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Versions: (draft-bew-ipsec-signatures) 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 RFC 4359

   Internet Engineering Task Force                                   Brian Weis
   INTERNET-DRAFT                                                 Cisco Systems
   Document: draft-ietf-msec-ipsec-signatures-02.txt              October, 2004
   Expires: April, 2005


                The Use of RSA Signatures within ESP and AH

Status of this Memo

   By submitting this Internet-Draft, I certify that any applicable
   patent or other IPR claims of which I am aware have been disclosed,
   and any of which I become aware will be disclosed, in accordance with
   RFC 3668.

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Abstract

   This memo describes the use of the RSA Digital Signature algorithm
   [RSA] as an authentication algorithm within the revised IP
   Encapsulating Security Payload [ESP] and the revised IP
   Authentication Header [AH]. The use of a digital signature algorithm,
   such as RSA, provides data origin authentication in applications when
   a secret key method (e.g., HMAC) is not sufficient. One example is
   the use of ESP and AH to authenticate the sender of an IP multicast
   packet.

   Further information on the other components necessary for ESP and AH
   implementations is provided by [ROADMAP].

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Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction......................................................2
2.0 Algorithm and Mode................................................3
3.0 Performance.......................................................4
4.0 Interaction with the ESP Cipher Mechanism.........................4
5.0 Key Management Considerations.....................................5
6.0 Security Considerations...........................................5
  6.1 Eavesdropping...................................................5
  6.2 Replay..........................................................6
  6.3 Message Insertion...............................................6
  6.4 Deletion........................................................6
  6.5 Modification....................................................6
  6.6 Man in the middle...............................................6
  6.7 Denial of Service...............................................6
7.0 IANA Considerations...............................................7
8.0 Acknowledgements..................................................7
9.0 References........................................................7
  9.1 Normative References............................................7
  9.2 Informative References..........................................8
Authors Address.......................................................8
Full Copyright Statement..............................................8

1.0 Introduction

   AH and ESP headers can be used to protect both unicast traffic and
   group (e.g., IPv4 and IPv6 multicast) traffic. When unicast traffic
   is protected between a pair of entities, HMAC transforms (such as
   [HMAC-SHA] and [HMAC-MD5]) are sufficient to prove data origin
   authentication. An HMAC is sufficient protection in that scenario
   because only one other entity knows the key, and proof-of-possession
   of the key in the HMAC construct authenticates the sender. However
   when AH and ESP authenticate group traffic, this property is no
   longer valid. This is because all group members share the single HMAC
   key and the identity of the sender is not uniquely established.

   Some group applications require true data origin authentication,
   where one group member cannot successfully impersonate another group
   member. The use of asymmetric encryption algorithms, such as RSA, to
   create a digital signature can provide true data origin
   authentication.

   With asymmetric encryption algorithms, the sender generates a pair of
   keys, one of which is never shared (called the "private key") and one
   of which is distributed to other group members (called the "public
   key"). When the private key is used to encrypt the output of a
   cryptographic hash algorithm, the cipher text is called a "digital
   signature". A receiver of the digital signature uses the public key
   to decrypt the hash, which is then compared to a hash generated by

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   the receiver. If the hashes match, then the receiver has confidence
   in the claimed origin of the packet.

   This memo describes how RSA digital signatures can be applied as an
   authentication mechanism to AH and ESP payloads to provide data
   origin authentication.

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL
   NOT","SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED",  "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in
   this document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].

2.0 Algorithm and Mode

   The RSA Public Key Algorithm [RSA] is a widely deployed public key
   algorithm commonly used for digital signatures. Compared to other
   public key algorithms, signature verification is relatively
   efficient. This property is useful for groups where receivers may
   have limited processing capabilities. The RSA algorithm is commonly
   supported in hardware, and is not encumbered by any known
   intellectual property claims.

   Several schemes for the RSA algorithm are described in [RSA]. Two
   schemes (RSASSA-PKCS1-v1.5 and RSASSA-PSS) combine the generation of
   a hash from a message, and the signing of that hash. However, this
   combination of cryptographic operations is not always appropriate for
   IPsec, where a variety of hardware and software modules may be used.
   In addition, one signature method (RSASSA-PPKCS1-v1.5) encodes the
   hash type into the signature data block, and this encoding is not
   necessary because the hash algorithm is pre-determined in IPsec.

   The RSAES-OAEP raw RSA scheme [RSA, Section 7.1] MUST be used as the
   encryption scheme. As recommended in [RSA, Section B.1], SHA-1 MUST
   be used as the signature hash algorithm both as the message to be
   encrypted by the RSA algorithm, and as the encoding parameter for the
   OAEP encoding. The value of parameter string P MUST be the default,
   which is the hash of an empty string. The mask generation function
   MUST be MGF1 as defined in [RSA, Section B.2.1].

