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IPv6 Performance and Diagnostic Metrics Version 2 (PDMv2) Destination Option

Document Type Active Internet-Draft (ippm WG)
Authors Nalini Elkins , michael ackermann , Ameya Deshpande , Tommaso Pecorella , Adnan Rashid
Last updated 2024-05-21 (Latest revision 2024-02-25)
Replaces draft-elkins-ippm-encrypted-pdmv2
RFC stream Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
Intended RFC status Proposed Standard
Additional resources Mailing list discussion
Stream WG state Submitted to IESG for Publication
Document shepherd Tommy Pauly
Shepherd write-up Show Last changed 2024-05-21
IESG IESG state Publication Requested
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Internet Engineering Task Force                                N. Elkins
Internet-Draft                                     Inside Products, Inc.
Intended status: Standards Track                            M. Ackermann
Expires: 28 August 2024                                    BCBS Michigan
                                                            A. Deshpande
                                                   NITK Surathkal/Google
                                                            T. Pecorella
                                                  University of Florence
                                                               A. Rashid
                                                     Politecnico di Bari
                                                        25 February 2024

 IPv6 Performance and Diagnostic Metrics Version 2 (PDMv2) Destination


   RFC8250 describes an optional Destination Option (DO) header embedded
   in each packet to provide sequence numbers and timing information as
   a basis for measurements.  As this data is sent in clear-text, this
   may create an opportunity for malicious actors to get information for
   subsequent attacks.  This document defines PDMv2 which has a
   lightweight handshake (registration procedure) and encryption to
   secure this data.  Additional performance metrics which may be of use
   are also defined.

About This Document

   This note is to be removed before publishing as an RFC.

   The latest revision of this draft can be found at
   pdmv2.html.  Status information for this document may be found at

   Discussion of this document takes place on the IP Performance
   Measurement Working Group mailing list (, which
   is archived at
   Subscribe at

   Source for this draft and an issue tracker can be found at

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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 28 August 2024.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2024 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 (
   license-info) 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 Revised BSD License text as
   described in Section 4.e of the Trust Legal Provisions and are
   provided without warranty as described in the Revised BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   2.  Conventions used in this document . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   3.  Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   4.  Protocol Flow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     4.1.  Client - Server Negotiation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     4.2.  Implementation Guidelines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
       4.2.1.  Use Case 1: Server does not understand PDM or
               PDMv2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
       4.2.2.  Use Case 2: Server does not allow PDM or PDMv2  . . .   6
   5.  Security Goals  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     5.1.  Security Goals for Confidentiality  . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     5.2.  Security Goals for Integrity  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     5.3.  Security Goals for Authentication . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     5.4.  Cryptographic Algorithm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   6.  PDMv2 Destination Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8

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     6.1.  Destinations Option Header  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     6.2.  Metrics information in PDMv2  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     6.3.  PDMv2 Layout  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   7.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
     7.1.  Limited Threat Model  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
       7.1.1.  Passive attacks with unencrypted PDMv2  . . . . . . .  13
       7.1.2.  Passive attacks with encrypted PDMv2  . . . . . . . .  14
       7.1.3.  Active attacks with unencrypted PDMv2 . . . . . . . .  14
       7.1.4.  Active attacks with encrypted PDMv2 . . . . . . . . .  16
     7.2.  Topological considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
     7.3.  Further mitigations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
   8.  Privacy Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
   9.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18
   10. Contributors  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18
   11. References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18
     11.1.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18
     11.2.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
   Appendix A.  Sample Implementation of Registration  . . . . . . .  19
     A.1.  Overall summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
     A.2.  High level flow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
   Appendix B.  Change Log . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20
   Appendix C.  Open Issues  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20

1.  Introduction

   The current PDM is an IPv6 Destination Options header which provides
   information based on the metrics like Round-trip delay and Server
   delay.  This information helps to measure the Quality of Service
   (QoS) and to assist in diagnostics.  However, there are potential
   risks involved transmitting PDM data during a diagnostics session.

