[AVTCORE] Criticism on draft-ietf-avtcore-srtp-aes-gcm

Florian Zeitz <florob@babelmonkeys.de> Tue, 22 April 2014 15:11 UTC

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Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2014 17:11:17 +0200
From: Florian Zeitz <florob@babelmonkeys.de>
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Subject: [AVTCORE] Criticism on draft-ietf-avtcore-srtp-aes-gcm
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I'd like to call this working group's attention to the fact that
yesterday an article in german language[1] was published, harshly
criticising draft-ietf-avtcore-srtp-aes-gcm-11.

The draft is therein called the NSA's newest attempt at weakening
internet security.
The criticism is largely based on Niels Ferguson's 2005 paper
"Authentication weaknesses in GCM"[2].

In particular the points I can identify are:

Repeated from Ferguson's paper
* GCM should no longer be used
* if GCM has to be used, the authentication tag should be 128-bit
  (the draft currently mandates implementation of the 64-bit
   variant, the others are purely optional)
* the paper uses telephony as an example in it's "A disastrous scenario"
  section. Yet this draft recommends GCM for telephony

Attributed to Michael Kafka, a "security expert" from Vienna:
* mixing confidentiality and authentication makes attacks easier
* in practice performance gains are negligible on modern smartphones

The article also insinuates that David McGrew is deliberately
co-authoring a draft he knows to be insecure, somehow under the pressure
of the NSA.

While I do not necessarily personally agree with the criticism, or the
conclusions, I would like this working group and the authors to address
it in some way.

Florian Zeitz

[1] http://fm4.orf.at/stories/1737330/