Secure DHCPv6 Using CGAs

Summary: Needs a YES. Has a DISCUSS. Needs 10 more YES or NO OBJECTION positions to pass.

(Brian Haberman) Discuss

Discuss (2013-02-26)
I think the proposed approach is a good one and support seeing it published.  I do have some issues that I would like to get ironed out...

1) The discussion on the server-relay-client seems incomplete.  For example, do I need to include a Signature-Option *per relay* if I have a chain of relay agents?  Are the processing rules affected by such chaining? 

2) It is unclear how feasible the following assumption is : "the receiver has already been have the CGAs of the sender, which may be pre-configured or recorded from previous communications".  In an enterprise environment, I can see this assumption being valid, but not for a Wi-Fi hotspot scenario (where this type of solution would improve things dramatically).  It would be good to clearly state what assumptions have been made in this solution.

(Russ Housley) Discuss

Discuss (2013-02-27)
  The Gen-ART Review by Francis Dupont on 20-Feb-2013 raised a major
  issue, and I have not seen any response from the authors.
  > Major issues: the proposal fails to provide the expected security,
  > in particular it does nothing real against replay and the basic
  > function (anti-spoofing) relies on pre-configuration.

Barry Leiba Discuss

Discuss (2013-02-26)
This is a fine idea, and I support it -- certainly no objection to the document in general.  I have two things I'd like to discuss first:

-- Section 5.2 --
In the definition of Key Hash, you say it's from the "hash value of the public key used for constructing the signature."  I presume you mean the "hash value of the public key from the public/private key pair that was used for constructing the signature," because the signature is made with the private key, not the public one.

-- Section 6.2 --
I don't understand the purpose of the Key Hash field.  It appears to be for some pre-verification that the key you need to use to verify the signature is the one you have and intend to use.  But it doesn't appear to help you select the right one -- you either have the right one or you don't.  Why is this useful; why doesn't the receiver just verify the signature with the public key it has?  What's the point of checking the hash first?
Comment (2013-02-26)
No email
send info
A few non-blocking comments that I think will improve things:

-- Section 4.2 --
I find the first two paragraphs and their lead-in to the third to be convoluted and confusing.  I also think the first two paragraphs are unnecessary, so maybe the best answer is to do something like this:

   Hash functions are the fundamental security mechanism, including CGAs 
   in this document. "...they have two security properties: to be one 
   way and collision free." "The recent attacks have demonstrated that 
   one of those security properties is not true." [RFC4270] It is 
   theoretically possible to perform collision attacks against the 
   "collision-free" property. 

   Following the approach recommended by [RFC4270] and [NewHash], recent 
   analysis shows none of these attacks are currently possible, 
   according to [RFC6273]. "The broken security property will not affect 
   the overall security of many specific Internet protocols, the 
   conservative security approach is to change hash algorithms." 

   However, these attacks indicate the possibility of future real-world 
   attacks. Therefore, we have to take into account that attacks will 
   improved in the future, and provide a support for multiple hash
   algorithms. Our mechanism, in this document, supports not only hash 
   algorithm agility but also signature algorithm agility.

   Cryptographic hash functions and signature algorithms that are
   accepted as secure today are likely to show weaknesses in the future,
   as computer systems get faster and attacks become more sophisticated.
   It is, therefore, important to provide algorithm agility: the ability
   to easily replace these algorithms when necessary.  Our mechanism, in
   this document, supports both hash algorithm agility and signature
   algorithm agility.


-- Section 5.2 --
In the definitions of HA-id, SA-id, and HA-id-KH, you give registry names from which these values come:
"The value is from the Hash Algorithm for Secure DHCPv6 registry in IANA."
"The value is from the Signature Algorithm for Secure DHCPv6 registry in IANA."

It would probably be useful to say that those registries are newly created in this document.  I think it's sufficient to do that with a forward reference in each case:
"The value is from the Hash Algorithm for Secure DHCPv6 registry in IANA (see Section 8)."

-- Throughout --
Please make sure your capitalization for "Relay-Reply" and "Relay-Forward" is consistent (I see "Relay-reply" and "relay-reply" as well, for example).  The RFC Editor will raise this, and it's better to fix it now rather than wait.

(Sean Turner) Discuss

Discuss (2013-02-28)
From the secdir review:

The document does not provide a thorough system-level description of how the security mechanisms are to be used, and how clients, servers, and relay agents might need to be configured accordingly. For example, if the primary focus is thwarting fake DHCPv6 server attacks, then a client might not need to signature a query directed to a server. On the other hand, if the goal is to enable servers to selectively provide service to clients, e.g., based on cached CGA values, then a client would need to sign a query. The document needs to provide additional background in this regard, to enable readers (and implementers) to understand what features need to be present in system components making use of these security mechanisms. A description of local configuration variables that can be used to achieve the desired system-level behavior is needed.

