13.1. Reverse Path Filtering

By default, routers route everything, even packets which 'obviously' don't belong on your network. A common example is private IP space escaping onto the Internet. If you have an interface with a route of to it, you do not expect packets from to arrive there.

Lots of people will want to turn this feature off, so the kernel hackers have made it easy. There are files in /proc where you can tell the kernel to do this for you. The method is called "Reverse Path Filtering". Basically, if the reply to this packet wouldn't go out the interface this packet came in, then this is a bogus packet and should be ignored.

The following fragment will turn this on for all current and future interfaces.

# for i in /proc/sys/net/ipv4/conf/*/rp_filter ; do
>  echo 2 > $i 
> done

Going by the example above, if a packet arrived on the Linux router on eth1 claiming to come from the Office+ISP subnet, it would be dropped. Similarly, if a packet came from the Office subnet, claiming to be from somewhere outside your firewall, it would be dropped also.

The above is full reverse path filtering. The default is to only filter based on IPs that are on directly connected networks. This is because the full filtering breaks in the case of asymmetric routing (where packets come in one way and go out another, like satellite traffic, or if you have dynamic (bgp, ospf, rip) routes in your network. The data comes down through the satellite dish and replies go back through normal land-lines).

If this exception applies to you (and you'll probably know if it does) you can simply turn off the rp_filter on the interface where the satellite data comes in. If you want to see if any packets are being dropped, the log_martians file in the same directory will tell the kernel to log them to your syslog.

# echo 1 >/proc/sys/net/ipv4/conf/<interfacename>/log_martians

FIXME: is setting the conf/{default,all}/* files enough? - martijn