type of packets that are logged by using the ip arp inspection vlan logging global configuration command.
A log-buffer entry can represent more than one packet. For example, if an interface receives many packets on the same VLAN with the same ARP parameters, the switch combines the packets as one entry in the log buffer and generates a single system message for the entry.
If the log buffer overflows, it means that a log event does not fit into the log buffer, and the display for the show ip arp inspection log privileged EXEC command is affected. Dashes in the display appears in place of all data except the packet count and the time. No other statistics are provided for the entry. If you see this entry in the display, increase the number of entries in the log buffer or increase the logging rate.
Default Dynamic ARP Inspection Settings
Table 26-1 Default Dynamic ARP Inspection Settings
Disabled on all VLANs.
Interface trust state
All interfaces are untrusted.
Rate limit of incoming ARP packets
The rate is 15 pps on untrusted interfaces, assuming that the network is a switched network with a host connecting to as many as 15 new hosts per second.
The rate is unlimited on all trusted interfaces.
The burst interval is 1 second.
ARP ACLs for non-DHCP environments
No ARP ACLs are defined.
No checks are performed.
When DAI is enabled, all denied or dropped ARP packets are logged.
The number of entries in the log is 32.
The number of system messages is limited to 5 per second.
The logging-rate interval is 1 second.
All denied or dropped ARP packets are logged.
Dynamic ARP Inspection Configuration Guidelines
- DAI is an ingress security feature; it does not perform any egress checking.
- DAI is not effective for hosts connected to switches that do not support DAI or that do not have this feature enabled. Because man-in-the-middle attacks are limited to a single Layer 2 broadcast domain, separate the domain with DAI checks from the one with no checking. This action secures the ARP caches of hosts in the domain enabled for DAI.
- DAI depends on the entries in the DHCP snooping binding database to verify IP-to-MAC address bindings in incoming ARP requests and ARP responses. Make sure to enable DHCP snooping to permit ARP packets that have dynamically assigned IP addresses. For configuration information, see Chapter25, “Configuring DHCP”
When DHCP snooping is disabled or in non-DHCP environments, use ARP ACLs to permit or to deny packets.
- DAI is supported on access ports, trunk ports, EtherChannel ports, and private VLAN ports.
Note Do not enable DAI on RSPAN VLANs. If DAI is enabled on RSPAN VLANs, DAI packets might not reach the RSPAN destination port.
- A physical port can join an EtherChannel port channel only when the trust state of the physical port and the channel port match. Otherwise, the physical port remains suspended in the port channel. A port channel inherits its trust state from the first physical port that joins the channel. Consequently, the trust state of the first physical port need not match the trust state of the channel.
Conversely, when you change the trust state on the port channel, the switch configures a new trust state on all the physical ports that comprise the channel.
- The operating rate for the port channel is cumulative across all the physical ports within the channel. For example, if you configure the port channel with an ARP rate-limit of 400 pps, all the interfaces combined on the channel receive an aggregate 400 pps. The rate of incoming ARP packets on EtherChannel ports is equal to the sum of the incoming rate of packets from all the channel members. Configure the rate limit for EtherChannel ports only after examining the rate of incoming ARP packets on the channel-port members.
The rate of incoming packets on a physical port is checked against the port-channel configuration rather than the physical-ports configuration. The rate-limit configuration on a port channel is independent of the configuration on its physical ports.
If the EtherChannel receives more ARP packets than the configured rate, the channel (including all physical ports) is placed in the error-disabled state.
- Make sure to limit the rate of ARP packets on incoming trunk ports. Configure trunk ports with higher rates to reflect their aggregation and to handle packets across multiple DAI-enabled VLANs. You also can use the ip arp inspection limit none interface configuration command to make the rate unlimited. A high rate-limit on one VLAN can cause a denial-of-service attack to other VLANs when the software places the port in the error-disabled state.
- When you enable DAI on the switch, policers that were configured to police ARP traffic are no longer effective. The result is that all ARP traffic is sent to the CPU.