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Shepherd writeup

Document Writeup for draft-harkins-salted-eap-pwd-03

(1) What type of RFC is being requested (BCP, Proposed Standard, Internet
Standard, Informational, Experimental, or Historic)? Why is this the proper
type of RFC? Is this type of RFC indicated in the title page header?

The requested track is Informational. The document is an extension to RFC 5931
(EAP Authentication Using Only a Password) which is also informational. It is
the right track because it makes sense to choose the same track for the base
specification and the update. That said, it looks a bit odd that RFC 5931
itself was only Informational, but that question is out of scope for the draft
currently under consideration.

(2) The IESG approval announcement includes a Document Announcement Write-Up.
Please provide such a Document Announcement Write-Up. Recent examples can be
found in the "Action" announcements for approved documents. The approval
announcement contains the following sections:

Technical Summary

   EAP-pwd is an EAP method that uses a shared password for
   authentication using a technique that is resistant to dictionary
   attack.  It included support for raw keys and RFC2751-style double
   hashing of a password but did not include support for salted
   passwords.  There are many existing databases of salted passwords and
   it is desirable to allow their use with EAP-pwd.

Working Group Summary

The base specification RFC 5931 was considered by the EMU working group (but
eventually published outside the WG). That working group is meanwhile
concluded, and the current draft has no obvious "home" in any working group.

Document Quality

There are implementations of the EAP-pwd base specification for several
operating systems (Windows, Linux, Android), originating from one vendor (Aruba
Networks / HP Enterprise). The same vendor (and in fact author of the spec)
also has running code for this new draft. This code is unpublished due to the
lack of code points. When this draft gets published as RFC with the
corresponding IANA actions, it can be expected that the implementation will be
out soon after.

Who is the Document Shepherd? Who is the Responsible Area Director?

The Document Shepherd is Stefan Winter <>.
The responsible Area Director is Kathleen Moriarty

(3) Briefly describe the review of this document that was performed by the
Document Shepherd. If this version of the document is not ready for
publication, please explain why the document is being forwarded to the IESG.

The shepherd has been following this document since a long while, due to its
potential usefulness in enterprise Wi-Fi. As such, the document was constantly

In addition to that, the shepherd has read -03 with particular scrutiny.
Subsequently, a number of clarification questions were asked and tackled in
subsequent versions.

The shepherd now (version -06) believes this document is ready for publication.

(4) Does the document Shepherd have any concerns about the depth or breadth of
the reviews that have been performed?

With this being an individual submission, the amount of review is more
difficult to gauge than usually. The author presented his draft an several
occasions, and got a few comments on it. In particular, it was sent to the emu
mailing list which still has many subscribers from the now-concluded emu
working group.

All in all, there are no concerns; the document has gotten its fair share of

(5) Do portions of the document need review from a particular or from broader
perspective, e.g., security, operational complexity, AAA, DNS, DHCP, XML, or
internationalization? If so, describe the review that took place.

The protocol exetensions in this draft definitely warrant a review from the
security community. The comments the author got indicate that security people
did take a look already. IETF last call and in particular the secdir review
should provide for a comforting amount of security review.

(6) Describe any specific concerns or issues that the Document Shepherd has
with this document that the Responsible Area Director and/or the IESG should be
aware of? For example, perhaps he or she is uncomfortable with certain parts of
the document, or has concerns whether there really is a need for it. In any
event, if the interested community has discussed those issues and has indicated
that it still wishes to advance the document, detail those concerns here.

The document is needed in order to support more database backends. The fact
that it needs to transmit the salt on the wire in the clear is an unfortunate
technical necessity; the salt is of not much use without the actual password.
Whether or not this represents a problem worth noting in Security
Considerations remains questionable. Text about this issue has been added to
expose the question during IETF LC.

(7) Has each author confirmed that any and all appropriate IPR disclosures
required for full conformance with the provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79 have
already been filed. If not, explain why.

The author has acked that any and all appropriate IPR disclosures required for
full conformance with the provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79 have already been

(8) Has an IPR disclosure been filed that references this document? If so,
summarize any discussion and conclusion regarding the IPR disclosures.

There is no IPR disclosure on this document.

(9) How solid is the consensus of the interested community behind this
document? Does it represent the strong concurrence of a few individuals, with
others being silent, or does the interested community as a whole understand and
agree with it?

The community of people dealing with new EAP types is comparatively small.
There is a significant amount of silence around this document; but this should
in the shepherd's opinion not be considered as dissent; it's much rather that
the existing EAP types cover a large amount of authentication needs "good
enough" and that the new features of EAP-pwd are not urgent enough to get
interest from a bigger set of people.

All existing password-based EAP methods either require a PKIX-style server
certificate (which the EAP-pwd  base specification already fixes) and/or
require storage of the user's password in either clear-text or NTHash formats
(which the current draft fixes by adding numerous salted storage variants to
the mix).

Only this new draft in combination with the base spec allows for user-friendly
(no cert messing, no MITM password disclosure risks) and admin-friendly
(storage of passwords in a non-weak format) EAP authentication.

(10) Has anyone threatened an appeal or otherwise indicated extreme discontent?
If so, please summarise the areas of conflict in separate email messages to the
Responsible Area Director. (It should be in a separate email because this
questionnaire is publicly available.)

No such threat is known.

(11) Identify any ID nits the Document Shepherd has found in this document.
(See and the Internet-Drafts Checklist).
Boilerplate checks are not enough; this check needs to be thorough.

The version -06 has a minor style deviation as noted by idnits:

  == The 'Updates: ' line in the draft header should list only the _numbers_
     of the RFCs which will be updated by this document (if approved); it
     should not include the word 'RFC' in the list.

This minor issue can sure be fixed later in the publication process.

(12) Describe how the document meets any required formal review criteria, such
as the MIB Doctor, media type, and URI type reviews.

No such formal review is required.

(13) Have all references within this document been identified as either
normative or informative?


(14) Are there normative references to documents that are not ready for
advancement or are otherwise in an unclear state? If such normative references
exist, what is the plan for their completion?

All IETF references are issued RFCs. The remaining are a published NIST
document (stable) and a Unix man page of a very old part of Unix (crypt() ).
All of these references can be considered stable.

(15) Are there downward normative references references (see RFC 3967)? If so,
list these downward references to support the Area Director in the Last Call

No downward references.

(16) Will publication of this document change the status of any existing RFCs?
Are those RFCs listed on the title page header, listed in the abstract, and
discussed in the introduction? If the RFCs are not listed in the Abstract and
Introduction, explain why, and point to the part of the document where the
relationship of this document to the other RFCs is discussed. If this
information is not in the document, explain why the interested community
considers it unnecessary.

This document updates RFC 5931, but does not change its status.

(17) Describe the Document Shepherd's review of the IANA considerations
section, especially with regard to its consistency with the body of the
document. Confirm that all protocol extensions that the document makes are
associated with the appropriate reservations in IANA registries. Confirm that
any referenced IANA registries have been clearly identified. Confirm that newly
created IANA registries include a detailed specification of the initial
contents for the registry, that allocations procedures for future registrations
are defined, and a reasonable name for the new registry has been suggested (see
RFC 5226).

The document adds new entries to an existing registry. The IANA Considerations
section is consistent with the document's main body. The registry in question
is "Specification Required", which this draft satisfies.

(18) List any new IANA registries that require Expert Review for future
allocations. Provide any public guidance that the IESG would find useful in
selecting the IANA Experts for these new registries.


(19) Describe reviews and automated checks performed by to validate sections of
the document written in a formal language, such as XML code, BNF rules, MIB
definitions, etc.

No such checks are necessary.