Re: [Sidrops] I-D Action: draft-sidrops-bgpsec-validation-signaling-05.txt

Job Snijders <> Wed, 30 September 2020 14:10 UTC

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Subject: Re: [Sidrops] I-D Action: draft-sidrops-bgpsec-validation-signaling-05.txt
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Dear all,

I have reviewed the document and would like to offer some feedback.

The title probably should read "BGPsec Validation State Signaling via Internal BGP" 

Furthermore the document probably benefits replacing "BGP neighbor" with
"IBGP neighbor", similarly "BGP peer" and "peer" should be replaced with
"IBGP neighbor" and "neighbor" for more consistent reading. Emphasis on
IBGP is important as this document outlines non-transitive extended
communities. (Let's park discussion about EBGP vs CONFED vs IBGP for the
sake of progressing conversation about the substance of this draft)

Internal inconsistency in draft-sidrops-bgpsec-validation-signaling

RFC 8205 section 5.1 states "BGPsec validation need only be performed at
the eBGP edge.", and also "a BGPsec speaker MAY temporarily defer
validation of incoming UPDATE messages." 

With the above in mind, in section 4 of draft-sidrops-bgpsec-validation-signaling
the first paragraph references an EBGP speaker that received a BGPsec
UPDATE from a neighbor outside the administrative domain. If one follows
the logical outcomes of temporarily deferment of validation, the EBGP
node was unable to perform BGPsec path validation, thus MUST set
validation state 'Unverified'. Consequently the BGP UPDATE is
distributed to IBGP speakers, which all have to perform full BGPsec path
validation in order to confirm that the validation state is indeed
"Unverified". One might as well not attach any community at all because
speaker A doesn't signal of note - because it doesn't know.

If the EBGP edge device that (temporarily or forever) is unable to do
BGPsec validation, it will for the duration of that event be unable to
set the appropriate community, as it cannot validate. Whatever
communities it sets, other nodes in the network still need to verify
whether or not the community is true. As such, the communities are
merely overhead.

Imagine a two node network (ascii art, mind your MUA):

				 |AS 65123|
	+--EBGP1---+ AS 650001 +----------------EBGP2------+
	|          +-----------+                           |
	|                                                  |
	|        +-----------------------------------+     |
	|        | AS 65666 running draft-signaling  |     |
	|        |                                   |     |
	|        | +---------------+                 |     |
	+----------+ BGP speaker A |****IBGP         |     |
			 | +---------------+     *           |     |
			 |                       *           |     |
			 |               +-------*-------+   |     |
			 |               | BGP Speaker B +---------+
			 |               +---------------+   |
			 |                                   |

If BGP speaker A cannot perform BGPsec validation on EBGP1, it can't
confirm whether _65001_65123$ is a valid BGPSec_PATH or not. But
whatever conclusion speaker A draws, speaker B receives the
_650001_65123$ path via its own EBGP2 session with 650001. Whatever
validation (and signaling) happens via the IBGP session, it does not in
any way positively impact speaker B's decisions, as speaker B can't use
IBGP information as input into its decision making process regarding the
BGP UPDATE received via EBGP2. Draft-sidrops-bgpsec-validation-signaling
is not a replacement or alternative to the RPKI-To-Router protocol.

If the meaning of the 'unverified' state is 'maybe I will do validation
later, maybe not', I don't see any practical application.

If the meaning of 'valid' is to be taken at face value, again, there is
no value in a standardized community, see RFC 3514.

If the meaning of 'invalid' is that following BGPsec path validation the
route is deemed invalid, then why was it propagated in the first place?

If Speaker B is not able to do Path Validation, whatever 'invalid'
signal it receives on its IBGP session does not and cannot override or
influence what was received via EBGP2.

The text in the abstract and introduction about 'temporarily deferment of
validation' should probably be removed as it is hard to see how in the
situation of temporarily deferment the existence of these communities
makes sense.


An architectural choice to use BGP communities for any purpose
oftentimes stems from an operator's ability to deploy 'a new thing' in a
network where (part of) the nodes have not yet been upgraded. Good
useful examples of this mechanism are GRACEFUL_SHUTDOWN and NO_EXPORT.

