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Encrypted Key Transport for DTLS and Secure RTP
RFC 8870

Document Type RFC - Proposed Standard (January 2021)
Authors Cullen Fluffy Jennings , John Preuß Mattsson , David McGrew , Dan Wing , Flemming Andreasen
Last updated 2021-01-18
RFC stream Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
Additional resources Mailing list discussion
IESG Responsible AD Murray Kucherawy
Send notices to (None)
RFC 8870

Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                       C. Jennings
Request for Comments: 8870                                 Cisco Systems
Category: Standards Track                                    J. Mattsson
ISSN: 2070-1721                                              Ericsson AB
                                                               D. McGrew
                                                           Cisco Systems
                                                                 D. Wing
                                                            F. Andreasen
                                                           Cisco Systems
                                                            January 2021

            Encrypted Key Transport for DTLS and Secure RTP


   Encrypted Key Transport (EKT) is an extension to DTLS (Datagram
   Transport Layer Security) and the Secure Real-time Transport Protocol
   (SRTP) that provides for the secure transport of SRTP master keys,
   rollover counters, and other information within SRTP.  This facility
   enables SRTP for decentralized conferences by distributing a common
   key to all of the conference endpoints.

Status of This Memo

   This is an Internet Standards Track document.

   This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force
   (IETF).  It represents the consensus of the IETF community.  It has
   received public review and has been approved for publication by the
   Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).  Further information on
   Internet Standards is available in Section 2 of RFC 7841.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
   and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2021 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   ( in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction
   2.  Overview
   3.  Conventions Used in This Document
   4.  Encrypted Key Transport
     4.1.  EKTField Formats
     4.2.  SPIs and EKT Parameter Sets
     4.3.  Packet Processing and State Machine
       4.3.1.  Outbound Processing
       4.3.2.  Inbound Processing
     4.4.  Ciphers
       4.4.1.  AES Key Wrap
       4.4.2.  Defining New EKT Ciphers
     4.5.  Synchronizing Operation
     4.6.  Timing and Reliability Considerations
   5.  Use of EKT with DTLS-SRTP
     5.1.  DTLS-SRTP Recap
     5.2.  SRTP EKT Key Transport Extensions to DTLS-SRTP
       5.2.1.  Negotiating an EKTCipher
       5.2.2.  Establishing an EKT Key
     5.3.  Offer/Answer Considerations
     5.4.  Sending the DTLS EKTKey Reliably
   6.  Security Considerations
   7.  IANA Considerations
     7.1.  EKT Message Types
     7.2.  EKT Ciphers
     7.3.  TLS Extensions
     7.4.  TLS Handshake Type
   8.  References
     8.1.  Normative References
     8.2.  Informative References
   Authors' Addresses

1.  Introduction

   The Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) is designed to allow
   decentralized groups with minimal control to establish sessions, such
   as for multimedia conferences.  Unfortunately, Secure RTP (SRTP)
   [RFC3711] cannot be used in many minimal-control scenarios, because
   it requires that synchronization source (SSRC) values and other data
   be coordinated among all of the participants in a session.  For
   example, if a participant joins a session that is already in
   progress, that participant needs to be informed of the SRTP keys
   along with the SSRC, rollover counter (ROC), and other details of the
   other SRTP sources.

   The inability of SRTP to work in the absence of central control was
   well understood during the design of the protocol; the omission was
   considered less important than optimizations such as bandwidth
   conservation.  Additionally, in many situations, SRTP is used in
   conjunction with a signaling system that can provide the central
   control needed by SRTP.  However, there are several cases in which
   conventional signaling systems cannot easily provide all of the
   coordination required.

   This document defines Encrypted Key Transport (EKT) for SRTP and
   reduces the amount of external signaling control that is needed in an
   SRTP session with multiple receivers.  EKT securely distributes the
   SRTP master key and other information for each SRTP source.  With
   this method, SRTP entities are free to choose SSRC values as they see
   fit and to start up new SRTP sources with new SRTP master keys within
   a session without coordinating with other entities via external
   signaling or other external means.

   EKT extends DTLS and SRTP to enable a common key encryption key
   (called an "EKTKey") to be distributed to all endpoints, so that each
   endpoint can securely send its SRTP master key and current SRTP ROC
   to the other participants in the session.  This data furnishes the
   information needed by the receiver to instantiate an SRTP receiver

   EKT can be used in conferences where the central Media Distributor or
   conference bridge cannot decrypt the media, such as the type defined
   in [RFC8871].  It can also be used for large-scale conferences where
   the conference bridge or Media Distributor can decrypt all the media
   but wishes to encrypt the media it is sending just once and then send
   the same encrypted media to a large number of participants.  This
   reduces encryption CPU time in general and is necessary when sending
   multicast media.

