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It's Surprisingly Easy to Hack the Precision Time Protocol


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Researchers at Marist College in New York State and IBM have identified a simple but effective way to hack a Precision Time Protocol (PTP) network, altering the timing of slave clocks by 2,149.5 minutes after just a 37-second attack.

The first form of attack relies on the packets of data sent across a network that are used to establish the master-slave hierarchy. Each node sends out a time-stamped ANNOUNCE data packet in order to identify a master clock; the clock with the best quality is selected to be the master. Then, the master clock multicasts its timestamp to all slave nodes via a SYNC message, which is sent to all nodes on a periodic basis.

The researchers infiltrated the network by "sniffing" out the ANNOUNCE and SYNC packets of the legitimate master clock. They then built a rogue master clock that creates the same ANNOUNCE and SYNC messages, which then executed a denial of service attack on the slave clock.

From IEEE Spectrum
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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