Checking for half open connections

Hi,

This is really an extension of my previous post. I managed to track down the issue behind high cpu utilization, which was indeed caused by a worm. The worm caused a lot of hosts to open and terminate connections to our servers, leaving them in the TIME_WAIT state. Some hosts had opened thousands of connections to the servers.

How do I track down these half-closed connections on the firewall? A "show conn " gives out a lot of detail. What do I need to look for?

Second question.

While I was trying to track down the infected hosts using a sniffer, a vendor suggested that I use the MSFC on the core switch as a source and filter it on the specific VLAN. How is this different from port mirroring?

The commands I used were

MSFC sniffing ----> set span (msfc) (destination port) filter (vlan_number)
Port sniffing   ----> set span (vlan_number) (destination port)

Each of these methods threw up a completely different set of statistics. What is the difference?
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fullermsAsked:
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ahoffmannCommented:
any statefull inspection firewall should manage this automatically, or better give some options like timeouts to close them.
On the other side, it depends on the implementation of your TCP/IP stack on the effected server how it handles such sockets, most likely the OS provides a timeout for such sockets in TIME_WAIT state too.
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fullermsAuthor Commented:
Agreed. The firewall does have timeouts values for half open connections.

My question is, how do I check for half open connections on the firewall? At any given point of time, the firewall is handling 3 times the normal number of connections. We need information on half open connections to track down the offending IPs. How do I go about this?
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ahoffmannCommented:
> ..  how do I check for half open connections on the firewall?
read your docs of the firewall. There is no general answer, it's specific to your firewall.
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fullermsAuthor Commented:
The firewall is a Cisco Pix v 6.3(3).
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fullermsAuthor Commented:
I wouldn't like to be called a miser, but I feel that a refund would be more appropriate. I did not get the answer that could have helped me.
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VenabiliCommented:
You were pointed in the right direction what to read. You never said if you checked your documentation...
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