Cryptographic Algorithms for Use in the Internet Key Exchange Version 2 (IKEv2)

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Document Type RFC Internet-Draft (ipsec WG)
Author Jeffrey Schiller 
Last updated 2020-01-21 (latest revision 2004-04-21)
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IPSEC Working Group                                        Jeffrey I. Schiller
draft-ietf-ipsec-ikev2-algorithms-05.txt                            April 2004

                    Cryptographic Algorithms for use in the
                        Internet Key Exchange Version 2

                              Status of this Memo

This document is a submission by the IPSEC Working Group of the
Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).  Comments should be submitted
to the mailing list.

Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

This document is an Internet Draft and is in full conformance with all
provisions of Section 10 of RFC2026 [RFC2026]. Internet Drafts are
working documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), its
areas, and working groups. Note that other groups may also distribute
working documents as Internet Drafts.

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1. Abstract

The IPSec series of protocols makes use of various cryptographic
algorithms in order to provide security services. The Internet Key
Exchange (IKE [RFC2409] and IKEv2 [IKEv2]) provide a mechanism to
negotiate which algorithms should be used in any given association.
However to ensure interoperability between disparate implementations it
is necessary to specify a set of mandatory-to-implement algorithms to
ensure at least one algorithm that all implementations will have
available. This document defines the current set of algorithms that are
mandatory to implement as part of IKEv2, as well as algorithms that
should be implemented because they may be promoted to mandatory at some
future time.

2. Introduction

The Internet Key Exchange protocol provides for the negotiation of
cryptographic algorithms between both end points of a cryptographic

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association. Different implementations of IPSec and IKE may provide
different algorithms. However the IETF desires that all implementations
should have some way to interoperate. In particular,
this requires that IKE define a set of mandatory-to-implement
algorithms, since IKE itself uses such algorithms as part of its own
negotiations. This requires that some set of algorithms be specified
as "mandatory-to-implement" for IKE.

The nature of cryptography is that new algorithms surface continuously
and existing algorithms are continuously attacked. An algorithm
believed to be strong today may be demonstrated to be weak tomorrow.
Given this, the choice of mandatory-to-implement algorithm should be
conservative so as to minimize the likelihood of it being compromised
quickly. Thought should also be given to performance considerations as
many uses of IPSec will be in environments where performance is a

Finally we need to recognize that the mandatory-to-implement
algorithm(s) may need to change over time to adapt to the changing
world. For this reason the selection of mandatory-to-implement
algorithms was removed from the main IKEv2 specification and placed in
this document. As the choice of algorithm changes, only this document
should need to be updated.

Ideally the mandatory-to-implement algorithm of tomorrow should already
be available in most implementations of IPSec by the time it is made
mandatory. To facilitate this we will attempt to identify those
algorithms (that are known today) in this document. There is no
guarantee that the algorithms we believe today may be mandatory in the
future will in fact become so. All algorithms known today are subject
to cryptographic attack, and may be broken.

3. Requirements Terminology

"MAY" that appear in this document are to be interpreted as described
in [RFC2119].

In addition we will define some additional terms here:

 SHOULD+            This term means the same as SHOULD. However it is
                    likely that an algorithm marked as SHOULD+ will be
                    promoted at some future time to be a MUST.
 SHOULD-            This terms means the same as SHOULD. However an
                    algorithm marked as SHOULD- may be deprecated to a
                    MAY in a future version of this document.

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 MUST-                This term means the same as MUST. However we
                      expect at some point that this algorithm will no
                      longer be a MUST in a future document. Although
                      its status will be determined at a later time, it
                      is reasonable to expect that if a future revision
                      of a document alters the status of a MUST-
                      algorithm, it will remain at least a SHOULD or a

4. Algorithm Selection

4.1. IKEv2 Algorithm Selection

4.1.1. Encrypted Payload Algorithms

The IKEv2 Encrypted Payload requires both a confidentiality algorithm
and an integrity algorithm.
For confidentiality, implementations MUST implement 3DES-CBC and
SHOULD+ implement AES-128-CBC. For integrity, HMAC-SHA1 MUST be

4.1.2. Diffie-Hellman Groups

There are several MODP groups that are defined for use in IKEv2. They
are defined in both the IKEv2 base document and in the MODP extensions
document. They are identified by group number. Any groups not listed
here are considered as "MAY be implemented".

      Group Number        Bit Length            Status     Defined
      2                   1024 MODP Group       MUST-      [RFC2409]
      14                  2048 MODP Group       SHOULD+    [RFC3526]

4.1.3. IKEv2 Transform Type 1 Algorithms

IKEv2 Defines several possible algorithms for Transfer Type 1
(encryption). These are defined below with their implementation status.

