5.2.b Implement and troubleshoot router security features

5.2.b [iii] Unicast reverse path forwarding

Network administrators can use Unicast Reverse Path Forwarding (Unicast RPF) to help limit the malicious traffic on an enterprise network. This security feature works by enabling a router to verify the reachability of the source address in packets being forwarded. This capability can limit the appearance of spoofed addresses on a network. If the source IP address is not valid, the packet is discarded. Unicast RPF works in one of three different modes: strict mode, loose mode, or VRF mode. Unicast RPF requires CEF to be enabled.

When administrators use Unicast RPF in strict mode , the packet must be received on the interface that the router would use to forward the return packet. Unicast RPF configured in strict mode may drop legitimate traffic that is received on an interface that was not the router’s choice for sending return traffic. Dropping this legitimate traffic could occur when asymmetric routing paths are present in the network.

When administrators use Unicast RPF in loose mode, the source address must appear in the routing table. Administrators can change this behavior using the allow-default option, which allows the use of the default route in the source verification process. Additionally, a packet that contains a source address for which the return route points to the Null 0 interface will be dropped. An access list may also be specified that permits or denies certain source addresses in Unicast RPF loose mode.

Care must be taken to ensure that the appropriate Unicast RPF mode (loose or strict) is configured during the deployment of this feature because it can drop legitimate traffic. Although asymmetric traffic flows may be of concern when deploying this feature, Unicast RPF loose mode is a scalable option for networks that contain asymmetric routing paths.

Adam, Paul (2014-07-12). All-in-One CCIE V5 Written Exam Guide (Kindle Locations 5335-5343).  . Kindle Edition.

http://www.cisco.com/web/about/security/intelligence/unicast-rpf.html