Section 4 describes the proposed mechanism. The section states the assumptions that underlie use of CGAs in this context, but it does so in a confusing manner. The use of CGAs provides intrinsic authentication of the sender of a signed message, in terms of the IPv6 address of the sender. For DHCPv6 clients, this may be all that is required, but the text does not make that argument. For DHCPv6 servers, clients (and relay agents) simple address authentication does not suffice; a client (or a relay agent) needs to know that the sender of a message is authorized to act as a server (or relay agent). The text is not at all clear on this point, i.e., it fails to state for which entities it is necessary to pre-configure CGA parameters, to enable meaningful authentication (and authorization).

The text here states an exception to the need for pre-configuration saying  that an entity could have “ … recorded [the parameters] from previous communications.” This leap of faith (LoF) key management approach is discussed again only in Section 7. The discussion there is superficial. More text is needed to explain when LoF may be viewed as appropriate, and to address issues such as how a client that acquired a server’s CGA would transition to a new server CGA, securely.

Section 4 ends by noting that the “authentication options” (presumably the signature option) can be used to counter replay attacks. This is not quite accurate, i.e., it is the integrity aspect of the signature that provides a basis for anti-replay mechanisms, vs. the authentication  aspect. More worrisome is that fact that there is no later mention of anti-reply in the document. The authors need to add text discussing anti-replay in this context.

Section 4.2 discusses algorithm agility, but does so only for hash algorithms. This section needs to be expanded to discuss signature algorithm agility as well. Also, the text here states that “mainly unilateral notification” is the means by which an algorithm change is made known to a peer communicant, but that not all senders in a network need to transition to a new algorithm at the same time. This section needs to describe how an orderly transition to a new algorithm can be effected in a network. For example, one might add an option that a sender could include in a message, indicating a preferred list of algorithms (signature and has) that it supports. This would enable a server to know whether clients are prepared to transition to a new algorithm.

Section 5.2 defines a signature option. There is a timestamp here, which is present to help “reduce the danger of replay attacks.” However, the processing rules for a receiver (Section 6.2) make no mention of this timestamp. This mismatch needs to be fixed. The description of what data is protected by the signature is a bit complex to follow. A diagram is needed. A padding field is defined, but there is no mention of what padding bits are to be used.

Section 5.3 defines a signature option for relayed replies. It is used to enable encapsulation of a reply that passes through one or more relay agents, so that there are separate signatures for each agent and for the target client. The description here is not clear to me, especially if there is more than one relay agent.

Sections 6.1 and 6.2 provides processing rules for senders and receivers, respectively. This is a very good structure, but, as noted above, some details are missing, e.g., there is no mention of timestamp use. (If timestamp processing rules are defined elsewhere, e.g., 3515, then this text should include the relevant cite). The description of when the CGA, Signature and DUID options MUST and MUST NOT be used is sufficiently complex that a table needs be included. There is a reference to an Authentication Option near the bottom of page 11, but none is defined in this document.

The opening discussion for Section  6.2 is confusing when it discusses how a Secure DHCPv6 “enabled” receiver might, or might not, discard messages that omit the CGA and Signature options. The authors may need to distinguish between a receiver that is Secure DHCPv6 “capable” vs. “enabled” to clarify what they mean. Maybe the purported source address of the sender plays a roll here as well. Discarding a packet for which the required options are absent is a SHOULD, here. But, near the bottom of page 12, there is text that says a packet that does not pass all of the checks MUST be discarded. These two statement need to be reconciled. There is no discussion of how a receiver verifies that a message is from an authorized server or relay agent, e.g., by reference to pre-configured CGA data.  There is no discussion of when a receiver should cache CGA data for future use, despite an allusion to this possibility in Section 4. These topics must be addressed if the processing rules are to be considered complete. The “minbits” description is  bit confusing, as its name specifies a minimum key size, but the description discusses both min and max key sizes. Also, this variable needs to be augmented with an algorithm ID, so that it is clear to which algorithm the key size applies.

