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IP Authentication Header
RFC 2402

Document type: RFC - Proposed Standard (November 1998; No errata)
Obsoleted by RFC 4305, RFC 4302
Obsoletes RFC 1826
Document stream: IETF
Last updated: 2013-03-02
Other versions: plain text, pdf, html

IETF State: (None)
Document shepherd: No shepherd assigned

IESG State: RFC 2402 (Proposed Standard)
Responsible AD: (None)
Send notices to: No addresses provided

Network Working Group                                            S. Kent
Request for Comments: 2402                                      BBN Corp
Obsoletes: 1826                                              R. Atkinson
Category: Standards Track                                  @Home Network
                                                           November 1998

                        IP Authentication Header

Status of this Memo

   This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
   Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
   Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
   and status of this protocol.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1998).  All Rights Reserved.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction......................................................2
  2. Authentication Header Format......................................3
     2.1 Next Header...................................................4
     2.2 Payload Length................................................4
     2.3 Reserved......................................................4
     2.4 Security Parameters Index (SPI)...............................4
     2.5 Sequence Number...............................................5
     2.6 Authentication Data ..........................................5
  3. Authentication Header Processing..................................5
     3.1  Authentication Header Location...............................5
     3.2  Authentication Algorithms....................................7
     3.3  Outbound Packet Processing...................................8
        3.3.1  Security Association Lookup.............................8
        3.3.2  Sequence Number Generation..............................8
        3.3.3  Integrity Check Value Calculation.......................9
           3.3.3.1  Handling Mutable Fields............................9
              3.3.3.1.1  ICV Computation for IPv4.....................10
                 3.3.3.1.1.1 Base Header Fields.......................10
                 3.3.3.1.1.2 Options..................................11
              3.3.3.1.2  ICV Computation for IPv6.....................11
                 3.3.3.1.2.1 Base Header Fields.......................11
                 3.3.3.1.2.2 Extension Headers Containing Options.....11
                 3.3.3.1.2.3 Extension Headers Not Containing Options.11
           3.3.3.2  Padding...........................................12
              3.3.3.2.1  Authentication Data Padding..................12

Kent & Atkinson             Standards Track                     [Page 1]
RFC 2402                IP Authentication Header           November 1998

              3.3.3.2.2  Implicit Packet Padding......................12
        3.3.4  Fragmentation..........................................12
     3.4  Inbound Packet Processing...................................13
        3.4.1  Reassembly.............................................13
        3.4.2  Security Association Lookup............................13
        3.4.3  Sequence Number Verification...........................13
        3.4.4  Integrity Check Value Verification.....................15
  4. Auditing.........................................................15
  5. Conformance Requirements.........................................16
  6. Security Considerations..........................................16
  7. Differences from RFC 1826........................................16
  Acknowledgements....................................................17
  Appendix A -- Mutability of IP Options/Extension Headers............18
     A1. IPv4 Options.................................................18
     A2. IPv6 Extension Headers.......................................19
  References..........................................................20
  Disclaimer..........................................................21
  Author Information..................................................22
  Full Copyright Statement............................................22

1.  Introduction

   The IP Authentication Header (AH) is used to provide connectionless
   integrity and data origin authentication for IP datagrams (hereafter
   referred to as just "authentication"), and to provide protection
   against replays.  This latter, optional service may be selected, by
   the receiver, when a Security Association is established. (Although
   the default calls for the sender to increment the Sequence Number
   used for anti-replay, the service is effective only if the receiver
   checks the Sequence Number.)  AH provides authentication for as much

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