dwmrdapd nearing production-ready: RDAP cache for IDS/IPS applications

I’ve been working on a new IP to country mapping service to be used by my IDS/IPS tools. This post is about the server portion, named dwmrdapd.

dwmrdapd provides a simple service to map an IP address to its registered prefix (in one of the NICs, i.e. ARIN, RIPE, AFRINIC, LACNIC, APNIC) and its registered country. It maintains a small custom database of the mappings in order to provide a quick responses to most queries. When an entry is not found in the database, or the requested entry is more than 30 days old, dwmrdapd will make a new RDAP query to the RDAP server of the corresponding NIC (Network Information Center).

I’ve been using the service to apply policy to the networks automatically blocked by my firewall. As of this week, I can call it near production-ready.

Most of the trickery in implementing this service revolved around dealing with ARIN’s poor RDAP service. The first problem was dealing with the fact that they pad IP octets with leading zeros in startAddress and endAddress, which leads all of the standard string to address functions to interpret the numbers as octal. That was relatively easy to handle with a simple regular expression fix. The second problem is that ARIN doesn’t populate the country value. Why, I don’t know. The workaround is to parse all of the vcardArrays for a card with an adr label and then parse the label looking for a country name, then map that country name to a 2-letter country code. The latest version of dwmrdapd does this, but it’s still a bit hokey. Some ARIN RDAP responses contain many vcard entries, with different countries. There doesn’t seem to be a science to the entries, hence I prioritize non-U.S. cards and fall back to “US” as the country code as a last resort.

The service itself is secured with libDwmAuth using ECDH, RSA 2048-bit keys and AES128 in GCM mode once authentication is complete. Key management is very similar to that used by ssh, which makes it easy for me to use on my local hosts.

Inside the encryption is just simple JSON. Example output from the simple client:

% dwmrdapc
      "country" : "US",
      "countryName" : "United States of America",
      "ipv4addr" : "",
      "lastChanged" : "2014-09-23 18:00",
      "lastUpdated" : "2017-04-20 15:26",
      "prefix" : "35.1/16"

This isn’t exactly a new kind of service. Going back to the late 1990s, we’ve had IP geolocation services. But I wanted something free, tightly secured, and automatically updated on an on-demand basis. I also wanted something small data-wise; I don’t need latitude/longitude, etc. And I also wanted to take a look at the RDAP services from the NICs.

I did look at some other freely available sources of data, one of them being ipdeny.com. While their data is useful for bootstrapping (and I have a program to bootstrap dwmrdapd’s initial database from their country ‘zone files’), I’ve found it lacking in correctness. Possibly due to no fault of their own: NIC data is messy, especially if you’re fetching it via WHOIS but even the RDAP data can be very sloppy (cough, ARIN, cough), or abysmally slow (LACNIC).

There are also RIR datasets (Routing Information Registry), but they’re not uniform and there’s less participation than some of us would like to see.

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