Opportunistic Security: some protection most of the time
draft-dukhovni-opportunistic-security-02

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Network Working Group                                        V. Dukhovni
Internet-Draft                                                 Two Sigma
Intended status: Informational                            August 3, 2014
Expires: February 4, 2015

        Opportunistic Security: some protection most of the time
                draft-dukhovni-opportunistic-security-02

Abstract

   This memo defines the term "opportunistic security".  In contrast to
   the established approach of employing protection against both passive
   and active attacks or else (frequently) no protection at all,
   opportunistic security strives to deliver at least some protection
   most of the time.  The primary goal is therefore broad
   interoperability, with security policy tailored to the capabilities
   of peer systems.

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
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   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
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   This Internet-Draft will expire on February 4, 2015.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2014 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
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   (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  Opportunistic Security Design Philosophy  . . . . . . . . . .   3
   4.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   5.  Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   6.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6

1.  Introduction

   Historically, Internet security protocols have prioritized
   comprehensive protection against both passive and active attacks for
   peers capable and motivated to absorb the associated costs.  Since
   protection against active attacks relies on authentication, which at
   Internet scale is not universally available, while communications
   traffic was sometimes strongly protected, more typically it was not
   protected at all.  The fact that most traffic is unprotected
   facilitates nation-state pervasive monitoring (PM [RFC7258]) by
   making it cost-effective (or at least not cost-prohibitive).
   Indiscriminate collection of communications traffic would be
   substantially less attractive if security protocols were designed to
   operate at a range of protection levels; with encrypted transmission
   accessible to most if not all peers, and protection against active
   attacks still available where required by policy or opportunistically
   negotiated.

   Encryption is easy, but key management is difficult.  Key management
   at Internet scale remains an incompletely solved problem.  The PKIX
   ([RFC5280]) key management model, which is based on broadly trusted
   public certification authorities (CAs), introduces costs that not all
   peers are willing to bear.  PKIX is not sufficient to secure
   communications when the peer reference identity ([RFC6125]) is
   obtained indirectly over an insecure channel or communicating parties
   don't agree on a mutually trusted CA.  DNSSEC ([RFC4033]) is not at
   this time sufficiently widely adopted to make DANE ([RFC6698]) a
   viable alternative at scale.  Trust on first use (TOFU) key
   management models (as with saved SSH fingerprints and various
   certificate pinning approaches) don't protect initial contact and
   require user intervention when key continuity fails.

   Without Internet-scale key management, authentication required for
   protection against active attacks is often not possible.  When
   protocols only offer the options of authenticated secure channels or
   else cleartext, most traffic is sent in the clear.  Therefore, in
   order to make encryption more ubiquitous, authentication needs to be
   optional.  When authenticated communication is not possible,

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