TCPM WG                                                        J. Touch
Internet Draft                                                  USC/ISI
Obsoletes: 2385                                               A. Mankin
Intended status: Proposed Standard                  Johns Hopkins Univ.
Expires: May 2009                                             R. Bonica
                                                       Juniper Networks
                                                       November 3, 2008

                       The TCP Authentication Option

Status of this Memo

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   any applicable patent or other IPR claims of which he or she is
   aware have been or will be disclosed, and any of which he or she
   becomes aware will be disclosed, in accordance with Section 6 of
   BCP 79.

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   This Internet-Draft will expire on May 3, 2009.


   This document specifies the TCP Authentication Option (TCP-AO), which
   obsoletes the TCP MD5 Signature option of RFC-2385 (TCP MD5). TCP-AO
   specifies the use of stronger Message Authentication Codes (MACs),
   protects against replays even for long-lived TCP connections, and
   provides more details on the association of security with TCP
   connections than TCP MD5. TCP-AO is compatible with either static

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   keying or an external, out-of-band key management mechanism; in
   either case, TCP-AO also protects connections when using the same key
   across repeated instances of a connection. The result is intended to
   support current infrastructure uses of TCP MD5, such as to protect
   long-lived connections (as used, e.g., in BGP and LDP), and to
   support a larger set of MACs with minimal other system and
   operational changes. TCP-AO uses its own option identifier, even
   though used mutually exclusive of TCP MD5 on a given TCP connection.
   TCP-AO supports IPv6, and is fully compatible with the requirements
   for the replacement of TCP MD5.

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction...................................................3
      1.1. Executive Summary.........................................4
      1.2. List of TBD Items.........................................5
      1.3. Changes from Previous Versions............................5
         1.3.1. New in draft-ietf-tcp-auth-opt-02....................5
         1.3.2. New in draft-ietf-tcp-auth-opt-01....................6
         1.3.3. New in draft-ietf-tcp-auth-opt-00....................7
         1.3.4. New in draft-touch-tcp-simple-auth-03................8
         1.3.5. New in draft-touch-tcp-simple-auth-02................8
         1.3.6. New in draft-touch-tcp-simple-auth-01................8
      1.4. Summary of RFC-2119 Requirements..........................8
   2. Conventions used in this document..............................9
   3. The TCP Authentication Option..................................9
      3.1. Review of TCP MD5 Option..................................9
      3.2. TCP-AO Option............................................10
   4. Preventing replay attacks within long-lived connections.......13
   5. Computing connection keys from TSAD entries...................14
   6. Security Association Management...............................16
   7. TCP-AO Interaction with TCP...................................19
      7.1. User Interface...........................................19
      7.2. TCP States and Transitions...............................20
      7.3. TCP Segments.............................................20
      7.4. Sending TCP Segments.....................................21
      7.5. Receiving TCP Segments...................................21
      7.6. Impact on TCP Header Size................................23
   8. Key Establishment and Duration Issues.........................23
      8.1. Key reuse across socket pairs............................24
      8.2. Key use within a long-lived connection...................24
      8.3. Implementing the TSAD as an External Database............24
   9. Obsoleting TCP MD5 and Legacy Interactions....................26
   10. Interactions with non-NAT/NAPT Middleboxes...................26
   11. Interactions with NAT/NAPT Devices...........................27
   12. Evaluation of Requirements Satisfaction......................27

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   13. Security Considerations......................................29
   14. IANA Considerations..........................................32
   15. Acknowledgments..............................................32
   16. References...................................................32
      16.1. Normative References....................................32
      16.2. Informative References..................................33

1. Introduction

   The TCP MD5 Signature (TCP MD5) is a TCP option that authenticates
   TCP segments, including the TCP IPv4 pseudoheader, TCP header, and
   TCP data. It was developed to protect BGP sessions from spoofed TCP
   segments which could affect BGP data or the robustness of the TCP
   connection itself [RFC2385][RFC4953].

   There have been many recent concerns about TCP MD5. Its use of a
   simple keyed hash for authentication is problematic because there
   have been escalating attacks on the algorithm itself [Wa05]. TCP MD5
   also lacks both key management and algorithm agility. This document
   adds the latter, but notes that TCP does not provide a sufficient
   framework for cryptographic key management. This document obsoletes
   the TCP MD5 option with a more general TCP Authentication Option
   (TCP-AO), to support the use of other, stronger hash functions,
   provide replay protection for long-lived connections and across
   repeated instances of a single connection, and to provide a more
   structured recommendation on external key management. The result is
   compatible with IPv6, and is fully compatible with requirements under
   development for a replacement for TCP MD5 [Be07].

   This document is not intended to replace the use of the IPsec suite
   (IPsec and IKE) to protect TCP connections [RFC4301][RFC4306]. In
   fact, we recommend the use of IPsec and IKE, especially where IKE's
   level of existing support for parameter negotiation, session key
   negotiation, or rekeying are desired. TCP-AO is intended for use only
   where the IPsec suite would not be feasible, e.g., as has been
   suggested is the case for some routing protocols, or in cases where
   keys need to be tightly coordinated with individual transport
   sessions [Be07].

   Note that TCP-AO obsoletes TCP MD5, although a particular
   implementation may support both for backward compatibility. For a
   given connection, only one can be in use. TCP MD5-protected
   connections cannot be migrated to TCP-AO because TCP MD5 does not
   support any changes to a connection's security configuration once

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1.1. Executive Summary

   This document replaces TCP MD5 as follows [RFC2385]:

   o  TCP-AO uses a separate option Kind for TCP-AO (TBD-IANA-KIND).

   o  TCP-AO allows TCP MD5 to continue to be used for other (legacy)

   o  TCP-AO replaces MD5's single MAC algorithm with two prespecified
      MACs (TBD-WG-MACS), and allows extension to include other MACs.

   o  TCP-AO allows rekeying during a TCP connection, assuming that an
      out-of-band protocol or manual mechanism coordinates the key
      change. In such cases, a key ID allows the efficient concurrent
      use of multiple keys. Note that TCP MD5 does not preclude rekeying
      during a connection, but does not require its support either.
      Further, TCP-AO supports rekeying with zero packet loss, whereas
      rekeying in TCP MD5 can lose packets in transit during the
      changeover or require trying multiple keys on each received
      segment during key use overlap.

   o  TCP-AO provides automatic key rollover to provide replay
      protection for long-lived connections.

   o  TCP-AO ensures per-connection keys as unique as the TCP connection
      itself, using TCP's ISNs for differentiation, even when static
      keys are used for repeated instances of a socket pair.

   o  This document provides more detail in how this option interacts
      with TCP's states, event processing, and user interface.

   o  The TCP-AO option is 3 bytes shorter than TCP MD5 (15 bytes
      overall, rather than 18) in the default case (assuming a 96-bit

   This document differs from an IPsec/IKE solution in that TCP-AO as
   follows [RFC4301][RFC4306]:

   o  TCP-AO does not support dynamic parameter negotiation.

   o  TCP-AO uses TCP's socket pair (source address, destination
      address, source port, destination port) as a security parameter
      index, rather than using a separate field as a primary index
      (IPsec's SPI).

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   o  TCP-AO forces a change of computed MACs when a connection
      restarts, even when reusing a TCP socket pair (IP addresses and
      port numbers) [Be07].

   o  TCP-AO does not support encryption.

   o  TCP-AO does not authenticate ICMP messages (some ICMP messages may
      be authenticated via IPsec, depending on the configuration).

