=^.^=

Delete All Entries for a Given Criterion in ip_conntrack Table

You may find yourself in a position where it is necessary to remove all the entries in Netfilter's connection tracking table (ip_conntrack) for a particular criterion, like the source or destination IP.

For example, I recently detected a user on one of my networks engaged in what was likely a TCP denial of service attack against root name servers (despite the odd fact that the destination port was 80). Being a NATted user, all of their connections were being tracked. The default time-out for tracking an established connection being 5 days, simply disconnecting the user at the second layer would not relieve the congestion on my routers within an acceptable time frame.

#  cat /proc/sys/net/ipv4/netfilter/ip_conntrack_count
98636

#  cat /proc/net/ip_conntrack | grep "xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx"
tcp      6 416408 ESTABLISHED src=xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx dst=192.168.5.147 sport=58967 dport=80 packets=1 bytes=40 [UNREPLIED] src=192.168.5.147 dst=yyy.yyy.yyy.yyy sport=80 dport=58967 packets=0 bytes=0 mark=0 secmark=0 use=1
tcp      6 416406 ESTABLISHED src=xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx dst=192.168.9.239 sport=58967 dport=80 packets=1 bytes=40 [UNREPLIED] src=192.168.9.239 dst=yyy.yyy.yyy.yyy sport=80 dport=58967 packets=0 bytes=0 mark=0 secmark=0 use=1
tcp      6 416400 ESTABLISHED src=xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx dst=192.168.11.231 sport=58968 dport=80 packets=1 bytes=40 [UNREPLIED] src=192.168.11.231 dst=yyy.yyy.yyy.yyy sport=80 dport=58968 packets=0 bytes=0 mark=0 secmark=0 use=1
tcp      6 416387 ESTABLISHED src=xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx dst=192.168.14.37 sport=58968 dport=80 packets=1 bytes=40 [UNREPLIED] src=192.168.14.37 dst=yyy.yyy.yyy.yyy sport=80 dport=58968 packets=0 bytes=0 mark=0 secmark=0 use=1
tcp      6 416381 ESTABLISHED src=xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx dst=192.168.11.103 sport=58968 dport=80 packets=1 bytes=40 [UNREPLIED] src=192.168.11.103 dst=yyy.yyy.yyy.yyy sport=80 dport=58968 packets=0 bytes=0 mark=0 secmark=0 use=1
tcp      6 416275 ESTABLISHED src=xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx dst=192.168.9.57 sport=58967 dport=80 packets=1 bytes=40 [UNREPLIED] src=192.168.9.57 dst=yyy.yyy.yyy.yyy sport=80 dport=58967 packets=0 bytes=0 mark=0 secmark=0 use=1
tcp      6 415776 ESTABLISHED src=xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx dst=192.168.1.52 sport=58967 dport=80 packets=1 bytes=40 [UNREPLIED] src=192.168.1.52 dst=yyy.yyy.yyy.yyy sport=80 dport=58967 packets=0 bytes=0 mark=0 secmark=0 use=1
tcp      6 417319 ESTABLISHED src=xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx dst=192.168.43.60 sport=58967 dport=80 packets=1 bytes=40 [UNREPLIED] src=192.168.43.60 dst=yyy.yyy.yyy.yyy sport=80 dport=58967 packets=0 bytes=0 mark=0 secmark=0 use=1
tcp      6 417319 ESTABLISHED src=xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx dst=192.168.43.13 sport=58968 dport=80 packets=1 bytes=40 [UNREPLIED] src=192.168.43.13 dst=yyy.yyy.yyy.yyy sport=80 dport=58968 packets=0 bytes=0 mark=0 secmark=0 use=1

...

It is possible to clear tracking entries en masse by removing then reloading the iptables rule that requires them to be tracked in the first place, but on a production gateway this is even less acceptable than waiting for them to expire. Fortunately, we can interact with the ip_conntrack table via conntrack-tools.

Against common sense, conntrack-tools is not available in the repositories for (at least version 5.2) of ClearOS, my favourite router distro. I grabbed a couple recent versions in RPM form but they didn't feel like playing ball so I ended up with version 0.9.5 from ftp://ftp.pbone.net/mirror/archive.fedoraproject.org/fedora/linux/updates/8/i386.newkey/conntrack-tools-0.9.5-3.fc8.i386.rpm

Apparently newer versions allow one to use -D intuitively, i.e.:

# conntrack -D -s xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx

But this is not the case for at least versions including and prior to 0.97 - these require the d, dport, s and sport flags.

This wonderful person provides a way to pipe the output of conntrack -L (which lists entries the way I'd like to delete them, i.e. -s only) into sed which then breaks the output lines up and awk runs them with conntrack -D appropriately. I had to do some cleanup to get it to work due to the way their blog software mangles punctuation (a lot of my first posts here are mangled in the same way - pobody's nerfect!):

 conntrack -L -s xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx | sed 's/=/ /g'| awk '{system("conntrack -D -s "$6" -d "$8" -p "$1" --sport="$10" --dport="$12)}'

It should be pretty clear how conntrack -L -s can be modified to work with the destination address or more complicated pattern matching.

Now we can see the ip_conntrack table is at a more reasonable level:

[[email protected] ~]#  cat /proc/sys/net/ipv4/netfilter/ip_conntrack_count
46676

Comments

karma

@Bl4ckB1rD
I don't think you read the article which lead to this: http://foxpa.ws/2012/05/03/ip_conntrack-table-full-dropping-packet/

Bl4ckB1rD

According to: http://www.netfilter.org/documentation/FAQ/netfilter-faq-3.html "Section 3.17", this behaviour is expected. Unless you are on 2.4.20 kernel, which I doubt, it's perfectly normal to have some "waste" established connections left in your conntrack table. It will be purged when needed. Much like memory handling in Linux. Always full in use if possible and purged when actually needed.