   EKT does not control the manner in which the SSRC is generated.  It
   is only concerned with distributing the security parameters that an
   endpoint needs to associate with a given SSRC in order to decrypt
   SRTP packets from that sender.

   EKT is not intended to replace external key establishment mechanisms.
   Instead, it is used in conjunction with those methods, and it
   relieves those methods of the burden of delivering the context for
   each SRTP source to every SRTP participant.  This document defines
   how EKT works with the DTLS-SRTP approach to key establishment, by
   using keys derived from the DTLS-SRTP handshake to encipher the
   EKTKey in addition to the SRTP media.

2.  Overview

   This specification defines a way for the server in a DTLS-SRTP
   negotiation (see Section 5) to provide an EKTKey to the client during
   the DTLS handshake.  The EKTKey thus obtained can be used to encrypt
   the SRTP master key that is used to encrypt the media sent by the
   endpoint.  This specification also defines a way to send the
   encrypted SRTP master key (with the EKTKey) along with the SRTP
   packet (see Section 4).  Endpoints that receive this packet and know
   the EKTKey can use the EKTKey to decrypt the SRTP master key, which
   can then be used to decrypt the SRTP packet.

   One way to use this specification is described in the architecture
   defined by [RFC8871].  Each participant in the conference forms a
   DTLS-SRTP connection to a common Key Distributor that distributes the
   same EKTKey to all the endpoints.  Then, each endpoint picks its own
   SRTP master key for the media it sends.  When sending media, the
   endpoint may also include the SRTP master key encrypted with the
   EKTKey in the SRTP packet.  This allows all the endpoints to decrypt
   the media.

3.  Conventions Used in This Document

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in
   BCP 14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all
   capitals, as shown here.

4.  Encrypted Key Transport

   EKT defines a new method of providing SRTP master keys to an
   endpoint.  In order to convey the ciphertext corresponding to the
   SRTP master key, and other additional information, an additional
   field, called the "EKTField", is added to the SRTP packets.  The
   EKTField appears at the end of the SRTP packet.  It appears after the
   optional authentication tag, if one is present; otherwise, the
   EKTField appears after the ciphertext portion of the packet.

   EKT MUST NOT be used in conjunction with SRTP's MKI (Master Key
   Identifier) or with SRTP's <From, To> [RFC3711], as those SRTP
   features duplicate some of the functions of EKT.  Senders MUST NOT
   include the MKI when using EKT.  Receivers SHOULD simply ignore any
   MKI field received if EKT is in use.

   This document defines the use of EKT with SRTP.  Its use with the
   Secure Real-time Transport Control Protocol (SRTCP) would be similar,
   but that topic is left for a future specification.  SRTP is preferred
   for transmitting keying material because (1) it shares fate with the
   transmitted media, (2) SRTP rekeying can occur without concern for
   RTCP transmission limits, and (3) it avoids the need for SRTCP
   compound packets with RTP translators and mixers.

4.1.  EKTField Formats

   The EKTField uses the formats defined in Figures 1 and 2 for the
   FullEKTField and ShortEKTField.  The EKTField appended to an SRTP
   packet can be referred to as an "EKT Tag".

      0                   1                   2                   3
      0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
     :                                                               :
     :                        EKT Ciphertext                         :
     :                                                               :
     |   Security Parameter Index    |             Epoch             |
     |            Length             |0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0|

                       Figure 1: FullEKTField Format

                              0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
                             |0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0|

                       Figure 2: ShortEKTField Format

   Figure 3 shows the syntax of the EKTField, expressed in ABNF
   [RFC5234].  The EKTField is added to the end of an SRTP packet.  The
   EKTPlaintext is the concatenation of SRTPMasterKeyLength,
   SRTPMasterKey, SSRC, and ROC, in that order.  The EKTCiphertext is
   computed by encrypting the EKTPlaintext using the EKTKey.  Future
   extensions to the EKTField MUST conform to the syntax of the

   BYTE = %x00-FF

   EKTMsgTypeFull = %x02
   EKTMsgTypeShort = %x00
   EKTMsgTypeExtension = %x03-FF ; Message Type %x01 is not available
                                 ; for assignment due to its usage by
                                 ; legacy implementations.

