Sign In

Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

It's Surprisingly Easy to Hack the Precision Time Protocol

keyed lock, digital security illustration

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
View Full Article


Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


No entries found