1.2. List of TBD Items

   [NOTE: to be omitted upon final publication as RFC]

   SAAG: The following items are to be determined (TBD) prior to
   publication. Once a value is chosen, it should be replaced for the
   notation below throughout this document and the item removed from
   this list.

   TBD-IANA-KIND  new TCP option Kind for TCP-AO, assigned by IANA

   TBD-WG-MACS    list of default required MAC algorithms

   TBD-WG-MACLEN  default length of MAC used in the TCP-AO MAF

1.3. Changes from Previous Versions

   [NOTE: to be omitted upon final publication as RFC]

1.3.1. New in draft-ietf-tcp-auth-opt-02

   o  List issue - Replay Protection: incorporated key rollover based on
      extended sequence number space, not using KeyID space.

   o  List issue - Unique Connection Keys: ISNs are used to generate
      unique connection keys even when static keys used for repeated
      instances of a socket pair.

   o  List issue - Header Format and Alignment: Moved KeyID to front.

   o  List issue - Reserved KeyID Value: Suggestion to reserve a single
      KeyID value for implementation optimization received no support on
      the WG list, so this was not changed.

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   o  List issue - KeyID Randomness: KeyIDs are not assumed random; a
      note was added that nonce-based filtering should be done on a
      portion of the MAC (incorporated into the algorithm), and that
      header fields should not be assumed to have cryptographic
      properties (e.g., randomness).

   o  List issue - Support for NATs: preliminary rough consensus
      suggests that TCP-AO should not be augmented to support NAT
      traversal. Existing mechanisms for such traversal (UDP support)
      can be applied, or IPsec NAT traversal is recommended in such
      cases instead.

   o  IETF-72 topic - providing algorithm ID and T-bit (options
      excluded) locations in the header: (No current consensus was
      reached on this topic, so no change was made.)

   o  IETF-72 topic - providing additional header bits for in-band key
      change signaling (draft-bonica's "K" bit): (No current consensus
      was reached on this topic, so no change was made.)

   o  Clarified TCP-AO as obsoleting TCP MD5.

   o  Clarified the MAC Type as referring to the IANA registry of IKEv2
      transforms, not the RFC establishing that registry.

   o  Added citation to the Wang/Yu paper regarding attacks on MD5 Wa05
      to replace reports in Be05 and Bu06.

   o  Explained why option exclusion can't be changed during a

   o  Clarified that AO explicitly allows rekeying during a TCP
      connection, without impacting packet loss.

   o  Described TCP-AO's interaction with reboots more clearly, and
      explained the need to clear out old state that persists

1.3.2. New in draft-ietf-tcp-auth-opt-01

   o  Require KeyID in all versions. Remove odd/even indicator of KeyID

   o  Relax restrictions on key reuse: requiring an algorithm for nonce
      introduction based on ISNs, and suggest key rollover every 2^31
      bytes (rather than using an extended sequence number, which
      introduces new state to the TCP connection).

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   o  Clarify NAT interaction; currently does not support omitting the
      IP addresses or TCP ports, both of which would be required to
      support NATs without any coordination. This appears to present a
      problem for key management - if the key manager knows the received
      addrs and ports, it should coordinate them (as indicated in Sec

   o  Options are included or excluded all-or-none. Excluded options are
      deleted, not just zeroed, to avoid the impact of reordering or
      length changes of such options.

   o  Augment replay discussion in security considerations.

   o  Revise discussion of IKEv2 MAC algorithm names.

   o  Remove executive summary comparison to expired documents.

   o  Clarified key words to exclude lower case usage.

1.3.3. New in draft-ietf-tcp-auth-opt-00

   o  List of TBD values, and indication of how each is determined.

   o  Changed TCP-SA to TCP-AO (removed 'simple' throughout).

   o  Removed proposed NAT mechanism; cited RFC-3947 NAT-T as
      appropriate approach instead.

   o  Made several changes coordinated in the TCP-AUTH-DT as follow:

   o  Added R. Bonica as co-author.

   o  Use new TCP option Kind in the core doc.

   o  Addresses the impact of explicit declines on security.

   o  Add limits to TSAD size (2 <= TSAD <= 256).

   o  Allow 0 as a legitimate KeyID.

   o  Allow the WG to determine the two appropriate required MAC

   o  Add TO-DO items.

   o  Added discussion at end of Introduction as to why TCP MD5
      connections cannot be upgraded to TCP-AO.

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1.3.4. New in draft-touch-tcp-simple-auth-03

   o  Added support for NAT/NAPT.

   o  Added support for IPv6.

   o  Added discussion of how this proposal satisfies requirements under
      development, including those indicated in [Be07].

   o  Clarified the byte order of all data used in the MAC.

   o  Changed the TCP option exclusion bit from a bit to a list.

1.3.5. New in draft-touch-tcp-simple-auth-02

   o  Add reference to Bellovin's need-for-TCP-auth doc [Be07].

   o  Add reference to SP4 [SDNS88].

   o  Added notes that TSAD to be externally implemented; this was
      compatible with the TSAD described in the previous version.

   o  Augmented the protocol to allow a KeyID, required to support
      efficient overlapping keys during rekeying, and potentially useful
      during connection establishment. Accommodated by redesigning the

   o  Added the odd/even indicator for the KeyID.

   o  Allow for the exclusion of all TCP options in the MAC calculation.

1.3.6. New in draft-touch-tcp-simple-auth-01

   o  Allows intra-session rekeying, assuming out-of-band coordination.

   o  MUST allow TSAD entries to change, enabling rekeying within a TCP

   o  Omits discussion of the impact of connection reestablishment on
      BGP, because added support for rekeying renders this point moot.

   o  Adds further discussion on the need for rekeying.

1.4. Summary of RFC-2119 Requirements

   [NOTE: a summary will be placed here prior to last call]

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2. Conventions used in this document

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in RFC-2119 [RFC2119].

   In this document, these words will appear with that interpretation
   only when in ALL CAPS. Lower case uses of these words are not to be
   interpreted as carrying RFC-2119 significance.

3. The TCP Authentication Option

   The TCP Authentication Option (TCP-AO) uses a TCP option Kind value

3.1. Review of TCP MD5 Option

   For review, the TCP MD5 option is shown in Figure 1.

                | Kind=19 |Length=18|   MD5 digest...   |
                |                                       |
                |                                       |
                |                                       |
                |                   |

                   Figure 1 The TCP MD5 Option [RFC2385]

   In the TCP MD5 option, the length is fixed, and the MD5 digest
   occupies 16 bytes following the Kind and Length fields, using the
   full MD5 digest of 128 bits [RFC1321].

   The TCP MD5 option specifies the use of the MD5 digest calculation
   over the following values in the following order:

   1. The TCP pseudoheader (IP source and destination addresses,
      protocol number, and segment length).

   2. The TCP header excluding options and checksum.

   3. The TCP data payload.

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   4. The connection key.

3.2. TCP-AO Option

   The new TCP-AO option provides a superset of the capabilities of TCP
   MD5, and is minimal in the spirit of SP4 [SDNS88]. TCP-AO uses a new
   Kind field, and similar Length field to TCP MD5, as well as a KeyID
   field as shown in Figure 2.

            |   Kind   |  Length  |  KeyID   |   MAC    |
            |                 MAC (con't)      ...