   EKTMsgLength = 2BYTE

   SRTPMasterKeyLength = BYTE
   SRTPMasterKey = 1*242BYTE
   SSRC = 4BYTE ; SSRC from RTP
   ROC = 4BYTE ; ROC from SRTP for the given SSRC

   EKTPlaintext = SRTPMasterKeyLength SRTPMasterKey SSRC ROC

   EKTCiphertext = 1*251BYTE ; EKTEncrypt(EKTKey, EKTPlaintext)
   Epoch = 2BYTE
   SPI = 2BYTE

   FullEKTField = EKTCiphertext SPI Epoch EKTMsgLength EKTMsgTypeFull

   ShortEKTField = EKTMsgTypeShort

   ExtensionData = 1*1024BYTE
   ExtensionEKTField = ExtensionData EKTMsgLength EKTMsgTypeExtension

   EKTField = FullEKTField / ShortEKTField / ExtensionEKTField

                         Figure 3: EKTField Syntax

   These fields and data elements are defined as follows:

      This is the data that is input to the EKT encryption operation.
      This data never appears on the wire; it is used only in
      computations internal to EKT.  This is the concatenation of the
      SRTP master key and its length, the SSRC, and the ROC.

      This is the data that is output from the EKT encryption operation
      (see Section 4.4).  This field is included in SRTP packets when
      EKT is in use.  The length of the EKTCiphertext can be larger than
      the length of the EKTPlaintext that was encrypted.

      On the sender side, this is the SRTP master key associated with
      the indicated SSRC.

      This is the length of the SRTPMasterKey in bytes.  This depends on
      the cipher suite negotiated for SRTP using Session Description
      Protocol (SDP) Offer/Answer [RFC3264].

      On the sender side, this is the SSRC for this SRTP source.  The
      length of this field is 32 bits.  The SSRC value in the EKT Tag
      MUST be the same as the one in the header of the SRTP packet to
      which the tag is appended.

   Rollover Counter (ROC):
      On the sender side, this is set to the current value of the SRTP
      ROC in the SRTP context associated with the SSRC in the SRTP
      packet.  The length of this field is 32 bits.

   Security Parameter Index (SPI):
      This field indicates the appropriate EKTKey and other parameters
      for the receiver to use when processing the packet, within a given
      conference.  The length of this field is 16 bits, representing a
      two-byte integer in network byte order.  The parameters identified
      by this field are as follows:

      *  The EKT Cipher used to process the packet.

      *  The EKTKey used to process the packet.

      *  The SRTP master salt associated with any master key encrypted
         with this EKT Key.  The master salt is communicated separately,
         via signaling, typically along with the EKTKey.  (Recall that
         the SRTP master salt is used in the formation of Initialization
         Vectors (IVs) / nonces.)

      This field indicates how many SRTP keys have been sent for this
      SSRC under the current EKTKey, prior to the current key, as a
      two-byte integer in network byte order.  It starts at zero at the
      beginning of a session and resets to zero whenever the EKTKey is
      changed (i.e., when a new SPI appears).  The epoch for an SSRC
      increments by one every time the sender transmits a new key.  The
      recipient of a FullEKTField MUST reject any future FullEKTField
      for this SPI and SSRC that has an epoch value equal to or lower
      than an epoch already seen.

   Together, these data elements are called an "EKT parameter set".  To
   avoid ambiguity, each distinct EKT parameter set that is used MUST be
   associated with a distinct SPI value.

      All EKT Message Types other than the ShortEKTField include a
      length in octets (in network byte order) of either the
      FullEKTField or the ExtensionEKTField, including this length field
      and the EKT Message Type (as defined in the next paragraph).

   Message Type:
      The last byte is used to indicate the type of the EKTField.  This
      MUST be 2 for the FullEKTField format and 0 for the ShortEKTField
      format.  If a received EKT Tag has an unknown Message Type, then
      the receiver MUST discard the whole EKT Tag.

4.2.  SPIs and EKT Parameter Sets

   The SPI identifies the parameters for how the EKT Tag should be

   *  The EKTKey and EKT Cipher used to process the packet.

   *  The SRTP master salt associated with any master key encrypted with
      this EKT Key.  The master salt is communicated separately, via
      signaling, typically along with the EKTKey.

