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Versions: 00 01 02 draft-vives-distsec-framework

Internet Engineering Task Force
Internet Draft                                             J. Palet
                                                           A. Vives
Document: draft-palet-v6ops-ipv6security-00.txt            G. Martinez
                                                           A. Gomez
                                                           Univ. of Murcia
Expires: August 2004                                       February 2004

                IPv6 distributed security requirements

Status of this Memo

   This document is an Internet-Draft and is in full conformance with
   all provisions of Section 10 of RFC2026 [i].

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF), its areas, and its working groups. Note that other
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   The security policies currently applied in Internet with IPv4,
   doesnÆt longer apply for end-to-end security models which IPv6 will

   Today, each network is often secured by a unique device (i.e.
   security gateway or firewall), that becomes a bottleneck for the end-
   to-end security model with IPv6.

   In addition, users and devices start to be nomadic, moving between
   different networks that could have different security policies.

   A distributed and dynamic approach is consequently required.

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Conventions used in this document

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in RFC-2119 [ii].

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Table of Contents

   1. Introduction...................................................4

   2. Distributed security model.....................................5

   3. Interior security..............................................6

   4. The visiting node..............................................6

   5. Default security...............................................6

   6. The security policy server and protocol........................7

   7. Single versus multiple point of attack.........................8

   8. Non-security-capable nodes and security workload distribution..9

   9. Location of the security policy server.........................9

   10. Virus and spam................................................9

   11. Security Considerations......................................10

   12. References...................................................10


   Authors' Addresses...............................................10

   Intellectual Property Statement..................................11

   Full Copyright Statement.........................................11



   The todayÆs Internet paradigms for security need a revision with the
   deployment of IPv6, offering end-to-end security capabilities.

   Current security policies based on a centric approach with unique
   border devices donÆt longer apply. Often they are based in a firewall
   or security gateway and statically configured rules.

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   Users and devices start to be nomadic. They often move from one
   network to another and this needs to be taken in consideration to
   keep the security of the complete visited network.

   Keeping todayÆs static security model is a wrong approach, which
   disables the end-to-end features and advantages of IPv6.

   Enforcing the nomadic users and devices to connect to Internet by
   means of the security device, is almost equivalent to disable the
   IPsec stack on each node, thus invalidating one of the key IPv6

   On the other hand, is also true and perfectly understandable that
   there is a need to enforce security in the networks, in such way that
   the network administrator has always the control over it.

   Distributed security model

   The paradigm is to keep or even being able to increase the security
   in the network as a whole and keep the control of it under the
   network administrator hands, while the individual nodes can take
   advantage of end-to-end and secure end-to-end communications.

   This can be achieved with a distributed model replacing the current
   central one.

   The distributed security model implies the use of node or personal

   These node or personal firewalls must respect the security policy of
   the network where they are attached.

   The effect is simple to understand: instead of a single firewall, a
   single point of failure for the complete network, that could be
   easily attacked or fail, and create a single bottleneck for all the
   communications, there will be a number of firewalls, configured
   according a central policy, which increase the reliability,
   efficiency and performance of the complete network.

   This is possible in most of the situations because, even if IPsec and
   encryption are enforced for most of the communications, nodes often
   have powerful CPUs with unused cycles that will easily accommodate
   the extra required workload.

   On the other hand, the central firewalls will be able to dedicate CPU
   cycles to new functions, or be able to protect bigger networks.

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   Interior security

   With this approach, the security of each node is not only towards
   communications with Internet or other networks, but also with the
   rest of the nodes in the same network.

   This means an increase in the overall security and the possibility to
   isolate individual nodes if required.

   The visiting node

   This distributed security model is valid not only for fixed nodes,
   i.e. desktop computers, but specially interesting and important for
   those nodes like laptops and PDAs, which keep moving among different
   networks. Vice versa, this model is of key importance for those
   networks that receive visits from nodes that are not under the
   control of the network administrator.

   Different visited networks have different security requirements.
   Consequently is required that those nomadic nodes dynamically
   accommodate their own security policy to the one defined in the
   visited network.

   Nodes attaching to a network via VPNs, RAS, directly attached modems
   or other similar means can also be considered as visiting nodes, as
   they can also create a path between the visited network and any other
   network where they are actually connected. They must also be able to
   dynamically configure their own security to match the one existing in
   then visited network.

   The alternative often used today to accomplish this, is by means of
   manual changes in the configuration of the visiting node, but they
   are always prone to errors and dangerous to be considered useful and
   secure enough.

   Default security

   Implementing IPsec in the IPv6 stack of the nodes is only a first
   step for a sophisticated security model.

   A more complete approach is needed. These nodes can be attached to a
   network which doesnÆt offer any protection means, not only against
   external attacks, but also those coming from the same network.

   This is the common case, for example, in hotspots, public networks,
   ad-hoc networks or even networks temporarily setup for conferences.

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   In order to keep the appropriate security level, each node should
   incorporate a kind of personal or node firewall.

   The node firewall must be configured by default with a very
   restrictive set of rules. At this way, the node is self-defended, in
   any circumstance.

   The node firewall must act as a policy enforcer.

   The node firewall should offer a simple user interface to facilitate
   to relax the security restrictions, if required by certain
   applications or services, assuming the lack of expertise of the user.

   The security policy server and protocol

   In order to achieve the benefits of the distributed security model,
   and at the same time provide a mean for an adequate control of the
   overall network security by the network administrator, a security
   policy server is required.

