SRI Security Research Institute, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia
IPv6 off-link host enumeration, when compared to IPv4 host enumeration, is a difficult and expensive exercise. The expense arises from the difference in address space sizes between the two protocols, with IPv6 having a 296 larger address space than that of IPv4. This paper presents an algorithm for performing contextual IPv6 host enumeration against a target. The algorithm uses passive and active enumeration in order to focus the search upon areas of the address space where it is more probable that targets will exist. Experiments were conducted to test the proposed adaptive heuristic search algorithm involving applying the algorithm to a test dataset of IPv6 addresses, measuring the results and comparing those to a linear search against the same datasets. This research shows that the adaptive heuristic search algorithm achieved an average of 9,975 successful hits per simulation when applied to a dataset of realistic IPv6 addresses, whilst the linear search had an average of 8,642 when applied to the same dataset. Both algorithms performed poorly when applied to a dataset comprising randomly generated IPv6 addresses. The results show that the algorithm provides a good candidate for IPv6 off-link host enumeration, as it outperformed the linear search on average, whilst using less probes to do so.