   PDM metrics can help an attacker understand about the type of machine
   and its processing capabilities.  Inferring from the PDM data, the
   attack can launch a timing attack.  For example, if a cryptographic
   protocol is used, a timing attack may be launched against the keying
   material to obtain the secret.

   Along with this, PDM does not provide integrity.  It is possible for
   a Machine-In-The-Middle (MITM) node to modify PDM headers leading to
   incorrect conclusions.  For example, during the debugging process
   using PDM header, it can mislead the person showing there are no
   unusual server delays.

   PDMv2 is an IPv6 Destination Options Extension Header which adds
   confidentiality, integrity and authentication to PDM.

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   The procedures specified in RFC8250 for header placement,
   implementation, security considerations and so on continue to apply
   for PDMv2.

2.  Conventions used in this document

   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.

3.  Terminology

   *  Endpoint Node: Creates cryptographic keys in collaboration with a

   *  Client: An Endpoint Node which initiates a session with a
      listening port on another Endpoint Node and sends PDM data.

   *  Server: An Endpoint Node which has a listening port and sends PDM
      data to another Endpoint Node.

   Note: a client may act as a server (have listening ports).

   *  Public and Private Keys: A pair of keys that is used in asymmetric
      cryptography.  If one is used for encryption, the other is used
      for decryption.  Private Keys are kept hidden by the source of the
      key pair generator, but Public Key is known to everyone.  pkX
      (Public Key) and skX (Private Key).  Where X can be, any client or
      any server.

   *  Pre-shared Key (PSK): A symmetric key.  Uniformly random
      bitstring, shared between any Client or any Server or a key shared
      between an entity that forms client-server relationship.  This
      could happen through an out-of band mechanism: e.g., a physical
      meeting or use of another protocol.

   *  Session Key: A temporary key which acts as a symmetric key for the
      whole session.

4.  Protocol Flow

   The protocol will proceed in 2 steps.

   Step 1:  Creation of cryptographic secrets between Server and Client.
            This includes the creation of pkX and skX.

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   Step 2:  PDM data flow between Client and Server.

   These steps MAY be in the same session or in separate sessions.  That
   is, the cryptographic secrets MAY be created beforehand and used in
   the PDM data flow at the time of the "real" data session.

   After-the-fact (or real-time) data analysis of PDM flow may occur by
   network diagnosticians or network devices.  The definition of how
   this is done is out of scope for this document.

4.1.  Client - Server Negotiation

   The two entities exchange a set of data to ensure the respective
   identities.  This could be done via a TLS or other session.  The
   exact nature of the identity verification is out-of-scope for this

   They use Hybrid Public-Key Encryption scheme (HPKE) Key Encryption
   Mechanism (KEM) to negotiate a "SharedSecret".

   Each Client and Server derive a "SessionTemporaryKey" by using HPKE
   Key Derivation Function (KDF), using the following inputs:

   *  The "SharedSecret".

   *  The 5-tuple (SrcIP, SrcPort, DstIP, DstPort, Protocol) of the

   *  An Epoch.

   The Epoch SHOULD be initialized to zero.  A change in the Epoch
   indicates that the SessionTemporaryKey has been rotated.

   When the Epoch rolls over, the SharedSecret SHOULD be re-negotiated.

   The Epoch MUST be incremented when the Packet Sequence Number (PSN)
   This Packet (PSNTP) is rolled over.  It MAY be incremented earlier,
   depending on the implementation and the security considerations.

   The sender MUST NOT create two packets with identical PSNTP and

   The SessionTemporaryKey using a KDF with the following inputs:

   *  SrcIP, SrcPort, DstIP, DstPort, Protocol, SharedSecret, Epoch.

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4.2.  Implementation Guidelines

   How should a network administrator decide whether a client should use
   PDM, unencrypted PDMv2, or encrypted PDMv2?  This decision is a
   network policy issue.  The administrator must be aware that PDM or
   unencrypted PDMv2 might expose too much information to malicious

   That said, if the network administrator decides that taking such a
   risk within their network is acceptable, then they should make the
   decision that is appropriate for their network.

