Pervasive Monitoring is an Attack

The information below is for an old version of the document
Document Type Active Internet-Draft (individual)
Last updated 2013-11-20
Stream (None)
Intended RFC status (None)
Formats plain text pdf html bibtex
Stream Stream state (No stream defined)
Consensus Boilerplate Unknown
RFC Editor Note (None)
IESG IESG state I-D Exists
Telechat date
Responsible AD (None)
Send notices to (None)
Network Working Group                                         S. Farrell
Internet-Draft                                    Trinity College Dublin
Intended status: BCP                                       H. Tschofenig
Expires: May 24, 2014                                  November 20, 2013

                   Pervasive Monitoring is an Attack


   The IETF has consensus that pervasive monitoring is a technical
   attack that should be mitigated in the design of IETF protocols,
   where possible.

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
   working documents as Internet-Drafts.  The list of current Internet-
   Drafts is at

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   This Internet-Draft will expire on May 24, 2014.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2013 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
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   ( in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Farrell & Tschofenig      Expires May 24, 2014                  [Page 1]
Internet-Draft      Pervasive Monitoring is an Attack      November 2013

1.  It's an Attack

   [[Note: This draft is written as if IETF consensus has been
   established for the text.]]

   The technical plenary of IETF 88 [IETF88Plenary] discussed pervasive
   monitoring and participants had strong agreement that this was an
   attack and one that should be mitigated where possible via the design
   of protocols that make pervasive monitoring significantly more
   expensive or infeasible.  Such pervasive surveillance requires the
   monitoring party to take actions that are indistinguishable from an
   attack on Internet communications.  This Best Current Practice (BCP)
   documents that consensus.

   For the purposes of this BCP "pervasive monitoring" means very
   widespread privacy-invasive gathering of protocol artefacts including
   application content, protocol meta-data (such as headers) or keys
   used to secure protocols.  Other forms of traffic analysis, for
   example, timing or measuring packet sizes can also be used for
   pervasive monitoring.  A fuller problem statement with more examples
   and description can be found in [ProblemStatement].

   Note that the term "attack" is used here in a techincal sense that
   differs somewhat from the natural English usage.  In particular, the
   term, when used technically, implies nothing about the motivation of
   the bad-actor mounting the attack, who is still called a bad-actor no
   matter what one really thinks about their motivation.  We also use
   the term in the singluar here, even though pervasive monitoring in
   reality may require a multi-faceted set of co-ordinated attacks.

   The motivation behind pervasive monitoring is not particularly
   relevant for this document, but can range from non-targeted nation-
   state surveillance, to legal but privacy-unfriendly purposes by
   commercial enterprises, to illegal purposes by criminals.  The same
   techniques can be used in each case, regardless of motivation, and we
   cannot defend against the most nefarious actors while allowing
   monitoring by other actors no matter how benevolent some might
   consider those.  As technology continues to advance rapidly
   techniques that have been shown to work but were once only accessible
   to nation-state actors become accessible to non-nation-state actors,
   so mitigating this threat is not only relevant when considering
   nation-state bad actors.

2.  And we'll work to Mitigate the Attack

   The IETF also have consensus to, where possible, work to mitigate the
   technical parts of the pervasive monitoring attack, in just the same

Farrell & Tschofenig      Expires May 24, 2014                  [Page 2]
Internet-Draft      Pervasive Monitoring is an Attack      November 2013

   way as we do with any other protocol vulnerability.

   There are various ways in which IETF protocols can be designed in
   order to mitigate pervasive monitoring, but those will change over
Show full document text