              ...  MAC (con't)    |

                        Figure 2 The TCP-AO Option

   The TCP-AO defines the following fields:

   o  Kind: An unsigned 1-byte field indicating the TCP-AO Option. TCP-
      AO uses a new Kind value of TBD-IANA-KIND. Because of how keys are
      managed (see Section 6), an endpoint will not use TCP-AO for the
      same connection in which TCP MD5 is used.

      >> A single TCP segment MUST NOT have more than one TCP-AO option.

   o  Length: An unsigned 1-byte field indicating the length of the TCP-
      AO option in bytes, including the Kind, Length, KeyID, and MAC

      >> The Length value MUST be greater than or equal to 3.

      >> The Length value MUST be consistent with the TCP header length;
      this is a consistency check and avoids overrun/underrun abuse.

      Values of 3 and other small values are of dubious utility (e.g.,
      for MAC=NONE, or small values for very short MACs) but not
      specifically prohibited.

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   o  KeyID: An unsigned 1-byte field is used to support efficient key
      changes during a connection and/or to help with key coordination
      during connection establishment, and will be discussed further in
      Section 4. Note that the KeyID has no cryptographic properties -
      it need not be random, nor are there any reserved values.

   o  MAC: Message Authentication Field. Its contents are determined by
      the particulars of the security association. Typical MACs are 96-
      128 bits (12-16 bytes), but any length that fits in the header of
      the segment being authenticated is allowed.

      >> TCP-AO MUST support TBD-WG-MACS; other MACs MAY be supported

   The MAC is computed over the following fields in the following order:

   1. The extended sequence number (ESN), in network-standard byte
      order, as follows:

                   |                ESN                |

                     Figure 3 Extended sequence number

      The ESN for transmitted segments is locally maintained from a
      locally maintained SND.ESN value, for received segments, a local
      RCV.ESN value is used. The details of how these values are
      maintained and used is described in Sections 4, 7.4, and 7.5.

   2. The TCP pseudoheader: IP source and destination addresses,
      protocol number and segment length, all in network byte order,
      prepended to the TCP header below. The pseudoheader is exactly as
      used for the TCP checksum in either IPv4 or IPv6

                   |           Source Address          |
                   |         Destination Address       |
                   |  zero  | Proto  |    TCP Length   |

                  Figure 4 TCP IPv4 pseudoheader [RFC793]

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                   |                                   |
                   +                                   +
                   |                                   |
                   +           Source Address          +
                   |                                   |
                   +                                   +
                   |                                   |
                   +                                   +
                   |                                   |
                   +                                   +
                   |                                   |
                   +         Destination Address       +
                   |                                   |
                   +                                   +
                   |                                   |
                   |      Upper-Layer Packet Length    |
                   |      zero       |   Next Header   |

                 Figure 5 TCP IPv6 pseudoheader [RFC2460]

   3. The TCP header, by default including options, and where the TCP
      checksum and TCP-AO MAC fields are set to zero, all in network
      byte order

   4. TCP data, in network byte order

   Note that the connection key is not included here; we expect that the
   MAC algorithm will indicate how to use the key, e.g., as HMACs do in
   general [RFC2104][RFC2403]. The connection key is derived from the
   TSAD key entry as described in Sections 6, 7.4, and 7.5.

   By default,TCP-AO includes the TCP options in the MAC calculation
   because these options are intended to be end-to-end and some are
   required for proper TCP operation (e.g., SACK, timestamp, large
   windows). Middleboxes that alter TCP options en-route are a kind of
   attack and would be successfully detected by TCP-AO. In cases where
   the configuration of the connection's security association state
   indicates otherwise, the TCP options can be excluded from the MAC
   calculation. When options are excluded, all options - including TCP-
   AO - are skipped over during the MAC calculation (rather than being

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   The TCP-AO option does not indicate the MAC algorithm either
   implicitly (as with TCP MD5) or explicitly. The particular algorithm
   used is considered part of the configuration state of the
   connection's security association and is managed separately (see
   Section 6).

4. Preventing replay attacks within long-lived connections

   TCP uses a 32-bit sequence number which may, for long-lived
   connections, roll over and repeat. This could result in TCP segments
   being intentionally and legitimately replayed within a connection.
   TCP-AO prevents replay attacks, and thus requires a way to
   differentiate these legitimate replays from each other, and so it
   adds a 32-bit extended sequence number (ESN) for transmitted and
   received segments.

   TCP-AO thus maintains SND.ESN for transmitted segments, and RCV.ESN
   for received segments, both initialized as zero when a connection
   begins. The intent of these ESNs is, together with TCP's 32-bit
   sequence numbers, to provide a 64-bit overall sequence number space.

   For transmitted segments SND.ESN can be implemented by extending
   TCP's sequence number to 64-bits; SND.ESN would be the top (high-
   order) 32 bits of that number. For received segments, TCP-AO needs to
   emulate the use of a 64-bit number space, and correctly infer the
   appropriate high-order 32-bits of that number as RCV.ESN from the
   received 32-bit sequence number and the current connection context.

   The implementation of ESNs is not specified in this document, but one
   possible way is described here that can be used for either RCV.ESN,
   SND.ESN, or both.

   Consider an implementation with two ESNs as required (SND.ESN,
   RCV.ESN), and additional variables as listed below, all initialized
   to zero, as well as a current TCP segment field (SEG.SEQ):

   o  SND.PREV_SEQ, needed to detect rollover of SND.ESN

   o  RCV.PREV_SEQ, needed to detect rollover of RCV.ESN

   o  SND.ESN_FLAG, which indicates when to increment the SND.ESN

   o  RCV.ESN_FLAG, which indicates when to increment the RCV.ESN

   o  ROLL, a temporary variable used to simplify the code

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   When a segment is received, the following algorithm (written in C)
   computes the ESN used in the MAC; an equivalent algorithm can be
   applied to the "SND" side:

         ROLL = (RCV.PREV_SEQ > 0xffff) && (SEG.SEQ < 0xffff);

         if ((RCV.ESN_FLAG == 0) && (ROLL)) {

               RCV.ESN = RCV.ESN + 1;

               RCV.ESN_FLAG = 1;


         # we've already incremented the RCV.ESN at this point

         if (ROLL) {

            ESN = RCV.ESN - 1; # use the pre-increment value

         } else {

            ESN = RCV.ESN; # use the current value


         RCV.PREV_SEQ = SEG.SEQ;

         if (SEG.SEQ > 0xffff) {

            RCV.ESN_FLAG = 0;


5. Computing connection keys from TSAD entries

   TSAD key entries, described in Section 6, are used in conjunction
   with a TCP's connection ISNs to generate unique connection keys. This
   allows a static TSAD key to be reused across different connections,
   or across different instances of connections within a socket pair,
   while maintaining unique connection keys. Unique connection keys are
   generated without relying on external key management properties.

   Given a TSAD key, the TCP socket pair, and the connection ISNs, the
   connection key used in the MAC algorithm is computed as follows,
   truncated to the same length as the TSAD key, using the same MAC
   algorithm as the TSAD key (TALG):

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      Conn_key = TALG(TSAD_key, connblock)

   The connection block (connblock) is defined as follows (IP addresses
   are correspondingly longer for IPv6 addresses):

                   |             Source IP             |
                   |           Destination IP          |
                   |   Source Port   |    Dest. Port   |
                   |            Source ISN             |
                   |          Destination ISN          |

       Figure 6 Connection block used for connection key generation

   "Source" and "destination" are defined by the direction of the
   segment being MAC'd; for incoming packets, source is the remote side,
   whereas for outgoing packets source is the local side. This further
   ensures that keys for each direction are unique.

