Pervasive Monitoring is an Attack
draft-farrell-perpass-attack-05

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Network Working Group                                         S. Farrell
Internet-Draft                                    Trinity College Dublin
Intended status: BCP                                       H. Tschofenig
Expires: July 24, 2014                                  January 20, 2014

                   Pervasive Monitoring is an Attack
                  draft-farrell-perpass-attack-05.txt

Abstract

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

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Internet-Draft      Pervasive Monitoring is an Attack       January 2014

1.  Pervasive Monitoring is a Widespread Attack on Privacy

   Pervasive Monitoring (PM) is widespread (and often covert)
   surveillance through intrusive gathering of protocol artefacts,
   including application content, or protocol meta-data such as headers.
   Active or passive wiretaps and traffic analysis, (e.g., correlation,
   timing or measuring packet sizes), or subverting the cryptographic
   keys used to secure protocols can also be used as part of pervasive
   monitoring.

   The IETF community's technical assessment is that PM is an attack on
   the privacy of Internet users and organizations.  PM is distinguished
   by being indiscriminate and very large-scale, rather than by
   introducing new types of technical compromise.  The IETF community
   has expressed strong agreement that PM is an attack that needs to be
   mitigated where possible, via the design of protocols that make PM
   significantly more expensive or infeasible.  Pervasive Monitoring was
   discussed at the technical plenary of the November 2013 IETF meeting
   [IETF88Plenary] and then through extensive exchanges on IETF mailing
   lists.  This document records the IETF community's consensus and
   establishes the technical nature of PM.

   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.  The term is
   used here to refer to behavior that subverts the intent of
   communicating parties without the agreement of those parties.  An
   attack may change the content of the communication, record the
   content or external characteristics of the communication, or through
   correlation with other communication events, reveal information the
   parties 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 PM in reality
   may require a multi-faceted set of coordinated attacks.

   In particular, the term attack, used technically, implies nothing
   about the motivation of the actor mounting the attack.  The
   motivation for PM 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 actions by
   criminals.  The same techniques can be used regardless of motivation.
   Thus we cannot defend against the most nefarious actors while
   allowing monitoring by other actors no matter how benevolent some
   might consider them to be, since the actions required are
   indistinguishable from other attacks.

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