One of the more useful features of masscan is the “–banners” check, which connects to the TCP port, sends some request, and gets a basic response back. However, since masscan has it’s own TCP stack, it’ll interfere with the operating system’s TCP stack if they are sharing the same IPv4 address. The operating system will reply with a RST packet before the TCP connection can be established.
The way to fix this is to use the built-in packet-filtering firewall to block those packets in the operating-system TCP/IP stack. The masscan program still sees everything before the packet-filter, but the operating system can’t see anything after the packet-filter.
Note that we are talking about the “packet-filter” firewall feature here. Remember that macOS, like most operating systems these days, has two separate firewalls: an application firewall and a packet-filter firewall. The application firewall is the one you see in System Settings labeled “Firewall”, and it controls things based upon the application’s identity rather than by which ports it uses. This is normally “on” by default. The packet-filter is normally “off” by default and is of little use to normal users.
Also note that macOS changed packet-filters around version 10.10.5 (“Yosemite”, October 2014). The older one is known as “ipfw“, which was the default firewall for FreeBSD (much of macOS is based on FreeBSD). The replacement is known as PF, which comes from OpenBSD. Whereas you used to use the old “ipfw” command on the command line, you now use the “pfctl” command, as well as the “/etc/pf.conf” configuration file.
What we need to filter is the source port of the packets that masscan will send, so that when replies are received, they won’t reach the operating-system stack, and just go to masscan instead. To do this, we need find a range of ports that won’t conflict with the operating system. Namely, when the operating system creates outgoing connections, it randomly chooses a source port within a certain range. We want to use masscan to use source ports in a different range.
To figure out the range macOS uses, we run the following command:
sysctl net.inet.ip.portrange.first net.inet.ip.portrange.last
On my laptop, which is probably the default for macOS, I get the following range. Sniffing with Wireshark confirms this is the range used for source ports for outgoing connections.
So this means I shouldn’t use source ports anywhere in the range 49152 to 65535. On my laptop, I’ve decided to use for masscan the ports 40000 to 41023. The range masscan uses must be a power of 2, so here I’m using 1024 (two to the tenth power).
To configure masscan, I can either type the parameter “–source-port 40000-41023” every time I run the program, or I can add the following line to /etc/masscan/masscan.conf. Remember that by default, masscan will look in that configuration file for any configuration parameters, so you don’t have to keep retyping them on the command line.
source-port = 40000-41023
Next, I need to add the following firewall rule to the bottom of /etc/pf.conf:
block in proto tcp from any to any port 40000 >< 41024
However, we aren’t done yet. By default, the packet-filter firewall is off. Therefore, every time you reboot your computer, you need to enable it. The simple way to do this is on the command line run:
Or, if that doesn’t work, try:
Ideally, you’d want it to start automatically on bootup. I haven’t figure out how to do this one macOS in an approved fashion that doesn’t conflict with something else. Apparently there are a few GUIs that will do this for you.
*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Errata Security authored by Robert Graham. Read the original post at: https://blog.erratasec.com/2018/05/masscan-macos-and-firewall.html