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Babel Routing Protocol over Datagram Transport Layer Security

The information below is for an old version of the document.
Document Type
This is an older version of an Internet-Draft that was ultimately published as RFC 8968.
Authors Antonin Décimo , David Schinazi , Juliusz Chroboczek
Last updated 2019-08-08 (Latest revision 2019-07-05)
Replaces draft-decimo-babel-dtls
RFC stream Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
Additional resources Mailing list discussion
Stream WG state Submitted to IESG for Publication
Document shepherd Donald E. Eastlake 3rd
Shepherd write-up Show Last changed 2019-02-08
IESG IESG state Became RFC 8968 (Proposed Standard)
Consensus boilerplate Yes
Telechat date (None)
Needs a YES. Needs 6 more YES or NO OBJECTION positions to pass.
Responsible AD Martin Vigoureux
Send notices to Donald Eastlake <>
IANA IANA review state IANA OK - Actions Needed
Network Working Group                                          A. Decimo
Internet-Draft                         IRIF, University of Paris-Diderot
Intended status: Standards Track                             D. Schinazi
Expires: January 6, 2020                                      Google LLC
                                                           J. Chroboczek
                                       IRIF, University of Paris-Diderot
                                                            July 5, 2019

     Babel Routing Protocol over Datagram Transport Layer Security


   The Babel Routing Protocol does not contain any means to authenticate
   neighbours or protect messages sent between them.  This document
   specifies a mechanism to ensure these properties, using Datagram
   Transport Layer Security (DTLS).

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 January 6, 2020.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2019 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

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   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
     1.1.  Specification of Requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
     1.2.  Applicability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   2.  Operation of the Protocol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     2.1.  DTLS Connection Initiation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     2.2.  Protocol Encoding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     2.3.  Transmission  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     2.4.  Reception . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     2.5.  Neighbour table entry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     2.6.  Simultaneous operation of both Babel over DTLS and
           unprotected Babel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   3.  Interface Maximum Transmission Unit Issues  . . . . . . . . .   6
   4.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   5.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   6.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     6.1.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     6.2.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   Appendix A.  Performance Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   Appendix B.  Acknowledgments  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9

1.  Introduction

   The Babel Routing Protocol [RFC6126bis] does not contain any means to
   authenticate neighbours or protect messages sent between them.
   Because of this, an attacker is able to send maliciously crafted
   Babel messages which could lead a network to route traffic to an
   attacker or to an under-resourced target causing denial of service.
   This document specifies a mechanism to prevent such attacks, using
   Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS) [RFC6347].

1.1.  Specification of Requirements

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in BCP
   14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all
   capitals, as shown here.

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1.2.  Applicability

   The protocol described in this document protects Babel packets with
   DTLS.  As such, it inherits the features offered by DTLS, notably
   authentication, integrity, replay protection, confidentiality and
   asymmetric keying.  It is therefore expected to be applicable in a
   wide range of environments.

   There exists another mechanism for securing Babel, namely Babel HMAC
   authentication [BABEL-HMAC].  HMAC only offers basic features, namely
   authentication, integrity and replay protection with a small number
   of symmetric keys.  A comparison of Babel security mechanisms and
   their applicability can be found in [RFC6126bis].

2.  Operation of the Protocol

   Babel over DTLS requires some changes to how Babel operates.  First,
   DTLS is a client-server protocol, while Babel is a peer-to-peer
   protocol.  Second, DTLS can only protect unicast communication, while
   Babel packets can be sent over to both unicast and multicast

2.1.  DTLS Connection Initiation

   Babel over DTLS operates on a different port than unencrypted Babel.
   All Babel over DTLS nodes MUST act as DTLS servers on a given UDP
   port, and MUST listen for unencrypted Babel traffic on another UDP
   port, which MUST be distinct from the first one.  The default port
   for Babel over DTLS is registered with IANA as the "babel-dtls" port
   (UDP port TBD, see Section 4), and the port exchanging unencrypted
   Babel traffic is registered as the "babel" port (UDP port 6696, see
   Section 5 of [RFC6126bis]).

