Re: [secdir] SECDIR review of draft-ietf-eman-energy-aware-mib-15

Juergen Schoenwaelder <> Tue, 24 June 2014 20:47 UTC

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Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2014 22:47:19 +0200
From: Juergen Schoenwaelder <>
To: Stephen Kent <>
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Subject: Re: [secdir] SECDIR review of draft-ietf-eman-energy-aware-mib-15
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there is a security boilerplate that we are following.

If you think this is not appropriate anymore, we need to have a
discussion to update the boilerplate instead of debating specific MIB
modules.  Note that this topic comes up periodically - usually without
much changes to the boilerplate at the end. Lets see the result this
time. ;-)


On Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 11:48:02AM -0400, Stephen Kent wrote:
> I reviewed this document as part of the security directorate's ongoing 
> effort to review all IETF documents being processed by the IESG.These 
> comments were written primarily for the benefit of the security area 
> directors.Document editors and WG chairs should treat these comments 
> just like any other last call comments. Since I am not a MIB expert, my 
> comments are strictly related to the security-relevant aspects of this 
> document.
> This document, as its name implies, defines a MIB for energy management 
> devices. Given increasing concern over security in the so-called 
> "cyber-physical" realm, a MIB for such devices clearly merits scrutiny. 
> Also, to the extent that such devices (e.g., meters) might be associated 
> with residences, there are personal privacy issues that ought to be 
> addressed, in the PERPASS era.
> The document is clearly written; my compliments to the authors in that 
> regard. The one odd thing I noted was that Sections 11.1 and 11.2 appear 
> between Sections 6 and 7! I think this was a cut and paste error that is 
> easily remedied.
> The Security Considerations section (7) is about one-half page in 
> length. I have several concerns with the text here.
> First, the text says "It is thus important to control even GET and/or 
> NOTIFY access to these objects and possibly to even encrypt the values 
> of these objects when sending them over the network via SNMP." This 
> seems to be an understatement. I'd like to see the text here RECOMMEND 
> use of encryption to provide confidentiality. This would be supportive 
> of personal privacy, in residential contexts, and physical security in 
> residential and enterprise settings. I can imagine a movie in which 
> burglars use a lack of encryption to gain critical information about 
> building infrastructure from a an energy MIB J.
> The text later says "There are a number of management objects defined in 
> these MIB modules with a MAX-ACCESS clause of read-write and/or 
> read-create.Such objects MAY be considered sensitive or vulnerable in 
> some network environments.The support for SET operations in a non-secure 
> environment without proper protection can have a negative effect on 
> network operations. Again, this strikes me as a significant 
> understatement, i.e., the scope of the "negative effect" could be much 
> broader that just a network. (Power outlets are cited as examples of 
> objects, so anything plugged into an outlet could be effected, right?) 
> There should be more emphasis on the need for access control.
> The text later says "SNMP versions prior to SNMPv3 did not include 
> adequate security. Even if the network itself is secure (for example, by 
> using IPsec), there is still no secure control over who on the secure 
> network is allowed to access and GET/SET (read/change/create/delete) the 
> objects in these MIB modules." This is a misleading. IPsec natively 
> provides access control. It would be accurate to say that the access 
> controls offered by IPsec would only limit who could access the MIB. 
> What the authors seem to suggest here is finer-grained access control, 
> so that one can manage GET/SET privileges for the set of individuals who 
> are authorized to connect to the MIB via the SMTP port, right?
> The text discussing use of SNMPv3 security is a bit confusing.
> It RECOMMENDS that implementers "consider" SMNPv3 security features, but 
> then says deployment of SNMP versions prior to v3 is NOT RECOMMENDED. 
> The first paragraph discussing this topic deals with thinking about 
> support (vs. use) of SNMPv3, while the second paragraph makes a much 
> stronger statement about deployment. It would be more consistent to 
> mandate support (MUST or SHOULD) for SNMPv3 in entities that incorporate 
> this MIB. Separately the document can RECOMMEND enabling SNMPv3 security 
> features in deployments, for the reasons cited.

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> wiki:

Juergen Schoenwaelder           Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH
Phone: +49 421 200 3587         Campus Ring 1, 28759 Bremen, Germany
Fax:   +49 421 200 3103         <>