Re: [saag] [tsvwg] Comments on draft-ietf-tsvwg-transport-encrypt-08.txt

Tom Herbert <> Tue, 12 November 2019 16:19 UTC

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From: Tom Herbert <>
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2019 08:18:44 -0800
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To: Peter Gutmann <>
Cc: Stephen Farrell <>, David Schinazi <>, Joe Touch <>, "" <>, Mirja Kuehlewind <>, tsvwg IETF list <>, "" <>
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Subject: Re: [saag] [tsvwg] Comments on draft-ietf-tsvwg-transport-encrypt-08.txt
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On Mon, Nov 11, 2019 at 11:07 PM Peter Gutmann
<>; wrote:
> Tom Herbert <>; writes:
> >The problems of protocol ossification and middleboxes meddling in E2E
> >protocols has been discussed at length in IETF in various contexts.
> I'm aware of RFC 3234, which was written seventeen years ago and focuses on
> middleboxes messing with application-layer data, as well as farcical stuff
> like RFC 3424, of the same vintage, but it's mostly complaining rather than
> actual rigorous analysis, and often seems to be based on opposition to
> middleboxes as an article of faith, notoriously manifested in IPsec's "NAT is
> bad, therefore we will make sure IPsec breaks NAT, because NAT is bad", which
> has caused endless headaches for pretty much anyone who's ever had to work
> with IPsec ever since.
> In particular for this case, since the discussion is about header encryption
> and not middleboxes in general, I'm not aware of any rigorous analysis of its
> purported benefits, or even a clear statement of its purported benefits,
> something like "here is a definition of the service that header encryption
> provides, here is a real-world study showing that it provides this and
> demonstrating that it can't be readily defeated".  Contrast this with the two
> dozen plus studies that look at the analysis of encrypted traffic despite the
> encryption, an example being (just one picked at random) "Identifying HTTPS-
> Protected Netflix Videos in Real-Time", Andrew Reed and Michael Kranch,
> Proceedings of the 7th Conference on Data and Application Security and Privacy
> (CODASPY'17), March 2017, p.361.

describes with some detail how encryption of the transport layer is
beneficial to resolve the tussel that results in protocol

>From that document: "We know that embedding encryption and
authentication inside the transport protocol provides a powerful API
to applications, and also enables sophisticated handling of path
redundancy and mobility... We know all that because we have tried it
before.", also "The effect of middle-boxes on transport protocols is


> So when people complain that the draft doesn't say enough about all the Good
> Things header encryption provides, I would respond that it does, it's cited
> all of the available literature on the benefits of header encryption, and all
> of the studies showing that it's effective, in Appendix B.
> The draft is actually quite restrained in this regard, as I mentioned in my
> previous message the two notable examples of header encryption/protection
> deployed at scale into the real world, IPsec and SSH, have both been a
> disaster (for functionality, IPsec, and security, SSH), but it very politely
> omits mention of this.
> Peter.