   For SYN segments (segments with the SYN set, but the ACK not set),
   the destination ISN is not known. For these segments, the key is
   computed using the connection block shown above, in which the
   Destination ISN value is zero. For all other segments, the ISN pair
   is used when known. If the ISN pair is not known, e.g., when sending
   a RST after a reboot, the segment should be sent without
   authentication; if authentication was required, the segment cannot
   have been MAC'd properly anyway and would have been dropped on

   >> TCP-AO SYN segments (SYN set, no ACK set) MUST use a destination
   ISN of zero (whether sent or received); all other segments use the
   known ISN pair.

   >> Segments sent in response to connections for which the ISNs are
   not known SHOULD NOT use TCP-AO.

   Once a connection is established, a connection key would typically be
   cached to avoid recomputing it on a per-segment basis. The use of
   both ISNs in the connection key computation ensures that segments
   cannot be replayed across repeated connections reusing the same
   socket pair (provided the ISN pair does not repeat, which is
   extremely unlikely).

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   In general, a SYN would be MAC'd using a destination ISN of zero
   (whether sent or received), and all other segments would be MAC'd
   using the ISN pair for the connection. There are other cases in which
   the destination ISN is not known, but segments are emitted, such as
   after an endpoint reboots, when is possible that the two endpoints
   would not have enough information to authenticate segments. In such
   cases, TCP's timeout mechanism will allow old state to be cleared to
   enable new connections, except where the user timeout is disabled; it
   is important that implementations are capable of detecting excesses
   of TCP connections in such a configuration and can clear them out if
   needed to protect its memory usage [Je07].

6. Security Association Management

   TCP-AO relies on a TCP Security Association Database (TSAD). TSAD
   entries are assumed to exist at the endpoints where TCP-AO is used,
   in advance of the connection:

   1. TCP connection identifier (ID), i.e., socket pair - IP source
      address, IP destination address, TCP source port, and TCP
      destination port [RFC793]. TSAD entries are uniquely determined by
      their TCP connection ID, which is used to index those entries.

      >> There MUST be no more than one matching TSAD entry per
     direction for a TCP connection ID.

   2. For each of inbound (for received TCP segments) and outbound (for
      sent TCP segments) directions for this connection (except as

       a. TCP option flag. When 0, this flag allows default operation,
          i.e., TCP options are included in the MAC calculation, with
          TCP-AO's MAC field zeroed out.  When 1, all options (including
          TCP-AO) are excluded from all MAC calculations (skipped over,
          not simply zeroed).

          >> The TCP option flag MUST default to 0 (i.e., options not

          >> The TCP option flag MUST NOT change during a TCP

          The TCP option flag cannot change during a connection because
          TCP state is coordinated during connection establishment. TCP
          lacks a handshake for modifying that state after a connection
          has been established.

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       b. An extended sequence number (ESN). The ESN enables each
          segment's MAC calculation to have unique input data, even when
          payload data is retransmitted and the TCP sequence number
          repeats due to wraparound. The ESN is initialized to zero upon
          connection establishment. Its use in the MAC calculation is
          described in Section 3.2, and its management is described in
          Section 4.

       c. An ordered list of zero or more key tuples. Each tuple is
          defined as the set <KeyID, MAC type, key length, key> as

          >> TSAD key tuple components MUST NOT change during a

          Keeping the tuple components static ensures that the KeyID
          uniquely determines the properties of a packet; this supports
          use of the KeyID to determine the packet properties.

          >> The set of TSAD key tuples MAY change during a connection,
          but KeyIDs of those tuples MUST NOT overlap. I.e., tuple
          parameter changes MUST be accompanied by key changes.

           i. KeyID. A single byte used to differentiate connection
               keys in concurrent use.

               >> A TSAD implementation MUST support at least two KeyIDs
               per connection per direction, and MAY support up to 256.

               >> A KeyID MUST support any value, 0-255 inclusive. There
               are no reserved KeyID values.

               KeyID values are assigned arbitrarily. They can be
               assigned in sequence, or based on any method mutually
               agreed by the connection endpoints (e.g., using an
               external key management mechanism).

               >> KeyIDs MUST NOT be assumed to be randomly assigned.

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          ii. MAC type. Indicates the MAC used for this connection,
               referencing types registered in the IKEv2 Transform Type
               3 (Integrity Algorithms) Registry of the IANA established
               by [RFC4306]. This includes each MAC algorithm (e.g.,
               HMAC-MD5, HMAC-SHA1, UMAC, etc.) and the length of the
               MAC as truncated to (e.g., 96, 128, etc.). Note that TCP-
               AO refers to the IKEv2 list of transforms, but TCP-AO is
               not dependent on IKEv2 itself.

               >> A MAC type of "NONE" MUST be supported, to indicate
               that authentication is not used in this direction; this
               allows asymmetric use of TCP-AO.

               >> At least one direction (inbound/outbound) SHOULD have
               a non-"NONE" MAC in practice, but this MUST NOT be
               strictly required by an implementation.

               >> When the outbound MAC is set to values other than
               "NONE", TCP-AO MUST occur in every outbound TCP segment
               for that connection; when set to NONE or when no tuple
               exists, TCP-AO MUST NOT occur in those segments.

               >> When the inbound MAC is set to values other than
               "NONE", TCP-AO MUST occur in every inbound TCP segment
               for that connection; when set to "NONE" or when no tuple
               exists, TCP-AO SHOULD NOT be added to those segments, but
               MAY occur and MUST be ignored.

         iii. Key length. A byte indicating the length of the key in

          iv. Key. A byte sequence used for generating connection keys,
               this may be derived from a separate shared key by an
               external protocol over a separate channel. This sequence
               is used in network-standard byte order in the key
               generation algorithm described in Section 5.

   It is anticipated that TSAD entries for TCP connections in states
   other than CLOSED can be stored in the TCP Control Block (TCB) or in
   a separate database (see Section 8.1 for notes on the latter); TSAD
   entries for pending connections (in passive or active OPEN) may be
   stored in a separate database. This means that in a single host there
   should be only a single database that is consulted by all pending
   connections, the same way that there is only one set of TCBs.
   Multiple databases could be used to support virtual hosts, i.e.,
   groups of interfaces.

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   Note that the TCP-AO fields omit an explicit algorithm ID; that
   algorithm is already specified by the TCP connection ID and stored in
   the TSAD.

   Also note that this document does not address how TSAD entries are
   created by users/processes; it specifies how they must be destroyed
   corresponding to connection states, but users/processes may destroy
   entries as well. It is presumed that a TSAD entry affecting a
   particular connection cannot be destroyed during an active connection
   - or, equivalently, that its parameters are copied to TSAD entries
   local to the connection (i.e., instantiated) and so changes would
   affect only new connections. The TSAD could be managed by a separate
   application protocol, and can be stored in a separate database if

7. TCP-AO Interaction with TCP

   The following is a description of how TCP-AO affects various TCP
   states, segments, events, and interfaces. This description is
   intended to augment the description of TCP as provided in RFC793

7.1. User Interface

   The TCP user interface supports active and passive OPEN, SEND,

   >> TCP OPEN, or the sequence of commands that configure a connection
   to be in the active or passive OPEN state, MUST be augmented so that
   a TSAD entry can be configured.

