DHC Working Group                                                 Y. Cui
Internet-Draft                                                    Q. Sun
Updates: RFC3315 (if approved)                       Tsinghua University
Intended status: Standards Track                                T. Lemon
Expires: May 16, 2014                                      Nominum, Inc.
                                                       November 12, 2013

                    Handling Unknown DHCPv6 Messages


   Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol version 6 (DHCPv6) isn't specific
   about handling messages with unknown types.  This memo describes the
   problems and defines how a DHCPv6 function node should behave in this
   case.  This document updates RFC 3315.

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

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   This Internet-Draft will expire on May 16, 2014.

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   Copyright (c) 2013 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

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   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Requirements Language . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   3.  Problem Statement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   4.  Relay Agent Behavior Update . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
     4.1.  Definition of a Valid Message . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     4.2.  Relaying a Message towards Server . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     4.3.  Relaying a Message towards Client . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   5.  Client and Server Behavior Update . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   6.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   7.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   8.  Contributors List . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   9.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5

1.  Introduction

   Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol version 6 (DHCPv6) [RFC3315]
   provides a framework for conveying IPv6 configuration information to
   hosts on a TCP/IP network.  But [RFC3315] is not specific about how
   to deal with messages with unrecognized types.  This document
   describes the problems and defines the behavior of a DHCPv6 function
   node when handling unknown DHCPv6 messages.

2.  Requirements Language

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].

3.  Problem Statement

   The relay agent is bound to send a message either to the server or to
   the client.  But RFC3315 doesn't explicitly describe how the relay
   agent can find out it should send a message towards the server or
   towards the client.

   Another issue is that, it's not specific in RFC3315 about what a
   relay agent should do if it doesn't recognize the received messages.
   The relay agent isn't required to relay the messages, nor advised to
   drop them.

   In addition, there is no specific requirement of the client or server
   on dealing with an unknown message in RFC3315.

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4.  Relay Agent Behavior Update

   A relay agent relays the message towards the server or the client
   according to the message type.  Relay-reply messages are sent toward
   the client.  The Relay-forward message and other types of message are
   sent toward the server.

   We say "toward the client" and "toward the server" because relay
   agents may be chained together, so a relay message may be sent
   through multiple relays along the path to its destination.  Relay-
   reply messages specify a destination address; the relay agent
   extracts the encapsulated message and sends it to the specified
   destination address.  Any message other than a Relay-reply does not
   have such a specified destination, so it follows the default
   forwarding path configured on the relay agent, which is always toward
   the server.

   The sole purpose of requiring relay agents to relay unknown messages
   is to ensure that when legitimate new messages are defined in the
   protocol, relay agents, even if they were manufactured prior to the
   definition of these new messages, will, by default, succeed in
   relaying such messages.

4.1.  Definition of a Valid Message

   Section 20.1 of [RFC3315] states that:

     "When a relay agent receives a valid message to be relayed, it
     constructs a new Relay-forward message."

   It doesn't define what a valid message is.  In this document, we
   specify the definition as follows.

     The message is valid for constructing a new Relay-forward message:

     (a) if the message is a Relay-forward message, or

     (b) if a relay agent receives the message but the relay agent does
     not identify itself as the target of the message, and the message
     is not a Relay-reply message.

   In the case that a new type of relay message is sent to a relay agent
   but the relay agent doesn't recognize it, the message is put into a
   Relay-forward message and sent to the server.  Then the server knows
   the relay agent doesn't support the new message.

4.2.  Relaying a Message towards Server

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   If the relay agent received a Relay-forward message, Section 20.1.2
   of [RFC3315] defines the related behavior.  If the relay agent
   received messages other than Relay-forward and Relay-reply, it MUST
   forward them as is described in Section 20.1.1 of [RFC3315].

4.3.  Relaying a Message towards Client

   If the relay agent receives a Relay-reply message, it MUST process
   the message as is defined in Section 20.2 of [RFC3315], regardless of
   the type of the message encapsulated in the Relay Message Option.

5.  Client and Server Behavior Update

   There are chances that the client or server would receive DHCPv6
   messages with unknown types.  In this case, the client or server MUST
   discard the unrecognized messages.

6.  Security Considerations

   As the relay agent will forward all unknown types of DHCPv6 messages,
   a malicious attacker can interfere with the relaying function by
   constructing fake DHCPv6 messages with arbitrary type code.  The same
   problem may happen in current DHCPv4 and DHCPv6 practice where the
   attacker has to construct the fake DHCP message with an known type

   Clients and servers that implement this specification will discard
   unknown DHCPv6 messages.  Since RFC3315 did not specify either relay,
   client or server behavior in the presence of unknown messages, it is
   possible that some servers or clients that have not been updated to
   conform to this specification might be made vulnerable to client
   attacks through the relay agent.

   For this reason, we recommend that relay agents, clients and servers
   be updated to follow this new specification.  However, in most
   deployment scenarios, it will be much easier to attack clients
   directly than through a relay; furthermore, attacks using unknown
   message types are already possible on the local wire.

   So in most cases, if clients are not upgraded there should be minimal
   additional risk; at sites where only servers and relays can be
   upgraded, the incremental benefit of doing so most likely exceeds any
   risk due to vulnerable clients.

   Nothing in this update should be construed to mean that relay agents
   may not be administratively configurable to drop messages on the
   basis of the message type, for security reasons (e.g., in a

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7.  IANA Considerations

   This document does not include an IANA request.

8.  Contributors List

   Many thanks to Bernie Volz, Cong Liu and Yuchi Chen for their
   contributions to the document.

9.  Normative References

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

   [RFC3315]  Droms, R., Bound, J., Volz, B., Lemon, T., Perkins, C.,
              and M. Carney, "Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol for
              IPv6 (DHCPv6)", RFC 3315, July 2003.

Authors' Addresses

   Yong Cui
   Tsinghua University
   Beijing  100084

   Phone: +86-10-6260-3059
   Email: yong@csnet1.cs.tsinghua.edu.cn

   Qi Sun
   Tsinghua University
   Beijing  100084

   Phone: +86-10-6278-5822
   Email: sunqi@csnet1.cs.tsinghua.edu.cn

   Ted Lemon
   Nominum, Inc.
   2000 Seaport Blvd
   Redwood City, CA  94063

   Phone: +1-650-381-6000
   Email: Ted.Lemon@nominum.com

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