   When a Babel node discovers a new neighbour (generally by receiving
   an unencrypted multicast Babel packet), it compares the neighbour's
   IPv6 link-local address with its own, using network byte ordering.
   If a node's address is lower than the recently discovered neighbour's
   address, it acts as a client and connects to the neighbour.  In other
   words, the node with the lowest address is the DTLS client for this
   pairwise relationship.  As an example, fe80::1:2 is considered lower
   than fe80::2:1.

   The node acting as DTLS client initiates its DTLS connection from an
   ephemeral UDP port.  Nodes SHOULD ensure that new client DTLS
   connections use different ephemeral ports from recently used
   connections to allow servers to differentiate between the new and old
   DTLS connections.  Alternatively, nodes MAY use DTLS connection

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   identifiers [DTLS-CID] as a higher-entropy mechanism to distinguish
   between connections.

   When a node receives a new DTLS connection, it MUST verify that the
   source IP address is an IPv6 link-local address; if it is not, it
   MUST reject the connection.  Nodes use mutual authentication
   (authenticating both client and server); servers MUST send a
   CertificateRequest message and subsequently authenticate the client.
   Implementations MUST support authenticating peers against a local
   store of credentials.  If either node fails to authenticate its peer
   against its local policy, it MUST abort the DTLS handshake.  Nodes
   MUST only negotiate DTLS version 1.2 or higher.  Nodes MUST use DTLS
   replay protection to prevent attackers from replaying stale
   information.  Nodes SHOULD drop packets that have been reordered by
   more than two IHU intervals, to avoid letting attackers make stale
   information last longer.  If a node receives a new DTLS connection
   from a neighbour to whom it already has a connection, the node MUST
   NOT discard the older connection until it has completed the handshake
   of the new one and validated the identity of the peer.

2.2.  Protocol Encoding

   Babel over DTLS sends all unicast Babel packets protected by DTLS.
   The entire Babel packet, from the Magic byte at the start of the
   Babel header to the last byte of the Babel packet trailer, is sent
   protected by DTLS.

2.3.  Transmission

   When sending packets, Babel over DTLS nodes MUST NOT send any TLVs
   over the unprotected "babel" port, with the exception of Hello TLVs
   without the Unicast flag set.  Babel over DTLS nodes MUST NOT send
   any unprotected unicast packets.  This ensures the confidentiality of
   the information sent in Babel packets (e.g., the network topology) by
   only sending it encrypted by DTLS.  Unless some out-of-band neighbour
   discovery mechanism is available, nodes SHOULD periodically send
   unprotected multicast Hellos to ensure discovery of new neighbours.
   In order to maintain bidirectional reachability, nodes can either
   rely entirely on unprotected multicast Hellos, or send protected
   unicast Hellos in addition to the multicast Hellos.

   Since Babel over DTLS only protects unicast packets, implementors may
   implement Babel over DTLS by modifying an implementation of Babel
   without DTLS support, and replacing any TLV previously sent over
   multicast with a separate TLV sent over unicast for each neighbour.
   TLVs previously sent over multicast can be replaced with the same
   contents over unicast, with the exception of Hellos as described
   above.  Some implementations could also change the contents of IHU

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   TLVs when converting to unicast in order to remove redundant

2.4.  Reception

   Babel over DTLS nodes can receive Babel packets either protected over
   a DTLS connection, or unprotected directly over the "babel" port.  To
   ensure the security properties of this mechanism, unprotected packets
   are treated differently.  Nodes MUST silently ignore any unprotected
   packet sent over unicast.  When parsing an unprotected packet, a node
   MUST silently ignore all TLVs that are not of type Hello.  Nodes MUST
   also silently ignore any unprotected Hello with the Unicast flag set.
   Note that receiving an unprotected packet can still be used to
   discover new neighbours, even when all TLVs in that packet are
   silently ignored.

