Independent Submission                                      D. Lazanski
Internet Draft                                         Last Press Label
Intended status: Informational                                July 2019
Expires: January 8, 2020

                        An Internet for Users Again

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   RFC 3552 introduces a threat model that does not include endpoint
   security. In the fifteen years since RFC 3552 security issues and
   cyber attacks have increased, especially on the endpoint. This
   document proposes a new approach to Internet cyber security protocol
   development that focuses on the user of the Internet, namely those
   who use the endpoint and are the most vulnerable to attacks.

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction...................................................3
   2. A History of Data Breaches.....................................3
   3. Botnets........................................................5
   4. Emerging Threats...............................................6
   5. An Internet For Users Again....................................7
   6. Security Considerations........................................8
   7. IANA Considerations............................................8
   8. Conclusions....................................................8
   9. References.....................................................9
      9.1. Normative References......................................9
      9.2. Informative References....................................9
   10. Acknowledgments..............................................11

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1. Introduction

   Data breaches are on the rise: personal data is stolen and often
   leaked or sold on a never-before-seen scale. The truth is that
   malware and ransomware attacks impact the most vulnerable in our
   global societies today. But the key to better privacy is better
   security and cyber defence. And better cybersecurity, ultimately,
   results in even better privacy. However, even though IETF attendees
   are privacy-focused, policy and design decisions taken by the IETF
   have radically changed the architecture of the Internet, arguably
   without due consideration to cyber defence implications or outcomes.
   In recent years, this has obsoleted many systems, technologies and
   programmes which use Internet protocols for prevention, detection
   and mitigation of cyber attacks. RFC 7258 established that
   "Pervasive Monitoring" is an attack on privacy that needs to be
   mitigated where possible. Furthermore, RFC 3552 assumes that the
   endpoints involved in a communications exchange have not been
   compromised, but that the attacker has near complete control over
   the network between the endpoints rather than the endpoints
   themselves. These assumptions have led to a focus on communications
   security and the development of protocols that place this kind of
   security above all else. Ironically - or coincidentally - as the
   development of these protocols have taken place over the last
   several decades, there has been and continues to be a sharp rise in
   cyber attacks. The Internet threat model in RFC 3552 does not even
   mention that the greatest threat to the Internet is the growing
   scale and variety of cyber attacks against all types of endpoints
   that is resulting in significant data breaches. This now needs to

2. A History of Data Breaches

   A data breach is an incident where data is inadvertently exposed in
   a vulnerable system, usually due to insufficient access controls or
   security weaknesses in the software.[1] In the first six months of
   2018 alone, Gemalto reported that there were 945 data breaches
   resulting in 4.5 billion records being compromised.[2] This section
   describes some recent cyber attacks on the Internet which led to
   data breaches.

   In October 2013, Adobe announced that hackers had stolen nearly 3
   million encrypted customer credit card details and the IDs and
   encrypted passwords of 35 million customers.[3]

   In December of 2013, the retailer Target announced that 40 million
   credit card records and personal details for a further 70 million
   customers had been compromised. A report from Verizon indicated that

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   after one week, 86% of passwords used by Target had been cracked and
   Verizon's security consultants were able to move about with complete
   freedom on Target's internal network.[4]

   In May 2014, eBay notified 145 million users to change their
   passwords following a cyber attack that compromised encrypted
   passwords, customer names, email addresses, mailing addresses, phone
   numbers and dates of birth.[5]

   In July 2015, a commercial website that enabled extramarital affairs
   (called Ashley Madison) was breached; a month later, more than 25GB
   of company data, including user details, was leaked. The ethics and
   impact on human rights of this breach are particularly notable, as
   it resulted in at least one confirmed suicide.[6]

   In 2016, Uber was breached, giving hackers access to the names,
   email addresses and phone numbers of 57 million riders and drivers.
   600,000 US drivers had their names and license plate numbers stolen.
   The current assessment is that other personal data, including trip
   location history, credit card details, social security numbers and
   dates of birth were not downloaded. [7]

   Also, in August of 2016, Dropbox was hacked to release over 68
   million user email addresses and passwords onto the Internet. [8]

   In March 2018, as part of a coding review, Google uncovered a coding
   glitch that potentially exposed the personal data of up to 500,000
   Google Plus users, including their names, email addresses,
   occupations, genders and ages.[9] Google could not confirm which
   users were affected by the security flaw as they keep API log data
   for only two weeks (and, presumably, log data analysis was lacking
   or insufficient to detect the breach as it was happening).

