IPv6 Operations M. Gysi
Internet-Draft Swisscom
Intended status: Informational G. Leclanche
Expires: April 24, 2014 Viagenie
E. Vyncke, Ed.
Cisco Systems
R. Anfinsen
October 21, 2013

Balanced Security for IPv6 Residential CPE


This document describes how an IPv6 residential Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) can have a balanced security policy that allows for a mostly end-to-end connectivity while keeping the major threats outside of the home. It is based on an actual IPv6 deployment by Swisscom and allows all packets inbound/outbound EXCEPT for some layer-4 ports where attacks and vulnerabilities (such as weak passwords) are well-known. The blocked inbound ports is expected to be updated as threats come and go.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Internet access in residential IPv4 deployments generally consists of a single IPv4 address provided by the service provider for each home. Residential CPE then translates the single address into multiple private IPv4 addresses allowing more than one device in the home, but at the cost of losing end-to-end reachability. IPv6 allows all devices to have a unique, global, IP address, restoring end-to-end reachability directly between any device. Such reachability is very powerful for ubiquitous global connectivity, and is often heralded as one of the significant advantages to IPv6 over IPv4. Despite this, concern about exposure to inbound packets from the IPv6 Internet (which would otherwise be dropped by the address translation function if they had been sent from the IPv4 Internet) remain. This document describes filtering functionality for an IPv6 CPE which departs from the "simple security" model described in [RFC6092] . The intention is to provide an example of a security model which allows most traffic, including incoming unsolicited packets and connections, to traverse the CPE unless the CPE identifies the traffic as potentially harmful based on a set of rules. This model has been deployed successfully in Switzerland by Swisscom without any known security incident.

This document is applicable to off-the-shelves CPE as well to managed Service Provider CPE or for mobile Service Providers (where it can be centrally implemented).

2. Threats

For a typical residential network connected to the Internet over a broadband or mobile connection, the threats can be classified into:

3. Overview

The basic goal is to provide a pre-defined security policy which aims to block known harmful traffic and allow the rest, restoring as much of end-to-end communication as possible. This pre-defined policy can be centrally updated and could also be a member of a security policy menu for the subscriber.

3.1. Rules for Balanced Security Policy

These are an example set of generic rules to be applied. Each would normally be configurable, either by the user directly or on behalf of the user by a subscription service. This document does not address the statefulness of the filtering rules as its main objective is to present an approach where some protocols (identified by layer-4 ports) are assumed weak or malevolent and therefore are blocked while all other protocols are assumed benevolent and are permitted.

If we name all nodes on the residential side of the CPE as 'inside' and all nodes on the Internet as 'outside', and any packet sent from outside to inside as being 'inbound' and 'outbound' in the other direction, then the behavior of the CPE is described by a small set or rules:

  1. Rule RejectBogon: apply ingress filtering in both directions per [RFC3704] and [RFC2827] for example with unicast reverse path forwarding (uRPF) checks (anti-spoofing) for all inbound and outbound traffic (implicitly blocking link-local and ULA in the same shot), this is basically the Section 2.1 Basic Sanitation and Section 3.1 Stateless Filters of [RFC6092];
  2. Rule AllowManagement: if the CPE is managed by the SP, then allow the management protocols (SSH, SNMP, syslog, IPfix, ...) from/to the SP Network Operation Center if the management is not done by non-IP techniques such as the Broadband Forum TR-69;
  3. Rule ProtectWeakServices: drop all inbound and outbound packets whose layer-4 destination is part of a limited set (see Section 3.2), the intent is to protect against the most common unauthorized access and avoid propagation of worms (even if the latter is questionable in IPv6); an advanced residential user should be able to modify this pre-defined list;
  4. Rule Openess: allow all unsolicited inbound packets with rate limiting the initial packet of a new connection (such as TCP SYN, SCTP INIT or DCCP-request not applicable to UDP) to provide very basic protection against SYN port and address scanning attacks. All transport protocols and all non-deprecated extension headers are accepted. This is a the major deviation from REC-11, REC-17 and REC-33 of [RFC6092].
  5. All requirements of [RFC6092] except REC-11, REC-18 and REC-33 must be supported.

