Pervasive Monitoring is an Attack

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Document Type Active Internet-Draft (individual in gen area)
Last updated 2013-12-31 (latest revision 2013-12-20)
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Network Working Group                                         S. Farrell
Internet-Draft                                    Trinity College Dublin
Intended status: BCP                                       H. Tschofenig
Expires: June 23, 2014                                 December 20, 2013

                   Pervasive Monitoring is an Attack


   Pervasive monitoring is a technical attack that should be mitigated
   in the design of IETF protocols, where possible.

Status of this Memo

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Internet-Draft      Pervasive Monitoring is an Attack      December 2013

1.  Pervasive Monitoring is Indistinguishable from an Attack

   The technical plenary of the November 2013 IETF meeting
   [IETF88Plenary] discussed pervasive monitoring (or surveillance)
   which requires the monitoring party to take actions that are
   indistinguishable from an attack on Internet communications.
   Participants at that meeting therefore expressed strong agreement
   that this was an attack that should be mitigated where possible via
   the design of protocols that make pervasive monitoring significantly
   more expensive or infeasible.  This Best Current Practice (BCP, see
   [RFC2026] Section 5) formally documents that consensus.

   For the purposes of this document "pervasive monitoring" means often
   covert and very widespread intrusive gathering of protocol artefacts
   including application content, protocol meta-data such as headers, or
   cryptographic keys used to secure protocols.  Active or passive
   wiretaps, traffic analysis, correlation, timing or measuring packet
   sizes can also be used as part of pervasive monitoring.

   The term "attack" is used here in a technical sense that differs
   somewhat from common English usage.  In common English usage, an
   "attack" is an aggressive action perpetrated by an opponent, intended
   to enforce the opponent's will on the attacked party.  Here, the term
   is used to refer to a behavior that subverts the intent of a
   communicator without the agreement of the parties to the
   communication.  It may change the content of the communication,
   record the content of the communication, or through correlation with
   other communication events, reveal information the communicator did
   not intend to be revealed.  It may also have other effects that
   similarly subvert the intent of a communicator.  [RFC4949] contains a
   more complete definition for the term "attack."  We also use the term
   in the singular here, even though pervasive monitoring in reality may
   require a multi-faceted set of coordinated attacks.

   In particular, the term "attack", when used technically, implies
   nothing about the motivation of the actor mounting the attack.  The
   motivation behind pervasive monitoring is not 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
   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 them to be.  As technology
   advances, techniques that were once only available to extremely well
   funded actors become more widely accessible.  Mitigating this attack
   is therefore a protection against wider usage of pervasive

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