   In May 2018, Twitter advised all 330 million of its users to change
   their passwords after a software exposed them in plaintext. [10]

   Additionally, in September 2018, British Airways announced that
   personal and financial details of up to 380,000 customers who had
   booked flights over a 16-day period had been stolen. This breach was
   traced to a rogue script that had been installed on the third-party
   payment supplier used by British Airways.[11]

   Also in September 2018, Facebook suffered its worst security breach
   ever; the exploitation of several simultaneous software bugs gave
   login access to as many as 50 million accounts.[12] April 2019, a
   146GB data set containing over 540 million Facebook records were

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   found exposed on AWS servers, as two third-party companies had
   collected Facebook data on their own servers.[13]

   In November 2018, 500 million Marriott International customers had
   their details stolen in an ongoing breach since 2014. Approximately
   327 million hotel guests had a combination of name, address, phone
   number, email address, passport number, date of birth, gender and
   arrival/departure information stolen.[14]

   In January 2019, the personal data of more than 3500 people living
   with HIV in Singapore was leaked in Singapore, allegedly by an
   insider with access to sensitive records.[15]

   In February 2019, a file containing 2.2 billion compromised
   usernames and passwords was found on the dark web. This 600GB file
   was a collation of previous data breaches, truly demonstrating the
   scale and severity of the data breach and cyber defence problem in

   And these are only a handful of breaches that have been made public.
   So many more go unreported in the public. Data breaches are one of
   the singular most important issue in cybersecurity today. In IBM's 13th
   "Cost of a DataBreach" study found that the global average cost of a
   data breach in 2018 was $3.86 million.[17] That is the average cost of
   one - not many -data breaches.

   It is unthinkable and unrealistic that any revised Internet threat
   model does not highlight the large and ongoing threat from data
   breaches, whatever their cause. Threat actors are making full use of
   the Internet technology that allows them to hide on endpoints and
   perform such large data hacks that mostly go undetected.

   Internet security research and technical development must accept the
   reality of all the security issues in the Internet ecosystem.
   Decisions being made in the name of privacy are sometimes leading to
   larger inadvertent security and privacy losses.

3. Botnets

   A botnet is a string of connected computers used, in this case, to
   perform a malicious function against an end user, organisation or
   series of users.[18] Though computers working together to increase
   computing power for functions does not constitute a botnet in itself
   (and is used often in data centres for chat rooms or email services,
   for example) botnets are a specifically used for malicious intent.

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   There have been a number of recent, high profile botnet attacks and
   only a few will be described here as examples.

   In 2000, EarthLink Spammer sent 1.25 million phishing emails over a
   year and made $3 million in profits by using fake websites and
   domain names to accomplish this. Subsequently the spammer was
   convicted and Earthlink won $25 million in damages.[19]

   Created in 2007, Cutwail was the biggest botnet on the Internet by
   2009 by number of infected computers or hosts sending email. It was
   sending 51 million emails every minute.[20] By 2010, however, it
   started a DDoS attack to nearly 300 major sites including PayPal and
   US federal agencies. By 2013 it was the botnet to use for sending
   spam, but over time its use declined through targeted attempts to
   take it offline as well as the expiration of email addresses. Though
   not as popular and sending far less than it once did, Cutwail still
   sends spam to this day.[21]

   A more recent botnet was the centre of one of the biggest outages of
   the Internet network. The Mirai botnet was first identified in 2016.
   The Mirai botnet as well as variants infect Internet of Things
   devices and those infected devices scan the Internet for IP
   addresses of other Internet of Things devices, thus creating a
   multiplication of IoT devices which are infected. Though the bot
   still exists in various forms, the most serious attack took place on
   21 October 2016 when the Domain Name System (DNS) provider Dyn was
   attacked by DDoS using a coordinated system of infected IoT devices.
   Much of the Internet was unreachable after three attacks occurred
   during the day. Though eventually resolved on that day, the sheer
   size and scale of the attack is still viewed as one of the biggest
   attacks on the Internet to this day.[22]

   According to Kaspersky Labs, there were just over 15,000 botnet
   attacks in 2018.[23] Worryingly, of those attacks, approximately 40 percent
   were new in both type and the target. Again, as IoT devices increase
   and as networks expand coverage and ability to handle even more
   devices and data, it is likely that botnet attacks will continue to
   be seen on such a scale.

4. Emerging Threats

   Older methods of cyber attacks are still happening and causing
   breaches, as endpoint security remains incomplete and not up to
   date. Servers remain unpatched and vulnerable and client devices
   become legacy or unsupported, to name just a few issues. In
   parallel, new categories of attacks are emerging.

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   Software updates are a new attacked vector. In March 2019, Kaspersky
   uncovered the ShadowHammer supply-chain attack which injected
   malicious code into the ASUS Live Update Utility. This attack
   involved signing malicious code using stolen certificates and was
   estimated to have affected half a million users.[24] As a result of
   the ShadowHammer attack, public focus turned to how and what could
   be the point of infection. Suggestions were that the IP addresses
   could have been the point of origin of the attack while others
   suggested that the malware itself was dormant and inactive until a
   certain update triggered the malware.