   Alternatively, the network administrator might choose to create a
   policy that prohibits the use of PDM or unencrypted PDMv2 on their
   network.  The implementation SHOULD provide a way for the network
   administrator to enforce such a policy.

   The server and client implementations SHOULD support PDM, unencrypted
   PDMv2, and encrypted PDMv2.  If a client chooses a certain mechanism
   (e.g., PDM), the server MAY respond with the same mechanism, unless
   the network administrator has selected a policy that only allows
   certain mechanisms on their network.

4.2.1.  Use Case 1: Server does not understand PDM or PDMv2

   If a client sends a packet with PDM or PDMv2 and the server does not
   have code which understands the header, the packet is processed
   according to the Option Type which is defined in RFC8250 and is in
   accordance with RFC8200.

   The Option Type identifiers is coded to skip over this option and
   continue processing the header.

4.2.2.  Use Case 2: Server does not allow PDM or PDMv2

   If a client sends a packet with PDM and the network policy is to only
   allow encrypted or unencrypted PDMv2, then the PDM / PDMv2 header
   MUST be ignored and processing continue normally.

   The server SHOULD log such occurrences but MUST apply rate limiting
   to any such logs.  The implementor should be aware that logging or
   returning of error messages can be used in a Denial of Service
   reflector attack.  An attacker might send many packets with PDM /
   PDMv2 and cause the receiver to experience resource exhaustion.

   The routers involved may have implemented filtering as per [RFC9288]
   on filtering of IPv6 extension headers which may impact the receipt
   of PDM / PDMv2.  The organization which manages the network within

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   which PDM / PDMv2 is sent should take care that the filtering of
   extension headers is done correctly so that the desired effect is

5.  Security Goals

   As discussed in the introduction, PDM data can represent a serious
   data leakage in presence of a malicious actor.

   In particular, the sequence numbers included in the PDM header allows
   correlating the traffic flows, and the timing data can highlight the
   operational limits of a server to a malicious actor.  Moreover,
   forging PDM headers can lead to unnecessary, unwanted, or dangerous
   operational choices, e.g., to restore an apparently degraded Quality
   of Service (QoS).

   Due to this, it is important that the confidentiality and integrity
   of the PDM headers is maintained.  PDM headers can be encrypted and
   authenticated using the methods discussed in Section 5.4, thus
   ensuring confidentiality and integrity.  However, if PDM is used in a
   scenario where the integrity and confidentiality is already ensured
   by other means, they can be transmitted without encryption or
   authentication.  This includes, but is not limited to, the following

   a)  PDM is used over an already encrypted medium (For example VPN

   b)  PDM is used in a link-local scenario.

   c)  PDM is used in a corporate network where there are security
       measures strong enough to consider the presence of a malicious
       actor a negligible risk.

5.1.  Security Goals for Confidentiality

   PDM data MUST be kept confidential between the intended parties,
   which includes (but is not limited to) the two entities exchanging
   PDM data, and any legitimate party with the proper rights to access
   such data.

5.2.  Security Goals for Integrity

   An implementation SHOULD attempt to detect if PDM data is forged or
   modified by a malicious entity.  In other terms, the implementation
   should attempt to detect if a malicious entity has generated a valid
   PDM header impersonating an endpoint or modified a valid PDM header.

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5.3.  Security Goals for Authentication

   An unauthorized party MUST NOT be able to send PDM data and MUST NOT
   be able to authorize another entity to do so.  Alternatively, if
   authentication is done via any of the following, this requirement MAY
   be considered to be met.

   a)  PDM is used over an already authenticated medium (For example,
       TLS session).

   b)  PDM is used in a link-local scenario.

   c)  PDM is used in a corporate network where security measures are
       strong enough to consider the presence of a malicious actor a
       negligible risk.

