TCP Maximum Segment Size Plugin¶
The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) Maximum Segment Size (MSS) option was one of the TCP options defined in the very first specification for TCP [RFC793]:
If this option is present, then it communicates the maximum receive segment size at the TCP which sends this segment. This field must only be sent in the initial connection request (i.e., in segments with the SYN control bit set). If this option is not used, any segment size is allowed.
Due to the prevalent blocking of ICMP throughout the Internet (if you do this, please stop!), path maximum transmission unit (PMTU) discovery often fails to correctly determine the MTU that can safely be used between two hosts. As an alternative strategy, routers can rewrite the TCP MSS option present on SYN packets to ensure that the MSS seen by the receiving end of the packets is not greater than that which is supported on the links connected to that router.
The MSS plugin for PATHspider aims to discover the value of MSS that is received when connecting to hosts using TCP and compares this to the local MTU to determine if the received MSS is lower (possibly indicating the clamping behaviour described above), equal or greater (possibly indicating an unsafe MSS) than the local MSS.
The path given to the example list of web servers is taken from a Debian GNU/Linux installation and may differ on your computer. These are the same examples that can be found in the examples/ directory of the source distribution.
To use the MSS plugin, specify
mss as the plugin to use on the command-line:
pspdr measure -i eth0 mss </usr/share/doc/pathspider/examples/webtest.ndjson >results.ndjson
This will open a TCP connection for each job input, recording the received MSS for each reply.
Supported Connection Modes¶
This plugin supports the following connection modes:
- tcp - Performs a TCP connection
- http - Performs a GET request
- https - Performs a GET request using HTTPS
- dnstcp - Performs a DNS query using TCP
To use an alternative connection mode, add the
--connect argument to the
invocation of PATHspider:
pspdr measure -i eth0 mss --connect tcp </usr/share/doc/pathspider/examples/webtest.ndjson >results.ndjson
The following conditions are generated for the MSS plugin:
For each connection that was observed by PATHspider, a connectivity condition will be generated to indicate whether or not connectivity was successful using TFO validated against a connection not using TFO.
Y may have the following values:
- online - The connection succeeded
- offline - The connection failed
For each connection that was observed to have a response by PATHspider and observed to have an MSS option in the TCP header, a condition is generated to show the value of the MSS option.
X can have two values, “local” or “remote”, idicating whther the option was sent locally or received from the remote target (possibly having been rewritten on the path). Y is the value of the option.
For each connection that was observed to have a response by PATHspider, a condition is generated to show whether the MSS option was absent or present. If present, it will be compared to the local MSS. X can have the following values:
- absent - The response from the remote target did not contain an MSS option in the TCP header.
- unchanged - The MSS option received from the remote target contained the same value as the local MSS.
- inflated - The MSS option received from the remote target contained a greater MSS than the local MSS.
- deflated - The MSS option received from the remote target contained a lower MSS than the local MSS.