Last Updated: 2013-02-08 21:07:10 UTC
by Johannes Ullrich (Version: 3)
An interesting blog post by Kristian Kielhofer describes how a specific SPI packet can "kill" an Intel Gigabit ethernet card . If a card is exposed to this traffic, the system has to be physically power cycled. A reboot will not recover the system.
The network card crashed whenever the value 0x32 or 0x33 was found at offset 0x47f. Kristian first noticed this happening for specific SIP packets, but in the end, it turned out that any packet with 0x32 at 0x47f caused the crash. Intel traced the problem to an EEPROM used in this specific card (82574L). There are some links in the comment to the blog suggesting that others have run into this problem before. For example, the commend: "ping -p 32 -s 1110 x.x.x.x" can crash an affected card remotely.
[Update] A few asked why this doesn't happen just randomly every 128th packet: Once the card receives the value "0x34" in this position, it appears to be no longer vulnerable. There are also a number of earlier bug reports about this card that sound very similar, and appear to be related to ASPM, a PCI power safe feature. Kristian claims he eliminated this issue. if you try to reproduce this issue, power up the system and then issue the "ping" command shown above quickly after reboot in order to avoid the "inoculation" wiht 0x34. We would like to hear any reports of being able to reproduce (or not) this issue.
There are also some reports about similar issues in certain 3G USB modems.