5.4.  Cryptographic Algorithm

   Symmetric key cryptography has performance benefits over asymmetric
   cryptography; asymmetric cryptography is better for key management.
   Encryption schemes that unite both have been specified in [RFC1421],
   and have been participating practically since the early days of
   public-key cryptography.  The basic mechanism is to encrypt the
   symmetric key with the public key by joining both yields.  Hybrid
   public-key encryption schemes (HPKE) [RFC9180] used a different
   approach that generates the symmetric key and its encapsulation with
   the public key of the receiver.

   It is RECOMMENDED to use the HPKE framework that incorporates key
   encapsulation mechanism (KEM), key derivation function (KDF) and
   authenticated encryption with associated data (AEAD).  These multiple
   schemes are more robust and significantly more efficient than other
   schemes.  While the schemes may be negotiated between communicating
   parties, it is RECOMMENDED to use default encryption algorithm for
   HPKE AEAD as AES-128-GCM.

6.  PDMv2 Destination Options

6.1.  Destinations Option Header

   The IPv6 Destination Options extension header [RFC8200] is used to
   carry optional information that needs to be examined only by a
   packet's destination node(s).  The Destination Options header is
   identified by a Next Header value of 60 in the immediately preceding
   header and is defined in RFC 8200 [RFC8200].  The IPv6 PDMv2
   destination option is implemented as an IPv6 Option carried in the
   Destination Options header.

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6.2.  Metrics information in PDMv2

   The IPv6 PDMv2 destination option contains the following base fields:

      SCALEDTLR: Scale for Delta Time Last Received

      SCALEDTLS: Scale for Delta Time Last Sent

      GLOBALPTR: Global Pointer

      PSNTP: Packet Sequence Number This Packet

      PSNLR: Packet Sequence Number Last Received

      DELTATLR: Delta Time Last Received

      DELTATLS: Delta Time Last Sent

   PDMv2 adds a new metric to the existing PDM [RFC8250] called the
   Global Pointer.  The existing PDM fields are identified with respect
   to the identifying information called a "5-tuple".

   The 5-tuple consists of:

      SADDR: IP address of the sender

      SPORT: Port for the sender

      DADDR: IP address of the destination

      DPORT: Port for the destination

      PROTC: Upper-layer protocol (TCP, UDP, ICMP, etc.)

   Unlike PDM fields, Global Pointer (GLOBALPTR) field in PDMv2 is
   defined for the SADDR type.  Following are the SADDR address types

   a)  Link-Local

   b)  Global Unicast

   The Global Pointer is treated as a common entity over all the
   5-tuples with the same SADDR type.  It is initialised to the value 1
   and increments for every packet sent.  Global Pointer provides a
   measure of the amount of IPv6 traffic sent by the PDMv2 node.

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   When the SADDR type is Link-Local, the PDMv2 node sends Global
   Pointer defined for Link-Local addresses, and when the SADDR type is
   Global Unicast, it sends the one defined for Global Unicast

6.3.  PDMv2 Layout

   PDMv2 has two different header formats corresponding to whether the
   metric contents are encrypted or unencrypted.  The difference between
   the two types of headers is determined from the Options Length value.

   Following is the representation of the unencrypted PDMv2 header:

      0                   1                   2                   3
      0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
     |  Option Type  | Option Length | Vrsn  |         Epoch         |
     |      PSN This Packet          |         Reserved Bits         |
     |                         Global Pointer                        |
     |   ScaleDTLR   |   ScaleDTLS   |    PSN Last Received          |
     |   Delta Time Last Received    |     Delta Time Last Sent      |

   Following is the representation of the encrypted PDMv2 header:

      0                   1                   2                   3
      0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
     |  Option Type  | Option Length | Vrsn  |         Epoch         |
     |      PSN This Packet          |                               |
     +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+                               :
     |                      Encrypted PDM Data                       :
     :                          (30 bytes)                           |

      Option Type


      8-bit unsigned integer.  The Option Type is adopted from RFC 8250

      Option Length

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      0x12: Unencrypted PDM

      0x22: Encrypted PDM

      8-bit unsigned integer.  Length of the option, in octets,
      excluding the Option Type and Option Length fields.  The options
      length is used for differentiating PDM [RFC8250], unencrypted
      PDMv2 and encrypted PDMv2.