   Users are advised to not inappropriately reuse keys [RFC3562]. As
   noted in Section 3.2, this is accomplished in TCP-AO by the use of
   unique per-connection nonces in conjunction with conventional keys.

   >> TCP STATUS SHOULD be augmented to allow the TSAD entry of a
   current or pending connection to be read (for confirmation).

   >> A TCP-AO implmentation MUST allow TSAD entries for ongoing TCP
   connections (i.e., not in the CLOSED state) to be modified.
   Parameters not used to index a connection MAY be modified; parameters
   used to index a connection MUST NOT be modified.

   TSAD entries for TCP connections not in the CLOSED state are deleted
   indirectly using the CLOSE or ABORT commands.

   TCP SEND and RECEIVE are not affected by TCP-AO.

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7.2. TCP States and Transitions


   >> A TSAD entry MAY be associated with any TCP state.

   >> A TSAD entry MAY underspecify the TCP connection for the LISTEN
   state. Such an entry MUST NOT be used for more than one connection
   progressing out of the LISTEN state.

7.3. TCP Segments

   TCP includes control (at least one of SYN, FIN, RST flags set) and
   data (none of SYN, FIN, or RST flags set) segments. Note that some
   control segments can include data (e.g., SYN).

   >> All TCP segments MUST be checked against the TSAD for matching TCP
   connection IDs.

   >> TCP segments matching TSAD entries with non-NULL MACs without TCP-
   AO, or with TCP-AO and whose MACs and KeyIDs do not validate MUST be
   silently discarded.

   >> TCP segments with TCP-AO but not matching TSAD entries MUST be
   silently accepted; this is required for equivalent function with TCPs
   not implementing TCP-AO.

   >> Silent discard events SHOULD be signaled to the user as a warning,
   and silent accept events MAY be signaled to the user as a warning.
   Both warnings, if available, MUST be accessible via the STATUS
   interface. Either signal MAY be asynchronous, but if so they MUST be
   rate-limited. Either signal MAY be logged; logging SHOULD allow rate-
   limiting as well.

   All TCP-AO processing occurs between the interface of TCP and IP; for
   incoming segments, this occurs after validation of the TCP checksum.
   For outgoing segments, this occurs before computation of the TCP

   Note that the TCP-AO option is not negotiated. It is the
   responsibility of the receiver to determine when TCP-AO is required
   and to enforce that requirement.

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7.4. Sending TCP Segments

   The following procedure describes the modifications to TCP to support
   TCP-AO when a segment departs.

   1. Check the segment's TCP connection ID against the TSAD

   2. If there is NO TSAD entry, omit the TCP-AO option. Proceed with
      computing the TCP checksum and transmit the segment.

   3. If there is a TSAD entry with zero key tuples, omit the TCP-AO
      option. Proceed with computing the TCP checksum and transmit the

   4. If there is a TSAD entry and a key tuple and the outgoing MAC is
      NONE, omit the TCP-AO option. Proceed with computing the TCP
      checksum and transmit the segment.

   5. If there is a TSAD entry and a key tuple and the outgoing MAC is
      not NONE:

       a. Augment the TCP header with the TCP-AO, inserting the
          appropriate Length and KeyID based on the indexed TSAD entry.
          Update the TCP header length accordingly.

       b. Determine SND.ESN as described in Section 4.

       c. Determine the connection key from the indexed TSAD entry as
          described in Section 5.

       d. Compute the MAC using the indexed TSAD entry and data from the
          segment as specified in Section 3.2, including the TCP
          pseudoheader and TCP header. Include or exclude the options as
          indicated by the TSAD entry's TCP option exclusion flag.

       e. Insert the MAC in the TCP-AO field.

       f. Proceed with computing the TCP checksum on the outgoing packet
          and transmit the segment.

7.5. Receiving TCP Segments

   The following procedure describes the modifications to TCP to support
   TCP-AO when a segment arrives.

   1. Check the segment's TCP connection ID against the TSAD.

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   2. If there is NO TSAD entry, proceed with TCP processing.

   3. If there is a TSAD entry with zero key tuples, proceed with TCP

   4. If there is a TSAD entry with a key tuple and the incoming MAC is
      NONE, proceed with TCP processing.

   5. If there is a TSAD entry with a key tuple and the incoming MAC is
      not NONE:

       a. Check that the segment's TCP-AO Length matches the length
          indicated by the indexed TSAD.

           i. If Lengths differ, silently discard the segment. Log
               and/or signal the event as indicated in Section 7.3.

       b. Use the KeyID value to index the appropriate key for this

           i. If the TSAD has no entry corresponding to the segment's
               KeyID, silently discard the segment.

       c. Determine the segment's RCV.ESN as described in Section 4.

       d. Determine the segment's connection key from the indexed TSAD
          entry as described in Section 5.

       e. Compute the segment's MAC using the indexed TSAD entry and
          portions of the segment as indicated in Section 3.2.

          Again, if options are excluded (as per the TCP option
          exclusion flag), they are skipped over (rather than zeroed)
          when used as input to the MAC calculation.

           i. If the computed MAC differs from the TCP-AO MAC field
               value, silently discard the segment. Log and/or signal
               the event as indicated in Section 7.3.

       f. Proceed with TCP processing of the segment.

   It is suggested that TCP-AO implementations validate a segment's
   Length field before computing a MAC, to reduce the overhead incurred
   by spoofed segments with invalid TCP-AO fields.

   Additional reductions in MAC validation can be supported by using a
   MAC algorithm that partitions the MAC field into fixed and computed

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   portions, where the fixed value is validated before investing in the
   computed portion. This optimization would be contained in the MAC
   algorithm specification. Note that the KeyID cannot be used for
   connection validation per se, because it is not assumed random.

7.6. Impact on TCP Header Size

   The TCP-AO option typically uses a total of 17-19 bytes of TCP header
   space. TCP-AO is no larger than and typically 3 bytes smaller than
   the TCP MD5 option (assuming a 96-bit MAC). Although TCP option space
   is limited, we believe TCP-AO is consistent with the desire to
   authenticate TCP at the connection level for similar uses as were
   intended by TCP MD5.

8. Key Establishment and Duration Issues

   The TCP-AO option does not provide a mechanism for connection key
   negotiation or parameter negotiation (MAC algorithm, length, or use
   of the TCP-AO option) or rekeying during a connection. We assume out-
   of-band mechanisms for key establishment, parameter negotiation, and
   rekeying. This separation of key use from key management is similar
   to that in the IPsec security suite [RFC4301][RFC4306].

   We encourage users of TCP-AO to apply known techniques for generating
   appropriate keys, including the use of reasonable connection key
   lengths, limited connection key sharing, and limiting the duration of
   connection key use [RFC3562]. This also includes the use of per-
   connection nonces, as suggested in Section 3.2.

   TCP-AO supports rekeying in which new keys are negotiated out-of-
   band, either via a protocol or a manual procedure [RFC4808]. New keys
   use is coordinated using the out-of-band mechanism to update the TSAD
   at both TCP endpoints. In the default case, where only a single key
   is used at a time, the temporary use of invalid keys would result in
   packets being dropped; TCP is already robust to such drops. Such
   drops may affect TCP's throughput temporarily, as a result TCP-AO
   benefits from the use of congestion control support for temporary
   path outages.