2.5.  Neighbour table entry

   It is RECOMMENDED for nodes to associate the state of their DTLS
   connection with their neighbour table.  When a neighbour entry is
   flushed from the neighbour table (Appendix A of [RFC6126bis]), its
   associated DTLS state SHOULD be discarded.  The node SHOULD send a
   DTLS close_notify alert to the neighbour if it believes the link is
   still viable.

   While DTLS provides protection against an attacker that replays valid
   packets, DTLS is not able to detect when an active on-path attacker
   intercepts valid packets and resends them at a later time.  This
   attack could be used to make a node believe it has bidirectional
   reachability to a neighbour even though that neighbour has
   disconnected from the network.  To prevent this attack, nodes MUST
   discard the DTLS state associated with a neighbour after a finite
   time of not receiving valid DTLS packets.  This can be implemented
   by, for example, discarding a neighbour's DTLS state when its
   associated IHU timer fires.  Note that relying solely on the receipt
   of Hellos is not sufficient as multicast Hellos are sent unprotected.

2.6.  Simultaneous operation of both Babel over DTLS and unprotected

   Implementations MAY implement both Babel over DTLS and unprotected
   Babel.  However, accepting unprotected Babel packets (other than
   multicast Hellos) loses the security properties of Babel over DTLS.
   A node MAY allow configuration options to allow unprotected Babel on
   some interfaces but not others; this effectively gives nodes on that
   interface the same access as authenticated nodes, and SHOULD NOT be
   done unless that interface has a mechanism to authenticate nodes at a
   lower layer (e.g., IPsec).

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3.  Interface Maximum Transmission Unit Issues

   Compared to unprotected Babel, DTLS adds header, authentication tag
   and possibly block-size padding overhead to every packet.  This
   reduces the size of the Babel payload that can be carried.  This
   document does not relax the packet size requirements in Section 4 of
   [RFC6126bis], but recommends that DTLS overhead be taken into account
   when computing maximum packet size.

   More precisely, nodes SHOULD compute the overhead of DTLS depending
   on the ciphers in use, and SHOULD NOT send Babel packets larger than
   the interface maximum transmission unit (MTU) minus the overhead of
   IP, UDP and DTLS.  Nodes MUST NOT send Babel packets larger than the
   attached interface's MTU adjusted for known lower-layer headers (at
   least UDP and IP) or 512 octets, whichever is larger, but not
   exceeding 2^16 - 1 adjusted for lower-layer headers.  Every Babel
   speaker MUST be able to receive packets that are as large as any
   attached interface's MTU adjusted for UDP and IP headers or 512
   octets, whichever is larger.  Note that this requirement on reception
   does not take into account the overhead of DTLS because the peer may
   not have the ability to compute the overhead of DTLS and the packet
   may be fragmented by lower layers.

   Note that distinct DTLS connections can use different ciphers, which
   can have different amounts of overhead per packet.  Therefore, the
   MTU to one neighbour can be different from the MTU to another
   neighbour on the same link.

4.  IANA Considerations

   If this document is approved, IANA is requested to register a UDP
   port number, called "babel-dtls", for use by Babel over DTLS.
   Details of the request to IANA are as follows:

   o  Assignee: IESG,

   o  Contact Person: IETF Chair,

   o  Transport Protocols: UDP only

   o  Service Code: None

   o  Service Name: babel-dtls

   o  Desired Port Number: 6699

   o  Description: Babel Routing Protocol over DTLS

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   o  Reference: This document

   o  Defined TXT Keys: None

5.  Security Considerations

   Confidential interaction between two Babel peers requires Datagram
   Transport Layer Security (DTLS) with a cipher suite offering
   confidentiality protection.  The guidance given in [RFC7525] MUST be
   followed to avoid attacks on DTLS.