      Version Number


      4-bit unsigned number.


      12-bit unsigned number.

      Epoch field is used to indicate the valid SessionTemporaryKey.

      Packet Sequence Number This Packet (PSNTP)

      16-bit unsigned number.

      This field is initialized at a random number and is incremented
      sequentially for each packet of the 5-tuple.

      This field is also used in the Encrypted PDMv2 as the encryption
      nonce.  The nonce MUST NOT be reused in different sessions.

      Reserved Bits


      Reserved bits for future use.  They MUST be set to zero on
      transmission and ignored on receipt per [RFC3552].

      Scale Delta Time Last Received (SCALEDTLR)

      8-bit unsigned number.

      This is the scaling value for the Delta Time Last Sent (DELTATLS)

      Scale Delta Time Last Sent (SCALEDTLS)

      8-bit unsigned number.

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      This is the scaling value for the Delta Time Last Sent (DELTATLS)

      Global Pointer

      32-bit unsigned number.

      Global Pointer is initialized to 1 for the different source
      address types and incremented sequentially for each packet with
      the corresponding source address type.

      This field stores the Global Pointer type corresponding to the
      SADDR type of the packet.

      Packet Sequence Number Last Received (PSNLR)

      16-bit unsigned number.

      This field is the PSNTP of the last received packet on the

      Delta Time Last Received (DELTATLR)

      16-bit unsigned integer.

      The value is set according to the scale in SCALEDTLR.

      Delta Time Last Received = (send time packet n - receive time
      packet (n - 1))

      Delta Time Last Sent (DELTATLS)

      16-bit unsigned integer.

      The value is set according to the scale in SCALEDTLS.

      Delta Time Last Sent = (receive time packet n - send time packet
      (n - 1))

7.  Security Considerations

   PDMv2 carries metadata, including information about network
   characteristics and end-to-end response time.  This metadata is used
   to optimize communication.  However, in the context of passive
   attacks, the information contained within PDMv2 packets can be
   intercepted by an attacker, and in the context of active attacks the
   metadata can be modified by an attacker.

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   In the following we will briefly outline the threat model and the
   associated security risks, using RFC3552 terminology and

7.1.  Limited Threat Model

   We assume that the attacker does not control the endpoints, but it
   does have a limited control of the network, i.e., it can either
   monitor the communications (leading to passive attacks), or modify/
   forge packets (active attacks).

7.1.1.  Passive attacks with unencrypted PDMv2

   Passive Attack Scenario: In a passive attack, the attacker seeks to
   obtain information that the sender and receiver of the communication
   would prefer to keep private.  In this case, the attacker is not
   altering the packets but is intercepting and analyzing them.  Here's
   how this can happen in the context of unencrypted PDMv2:

   a.  Being on the same LAN: The simplest way for an attacker to launch
       a passive attack is to be on the same Local Area Network (LAN) as
       the victim.  Many LAN configurations, such as Ethernet, 802.3,
       and FDDI, allow any machine on the network to read all traffic
       destined for any other machine on the same LAN.  This means that
       if PDM packets are sent over the LAN, the attacker can capture

   b.  Control of a Host in the Communication Path: If the attacker has
       control over a host that lies in the communication path between
       two victim machines, they can intercept PDM packets as they pass
       through this compromised host.  This allows the attacker to
       collect metadata without being on the same LAN as the victim.

   c.  Compromising Routing Infrastructure: In some cases, attackers may
       actively compromise the routing infrastructure to route traffic
       through a compromised machine.  This can facilitate a passive
       attack on victim machines.  By manipulating routing, the attacker
       can ensure that PDMv2 packets pass through their controlled node.

   d.  Wireless Networks: Wireless communication channels, such as those
       using 802.11 (Wi-Fi), are particularly vulnerable to passive
       attacks.  Since data is broadcast over well-known radio
       frequencies, an attacker with the ability to receive those
       transmissions can intercept PDMv2 packets.  Weak or ineffective
       cryptographic protection in wireless networks can make it easier
       for attackers to capture this data.