   The policy server(s) could replace the central firewall and
   complement it. The network administrator will define the security
   rules required by all the network and/or individual nodes.

   The different nodes should query to the policy server to learn about
   the network security policy and adapt themselves in order to match

   When a node is attached to a visited network and receives the visited
   network security policy, basically there are two possible situations:

   a) The network security policy is less or same restrictive than the
   node configuration. In this case, the node will not change its
   security policy configuration.

   b) The network security policy is more restrictive than the node
   configuration. In this case, the node will adapt its security
   configuration to at least match the one indicated by the security

   Until the node performs and acknowledge the required security policy
   configuration update, it will not be allowed to transfer/receive data
   to/from other nodes either in the network or other connected

   The security policy server can also dynamically update the security
   policy for the complete network or specific nodes. This can be done
   in response to a network administrator decision, or other situations,

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   like information received from an external or internal attack,
   detected by an intrusion detection system, firewall or even by nodes
   inside the network.

   The security policy can be setup at a network level or individually
   for every node, upon decision of the network administrator.

   A single standard language or protocol for the signaling between the
   nodes, security policy servers, firewalls (including node firewalls),
   intrusion detections systems, honey pots, routers, and any other
   elements implicated in the overall network and nodes security is

   For simplicity, the policy server could be integrated in the border
   router, firewall, or other network elements (AAA, DHCP, COPS, ...).

   A possible approach is to align this with the existing COPS [iii] and
   COPS-PR [iv] standards.

   According this, the network administrator will use a PMT (Policy
   Management Tool), to edit the policies, distributed them via PMP
   (Policy Decision Points), to the PEP (Policy Enforcement Points).

   For the interaction with IPsec policies, it seems appropriate the
   existing IPsecCPIM [v].

   To guarantee the self-security of this model, the security policy
   being communicated to the nodes should be digitally signed, in order
   to provide integrity, origin authentication and non-repudiate
   authenticity of the source.

   Single versus multiple point of attack

   The single security gateway approach is a single point of failure and
   consequently a bottleneck.

   At the same time, is easier to attack a single device, so the
   possibilities of a security threat are higher.

   On the other hand, the distributed approach reduces the risk of a
   single point of failure and increases the difficulties for potential
   attackers to succeed (port scanning is more difficult).

   The failure of the central firewall could completely disconnect the
   network from Internet or other networks. In the case of a central
   policy server fail, the nodes can be configured by the security
   policy in such way that continue working, keeping the same security
   restrictions imposed by the policy server.

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   Non-security-capable nodes and security workload distribution

   Increase in security often means increase in processing power.

   Some nodes could not have the required CPU cycles to afford the
   complete required security policy.

   The firewalls or even other security-capable nodes with free
   resources, could act as trusted security gateways for the non-
   security-capable nodes.

   This seems only possible if minimum security verification can be done
   by those nodes, i.e. digital signature verification.

   It could be even considered a system to provide a kind of security

   Some work is still required to define if the security level that can
   be achieved by those nodes is good enough, and to avoid possible

   This section needs to be completed in further revisions of this

   Location of the security policy server

   Firewalls and security gateways are expensive devices and they are
   required to sit at the border of the network. They also require
   qualified personal to manage them.

   In the case of the distributed security model, the security policy
   server isnÆt required to be collocated as a border device.

   This provides the opportunity to have this device not only inside the
   network, but also at any other point in Internet.

   This opens the doors to new services and business models that provide
   very sophisticated security services, especially for SOHO and SMEs.

   Internet Exchanges, PoPs, ISPs, and other similar central Internet
   locations seem to be ideal locations for the security policy servers.

    Virus and spam

   As part of the services offered by the distributed security model, it
   should be considered means to alleviate the effects of virus and

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   This could mean for example, extensions to protocols as SMTP.

   To be completed in next versions of the document.

    Security Considerations

   To be completed in next versions of the document.


   i  S. Bradner, "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 3", BCP 9,
      RFC 2026, October 1996.

   ii S. Bradner, "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement
      Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

   iii D. Durham, Ed., "The COPS (Common Open Policy Service) Protocol",
      RFC 2748, January 2000.

   iv K. Chan et al, "COPS Usage for Policy Provisioning (COPS-PR)", RFC
      3084, March 2001.

   v  J. Jason et al, "IPsec Configuration Policy Information Model",
      RFC 3585, August 2003.


   The authors would also like to acknowledge the inputs from Cesar
   Olvera and the European Commission support in the co-funding of the
   Euro6IX project, where this work is being developed.

Authors' Addresses

   Jordi Palet Martinez
   San Jose Artesano, 1
   28108 - Alcobendas (Madrid - Spain)
   Phone: +34 91 151 81 99
   Fax:   +34 91 151 81 98
   Email: jordi.palet@consulintel.es

   Alvaro Vives
   San Jose Artesano, 1

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   28108 - Alcobendas (Madrid - Spain)
   Phone: +34 91 151 81 99
   Fax:   +34 91 151 81 98
   Email: alvaro.vives@consulintel.es

   Gregorio Martinez
   University of Murcia (UMU)
   Campus de Espinardo s/n
   30071 - Murcia (Spain)
   Phone: +34
   Fax:   +34
   Email: gregorio@dif.um.es

   Antonio Gomez Skarmeta
   Campus de Espinardo s/n
   30071 - Murcia (Madrid - Spain)
   Phone: +34
   Fax:   +34
   Email: skarmeta@dif.um.es

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   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2003). All Rights Reserved.

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