The document states in section 3 "If the router supports the extension
as defined in this document" ... which implies that all nodes in an
administrative domain must be upgraded, which in turn somewhat nullifies
the justification to use communities in the first place. This doesn't
allow a brownfield upgrade!

Section 3.1 "Error Handling at Peers" reads as a simple paragraph, but
is brittle and error-prone to implement in routing policy. Most network
operators are accustomed to implementing a 'test & branch' procedure by
positive community matching and then taking some action. RFC 1997
defines communities as "A community is a group of destinations which
share some common property." The implication is that when multiple
communities are attached to a route, the route simply has multiple

However, this document outlines a mechanism where specific combinations
of communities are invalid input: "(0x43,TBD,0) ∩ (0x43,TBD,1)", or
"(0x43,TBD,1) ∩ (0x43,TBD,2)", or "(0x43,TBD,2) ∩ (0x43,TBD,0)". In
currently available commercial|free-of-the-shelf BGP implementations
implementing adequate error handling is error-prone. RFC 8097 shares
this weakness.

The Introduction proposes that a reduction of path validation processing
load can be achieved, however Section 4 states that if there is a
discrepancy between the locally computed validation state and the
community, the locally computed state takes precedence. Thus, no load
processing reduction can be achieved because a BGPsec capable node must
compute the validation state before it can compare it to the community.

Not analogous to RFC 8097

To many this draft may appear as 'for sure, we need something similar
for bgpsec as we have for route origin validation' - but I think no such
equivalence exists, or needs to exist.

RFC 8097 defines a set of BGP communities which can optionally be
associated with a prefix *after* the Origin Validation procedure (RFC
6811) *successfully* is executed. This in contrast to
draft-bgpsec-validation-signaling, where a node is *unable* to path
validation, thus can never set the appropriate communities. RFC 8097
does not describe a situation where Origin Validation is temporarily

Reject don't tag (do, don't talk about doing it)

If a route is considered invalid (for whatever reason, beauty is in the
eye of the beholder), the route should be rejected. Merely tagging an
invalid route with a specific community and propagating it further, is a
useless excercise. Such designs hampers deployment of actual security
measures. If an operator wants to tag invalid routes for analytical
purposes, they can easily do so and can choose from milions of values
using any of the flavors of communities that are available. If you *are*
propagating an invalid route, you are propagating an invalid route - in
which case it does not matter whatever communities are attached to it.


At this point in time I don't think this draft can proceed to
publication, from the document itself it is not clear to me what
benefits can be achieved and how this benefits Internet operations. The
draft requires new code on devices in addition to what a BGPsec capable
implementation would require. And in today's world there aren't
off-the-shelf BGPsec implementations to start with, so piling on
additional code requirements is too early in the innovation cycle
anyhow. Using communities is no substitute for BGPsec validation or for
RTR, this document may subtly lead people to believe otherwise.

It is possible I misunderstood things, I look forward to feedback from
the group.

Kind regards,


ps. nitpick: one of the author's company names seems misspelled.

On Fri, Sep 25, 2020 at 07:19:10PM -0700, wrote:
> A New Internet-Draft is available from the on-line Internet-Drafts directories.
> This draft is a work item of the SIDR Operations WG of the IETF.
>         Title           : BGPsec Validation State Signaling
>         Authors         : Oliver Borchert
>                           Doug Montgomery
>                           Daniel Kopp
> 	Filename        : draft-sidrops-bgpsec-validation-signaling-05.txt
> 	Pages           : 8
> 	Date            : 2020-09-25
> Abstract:
>    This document defines a new BGP non-transitive extended community to
>    carry the BGPsec path validation state.  BGP speakers that receive
>    this community string can use the embedded BGPsec validation state in
>    conjunction with configured local policies to influence their
>    decision process.  The ability to accept and act on BGPsec path
>    validation state from a neighbor allows for a reduction of path
>    validation processing load and/or increased resilience in the event
>    that a router is temporarily unable to perform local path validation.
> The IETF datatracker status page for this draft is:
> There are also htmlized versions available at:
> A diff from the previous version is available at:
> Please note that it may take a couple of minutes from the time of submission
> until the htmlized version and diff are available at
> Internet-Drafts are also available by anonymous FTP at:
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