Avoiding the linux statefull firewall for some traffic / 2018-01-23

2018-01-23 Avoiding the linux statefull firewall for some traffic 4 months ago
I was setting up a linux based firewall on a busy ntp server and to make sure everything worked as designed I added the usual:
iptables -A INPUT -j ACCEPT --protocol all -m state --state ESTABLISHED,RELATED
And after less than half an hour the system log started filling with
nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet
nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet
nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet
nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet
It is indeed a busy server. The solution is to exclude all the ntp traffic from the stateful firewall. Which means I have to allow all kinds of ntp traffic (outgoing and incoming) by itself.

The specific ruleset:
iptables -t raw -A PREROUTING --protocol udp --dport 123 -j NOTRACK
iptables -t raw -A OUTPUT --protocol udp --sport 123 -j NOTRACK

iptables -A INPUT -j ACCEPT --protocol udp --destination-port 123
I also made sure the rules for the ntp traffic are the first rules.

Traffic at this server is somewhat over 1000 ntp request per second. So the counters of the NOTRACK rules go fast.
# iptables -t raw -L -v
Chain PREROUTING (policy ACCEPT 1652K packets, 126M bytes)
 pkts bytes target     prot opt in     out     source               destination 
9635K  732M CT         udp  --  any    any     anywhere             anywhere             udp dpt:ntp NOTRACK
1650K  125M CT         udp  --  any    any     anywhere             anywhere             udp dpt:ntp NOTRACK

Chain OUTPUT (policy ACCEPT 1522K packets, 117M bytes)
 pkts bytes target     prot opt in     out     source               destination 
9029K  686M CT         udp  --  any    any     anywhere             anywhere             udp spt:ntp NOTRACK
1520K  116M CT         udp  --  any    any     anywhere             anywhere             udp spt:ntp NOTRACK
But no packets are dropped, which is good as this server is supposed to be under a constant DDoS.

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