[Ntp] Comments on draft-langer-ntp-nts-for-ptp

Watson Ladd <watsonbladd@gmail.com> Fri, 05 March 2021 19:55 UTC

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From: Watson Ladd <watsonbladd@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 5 Mar 2021 11:55:22 -0800
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Subject: [Ntp] Comments on draft-langer-ntp-nts-for-ptp
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Dear WG,

I recognize that this is a pretty early draft and so I'm going to
focus on the aspects that are outlined that I think may be
problematic, rather than nitpick the clear and well written, although
somewhat incomplete text.

My first concern is that this draft doesn't play nicely with NTS. NTS
doesn't have a hierarchical record structure defined, deliberately to
avoid a well-trod class of security and correctness issues. An NTS way
to do this would be to unmake the PTP key grant structure and send a
NTP Next Protocol Negotiation field directly, and use new noncritical
PTP server or group negotiation messages. Obviously it's a bit
complicated by the layering of PTP.

My second concern is cryptographic. Instead of deriving the key from
the TLS handshake, the server sets it. We didn't do this in NTS for
NTP for a reason. The way we do forced key rotations is by getting new

Group keys have weaker authentication and security properties than a
tree of unicast associations.

I think this is an important draft that covers a real usecase, but
should try to break the flow of NTS a bit less. I hope these comments
are useful.

Watson Ladd

Astra mortemque praestare gradatim