   Together, these data elements are called an "EKT parameter set".  To
   avoid ambiguity, each distinct EKT parameter set that is used MUST be
   associated with a distinct SPI value.  The association of a given
   parameter set with a given SPI value is configured by some other
   protocol, e.g., the DTLS-SRTP extension defined in Section 5.

4.3.  Packet Processing and State Machine

   At any given time, the SSRC for each SRTP source has associated with
   it a single EKT parameter set.  This parameter set is used to process
   all outbound packets and is called the "outbound parameter set" for
   that SSRC.  There may be other EKT parameter sets that are used by
   other SRTP sources in the same session, including other SRTP sources
   on the same endpoint (e.g., one endpoint with voice and video might
   have two EKT parameter sets, or there might be multiple video sources
   on an endpoint, each with their own EKT parameter set).  All of the
   received EKT parameter sets SHOULD be stored by all of the
   participants in an SRTP session, for use in processing inbound SRTP
   traffic.  If a participant deletes an EKT parameter set (e.g.,
   because of space limitations), then it will be unable to process Full
   EKT Tags containing updated media keys and thus will be unable to
   receive media from a participant that has changed its media key.

   Either the FullEKTField or ShortEKTField is appended at the tail end
   of all SRTP packets.  The decision regarding which parameter to send
   and when is specified in Section 4.6.

4.3.1.  Outbound Processing

   See Section 4.6, which describes when to send an SRTP packet with a
   FullEKTField.  If a FullEKTField is not being sent, then a
   ShortEKTField is sent so the receiver can correctly determine how to
   process the packet.

   When an SRTP packet is sent with a FullEKTField, the EKTField for
   that packet is created per either the steps below or an equivalent
   set of steps.

   1.  The Security Parameter Index (SPI) field is set to the value of
       the SPI that is associated with the outbound parameter set.

   2.  The EKTPlaintext field is computed from the SRTP master key,
       SSRC, and ROC fields, as shown in Section 4.1.  The ROC, SRTP
       master key, and SSRC used in EKT processing MUST be the same as
       the one used in SRTP processing.

   3.  The EKTCiphertext field is set to the ciphertext created by
       encrypting the EKTPlaintext with the EKTCipher using the EKTKey
       as the encryption key.  The encryption process is detailed in
       Section 4.4.

   4.  Then, the FullEKTField is formed using the EKTCiphertext and the
       SPI associated with the EKTKey used above.  Also appended are the
       length and Message Type using the FullEKTField format.

      |  Note: The value of the EKTCiphertext field is identical in
      |  successive packets protected by the same EKTKey and SRTP master
      |  key.  This value MAY be cached by an SRTP sender to minimize
      |  computational effort.

   The computed value of the FullEKTField is appended to the end of the
   SRTP packet, after the encrypted payload.

   When a packet is sent with the ShortEKTField, the ShortEKTField is
   simply appended to the packet.

   Outbound packets SHOULD continue to use the old SRTP master key for
   250 ms after sending any new key in a FullEKTField value.  This gives
   all the receivers in the system time to get the new key before they
   start receiving media encrypted with the new key.  (The specific
   value of 250 ms is chosen to represent a reasonable upper bound on
   the amount of latency and jitter that is tolerable in a real-time

4.3.2.  Inbound Processing

   When receiving a packet on an RTP stream, the following steps are
   applied for each received SRTP packet.

   1.  The final byte is checked to determine which EKT format is in
       use.  When an SRTP packet contains a ShortEKTField, the
       ShortEKTField is removed from the packet and then normal SRTP
       processing occurs.  If the packet contains a FullEKTField, then
       processing continues as described below.  The reason for using
       the last byte of the packet to indicate the type is that the
       length of the SRTP part is not known until the decryption has
       occurred.  At this point in the processing, there is no easy way
       to know where the EKTField would start.  However, the whole SRTP
       packet has been received, so instead of starting at the front of
       the packet, the parsing works backwards at the end of the packet,
       and thus the type is placed at the very end of the packet.

   2.  The Security Parameter Index (SPI) field is used to find the
       right EKT parameter set to be used for processing the packet.  If
       there is no matching SPI, then the verification function MUST
       return an indication of authentication failure, and the steps
       described below are not performed.  The EKT parameter set
       contains the EKTKey, the EKTCipher, and the SRTP master salt.