   >> TCP-AO SHOULD be deployed in conjunction with support for
   selective acknowledgement (SACK), including support for multiple lost
   segments in the same round trip [RFC2018][RFC3517].

   Note that TCP-AO's support for rekeying is designed to be minimal in
   the default case. Segments carry only enough context to identify the
   security association [RFC4301][RFC4306]. In TCP-AO, this context is
   provided by the socket pair (IP addresses and ports for source and

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   destination). The TSAD can contain multiple concurrent keys, where
   the KeyID field is used to identify the key that corresponds to a
   segment, to avoid the need for expensive trial-and-error testing of
   keys in sequence.

   The KeyID field is also useful in coordinating keys for new
   connections. A TSAD entry may be configured that matches the unbound
   source port, which would return a set of possible keys. The KeyID
   would then indicate the specific key, allowing more efficient
   connection establishment; otherwise, the keys could have been tried
   in sequence. See also Section 8.1.

   Implementations are encouraged to keep keys in a suitably private

8.1. Key reuse across socket pairs

   Keys can be reused across different socket pairs within a host, or
   across different instances of a socket pair within a host. In either
   case, replay protection is maintained.

   Keys reused across different socket pairs cannot enable replay
   attacks because the TCP socket pair is included in the MAC, as well
   as in the generation of the connection key. Keys reused across
   repeated instances of a given socket pair cannot enable replay
   attacks because the connection ISNs are included in the connection
   key generation algorithm, and ISN pairs are unlikely to repeat over
   useful periods.

   Keys should not be shared across different hosts, because this could
   compromise the keying material itself.

8.2. Key use within a long-lived connection

   TCP-AO uses extended sequence numbers (ESNs) to prevent replay
   attacks within long-lived connections. Key rollover can be used to
   change keying material for various reasons (e.g., personnel
   turnover), but is not required to support long-lived connections.

8.3. Implementing the TSAD as an External Database

   The TSAD implementation is considered external to TCP-AO. When an
   external database is used, it would be useful to consider the
   interface between TCP-AO and the TSAD. The following is largely a
   restatement of information in Section 6.

   The TSAD API is accessed during a connection as follows:

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   o  TCP connection identifier (ID) (The socket pair, sent as 4 byte IP
      source address, 4 byte IP destination address, 2 byte TCP source
      port, 2 byte TCP destination port).

   o  Direction indicator (sent as a single byte, 0x00 = inbound, 0x01 =

   o  Number of bytes to be sent/received (two bytes); this is used on
      the send side to trigger bytecount-based KeyID changes, and on the
      receive side only for statistics or length-sensitive KeyID

   o  KeyID (single byte); this is provided only by a receiver (i.e.,
      matching the KeyID of the received segment), where a sender would
      leave this unspecified (and the call would return the appropriate
      KeyID to use).

   The call passes the number of bytes sent/received, and an indication
   of the direction (send/receive), to enable traffic-based key

   The source port can be 'unbound', indicated by the value 0x0000. In
   this case, the source port is considered a wildcard, and all
   corresponding TSAD entries (indexed by the KeyID) are returned as a
   list. This feature is used during connection establishment.

   TSAD calls return the following parameters:

   o  TCP option exclusion flag (one byte, with 0x00 having the meaning
      "exclude none" and 0x01 meaning "exclude all").

   o  An ordered list of zero or more connection key tuples:
      <KeyID, MAC type, MAC length, key length, key>

       o  KeyID (one byte)

       o  MAC type (four bytes, an IKEv2 Transform Type 3 ID [RFC4306])

       o  MAC length (one byte)

       o  Key length (one byte)

       o  Key (byte sequence, indicating the key value)

   When the TSAD returns zero keys, it is indicating that there are no
   currently valid keys for the connection.

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9. Obsoleting TCP MD5 and Legacy Interactions

   TCP-AO obsoletes TCP MD5. As we have noted earlier:

   >> TCP implementations MUST support TCP-AO.

   Systems implementing TCP MD5 only are considered legacy, and ought to
   be upgraded when possible. In order to support interoperation with
   such legacy systems until upgrades are available:

   >> TCP MD5 SHOULD be supported where interactions with legacy systems
   is needed.

   >> A system that supports both TCP-AO and TCP MD5 MUST use TCP-AO for
   connections unless not supported by its peer, at which point it MAY
   use TCP MD5 instead.

   >> A TCP implementation MUST NOT use both TCP-AO and TCP MD5 for a
   particular TCP connection, but MAY support TCP-AO and TCP MD5
   simultaneously for different connections (notably to support legacy
   use of TCP MD5).

   The Kind value explicitly indicates whether TCP-AO or TCP MD5 is used
   for a particular connection in TCP segments.

   It is possible that the TSAD could be augmented to support TCP MD5,
   although use of a TSAD-like system is not described in RFC2385.

   It is possible to require TCP-AO for a connection or TCP MD5, but it
   is not possible to require 'either'. Note that when TCP MD5 is
   required on for a connection, it must be used [RFC2385]. This
   prevents combined use of the two options for a given connection, to
   be determined by the other end of the connection.

10. Interactions with non-NAT/NAPT Middleboxes

   TCP-AO supports middleboxes that do not change the IP addresses or
   ports of segments. Such middleboxes may modify some TCP options, in
   which case TCP-AO would need to be configured to ignore all options
   in the MAC calculation on connections traversing that element.

   Note that ignoring TCP options may provide less protection, i.e., TCP
   options could be modified in transit, and such modifications could be
   used by an attacker. Depending on the modifications, TCP could have
   compromised efficiency (e.g., timestamp changes), or could cease
   correct operation (e.g., window scale changes). These vulnerabilities

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   affect only the TCP connections for which TCP-AO is configured to
   ignore TCP options.

11. Interactions with NAT/NAPT Devices

   TCP-AO cannot interoperate natively across NAT/NAPT devices, which
   modify the IP addresses and/or port numbers. We anticipate that
   traversing such devices will require variants of existing NAT/NAPT
   traversal mechanisms, e.g., encapsulation of the TCP-AO-protected
   segment in another transport segment (e.g., UDP), as is done in IPsec
   [RFC2766][RFC3947]. Such variants can be adapted for use with TCP-AO,
   or IPsec NAT traversal can be used instead in such cases [RFC3947].

12. Evaluation of Requirements Satisfaction

   TCP-AO satisfies all the current requirements for a revision to TCP
   MD5, as indicated in [Be07] and under current development. This
   should not be a surprise, as the majority of the evolving
   requirements are derived from its design. The following is a summary
   of those requirements and notes where relevant.

   1. Protected Elements - see Section 3.2.

       a. TCP pseudoheader, including IPv4 and IPv6 versions. Note that
          we do not allow optional coverage because IP addresses define
          a connection. If they can be coordinated across a NAT/NAPT,
          the sender can compute the MAC based on the received values;
          if not, a tunnel is required.

       b. TCP header. Note that we do not allow optional port coverage
          because ports define a connection. If they can be coordinated
          across a NAT/NAPT, the sender can compute the MAC based on the
          received values; if not, a tunnel is required.

       c. TCP options. Allows exclusion of TCP options from coverage, as

       d. TCP data. Done.

