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Requirements for Kerberized Internet Negotiation of Keys

The information below is for an old version of the document that is already published as an RFC.
Document Type
This is an older version of an Internet-Draft that was ultimately published as RFC 3129.
Author Michael Thomas
Last updated 2013-03-02 (Latest revision 2001-04-30)
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IESG IESG state RFC 3129 (Informational)
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INTERNET-DRAFT    Requirements for Kerberized     Michael Thomas
                  Internet Negotiation of Keys    Cisco Systems
                                                  April 30, 2001

        Requirements for Kerberized Internet Negotiation of Keys


Status of this Memo

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

   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."

   The list of current Internet-Drafts can be accessed at

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   The KINK working group is chartered to create a standards track
   protocol to facilitate centralized key management for IPsec security
   associations as defined in RFC 2401, as an alternative to IKE (RFC
   2409).  Participating systems will use the Kerberos architecture as
   defined in RFC 1510 (and its successors) for key management. The goal
   of the working group is to produce a streamlined, fast, easily
   managed, and cryptographically sound protocol without requiring
   public key.

   The working group will not require changes to either IPsec (RFC
   2401), or Kerberos (RFC 1510).

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INTERNET-DRAFT           Requirements for KINK             30 April 2001


   The IPsec working group has defined a number of protocols which
   provide the ability to create and maintain cryptographically secure
   security associations at layer three (ie, the IP layer).  This effort
   has produced two distinct protocols:

   1) a mechanism to encrypt and authenticate IP datagram payloads which
      assumes a shared secret between the sender and receiver

   2) a mechanism for IPsec peers to perform mutual authentication and
      exchange keying material

   The IPsec working group has defined a peer to peer authentication and
   keying mechanism, IKE (RFC 2409). One of the drawbacks of a peer to
   peer protocol is that each peer must know and implement a site's
   security policy which in practice can be quite complex. In addition,
   the lack of a trusted third party requires the use of Diffie Hellman
   (DH) to establish a shared secret. DH, unfortunately, is computation-
   ally quite expensive and prone to denial of service attacks. IKE also
   relies on X.509 certificates to realize scalable authentication of
   peers. Digital signatures are also computationally expensive and cer-
   tificate based trust models are difficult to deploy in practice.
   While IKE does allow for pre-shared symmetric keys, key distribution
   is required between all peers -- an O(n^2) problem -- which is prob-
   lematic for large deployments.

   Kerberos (RFC 1510) provides a mechanism for trusted third party
   authentication for clients and servers. Clients authenticate to a
   centralized server -- the Key Distribution Center -- which in turn
   issues tickets that servers can decrypt thus proving that the client
   is who it claims to be. One of the elements of a Kerberos ticket is a
   session key which is generated by the KDC which may be used by the
   client and server to share a secret. Kerberos also allows for both
   symmetric key authentication, as well as certificate based public key
   authentication (PKinit). Since the authentication phase of Kerberos
   is performed by the KDC, there is no need to perform expensive DH or
   X.509 certificate signatures/verification operations on servers.
   While clients may authenticate using X.509 certificates, the authen-
   tication phase can be amortized over the lifetime of the credentials.
   This allows a single DH and certificate exchange to be used to key
   security associations with many servers in a computationally economic
   way. Kerberos also support clients with symmetric keys but unlike
   IKE, the symmetric keys are stored in the KDC making the number of
   keys an O(n) problem rather than O(n^2).  Kerberos also allows secu-
   rity policy to be managed in a more centralized fashion, rather than
   expecting each potentially untrustworthy peer to abide by stated
   security policies of an organization.

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INTERNET-DRAFT           Requirements for KINK             30 April 2001

   The KINK working group takes these basic features of Kerberos and
   uses them to its advantage to create a protocol which can establish
   and maintain IPsec security associations (RFC 2401).  It should be
   noted that KINK is not a replacement for IKE.  IKE has one property
   which KINK cannot reproduce:  the ability for two peers to mutually
   authenticate and exchange keys without the need for an actively par-
   ticipating third party. However, there are many situations where a
   trusted third party which proxies authentication is viable, and in
   fact desirable.

