Re: [tcpm] tcp-security: Request for feedback on the outline of the document

Joe Touch <touch@ISI.EDU> Thu, 20 August 2009 18:19 UTC

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Date: Thu, 20 Aug 2009 11:19:10 -0700
From: Joe Touch <touch@ISI.EDU>
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Cc: "tcpm-chairs@tools.ietf.org" <tcpm-chairs@tools.ietf.org>, "tcpm@ietf.org" <tcpm@ietf.org>
Subject: Re: [tcpm] tcp-security: Request for feedback on the outline of the document
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Fernando Gont wrote:
> Folks,
> 
> As mentioned by David Borman, draft-gont-tcp-security has been adopted
> as a wg item. It has been resubmitted as draft-ietf-tcpm-tcp-security, now.
> 
> I'd like to receive feedback on the outline of the document, i.e.,
> whether you like the outline as-is or you think it should be modified.

I'll start with the observation that the WG approved an outline as the
WG starting point. The current doc has a few sections that are not an
outline; they should be omitted until we agree as a WG on their content.
This includes:
	1.1
	2.
	3.
	3.1
	3.1.1
	3.6.7

An exception would be only Sec 1.2, which is scoping the doc, and
providing a list of RFCs that might be relevant.

It seems useful to step back to the highest level of the outline.
Excepting required sections, they are:
	
	1 intro
	2 scope
	3 header fields
	4 common options
	5 connection establishment
	6 connection termination
	7 buffer management
	8 reassembly
	9 cong control
	10 API
	11 blind in-window attacks
	12 info leaking
	13 covert channels
	14 port scanning
	15 ICMP
	16 IP

It's not clear why 4 isn't part of 3, why 5 and 6 are separate, etc.
Overall, it'd be useful to have a more conventional structure:

	1 intro
		including scope
	2 background - to introduce terminology
		a) breakdown of TCP into:
			control
			data
			performance
			implementation
		b) threat model
		briefly explain attacks:
		- on-path vs. off-path
		- control vs. data vs. performance
		- injection vs. DOS

Then it'd be useful to break down TCP into its component parts, as
introduced in 2a:

	3 control attacks
		header fields
		option fields
		connection establishment
		connection termination
		port scanning

	4 data attacks
		injection
		info leaking

	5 performance
		cong control / ACK attacks
		reassy attacks

	6 implementation issues
		performance, e.g., SYN cookies, buffer mgt.
		API, IP interface issues

	7 security considerations
		this can be used as a catchall for items that don't
		fit as directly above and aren't specific to TCP,
		e.g., covert channel issues, info leaking etc.

IMO, this presents the info in a way that is still organized for
implementers, but structures it in a way that the info can be more
easily located when needed.

Joe
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