The security considerations section states that “… clients should be pre-configured with the DHCPv6 server CGA.” This seems important enough to be “SHOULD” vs. “should.” Similar language is used to describe the need to pre-configure CGAs for relays and servers, and it too needs to be stated more firmly. In both cases the text states that how secure pre-configuration of CGAs is achieved is out of scope. Later in this section the authors suggest that a leaf of faith (LoF) approach to acquisition of these CGAs by clients may be a reasonable alternative to secure distribution of server CGA values. This suggestion ignores the issue of how a key change for a server will be accommodated, or how the addition of a new server would work. Absent a discussion of these issues, the LoF suggestion seems questionable.

This section contains a brief discussion of collision attacks against hash functions, and why the current levels of attacks are not a serious concern in this context. Hash functions, per se, do not have a “non-repudiation feature” so I think the text here should be improved. Discussion of the hash function security in the SeND context seems relevant. As noted earlier, the test in 4.2 that talks about why hash functions are adequately secure for this context should move here, and the redundancies should be removed.
Comment (2013-02-28)
No email
send info
Also from the secdir review:

Section 3 provides a very brief discussion of the vulnerabilities associated with unsecured DHCPv6, and then reviews the security mechanisms offered in RFC 3315. It notes that the symmetric key management approach offered in 3315 is difficult to manage, a conclusion with which I concur. However, the authors overstate the simplicity of their proposed approach, deferring to the Security Considerations section a discussion of public key management.

Section 3 notes that 3315 suggests use of IPsec to secure communications between servers and relay agents (or between relay agents), but dismisses that approach due to complexity. I am less sympathetic to this statement. IPsec is already implemented in all major operating systems, so an argument about its complexity, relevant to a set of proposed new mechanisms, is not especially relevant. Perhaps the authors intend to argue that management of IPsec for this application is more complex than their proposed solution. If so, I suggest that the text in bullet “c” of Section 3 be revised.

Much of the text in 4.2 should be moved to the Security Considerations section, as it is motivational material not describing the working of the protocol.

Section 6.3 describes special processing performed by relay agents, above what is described for them as senders and receivers, in the preceding two sections. Because relay agent processing has already been discussed in 6.1 and 6.2, the additional text here seems confusing to me. The closing paragraph is especially confusing to me, but maybe DHCPv6 experts will find it understandable.

(Ralph Droms) Yes

(Ron Bonica) No Objection

(Stewart Bryant) No Objection

(Gonzalo Camarillo) No Objection

(Benoît Claise) No Objection

Comment (2013-02-28)
No email
send info
A COMMENT from the OPS directorate review, take or leave it, but I wanted to share it.

Readability of the document could be improved by adding an acronym section and by adding diagrams to the introduction section showing the various network configurations, with and without the relay element.

(Wesley Eddy) No Objection

(Adrian Farrel) No Objection

(Stephen Farrell) (was Discuss) No Objection

Comment (2013-02-28)
No email
send info
- I agree with Sean's discuss based on Steve Kent's thorough
secdir review.

- I didn't get why a client would use this - if the client
generates a CGA then why does it even use DHCP?
Ted explained that prefix delegation is a reason which 
seems fair enough, but doesn't seem to be the kind of
thing all DHCP clients might want to do. If address 
registration (another offered use) was a reason then the
same privacy issues as arise with SAVI would apply here 
and ought be mentioned since CGAs are designed to
provide better privacy and CGA+this seems to give
back whatever privacy advantage you might have
gotten from CGAs.

- My suggestion for how to fix this is to cut it down to
server authentication only (or possibly server and relay
authentication only); get rid of the idea of clients using
this in general; make the leap-of-faith much clearer, and fix 
the crypto protocol issues from the secdir review. Such a spec 
could be quite useful.

- I made the same point as my discuss above in relation to
another (now-dead?) draft from the same authors. [1]


(Pete Resnick) No Objection

Comment (2013-02-27)
No email
send info
5.2 and 5.3: Is it normal practice to have a separate "Padding" field displayed in the data structure and defined instead of just defining Signature as "padded with zero to an octet" or something like that? It's just an odd way to say it.

And a couple of nits:
6.1, paragraph 2: The node MUST have -> The node needs to have
6.2, paragraph 6 & 7: MAY record -> can record
8, paragraph 1 and 2: MUST be assigned -> have been assigned
(or the last could be "will be assigned" and IANA and the RFC Editor can update the text when they're done)

(Robert Sparks) No Objection

(Martin Stiemerling) No Objection

Deborah Brungard No Record

Alissa Cooper No Record

Roman Danyliw No Record

Martin Duke No Record

Benjamin Kaduk No Record

Erik Kline No Record

Murray Kucherawy No Record

Warren Kumari No Record

Alvaro Retana No Record

Martin Vigoureux No Record

Éric Vyncke No Record

Magnus Westerlund No Record

Robert Wilton No Record