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      Name                     Number    Defined In      Status
      RESERVED                 0
      ENCR_3DES                3         [RFC2451]       MUST-
      ENCR_NULL                11        [RFC2410]       MAY
      ENCR_AES_CBC             12        [AES-CBC]       SHOULD+
      ENCR_AES_CTR             13        [AES-CTR]       SHOULD

4.1.4. IKEv2 Transform Type 2 Algorithms

Transfer Type 2 Algorithms are pseudo-random functions used to generate
random values when needed.

      Name                Number     Defined In   Status
      RESERVED            0
      PRF_HMAC_MD5        1          [RFC2104]    MAY
      PRF_HMAC_SHA1       2          [RFC2104]    MUST
      PRF_AES128_CBC      4          [AESPRF]     SHOULD+

4.1.5. IKEv2 Transform Type 3 Algorithms

Transfer Type 3 Algorithms are Integrity algorithms used to protect
data against tampering.

      Name                     Number       Defined In           Status
      NONE                     0
      AUTH_HMAC_MD5_96         1            [RFC2403]            MAY
      AUTH_HMAC_SHA1_96        2            [RFC2404]            MUST
      AUTH_AES_XCBC_96         5            [AES-MAC]            SHOULD+

5. Security Considerations

The security of cryptographic based systems depends on both the
strength of the cryptographic algorithms chosen, the strength of the
keys used with those algorithms and the engineering of the protocol
used by the system to ensure that there are no non-cryptographic ways
to bypass the security of the overall system.

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This document concerns itself with the selection of cryptographic
algorithms for the use of IKEv2, specifically with the selection of
"mandatory-to-implement" algorithms. The algorithms identified in this
document as "MUST implement" or "SHOULD implement" are not known to be
broken at the current time and cryptographic research so far leads us
to believe that they will likely remain secure into the foreseeable
future. However, this isn't necessarily forever. We would therefore
expect that new revisions of this document will be issued from time to
time that reflect the current best practice in this area.

6. IANA Considerations

This document does not define any new registries nor elements in
existing registries. Values given here for various algorithms are
assigned in other documents and referenced here for convenience and

7. Normative References
[RFC2026]    S. Bradner, "RFC2026 The Internet Standards Process --
             Revision 3", RFC2026, 1996
[RFC2409]    Harkins, D., Carrel, D., "RFC 2409 The Internet Key
             Exchange (IKE)", RFC2409, 1998
[IKEv2]      C. Kaufman, "Internet Key Exchange (IKEv2) Protocol",
             <draft-ietf-ipsec-ikev2-06.txt>, 2003
[RFC2119]    S. Bradner, "RFC2119 Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
             Requirement Levels.", RFC2119, 1997
[RFC3526]    T. Kivinen, M. Kojo., "More Modular Exponential (MODP)
             Diffie-Hellman groups for Internet Key Exch", , 2003
[RFC2451]    R. Pereira, R. Adams, "The ESP CBC-Mode Cipher
             Algorithms", RFC2451, 1998
[RFC2410]    R. Glenn, S. Kent, "The NULL Encryption Algorithm and Its
             Use With IPsec", RFC2410, 1998
[AES-CBC]    S. Frankel, S. Kelly, R. Glenn, "The AES Cipher Algorithm
             and Its Use With IPsec", <draft-ietf-ipsec-ciph-aes-cbc-
             05.txt>, 2003
[AES-CTR]    R. Housley, "Using AES Counter Mode With IPsec ESP",
             <draft-ietf-ipsec-ciph-aes-ctr-05.txt>, 2003
[RFC2104]    H. Krawczyk, M.  Bellare, R. Canetti, "HMAC: Keyed-Hashing
             for Message Authentication", RFC2104, 1997
[AESPRF]     P. Hoffman, "The AES-XCBC-PRF-128 algorithm for IKE",
             <draft-hoffman-ipsec-aes-prf-00.txt>, 2003
[RFC2403]    C. Madson, R. Glenn, "The Use of HMAC-MD5-96 within ESP
             and AH", RFC2403, 1998
[RFC2404]    C. Madson, R. Glenn, "The Use of HMAC-SHA-1-96 within ESP
             and AH", RFC2404, 1998
[AES-MAC]    S. Frankel,H. Herbert, "The AES-XCBC-MAC-96 Algorithm and
             Its Use With IPsec", <draft-ietf-ipsec-ciph-aes-xcbc-mac-
             04.txt>, 2003

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8. Author's Contact Information

Jeffrey I. Schiller
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Room W92-190
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307

Phone: +1 (617) 253-0161

9. Full Copyright Statement

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