   In July 2019, Godlua became the first publicly known malware to use
   DNS-over-HTTPS to avoid DNS-based malware protection security
   systems. [25]

   Though attacks on individual consumers have dropped by nearly 40 percent,
   due to the fact that attacking one person is largely not financially
   viable, but attacks on business organisations have increased year on
   year.[26] Ransomware is on the rise, motivated by economic gain and
   the ever increasing weaknesses in endpoints. Malware is freely
   available and the vulnerable attack point of an endpoint can be
   found. Botnets are increasing in size and scale as well as ease of

   There are other emerging threats that require more research to
   collate fully; this section is a starting point.

5. An Internet For Users Again

   Many endpoints are vulnerable; CLESS begins a much needed research
   programme to demonstrate what capabilities and what limitations can
   be expected at the endpoint and from a variety of types of
   endpoints.[27] Endpoints have changed over the last 10 years, but
   assumptions about endpoints in the IETF hasn't changed in that time.

   Even the user is not in full control of what happens on their
   endpoint much of the time and what security protections apply to
   their own data; a model where the Internet is user-centric would
   give more control to the user. The user is both the home Internet
   citizen and the organisation administrator seeking to protect
   against data breaches; both need the power to control where their
   data goes and choose their security protections. So while endpoints
   are the focus now, does the Internet need to be user-centric in the
   future? Won't that give users even more assured privacy?

   ATT&CK versions of methods, when categorised by type, show that
   endpoint methods of compromise are increasing faster than network

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   attacks.[28][29] This may be due to more variety in endpoints,
   substandard security in many endpoints or the difficulty of
   attacking a network compared to an endpoint. Whatever the reason,
   the logical conclusion is that the current Internet design is not
   stopping cyber attacks. Perhaps a fresh approach is required.

   As more power and control has shifted to endpoints -  and even to
   only a select few applications on endpoints - fewer and fewer
   network-based security solutions have been effective and attacks
   have increased. The diagram above shows the proliferation of attacks
   on endpoints increase over a 3 and a half year timescale while network and
   physical attacks remain largely unchanged. Whether this is
   correlation or causation requires thorough research, essential to
   changing the existing threat model approach from its current

   The existing Internet Threat Model of RFC3552 makes the general
   assumption that end-systems have not been compromised and that while
   end-systems are difficult to protect against compromise, protocol
   design can help minimise the damage.[30] Revisiting this general
   assumption in the light of the magnitude of an increase in data
   breaches and their subsequent negative results is a good starting
   point for a new Threat Model which can result in protocol design
   that helps mitigate end-system compromise.

6. Security Considerations

   This document proposes a new way of thinking about developing
   Internet security protocols and does not create, extend or modify
   any protocols. The intent is to initiate discussion.

7. IANA Considerations

   Upon publication this document has no required IANA considerations.

8. Conclusions

   The Threat Model indeed needs revisiting and changing, because cyber
   defence threats and attacks are increasing, yet the responsibility
   to help mitigate these threats and attacks is largely unrecognised
   in the IETF community - as of yet.  These threats and attacks should
   be given the seriousness they deserve.

   Further, it is imperative that new conclusions and recommendations
   from a revisited threat model are backed up by research, case
   studies and experience - rather than bold assertions. Research and

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   evidence is important to achieve effective security; unsubstantiated
   guesswork is not.

   While this draft does not claim to hold all the answers or all of
   the research questions, it highlights the importance that any threat
   model must be based in evidence about data breaches. This draft
   initiates a much needed discussion which, as mentioned, is that it
   is time to think, discuss and research what a new Threat Model -
   with all security issues of note - included.

   At this stage, we merely insist that the possibility of an Internet
   for users - for the user to be in control of mitigations against a
   new and more substantive threat model -  is not blatantly
   disregarded. An endpoint without user control doesn't work; user
   control must be permitted in future threat models. For most users
   and current as well as future deployments, it will be the best way
   to protect personal data and ensure privacy.

9. References

9.1. Normative References

   No normative references.

9.2. Informative References






   for a timeline of the breach.



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   [28]Pastor, Antonio."Applying AI to Protect 5G Control Traffic",
   ETSI Security Week, 19 June 2019, ETSI, Sophia Antipolis, France.


   [30]RFC3552, 2004, Section 3 Internet Threat Model: "In general, we
   assume that the end-systems engaging in a protocol exchange have not
   themselves been compromised. It is, however, possible to design
   protocols which minimize the extent of the damage done under these

10. Acknowledgments

   This document was prepared using

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Authors' Addresses

   Dominique Lazanski
   Last Press Label
   London, UK

   Phone: +447783431555

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