Re: [IPsec] WESP - Roadmap Ahead

Merike Kaeo <merike@doubleshotsecurity.com> Thu, 12 November 2009 03:49 UTC

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From: Merike Kaeo <merike@doubleshotsecurity.com>
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2009 19:49:29 -0800
To: Stephen Kent <kent@bbn.com>
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Cc: "ipsec@ietf.org" <ipsec@ietf.org>, "Bhatia, Manav \(Manav\)" <manav.bhatia@alcatel-lucent.com>, Jack Kohn <kohn.jack@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [IPsec] WESP - Roadmap Ahead
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All of the standards I've seen that explicitly define how IPsec is to  
be used for authentication (including RFC 4552 - Authentication/ 
Confidentiality for OSPFv3) say that for authentication ESP-Null MUST  
be used and AH MAY.

Which RFCs specify AH specifically as a MUST for authentication/ 
integrity?

Now on the flip side, in practical implementations, most vendors I  
know of started off with AH being used for OSPFv3 and I doubt in  
practice people are using ESP-Null.  Would love to be wrong here :)

- merike

On Nov 11, 2009, at 7:28 PM, Stephen Kent wrote:

> At 7:44 AM +0530 11/12/09, Bhatia, Manav (Manav) wrote:
>> Steve,
>>
>>>  I would have no problem deprecating AH in the context of the IPsec
>>>  architecture document, if others agree. It is less efficient  than
>>>  ESP-NULL. However, other WGs have cited AH as the IPsec protocol of
>>>  choice for integrity/authentication in their environments, so there
>>>  will be a need to coordinate with them, and it may be  
>>> unacceptable to
>>>  kill AH as a standalone protocol for them.
>>
>> I agree that it is a trifle too early to start deprecating AH,  
>> though I wouldn't mind doing so. OTOH, don't most WGs already  
>> suggest AH as a MAY, and ESP-NULL as a MUST?
>
> Not always. For example, I believe that OSPF security makes use of  
> AH, outside the IPsec context.
>
>> In any case what should be the stand for the newer work that comes  
>> out of these WGs. Should they spell out support for AH, or should  
>> they just be talking about ESP (or ESP-NULL or WESP)?
>
> I'd recommend ESP-NULL, unless the context on which the operate  
> might require inspection by an intermediate system.
>
>> If we want to deprecate AH, or at least discourage its use in the  
>> context of the IPSec architecture in the near future then  
>> shouldn't we be working on this?
>
> Part of the problem is that some WGs want to make use of IPsec  
> protocols outside of the IPsec architecture.
>
>>  > I am not comfortable with the notion of ESP with WESP.  WESP adds
>>  > more per-packet overhead than ESP, and some users are very  
>> sensitive
>>>  to this aspect of IPsec use. Also, other WG rely on ESP and we  
>>> would
>>>  need to convince them that the packet inspection features of WESP
>>>  merit making changes to their standards, which might be a tough  
>>> sell.
>>
>> I agree. However, we should start socializing WESP in other WGs so  
>> that folks are at least aware of it.
>
> Agree.
>
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