[secdir] Secdir Review of draft-ietf-idr-rfc4893bis-07

Catherine Meadows <catherine.meadows@nrl.navy.mil> Mon, 09 July 2012 17:53 UTC

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From: Catherine Meadows <catherine.meadows@nrl.navy.mil>
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Subject: [secdir] Secdir Review of draft-ietf-idr-rfc4893bis-07
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I have 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.

This document describes an added capability for four-octet Autonomous System
(AS) numbers in BGP.  This is intended to  replace the older two-octet AS numbers,
since that space is filling up.

In order to preserve backward compatibility, AS's using the four-octet systems (called New
BGP speakers in the document) must advertise both four-octet and two-octet AS numbers.
This is the case even if the New BGP Speaker does not have a globally unique two-octet number.
The document says that in this case the two-octet number is obtained by mapping the four-octet
number to the two-octet space.  The procedure for doing this is not specified.

The authors identify a risk of routing loops developing when ambiguities develops as a
result of a BGP speaker using the old system aggregating two or more routes carrying
4-octet attributes.  In the Security Configurations Section, the authors point out that an
attacker might be able to exploit this in a denial of service attack.  They point out that it is
a misconfiguration to assign 4-octet Member AS Numbers in a BGP confederation until all BGP speakers
within the confederation have transitioned to support 4-octet numbers.

I think that this is a good recommendation.  I just have a couple of minor comments.

It's not clear to me what the status of "misconfiguration" is in the hierarchy of IETF.
Is it more like SHALL NOT or SHOULD NOT?  Is there a reason why you're saying
"misconfiguration" instead of one of those?

I would also expect that the chance of routing loops arising out conversion from 4-octet
to 2-octet occurring between confederations would be much less than of their occurring
within a confederation (although one can't know for sure without knowing what the 4-octet
to 2-octet mapping is), so following the recommendations in the Security Considerations would
greatly reduce the probability of such a routing loop occurring.  Is this correct? 

Cathy Meadows

Catherine Meadows
Naval Research Laboratory
Code 5543
4555 Overlook Ave., S.W.
Washington DC, 20375
phone: 202-767-3490
fax: 202-404-7942
email: catherine.meadows@nrl.navy.mil