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Network Working Group                                         P. Hoffman
Internet-Draft                                            VPN Consortium
Expires: February 25, 2008                                     D. McGrew
                                                           Cisco Systems
                                                         August 24, 2007


 An Authentication-only Profile for ESP with an IP Protocol Identifier
                 draft-hoffman-esp-null-protocol-00.txt

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   This Internet-Draft will expire on February 25, 2008.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The IETF Trust (2007).

Abstract

   It is desirable to allow firewalls and intrusion detection systems to
   be able to inspect the payload of an ESP packet that has been
   encrypted with the NULL cipher.  This would allow a firewall to read
   the contents and apply the normal policies to it.  However, a device
   in the network cannot reliably determine which ESP packets are NULL
   encrypted, and cannot easily determine other ESP format parameters
   such as the ICV length.  These issues can cause misclassification of



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   packets and wasted computational resources.

   This document solves this problem by defining an authentication-only
   profile of ESP and reserving IP protocol numbers for it.


Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
   2.  Using New IP Protocol Numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
     2.1.  Marking ESP NULL Packets  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
     2.2.  Negotiating ESP NULL in IKE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
     2.3.  Firewalls and the New Protocol Numbers  . . . . . . . . . . 5
   3.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
   4.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
   5.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
   Intellectual Property and Copyright Statements  . . . . . . . . . . 7

































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1.  Introduction

   The ESP protocol can be used with NULL encryption to provide
   authentication and integrity protection, but not confidentiality.
   This use of ESP is beneficial when access control and integrity are
   needed, but confidentiality is not.  A good example is the case in
   which it is desirable to use authentication and integrity protection
   to prevent the spread of worms, or to prevent unauthorized access to
   network resources.  In these scenarios, one of the benefits of
   authentication-only ESP is that devices in the network can inspect
   the ESP-protected traffic to help them meet their security goals.

   Unfortunately, the ESP packet format cannot be unambiguously parsed
   except by the sender and receiver(s).  Heuristic methods to parse ESP
   packets can be used, but these methods are not robust and they fail
   when their assumptions about ESP parameters and algorithms are wrong.

   When using IPsec [RFC4301] for integrity but not encryption, a system
   administrator needs to decide whether to use AH [RFC4302], or to use
   ESP [RFC4303] with NULL encryption.  The ability for systems that do
   ESP to support NULL encryption is mandated by [RFC4835].  Many IPsec
   system vendors do not support AH, making ESP with NULL encryption the
   natural choice for interoperable IPsec that provides only integrity.

   Many firewalls can inspect the contents of the packets they process;
   such firewalls are often called "content-inspecting firewalls" or
   CIFs.  CIFs often allow the firewall administrator to set policies
   such as "do not allow packets that cannot be inspected".  Packets
   whose contents are encrypted (where the encryption is not performed
   by the firewall itself) would fall into that category.

   A CIF can inspect the contents of every packet, but if some of the
   packets are known to be encrypted ESP packets, such inspection is
   wasteful.  On the other hand, because ESP with NULL encryption is
   allowed, a CIF might need to inspect the content of every ESP packet
   in case it is encrypted with NULL encryption.

   Some firewalls are also used for access control.  Like CIFs, these
   ACL-enforcing firewalls sometimes also need to inspect the contents
   of packets when enforcing some access rules.  Firewalls that act as
   intrusion detection systems and intrusion prevention systems (IDS/
   IPS) also often need to inspect packet contents, and thus have the
   same problems as CIFs when handling ESP traffic with NULL encryption.

   This document defines a way to mark ESP packets as being encrypted
   with NULL encryption so that a firewall can know that it should
   inspect the contents.  The marking is done with new IP protocol
   numbers.  This document does not mandate such marking.  Because the



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   marking is not mandated, the firewall may still want to inspect ESP
   packets that are not marked.  However, by marking the ESP packets
   that are sure to use NULL encryption, it frees resources in the
   firewall.  Using this marking method allows full interoperability
   with unchanged IKE v1 and IKE v2 implementations.

   [[NOTE: the values TBD1 and TBD2 throughout this document need to be
   changed with the values are assigned by IANA.]]