   2. Option structure requirements

       a. Privacy. TCP-AO exposes only the key index, MAC, and overall
          option length. Note that short MACs could be obscured by using
          longer option lengths but specifying a short MAC length (this
          is equivalent to a different MAC algorithm, and is specified
          in the TSAD entry). See Section 3.2.

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       b. Allow optional per connection. Done - see Sections 7.3, 7.4,
          and 7.5.

       c. Require non-optional. Done - see Sections 7.3, 7.4, and 7.5.

       d. Standard parsing. Done - see Section 3.2.

       e. Compatible with Large Windows. Done - see Section 3.2. The
          size of the option is intended to allow use with Large Windows
          and SACK. See also Section 1.1, which indicates that TCP-AO is
          3 bytes shorter than TCP MD5 in the default case, assuming a
          96-bit MAC.

       f. Compatible with SACK. Done - see Section 3.2. The size of the
          option is intended to allow use with Large Windows and SACK.
          See also Section 8 regarding key management. See also Section
          1.1, which indicates that TCP-AO is 3 bytes shorter than TCP
          MD5 in the default case.

   3. Cryptography requirements

       a. Baseline defaults. TCP-AO uses TBD-WG-MACS as the default, as
          noted in Section 3.2.

       b. Good algorithms. TCP-AO uses TBD-WG-MACS as the default, but
          does not otherwise specify the algorithms used. That would be
          specified in the key management protocol, and should be
          limited there.

       c. Algorithm agility. TCP-AO allows any desired algorithm,
          subject to TCP option space limitations, as noted in Section
          3.2. The TSAD allows separate connections to use different

       d. Pre-TCP processing. Done - see Sections 7.3, 7.4, and 7.5.
          Note that pre-TCP processing is required, because TCP segments
          cannot be discarded solely based on a combination of
          connection state and out-of-window checks; many such segments,
          although discarded, cause a host to respond with a replay of
          the last valid ACK, e.g. [RFC793].

       e. Parameter changes require key changes. TSAD parameters that
          should not change during a connection (TCP connection ID,
          receiver TCP connection ID, TCP option exclusion list) cannot
          change. Other parameters change only when a key is changed,
          using the key tuple mechanism in the TSAD. See Section 6.

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   4. Keying requirements. TCP-AO does not specify a key management
      system, but does indicate a proposed interface to the TSAD,
      allowing a completely separate key system.

       a. Intraconnection rekeying. Supported by the KeyID and multiple
          key tuples in a TSAD entry; see Section 6.

       b. Efficient rekeying. Supported by the KeyID. See Section 8.

       c. Automated and manual keying. Supported by the TSAD interface.
          See Section 8. Enhanced by the generation of unique per-
          connection keys as noted in Section 5.

       d. Key management agnostic. Supported by the TSAD interface. See
          Section 8.1.

   5. Expected constraints

       a. Silent failure. Done - see Sections 7.3, 7.4, and 7.5.

       b. At most one such option per segment. Done - see Section 3.2.

       c. Outgoing all or none. Done - see Section 7.4.

       d. Incoming all checked. Done - see Section 7.5.

       e. Non-interaction with TCP MD5. Done - see Section 9.

       f. Optional ICMP discard. Done - see Section 13.

       g. Allows use of NAT/NAPT devices. Done - see Section 10.

       h. Maintain TCP connection semantics, in which the socket pair
          alone defines a TCP association and all its security
          parameters. Done - see Sections 6 and 10.

       i. Try to avoid creating a CPU DOS attack opportunity. Done - see
          Section 13.

13. Security Considerations

   Use of TCP-AO, like use of TCP MD5 or IPsec, will impact host
   performance. Connections that are known to use TCP-AO can be attacked
   by transmitting segments with invalid MACs. Attackers would need to
   know only the TCP connection ID and TCP-AO Length value to
   substantially impact the host's processing capacity. This is similar
   to the susceptibility of IPsec to on-path attacks, where the IP

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   addresses and SPI would be visible. For IPsec, the entire SPI space
   (32 bits) is arbitrary, whereas for routing protocols typically only
   the source port (16 bits) is arbitrary. As a result, it would be
   easier for an off-path attacker to spoof a TCP-AO segment that could
   cause receiver validation effort. However, we note that between
   Internet routers both ports could be arbitrary (i.e., determined a-
   priori out of band), which would constitute roughly the same off-path
   antispoofing protection of an arbitrary SPI.

   TCP-AO, like TCP MD5, may inhibit connectionless resets. Such resets
   typically occur after peer crashes, either in response to new
   connection attempts or when data is sent on stale connections; in
   either case, the recovering endpoint may lack the connection key
   required (e.g., if lost during the crash). This may result in time-
   outs, rather than more responsive recovery after such a crash. As
   noted in Section 5, such cases may also result in persistent TCP
   state for old connections that cannot be cleared, and so
   implementations should be capable of detecting an excess of such
   connections and clearing their state if needed to protect memory
   utilization [Je07].

   TCP-AO does not include a fast decline capability, e.g., where a SYN-
   ACK is received without an expected TCP-AO option and the connection
   is quickly reset or aborted. Normal TCP operation will retry and
   timeout, which is what should be expected when the intended receiver
   is not capable of the TCP variant required anyway. Backoff is not
   optimized because it would present an opportunity for attackers on
   the wire to abort authenticated connection attempts by sending
   spoofed SYN-ACKs without the TCP-AO option.

   TCP-AO does not expose the MAC algorithm used to authenticate a
   particular connection; that information is kept in the TSAD at the
   endpoints, and is not indicated in the header.

   TCP-AO is intended to provide similar protections to IPsec, but is
   not intended to replace the use of IPsec or IKE either for more
   robust security or more sophisticated security management.

   TCP-AO does not address the issue of ICMP attacks on TCP. IPsec makes
   recommendations regarding dropping ICMPs in certain contexts, or
   requiring that they are endpoint authenticated in others [RFC4301].
   There are other mechanisms proposed to reduce the impact of ICMP
   attacks by further validating ICMP contents and changing the effect
   of some messages based on TCP state, but these do not provide the
   level of authentication for ICMP that TCP-AO provides for TCP [Go07].

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   >> A TCP-AO implementation MUST allow the system administrator to
   configure whether TCP will ignore incoming ICMP messages of Type 3
   Codes 2-4 intended for connections that match TSAD entries with non-
   NONE inbound MACs. An implementation SHOULD allow ignored ICMPs to be

   This control affects only ICMPs that currently require 'hard errors',
   which would abort the TCP connection. This recommendation is intended
   to be similar to how IPsec would handle those messages [RFC4301].

   TCP-AO includes the TCP connection ID in the MAC calculation. This
   prevents connections using the same key (for whatever reason) from
   potentially enabling a traffic-crossing attack, in which segments to
   one socket pair are diverted to attack a different socket pair. When
   multiple connections use the same key, it would be useful to know
   that packets intended for one ID could not be (maliciously or
   otherwise) modified in transit and end up being authenticated for the
   other ID. The ID cannot be zeroed, because to do so would require
   that the TSAD index was unique in both directions (ID->key and key-
   >ID). That requirement would place an additional burden of uniqueness
   on keys within endsystems, and potentially across endsystems.
   Although the resulting attack is low probability, the protection
   afforded by including the received ID warrants its inclusion in the
   MAC, and does not unduly increase the MAC calculation or key
   management system.