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   Goal of Passive Attack: In a passive attack, the attacker's goal is
   to obtain sensitive information from intercepted packets.  In the
   case of PDMv2, this information may include network characteristics,
   end-to-end response times, and potentially any other metadata that is
   transmitted.  This information can be valuable to the attacker for
   various purposes, such as analyzing network performance or gaining
   insights into communication patterns.

   In summary, within the limited Internet threat model described in
   RFC3552, attackers with the ability to intercept packets can conduct
   passive attacks to capture metadata carried in IPv6 unencrypted PDMv2
   packets.  This information can be useful for the attacker, even
   without actively altering the communication.  Security measures, such
   as encryption and network segmentation, are important countermeasures
   to protect against such passive attacks.

7.1.2.  Passive attacks with encrypted PDMv2

   Passive Attack Scenario: An attacker is trying to seek useful
   information from encrypted PDMv2 packets happening between two
   different entities.  Encrypted PDMv2 has most of the metadata fields
   encrypted except for PSNTP which is also used as a nonce in HPKE

   Goal of Passive Attack: In this attack, the attacker is trying to
   obtain the order in which the packets were sent from the sender to
   the receiver for different flows.  The amount of information gathered
   by the attacker is similar, to some extent, to the ones available by
   inspecting the TTCP sequence number, which is also usually not
   protected.  Therefore, we consider this information leak acceptable.

   Nevertheless, this point should be noted if complete traffic
   obfuscation (including packet reordering) is necessary.  In these
   cases it is suggested to use IPSec ESP [RFC4303] in tunnel mode (in
   which case the PDMv2 can be used unencrypted).

7.1.3.  Active attacks with unencrypted PDMv2

   There are also active attacks within the context of the limited
   Internet threat model defined in [RFC3552].  In this model, active
   attacks involve an attacker writing data to the network, and the
   attacker can forge packets and potentially manipulate the behavior of
   devices or networks.  Let's break down how message modification,
   deletion, or insertion by attackers using the unencrypted IPv6
   Performance and Destination option v2 (PDMv2) fits into this threat

   1.  Message Modification Attack:

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       In a message modification attack, the attacker intercepts a
       message, modifies its content, and then reinserts it into the
       network.  This attack is significant because it allows the
       attacker to tamper with the integrity of the data being

       Example: Suppose an attacker intercepts an IPv6 packet containing
       unencrypted PDMv2 information that includes network and end-to-
       end response time metadata.  The attacker modifies this
       information, such as altering the response time data or inserting
       false information.  When this modified packet reaches its
       destination, the receiving device or network may act based on
       this malicious information, potentially leading to degraded
       performance, incorrect network management decisions, wrong
       performance data collection, etc.  A direct consequence of
       modifying the performance data could be, for example, to hide an
       ongoing QoS violation, or to create a fake QoS violation, with
       consequences on the violation of Service Level Agreements.

   2.  Message Deletion Attack:

       In a message deletion attack, the attacker removes a message from
       the network.  This attack can be used in conjunction with other
       attacks to disrupt communication or achieve specific objectives.

       Example: Consider a scenario where an attacker deletes certain
       IPv6 packets that contain unencrypted PDMv2 information, or
       deletes the PDM header from the packet.  If the PDMv2 is used for
       network monitoring or quality of service (QoS) management, the
       deletion of these packets can cause the monitoring system to miss
       critical data, potentially leading to inaccurate network
       performance analysis or decisions.

   3.  Message Insertion Attack:

       In a message insertion attack, the attacker forges a message and
       injects it into the network.

       Example: An attacker could forge IPv6 packets containing
       unencrypted PDMv2 data with fake source addresses and inject them
       into the network.  If PDM is used for making routing or resource
       allocation decisions, these injected packets can influence the
       network's behavior, potentially causing it to take suboptimal
       routes or allocate resources incorrectly.

