Re: [radext] BoF request for IETF 115

Alexander Clouter <> Sat, 24 September 2022 05:43 UTC

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Date: Sat, 24 Sep 2022 06:43:22 +0100
From: "Alexander Clouter" <>
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Subject: Re: [radext] BoF request for IETF 115
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On Fri, 23 Sep 2022, at 22:18, Alan DeKok wrote:
> On Sep 23, 2022, at 3:58 PM, Bernard Aboba <> wrote:
>> My concern is that the "shared secrets" used in today's RADIUS deployments often have little entropy, leaving them open to password-guessing attacks.  So some additional thinking may be required here. 
> I agree.  Some guidance here would be useful.  If we're depending on 
> TLS-PSK for security, there isn't much point in having the PSK have low 
> entropy.

I think we can take some basic steps to juice that up though given the environment; one in which the user is providing low entropy secrets thus firmly lies on the 'not Mossad'[1] side of the security threat model:

1. introduce a user supplied organisation/site shared secret to provide us with a salt
2. use PRF/HKDF to extract as much substance as you can from a weak user supplied PSK and salt
3. make calculating that output more expensive by then pushing that output through PBKDF2 or equivalent

I did just pull this strategy out of thin air and folks can poke holes in this (in particular the setting into stone "use PBKDF2") but the aim here is to provide a parallel to shared secrets from traditional RADIUS into the secure RADIUS world. That is going to be flawed because of legacy, all we could do is provide stepping stones to a better place for the user to end up.

Another option is that TLS supports post-handshake authentications[2], but you are already doing a public key authentication at that point either in effect using anon[3] or self-signed certs which the user would have to pin just so the server side knows what to trust.

On the topic of certs, I think harder is what is going to be validated in the SAN/subject? The NAS's IP (which it may have many)? A hostname (dynamic IP where DNS lags reality)? I think this is the harder problem here, though hopefully I am missing something obvious.