   The distribution mechanism of the RSA public key and its replacement
   interval are a local policy matter. The use of an ephemeral key pair
   with a lifetime of the AH or ESP SA is RECOMMENDED. This recommended
   policy reduces the exposure of the RSA private key to the lifetime of
   the data being signed by the private key. Also, this obviates the
   need to revoke or transmit the validity period of the key pair.

   The size of the RSA modulus MUST be at least 496 bits. This
   restriction is a function of the size of the SHA-1 hash and the
   number of bits needed for OAEP encapsulation. (For more information,
   see [RSA, Section 7.1].) Note that when an ephemeral RSA key pair is
   used, a relatively short key size may be acceptable because it only
   need be valid for the lifetime of the IPsec SA.


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3.0 Performance

   The RSA asymmetric key algorithm is very costly in terms of
   processing time compared to the HMAC algorithms. However, processing
   cost is decreasing over time. Faster general-purpose processors are
   being deployed, faster software implementations are being developed,
   and hardware acceleration support for the algorithm is becoming more
   prevalent. However, care should always be taken that RSA signatures
   are not used for applications that expect to have bandwidth
   requirements that would be adversely affected.

   The RSA asymmetric key algorithm is best suited to protect network
   traffic for which:

    o The sender has a substantial amount of processing power, whereas
      receivers are not guaranteed to have substantial processing
      power, and

    o The network traffic is small enough that adding a relatively
      large authentication tag (in the range of 62 to 256 bytes) does
      not cause packet fragmentation.

   RSA key pair generation and encryption (or signing) are substantially
   more expensive operations the decryption (or signature verification),
   but these are isolated to the sender.

   The size of the RSA modulus can affect the processing required to
   create and verify RSA digital signatures. Care should be taken to
   determine what the size of modulus is needed for the application.
   Smaller modulus sizes may be chosen as long as the network traffic
   protected by the private key flows for less time than it is estimated
   that an attacker would take to discover the private key. This
   lifetime is considerably smaller than most public key applications
   that store the signed data for a period of time. But since the
   digital signature is used only for sender verification purposes, a
   modulus that is normally considered weak may be satisfactory.

   The size of the RSA public exponent can affect the processing
   required to verify RSA digital signatures. Low-exponent RSA
   signatures may result in a lower verification processing cost. At the
   time of this writing, no attacks are known against low-exponent RSA
   signatures that would allow an attacker to create a valid signature
   using the RSAES-OAEP raw RSA scheme.

   The addition of a digital signature as an authentication tag adds a
   significant number of bytes to the packet. This increases the
   likelihood that the packet encapsulated in AH or ESP may be
   fragmented.

4.0 Interaction with the ESP Cipher Mechanism

   There are no known issues that preclude the use of the RSA
   signatures algorithm with any specific cipher algorithm.

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5.0 Key Management Considerations

   Key management mechanisms negotiating the use of RSA Signatures MUST
   include the length of the RSA modulus during policy negotiation. This
   gives a device the opportunity to decline use of the algorithm. This
   is especially important for devices with constrained processors that
   might not be able to verify signatures using larger key sizes.

   A receiver must have the RSA public key in order to verify integrity
   of the packet. When used with a group key management system (e.g.,
   RFC 3547 [GDOI]), the public key SHOULD be sent as part of the key
   download policy. If the group has multiple senders, the public key of
   each sender SHOULD be sent as part of the key download policy.

   Use of this transform to obtain data origin authentication for pair-
   wise SAs is NOT RECOMMENDED. In the case of pair-wise SAs (such as
   negotiated by the Internet Key Exchange [IKEv2]), data origin
   authentication can be achieved with an HMAC transform.  Because the
   performance impact of an RSA signature is typically greater than an
   HMAC, the value of using this transform for a pair-wise connection is
   limited..

6.0 Security Considerations

   This document provides a method of authentication for AH and ESP
   using digital signatures. This feature provides the following
   protections:

    o Message modification integrity. The digital signature allows the
      receiver of the message to verify that it was exactly the same as
      when the sender signed it.

    o Host authentication. The asymmetric nature of the RSA public key
      algorithm allows the sender to be uniquely verified, even when
      the message is sent to a group.

   Non-repudiation is not claimed as a property of this transform. Note
   that although the sender can be uniquely verified through the use of
   the public key, the transform itself does not provide any method of
   certifying that the identity of the sender is associated with the RSA
   key pair. Such a certification would be necessary in order to claim
   non-repudiation, and is outside the scope of this document.

   A number of attacks are suggested by [RFC3552]. The following
   sections describe the risks those attacks present when RSA signatures
   are used for AH and ESP packet authentication.

6.1 Eavesdropping

   This document does not address confidentiality. That function, if
   desired, must be addressed by an ESP cipher that is used with the

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   RSA Signatures authentication method. The RSA signature itself does
   not need to be protected from an eavesdropper.