   The use of any security algorithm can present an opportunity for a
   CPU DOS attack, where the attacker sends false, random segments that
   the receiver under attack expends substantial CPU effort to reject.
   In IPsec, such attacks are reduced by the use of a large Security
   Parameter Index (SPI) and Sequence Number fields to partly validate
   segments before CPU cycles are invested validated the Integrity Check
   Value (ICV). In TCP-AO, the socket pair performs most of the function
   of IPsec's SPI, and IPsec's Sequence Number, used to avoid replay
   attacks, isn't needed in all cases due to TCP's Sequence Number,
   which is used to reorder received segments. TCP already protects
   itself from replays of authentic segment data as well as authentic
   explicit TCP control (e.g., SYN, FIN, ACK bits, but even authentic
   replays could affect TCP congestion control [Sa99]. TCP-AO does not
   protect TCP congestion control from such attacks due to the
   cumbersome nature of layering a windowed security sequence number
   within TCP in addition to TCP's own sequence number; when such
   protection is desired, users are encouraged to apply IPsec instead.

   Further, it is not useful to validate TCP's Sequence Number before
   performing a TCP-AO authentication calculation, because out-of-window
   segments can still cause valid TCP protocol actions (e.g., ACK

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   retransmission) [RFC793]. It is similarly not useful to add a
   separate Sequence Number field to the TCP-AO option, because doing so
   could cause a change in TCP's behavior even when segments are valid.

14. IANA Considerations

   The TCP-AO option defines no new namespaces.

   The TCP-AO option uses the TCP option Kind value TCP-IANA-KIND,
   allocated by IANA from the TCP option Kind namespace.

   To specify MAC algorithms, TCP-AO uses the 4-byte namespace of IKEv2
   Transform Type 3 IDs, because that database of names already exists
   (not because of any reliance on IKEv2) [RFC4306].

   [NOTE: The following to be removed prior to publication as an RFC]

   The TCP-AO option requires that IANA allocate a value from the TCP
   option Kind namespace, to be replaced for TCP-IANA-KIND throughout
   this document.

15. Acknowledgments

   This document was inspired by the revisions to TCP MD5 suggested by
   Brian Weis and Ron Bonica [Bo07][We05][We07]. Russ Housley suggested
   L4/application layer management of the TSAD. The KeyID field was
   motivated by Steve Bellovin. Eric Rescorla suggested the use of ISNs
   in the connection key computation and ESNs to avoid replay attacks,
   and Brian Weis extended the computation to incorporate the entire
   connection ID. Alfred Hoenes, Charlie Kaufman, and Adam Langley
   provided substantial feedback. The document is the result of
   collaboration with the TCP Authentication Design team (tcp-auth-dt).

   This document was prepared using

16. References

16.1. Normative References

   [RFC793]  Postel, J., "Transmission Control Protocol," STD 007, RFC
             793, Standard, Sept. 1981.

   [RFC2018] Mathis, M., Mahdavi, J., Floyd, S. and A. Romanow, "TCP
             Selective Acknowledgement Options", RFC 2018, Proposed
             Standard, April 1996.

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

   [RFC2385] Heffernan, A., "Protection of BGP Sessions via the TCP MD5
             Signature Option," RFC 2385, Proposed Standard, Aug. 1998.

   [RFC2403] Madson, C., R. Glenn, "The Use of HMAC-MD5-96 within ESP
             and AH," RFC 2403, Proposed Standard, Nov. 1998.

   [RFC2460] Deering, S., Hinden, R., "Internet Protocol, Version 6
             (IPv6) Specification," RFC 2460, Proposed Standard, Dec.

   [RFC3517] Blanton, E., Allman, M., Fall, K., and L. Wang, "A
             Conservative Selective Acknowledgment (SACK)-based Loss
             Recovery Algorithm for TCP", RFC 3517, Proposed Standard,
             April 2003.

   [RFC4306] Kaufman, C., "Internet Key Exchange (IKEv2) Protocol," RFC
             4306, Proposed Standard, Dec. 2005.

16.2. Informative References

   [Be07]    Eddy, W., (ed), S. Bellovin, J. Touch, R. Bonica, "Problem
             Statement and Requirements for a TCP Authentication
             Option," draft-bellovin-tcpsec-01, (work in progress), Jul.

   [Bo07]    Bonica, R., et. al, "Authentication for TCP-based Routing
             and Management Protocols," draft-bonica-tcp-auth-06, (work
             in progress), Feb. 2007.

   [Go07]    Gont, F., "ICMP attacks against TCP," draft-ietf-tcpm-icmp-
             attacks-04, (work in progress), Oct. 2008.

   [Je07]    Jethanandani, M., and M. Bashyam, "TCP Robustness in
             Persist Condition," draft-mahesh-persist-timeout-02, (work
             in progress), Oct. 2007.

   [RFC1321] Rivest, R., "The MD5 Message-Digest Algorithm," RFC-1321,
             Informational, April 1992.

   [RFC2104] Krawczyk, H., Bellare, M., Canetti, R., "HMAC: Keyed-
             Hashing for Message Authentication," RFC 2104,
             Informational, Feb. 1997.

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   [RFC2766] Tsirtsis, G., Srisuresh, P., "Network Address Translation -
             Protocol Translation (NAT-PT)," RFC 2766, Proposed
             Standard, Feb. 2000.

   [RFC3562] Leech, M., "Key Management Considerations for the TCP MD5
             Signature Option," RFC 3562, Informational, July 2003.

   [RFC3947] Kivinen, T., B. Swander, A. Huttunen, V. Volpe,
             "Negotiation of NAT-Traversal in the IKE," RFC 3947, Jan.

   [RFC4301] Kent, S., K. Seo, "Security Architecture for the Internet
             Protocol," RFC 4301, Proposed Standard, Dec. 2005.

   [RFC4808] Bellovin, S., "Key Change Strategies for TCP-MD5," RFC
             4808, Informational, Mar. 2007.

   [RFC4953] Touch, J., "Defending TCP Against Spoofing Attacks,"
             RFC4953, Jul. 2007.

   [Sa99]    Savage, S., N. Cardwell, D. Wetherall, T. Anderson, "TCP
             Congestion Control with a Misbehaving Receiver," ACM
             Computer Communications Review, V29, N5, pp71-78, October

   [SDNS88]  Secure Data Network Systems, "Security Protocol 4 (SP4),"
             Specification SDN.401, Revision 1.2, July 12, 1988.

   [To??]    Touch, J., A. Mankin, "The TCP Simple Authentication
             Option," draft-touch-tcpm-tcp-simple-auth-03, (expired work
             in progress), Oct. 2006.

   [Wa05]    Wang, X., H. Yu, "How to break MD5 and other hash
             functions," Proc. IACR Eurocrypt 2005, Denmark, pp.19-35.

   [We05]    Weis, B., "TCP Message Authentication Code Option," draft-
             weis-tcp-mac-option-00, (expired work in progress), Dec.

   [We07]    Weis, B., et al., "Automated key selection extension for
             the TCP Authentication Option," draft-weis-tcp-auth-auto-
             ks-03, (work in progress), Oct. 2007.

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Author's Addresses

   Joe Touch
   4676 Admiralty Way
   Marina del Rey, CA 90292-6695

   Phone: +1 (310) 448-9151

   Allison Mankin
   Johns Hopkins Univ.
   Washington, DC

   Phone: 1 301 728 7199

   Ronald P. Bonica
   Juniper Networks
   2251 Corporate Park Drive
   Herndon, VA  20171


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