RE: Security for various IETF services

"Matthew Kaufman (SKYPE)" <matthew.kaufman@skype.net> Mon, 07 April 2014 19:51 UTC

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From: "Matthew Kaufman (SKYPE)" <matthew.kaufman@skype.net>
To: Christian Huitema <huitema@microsoft.com>, "ietf@ietf.org" <ietf@ietf.org>
Subject: RE: Security for various IETF services
Thread-Topic: Security for various IETF services
Thread-Index: AQHPT1jXle3ChO4j00Wi4jXF9jNZyZsEwa4AgAB5wwCAAAYrgIABTx3Q
Date: Mon, 7 Apr 2014 19:50:34 +0000
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From: ietf [mailto:ietf-bounces@ietf.org] On Behalf Of Christian Huitema
> Sent: Sunday, April 6, 2014 4:30 PM
> To: ietf@ietf.org
> Subject: RE: Security for various IETF services
> 
> > I agree with those who've said a threat analysis is needed before
> > deciding access is limited to TLS or other secure alternative.
> 
> But we have that threat analysis, and the recommended mitigation is
> precisely "encrypt everything." The "pervasive monitoring" threat is analyzed
> by a number of perpass drafts, and Stephen has merely followed the
> conclusions of that analysis. There is no need to repeat that analysis for each
> and every tool that the IETF produces, and there is indeed a need for the
> IETF as a whole to "lead by example."

I've been following this thread with some amusement, as it was clear that when the perpass draft took its unusual journey from personal draft submission to BCP the fallout would include things like an immediate call for all IETF services to be encrypted. At the same time, there are an equally well known number of attacks against TCP itself that make TCP the wrong substrate upon which to build "secure" communication channels. (Just a couple of well-known examples: the ease of session hijacking of established connection and SYN flood attacks against well-known servers, both of which lead to denial of service and potentially forcing the user to downgrade to an alternative channel for obtaining the information).

If the same level of urgency were shown towards a viable, and secure, replacement for TCP itself, then the calls for secure-only access to IETF services might make sense. Instead, it feels a lot like requiring stronger deadbolts on glass doors.

Matthew Kaufman