2.  Using New IP Protocol Numbers

2.1.  Marking ESP NULL Packets

   There are multiple ways to use NULL encryption in ESP.  The method
   described in [RFC2410] causes the content of the ESP packet to appear
   just as it did in the plaintext message.  The method described in
   [RFC4543] prepends an eight-octet initialization vector (IV) to the
   beginning of the content of every ESP packet.  In order to enable
   unambiguous parsing of ESP packets, each profile fixes the length of
   the Integrity Check Value (ICV) and Initialization Vector (IV).

   An ESP implementation that uses NULL encryption based on RFC 2410 may
   mark a packet with IP protocol number TBD1 instead of the normal
   protocol number of 50 that was assigned by IANA for ESP.  The length
   of the IV is zero, and the length of the ICV is zero. [[ NOTE FOR
   FUTURE DRAFT: determine what ICV length is commonly deployed here. ]]

   An ESP implementation that uses NULL encryption based on RFC 4543 may
   mark a packet with IP protocol number TBD2 instead of the normal
   protocol number of 50 that was assigned by IANA for ESP.  The length
   of the IV is 8 octets, and the length of the ICV is 16 octets.

   Future ESP authentication methods that do not change the plaintext
   message before putting it in the content can also use IP protocol
   TBD1.  Similarly, future ESP ESP authentication methods that add
   exactly eight octets to the beginning of the content but leaves the
   rest of the plaintext alone can also use IP protocol TBD2.

2.2.  Negotiating ESP NULL in IKE

   When initiating IKE (either v1 or v2), the initiator can include two
   proposed transforms: one with the new IP protocol number, and one
   with IP protocol 50 (ESP).  If the responder understands the new
   protocol numbers, it can accept and use them in the resulting ESP
   traffic; otherwise, the responder can still accept the older protocol
   numbers and use 50 as the protocol number.




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2.3.  Firewalls and the New Protocol Numbers

   A firewall that sees one of the new protocol numbers can be assured
   that it can inspect the content of the ESP packets.  In specific, a
   firewall that sees a packet with IP protocol number TBD1 can reliably
   determine the starting point and the length of the plaintext, and a
   packet with IP protocol number TBD2 has eight octets of IV (that the
   firewall can ignore) and then the plaintext.

   A possible downside to adopting this marking method is that firewalls
   that block unknown IP protocols will need to be updated to handle IP
   protocol numbers TBD1 and TBD2.  Fortunately, many (possibly most)
   firewalls allow such updating as policy settings by the firewall's
   administrator; such firewalls would not need a firmware update.


3.  IANA Considerations

   IANA is requested to assign the following from the "Protocol Numbers"
   registry:

   TBD1    ESP-AUTH-ONLY-NO-IV         [This document]
   TBD2    ESP-AUTH-ONLY-8-OCTET-IV    [This document]


4.  Security Considerations

   An attacker who can modify packets between the originator and a
   firewall that understands the new protocol numbers can change the
   protocol number on encrypted ESP packets from 50 to either of the new
   values.  If the firewall is a CIF, this might cause the firewall to
   spend more resources than it would on unaltered packets.


5.  Normative References

   [RFC2410]  Glenn, R. and S. Kent, "The NULL Encryption Algorithm and
              Its Use With IPsec", RFC 2410, November 1998.

   [RFC4301]  Kent, S. and K. Seo, "Security Architecture for the
              Internet Protocol", RFC 4301, December 2005.

   [RFC4302]  Kent, S., "IP Authentication Header", RFC 4302,
              December 2005.

   [RFC4303]  Kent, S., "IP Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP)",
              RFC 4303, December 2005.




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   [RFC4543]  McGrew, D. and J. Viega, "The Use of Galois Message
              Authentication Code (GMAC) in IPsec ESP and AH", RFC 4543,
              May 2006.

   [RFC4835]  Manral, V., "Cryptographic Algorithm Implementation
              Requirements for Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP) and
              Authentication Header (AH)", RFC 4835, April 2007.


Authors' Addresses

   Paul Hoffman
   VPN Consortium
   127 Segre Place
   Santa Cruz, CA  95060
   US

   Phone: 1-831-426-9827
   Email: paul.hoffman@vpnc.org


   David McGrew
   Cisco Systems
   San Jose, CA  95134
   US

   Email: mcgrew@cisco.com
























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Full Copyright Statement

   Copyright (C) The IETF Trust (2007).

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Acknowledgment

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