   All these attacks are considered active attacks because the attacker
   actively manipulates network traffic, and they can potentially spoof
   the source address to disguise their identity.  In the limited

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   Internet threat model defined in [RFC3552], it is assumed that
   attackers can forge packets and carry out such active attacks.  These
   attacks highlight the importance of securing network protocols,
   authenticating messages, and implementing proper security measures to
   protect against them.

7.1.4.  Active attacks with encrypted PDMv2

   Encrypted PDMv2 provides inherent protection against active attacks
   like Message Modification by providing integrity.  If either of the
   sequence number or encrypted PDMv2 contents are modified then
   decryption will fail.

   Message Deletion Attack can be performed for encrypted PDMv2
   similarly to unencrypted PDMv2.

   Impersonation Attack: Encrypted PDMv2 relies on a shared secret
   negotiated by an external protocol (e.g., TLS).  If key exchange does
   have authentication check, then an adversary who impersonates the
   host can derive a key with the destination client and potentially
   perform all the above active attacks even on encrypted PDMv2.

7.2.  Topological considerations

   The same topological considerations highlighted in [RFC3552] applies
   in this context.  Passive attacks and active attacks where the
   messages need to be modified or deleted are more likely if the
   attacker is on-path, while message insertion attacks are more likely
   when the attacker is off-path but can happen also when the attacker
   is on-path.  Link-local attacks can be considered as a special case
   of on-path for PDM, i.e., for PDM a link-local attacker has no
   special privileges with respect to an on-path attacker.

7.3.  Further mitigations

   PDM includes cryptographic mechanisms to mitigate passive and active
   attacks.  As a further security mechanism to protect from active
   attacks, it is possible for an implementation to include logging of
   anomalous events, e.g.:

   *  Missing PDM header when expected (counteracts the Message

   *  Unusual variations of the PDM data (counteracts the Message

   *  Accept the PDM data only if the application level accepts the
      packet payload (counteracts the Message Insertion)

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   *  Monitor repeated or unexpected PDM data (counteracts replay

   Security considerations about HPKE are addressed in RFC 9180.
   Security considerations about PDM are addressed in RFC 8250.
   Security considerations about destination objects are addressed in
   RFC 8200.

8.  Privacy Considerations

   Encryption plays a crucial role in providing privacy as defined by
   [RFC6973], especially when metadata sniffing is a concern.
   [RFC6973], titled "Privacy Considerations for Internet Protocols,"
   outlines the importance of protecting users' privacy in the context
   of various Internet protocols, including IPv6.  When metadata like
   network and end-to-end response time is at risk of being observed by
   attackers, eavesdroppers, or observers, encryption can help mitigate
   the privacy risks.  Here's how encryption achieves this:

   a)  Confidentiality: Encryption ensures that the actual content of
       the communication remains confidential.  Even if attackers or
       observers intercept the data packets, they won't be able to
       decipher the information without the encryption key.  In the case
       of IPv6 Performance and Destination Option (PDM), the still-
       visible, non-encrypted metadata is still visiblenegligible, and
       does not poses confidentiality

   b)  Content Protection: Metadata, such as network and end-to-end
       response time, may reveal sensitive information about the
       communication.  By encrypting the content, encryption mechanisms
       help protect this sensitive data from being exposed.  Observers
       may still see that communication is happening, but they won't be
       able to glean meaningful information from the metadata.

   c)  Integrity: Encryption often includes mechanisms to ensure data
       integrity.  It allows the recipient to verify that the received
       data has not been tampered with during transit.  This helps
       protect against attackers who might try to manipulate the

   It's important to note that while encryption enhances privacy by
   protecting the content of communication, metadata still poses some
   challenges.  Metadata, such as the fact that communication is
   occurring and the parties involved, can be revealing.  To address
   this, additional techniques, like traffic obfuscation, may be used to
   hide metadata patterns.  However, complete metadata privacy can be
   challenging to achieve, especially when communication protocols
   inherently require some level of metadata exchange.