3.2. Rules example for Layer-4 Protection as Used by Swisscom

As an example only, the rule ProtectWeakService was implemented by Swisscom in 2013:

Drop Inbound
Transport Port Description
tcp 22 Secure Shell (SSH)
tcp 23 Telnet
tcp 80 HTTP
tcp 3389 Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol
tcp 5900 VNC remote desktop protocol
Drop Inbound and Outbound
Transport Port Description
tcp-udp 88 Kerberos
tcp 111 SUN Remote Procedure Call
tcp 135 MS Remote Procedure Call
tcp 139 NetBIOS Session Service
tcp 445 Microsoft SMB Domain Server
tcp 513 Remote Login
tcp 514 Remote Shell
tcp 548 Apple Filing Protocol over TCP
tcp 631 Internet Printing Protocol
udp 1900 Simple Service Discovery Protocol
tcp 2869 Simple Service Discovery Protocol
udp 3702 Web Services Dynamic Discovery
udp 5353 Multicast DNS
udp 5355 Link-Lcl Mcast Name Resolution

These example lists will probably evolve with the time as new protocols and new threats appear. The update of the specific rules could be done by firmware upgrade, policy update (for example by Broadband Forum TR-69).

[DSHIELD] was used by Swisscom to set-up those filters. Another source of information could be the appendix A of [TR124]. The above example does not block GRE tunnels ([RFC2473]) so this is a deviation from [RFC6092].

Note: the authors believe that with this set the usual residential subscriber, the proverbial grand-ma, is protected. Of course, technical susbcribers should be able to open other applications (identified by their layer-4 ports or IP protocol numbers) through their CPE through some kind of user interface or even select a completely different security policy such as the open or 'closed' policies defined by [RFC6092].

4. IANA Considerations

There are no extra IANA consideration for this document.

5. Security Considerations

The authors of the documents believe and the Swisscom deployment shows that the following attack are mostly stopped:

  • Unauthorized access because vulnerable ports are blocked

This set of rules cannot help with the following attacks:

  • Flooding of the CPE access link;
  • Malware which is fetched by inside hosts on a hostile web site (which is in 2013 the majority of infection sources).

6. Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank several people who initiated the discussion on the ipv6-ops@lists.cluenet.de mailing list and others who provided us valuable feedback and comments, notably: Tore Anderson, Rajiv Asati, Lorenzo Colitti, Merike Kaeo, Simon Leinen, Eduard Metz, Martin Millnert, Benedikt Stockebrand. Thanks as well to the following SP that discussed with the authors about this technique: Altibox, Swisscom and Telenor.

7. Informative References

[RFC2473] Conta, A. and S. Deering, "Generic Packet Tunneling in IPv6 Specification", RFC 2473, December 1998.
[RFC2827] Ferguson, P. and D. Senie, "Network Ingress Filtering: Defeating Denial of Service Attacks which employ IP Source Address Spoofing", BCP 38, RFC 2827, May 2000.
[RFC3704] Baker, F. and P. Savola, "Ingress Filtering for Multihomed Networks", BCP 84, RFC 3704, March 2004.
[RFC6092] Woodyatt, J., "Recommended Simple Security Capabilities in Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) for Providing Residential IPv6 Internet Service", RFC 6092, January 2011.
[RFC6583] Gashinsky, I., Jaeggli, J. and W. Kumari, "Operational Neighbor Discovery Problems", RFC 6583, March 2012.
[DSHIELD] DShield, "Port report: DShield", .
[TR124] Broadband Forum, "Functional Requirements for Broadband Residential Gateway Devices", December 2006.

Authors' Addresses

Martin Gysi Swisscom Switzerland EMail: Martin.Gysi@swisscom.com
Guillaume Leclanche Viagenie 246 Aberdeen Quebec, QC G1R 2E1, Canada Phone: +1 418 656 9254 EMail: guillaume.leclanche@viagenie.ca
Eric Vyncke (editor) Cisco Systems De Kleetlaan 6a Diegem, 1831 Belgium Phone: +32 2 778 4677 EMail: evyncke@cisco.com
Ragnar Anfinsen Altibox Norway EMail: Ragnar.Anfinsen@altibox.no