6.2 Replay

   This document does not address replay attacks. That function, if
   desired, is addressed through use of AH and ESP sequence numbers as
   defined in [AH] and [ESP].

6.3 Message Insertion

   This document directly addresses message insertion attacks. Inserted
   messages will fail authentication and be dropped by the receiver.

6.4 Deletion

   This document does not address deletion attacks. It is only
   concerned with validating the legitimacy of messages that are not
   deleted.

6.5 Modification

   This document directly addresses message modification attacks.
   Modified messages will fail authentication and be dropped by the
   receiver.

6.6 Man in the middle

   As long as a receiver is given the sender RSA public key in a
   trusted manner (e.g., by a key management protocol), it will be able
   to verify that the digital signature is correct. A man in the middle
   will not be able to spoof the actual sender unless it acquires the
   RSA private key through some means.

   The RSA modulus size must be chosen carefully to ensure that the time
   a man in the middle needs to determine the RSA private key through
   cryptanalysis is longer than the amount of time that packets are
   signed with that private key.

6.7 Denial of Service

   According to IPsec processing rules, a receiver of an ESP and AH
   packet begins by looking up the Security Association in the SADB. If
   one is found, the ESP or AH sequence number in the packet is
   verified. No further processing will be applied to packets with an
   invalid sequence number.

   An attacker that sends an ESP or AH packet matching a valid SA on
   the system and also having a valid sequence number will cause the
   receiver to perform the AH or ESP authentication step. Because the
   process of verifying an RSA digital signature consumes relatively
   large amounts of processing, many such packets could lead to a
   denial of service attack on the receiver.

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   If the message was sent to an IPv4 or IPv6 multicast group all group
   members that received the packet would be under attack
   simultaneously.

   This attack can be mitigated against most attackers by encapsulating
   an ESP or AH payload in an AH payload using an HMAC transform for
   authentication. In this case, the HMAC transform would be validated
   first, and as long as the attacker does not possess the HMAC key no
   digital signatures would be evaluated on the attacker packets.
   However, if the attacker does possess the HMAC key (e.g., they are a
   legitimate member of the group using the SA) then the DoS attack
   cannot be mitigated.

7.0 IANA Considerations

   An assigned number is required in the "IPSec Authentication
   Algorithm" name space in the ISAKMP registry [ISAKMP-REG]. The
   mnemonic should be "SIG-RSA".

   A new "IPSEC Security Association Attribute" is required in the
   ISAKMP registry to pass the RSA modulus size. The attribute class
   should be called "Authentication Key Length", and it should a
   Variable type.

8.0 Acknowledgements

   Scott Fluhrer and David McGrew provided advice regarding applicable
   key sizes.

9.0 References

9.1 Normative References

   [AH] Kent, S., "IP Authentication Header", draft-ietf-ipsec-
   rfc2402bis-07.txt, March 2004.

   [ESP] Kent, S., "IP Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP)", draft-
   ietf-ipsec-esp-v3-08.txt, March 2004.

   [ISAKMP-REG] http://www.iana.org/assignments/isakmp-registry

   [RFC2119] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
   Requirement Level", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [RFC3552] E. Rescorla, et. al., "Guidelines for Writing RFC Text on
   Security Considerations", RFC 3552, July 2003.

   [ROADMAP] Thayer, R., Doraswamy, N., and R. Glenn, "IP Security
   Document Roadmap", RFC 2411, November 1998.


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   [RSA] Jonsson, J., B. Kaliski,  "Public-Key Cryptography Standard
   (PKCS) #1: RSA Cryptography Specifications Version 2.1", RFC 3447,
   February 2003.

9.2 Informative References

   [GDOI] Baugher, M., Weis, B., Hardjono, T., and H. Harney, "The Group
   Domain of Interpretation", RFC 3547, December 2002.

   [HMAC-MD5] Madson, C., and R. Glenn, "The Use of HMAC-MD5-96 within
   ESP and AH"", RFC 2403, November 1998.

   [HMAC-SHA] Madson, C., and R. Glenn, "The Use of HMAC-SHA-1-96 within
   ESP and AH", RFC 2404, November 1998.

   [IKEV2] C. Kaufman, "Internet Key Exchange (IKEv2) Protocol", draft-
   ietf-ipsec-ikev2-15.txt, August 13, 2004.

Authors Address

   Brian Weis
   Cisco Systems
   170 W. Tasman Drive,
   San Jose, CA 95134-1706, USA
   (408) 526-4796
   bew@cisco.com

Full Copyright Statement

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2004). This document is subject
   to the rights, licenses and restrictions contained in BCP 78, and
   except as set forth therein, the authors retain all their rights.

   This document and the information contained herein are provided on
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   REPRESENTS OR IS SPONSORED BY (IF ANY), THE INTERNET SOCIETY AND THE
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Acknowledgement

   Funding for the RFC Editor function is currently provided by the
   Internet Society.



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