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   Specifically, enabling PDM only for a specific set of flows can pose
   a risk of highlighting their presence between two parties.  As a
   mitigation technique, it is suggested to obfuscate the events, for
   example by enabling PDM on more flows than strictly necessary.

9.  IANA Considerations

   No action is needed by IANA.

10.  Contributors

   The authors wish to thank NITK Surathkal for their support and
   assistance in coding and review.  In particular Dr. Mohit Tahiliani
   and Abhishek Kumar (now with Google).  Thanks also to Priyanka Sinha
   for her comments.  Thanks to the India Internet Engineering Society
   (, in particular Dhruv Dhody, for his comments and for
   providing the funding for servers needed for protocol development.
   Thanks to Balajinaidu V, Amogh Umesh, and Chinmaya Sharma of NITK for
   developing the PDMv2 implementation for testing.

11.  References

11.1.  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,

   [RFC3552]  Rescorla, E. and B. Korver, "Guidelines for Writing RFC
              Text on Security Considerations", BCP 72, RFC 3552,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC3552, July 2003,

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

   [RFC8200]  Deering, S. and R. Hinden, "Internet Protocol, Version 6
              (IPv6) Specification", STD 86, RFC 8200,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC8200, July 2017,

   [RFC8250]  Elkins, N., Hamilton, R., and M. Ackermann, "IPv6
              Performance and Diagnostic Metrics (PDM) Destination
              Option", RFC 8250, DOI 10.17487/RFC8250, September 2017,

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11.2.  Informative References

   [RFC1421]  Linn, J., "Privacy Enhancement for Internet Electronic
              Mail: Part I: Message Encryption and Authentication
              Procedures", RFC 1421, DOI 10.17487/RFC1421, February
              1993, <>.

   [RFC4303]  Kent, S., "IP Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP)",
              RFC 4303, DOI 10.17487/RFC4303, December 2005,

   [RFC6973]  Cooper, A., Tschofenig, H., Aboba, B., Peterson, J.,
              Morris, J., Hansen, M., and R. Smith, "Privacy
              Considerations for Internet Protocols", RFC 6973,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6973, July 2013,

   [RFC9180]  Barnes, R., Bhargavan, K., Lipp, B., and C. Wood, "Hybrid
              Public Key Encryption", RFC 9180, DOI 10.17487/RFC9180,
              February 2022, <>.

   [RFC9288]  Gont, F. and W. Liu, "Recommendations on the Filtering of
              IPv6 Packets Containing IPv6 Extension Headers at Transit
              Routers", RFC 9288, DOI 10.17487/RFC9288, August 2022,

Appendix A.  Sample Implementation of Registration

A.1.  Overall summary

   In the Registration phase, the objective is to generate a shared
   secret that will be used in encryption and decryption during the Data
   Transfer phase.  How this is to be done is left to the

A.2.  High level flow

   The following steps describe the protocol flow:

   1.  Client initiates a request to the Server.  The request contains a
       list of available ciphersuites for KEM, KDF, and AEAD.

   2.  Server responds to the Client with one of the available
       ciphersuites and shares its pkX.

   3.  Client generates a secret and its encapsulation.  The Client
       sends the encapsulation and a salt to the Server.  The salt is
       required during KDF in the Data Transfer phase.

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   4.  Server generates the secret with the help of the encapsulation
       and responds with a status message.

Appendix B.  Change Log

   Note to RFC Editor: if this document does not obsolete an existing
   RFC, please remove this appendix before publication as an RFC.

Appendix C.  Open Issues

   Note to RFC Editor: please remove this appendix before publication as
   an RFC.

Authors' Addresses

   Nalini Elkins
   Inside Products, Inc.
   United States

   Michael Ackermann
   BCBS Michigan
   United States

   Ameya Deshpande
   NITK Surathkal/Google

   Tommaso Pecorella
   University of Florence

   Adnan Rashid
   Politecnico di Bari

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