   A malicious client might attempt to perform a high number of DTLS
   handshakes with a server.  As the clients are not uniquely identified
   by the protocol and can be obfuscated with IPv6 temporary addresses,
   a server needs to mitigate the impact of such an attack.  Such
   mitigation might involve rate limiting handshakes from a given subnet
   or more advanced denial of service avoidance techniques beyond the
   scope of this document.

6.  References

6.1.  Normative References

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997,

              Chroboczek, J. and D. Schinazi, "The Babel Routing
              Protocol", Internet Draft draft-ietf-babel-rfc6126bis-11,
              June 2019.

   [RFC6347]  Rescorla, E. and N. Modadugu, "Datagram Transport Layer
              Security Version 1.2", RFC 6347, DOI 10.17487/RFC6347,
              January 2012, <>.

   [RFC8174]  Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC
              2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174,
              May 2017, <>.

6.2.  Informative References

              Do, C., Kolodziejak, W., and J. Chroboczek, "Babel
              Cryptographic Authentication", Internet Draft draft-ietf-
              babel-hmac-07, June 2019.

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              Rescorla, E., Tschofenig, H., Fossati, T., and T. Gondrom,
              "Connection Identifiers for DTLS 1.2", Internet Draft
              draft-ietf-tls-dtls-connection-id-05, October 2018.

   [RFC7250]  Wouters, P., Ed., Tschofenig, H., Ed., Gilmore, J.,
              Weiler, S., and T. Kivinen, "Using Raw Public Keys in
              Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Datagram Transport
              Layer Security (DTLS)", RFC 7250, DOI 10.17487/RFC7250,
              June 2014, <>.

   [RFC7525]  Sheffer, Y., Holz, R., and P. Saint-Andre,
              "Recommendations for Secure Use of Transport Layer
              Security (TLS) and Datagram Transport Layer Security
              (DTLS)", BCP 195, RFC 7525, DOI 10.17487/RFC7525, May
              2015, <>.

   [RFC7918]  Langley, A., Modadugu, N., and B. Moeller, "Transport
              Layer Security (TLS) False Start", RFC 7918,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC7918, August 2016,

   [RFC7924]  Santesson, S. and H. Tschofenig, "Transport Layer Security
              (TLS) Cached Information Extension", RFC 7924,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC7924, July 2016,

   [RFC8094]  Reddy, T., Wing, D., and P. Patil, "DNS over Datagram
              Transport Layer Security (DTLS)", RFC 8094,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC8094, February 2017,

Appendix A.  Performance Considerations

   To reduce the number of octets taken by the DTLS handshake,
   especially the size of the certificate in the ServerHello (which can
   be several kilobytes), Babel peers can use raw public keys [RFC7250]
   or the Cached Information Extension [RFC7924].  The Cached
   Information Extension avoids transmitting the server's certificate
   and certificate chain if the client has cached that information from
   a previous TLS handshake.  TLS False Start [RFC7918] can reduce round
   trips by allowing the TLS second flight of messages
   (ChangeCipherSpec) to also contain the (encrypted) Babel packet.

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Appendix B.  Acknowledgments

   The authors would like to thank Donald Eastlake, Thomas Fossati,
   Gabriel Kerneis, Antoni Przygienda, Henning Rogge, Dan Romascanu,
   Barbara Stark, Markus Stenberg, Dave Taht, Martin Thomson, Sean
   Turner and Martin Vigoureux for their input and contributions.  The
   performance considerations in this document were inspired from the
   ones for DNS over DTLS [RFC8094].

Authors' Addresses

   Antonin Decimo
   IRIF, University of Paris-Diderot


   David Schinazi
   Google LLC
   1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
   Mountain View, California  94043


   Juliusz Chroboczek
   IRIF, University of Paris-Diderot
   Case 7014
   75205 Paris Cedex 13


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