   While Kerberos specifies a standard protocol between the client and
   the KDC to get tickets, the actual ticket exchange between client and
   server is application specific.  KINK is intended to be an alterna-
   tive to requiring each application having its own method of tran-
   sporting and validating service tickets using a protocol which is
   efficient and tailored to the specific needs of Kerberos and the
   applications for which it provides keying and parameter negotiation.

   Given the above, a new general keying protocol which leverages the
   scalability of Kerberos is desirable.  The working group's first task
   is to define this protocol and define an domain of interpretation for
   IPsec to establish and maintain IPsec security associations. The pro-
   tocol must be able to take full advantage of the features of RFC 2401
   but in the context of a centralized keying authority.


   KINK must meet the following requirements at a minimum:

-    The protocol must use the session keys found in Kerberos tickets as
     the basis of the keying material used for IPsec security associa-
     tion keys.

-    The protocol must be able to integrate into security architecture
     of IPsec (RFC 2401)

-    The protocol must be able to start up SA's regardless of any
     client/server disposition in the keying protocol. In other words,
     either IPsec peer can be the initiator or responder, regardless of
     whether it's a Kerberos 'client' (TGT-only) or Kerberos 'server'
     (has a keytab).

-    The protocol must support Kerberos using either secret key, or pub-
     lic key (PKINIT) initial authentication.

-    The protocol must support Kerberos User-to-User mode for cases in
     which the initiator cannot obtain an AP_REQ for the responder (i.e.
     the responder is a PKINIT client) or the responder cannot decrypt

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INTERNET-DRAFT           Requirements for KINK             30 April 2001

     and AP_REQ from the initiator (i.e. the responder doesn't have a
     Kerberos Keytab, just a TGT).

-    The protocol must be able to allow a peer to authenticate and par-
     ticipate in many realms

-    The protocol must handle absolute time skew gracefully

-    The protocol must be able to create, modify, rekey, and delete
     security associations

-    The protocol must be capable of setting up both transport and tun-
     nel modes of IPsec

-    The protocol must be capable of setting up both AH and ESP security

-    The protocol must be capable of negotiating cipher suites

-    The protocol must be capable of setting up IPsec flow selectors

-    The protocol must be capable of rekeying without the assistance of
     the KDC if the Kerberos session ticket is still valid

-    The protocol must make an effort to mitigate third party Denial of
     Service attacks (aka Zombies attacks)

-    The protocol must be able to be used for more than IPsec keying

-    The protocol must support both IPv4 and IPv6

Security Considerations

     These requirements lay out input to define a protocol which allows
     the keying of IPsec security associations using Kerberos as the key
     distribution mechanism. As such, the security associations that
     will be created by the new protocol will inherit the union of IPsec
     and Kerberos's existing security weaknesses. There is no require-
     ment to address those weaknesses unless in combination they produce
     a new weakness which is not inherent in other keying protocols.


   The original KINK Kabal was:

   Michael Thomas (Cisco)
   David McGrew (Cisco)
   Jan Vilhuber (Cisco)

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INTERNET-DRAFT           Requirements for KINK             30 April 2001

   Jonathan Trostle (Cisco)
   Matt Hur (Cybersafe)
   Mike Froh (Cybersafe)
   Sasha Medvinsky (GI)
   Derek Atkins (Telcordia)

   It must also be acknowledged that the Packetcable Security
   specification PKT-SP-SEC-I01-991201 provided the raw fodder
   for this effort in its Kerberized IPsec section, and all of
   the focus team members who played a part in the spec. We must
   also acknowledge Nancy Davoust of Cablelabs for keeping order
   in our normally disorderly proceedings.


[1]  The CAT Working Group, J. Kohl, C.Neuman, "The Kerberos Network
     Authentication Service (V5)", RFC 1510, September 1993

[2]  The IPsec Working Group, S. Kent, R. Atkinson, "Security Architec-
     ture for the Internet Protocol", RFC 2401, November 1998

[3]  The IPsec Working Group, D. Harkins, D. Carrel, "The Internet Key
     Exchange", RFC 2409, November 1998

Author's Address

          Michael Thomas
          Cisco Systems
          375 E Tasman Rd
          San Jose, Ca, 95134, USA
          Tel: +1 408-525-5386

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