   3.  The EKTCiphertext is authenticated and decrypted, as described in
       Section 4.4, using the EKTKey and EKTCipher found in the previous
       step.  If the EKT decryption operation returns an authentication
       failure, then EKT processing MUST be aborted.  The receiver
       SHOULD discard the whole SRTP packet.

   4.  The resulting EKTPlaintext is parsed as described in Section 4.1,
       to recover the SRTP master key, SSRC, and ROC fields.  The SRTP
       master salt that is associated with the EKTKey is also retrieved.
       If the value of the srtp_master_salt (see Section 5.2.2) sent as
       part of the EKTKey is longer than needed by SRTP, then it is
       truncated by taking the first N bytes from the srtp_master_salt

   5.  If the SSRC in the EKTPlaintext does not match the SSRC of the
       SRTP packet received, then this FullEKTField MUST be discarded
       and the subsequent steps in this list skipped.  After stripping
       the FullEKTField, the remainder of the SRTP packet MAY be
       processed as normal.

   6.  The SRTP master key, ROC, and SRTP master salt from the previous
       steps are saved in a map indexed by the SSRC found in the
       EKTPlaintext and can be used for any future crypto operations on
       the inbound packets with that SSRC.

       *  Unless the transform specifies other acceptable key lengths,
          the length of the SRTP master key MUST be the same as the
          master key length for the SRTP transform in use.  If this is
          not the case, then the receiver MUST abort EKT processing and
          SHOULD discard the whole SRTP packet.

       *  If the length of the SRTP master key is less than the master
          key length for the SRTP transform in use and the transform
          specifies that this length is acceptable, then the SRTP master
          key value is used to replace the first bytes in the existing
          master key.  The other bytes remain the same as in the old
          key.  For example, the double GCM transform [RFC8723] allows
          replacement of the first ("end-to-end") half of the master

   7.  At this point, EKT processing has successfully completed, and the
       normal SRTP processing takes place.

   The value of the EKTCiphertext field is identical in successive
   packets protected by the same EKT parameter set, SRTP master key, and
   ROC.  SRTP senders and receivers MAY cache an EKTCiphertext value to
   optimize processing in cases where the master key hasn't changed.
   Instead of encrypting and decrypting, senders can simply copy the
   precomputed value and receivers can compare a received EKTCiphertext
   to the known value.

   Section 4.3.1 recommends that SRTP senders continue using an old key
   for some time after sending a new key in an EKT Tag. Receivers that
   wish to avoid packet loss due to decryption failures MAY perform
   trial decryption with both the old key and the new key, keeping the
   result of whichever decryption succeeds.  Note that this approach is
   only compatible with SRTP transforms that include integrity

   When receiving a new EKTKey, implementations need to use the ekt_ttl
   field (see Section 5.2.2) to create a time after which this key
   cannot be used, and they also need to create a counter that keeps
   track of how many times the key has been used to encrypt data, to
   ensure that it does not exceed the T value for that cipher (see
   Section 4.4).  If either of these limits is exceeded, the key can no
   longer be used for encryption.  At this point, implementations need
   to either use call signaling to renegotiate a new session or
   terminate the existing session.  Terminating the session is a
   reasonable implementation choice because these limits should not be
   exceeded, except under an attack or error condition.

4.4.  Ciphers

   EKT uses an authenticated cipher to encrypt and authenticate the
   EKTPlaintext.  This specification defines the interface to the
   cipher, in order to abstract the interface away from the details of
   that function.  This specification also defines the default cipher
   that is used in EKT.  The default cipher described in Section 4.4.1
   MUST be implemented, but another cipher that conforms to this
   interface MAY be used.  The cipher used for a given EKTCiphertext
   value is negotiated using the supported_ekt_ciphers extension (see
   Section 5.2) and indicated with the SPI value in the FullEKTField.

   An EKTCipher consists of an encryption function and a decryption
   function.  The encryption function E(K, P) takes the following

   *  a secret key K with a length of L bytes, and

   *  a plaintext value P with a length of M bytes.

   The encryption function returns a ciphertext value C whose length is
   N bytes, where N may be larger than M.  The decryption function
   D(K, C) takes the following inputs:

   *  a secret key K with a length of L bytes, and

   *  a ciphertext value C with a length of N bytes.

   The decryption function returns a plaintext value P that is M bytes
   long, or it returns an indication that the decryption operation
   failed because the ciphertext was invalid (i.e., it was not generated
   by the encryption of plaintext with the key K).

   These functions have the property that D(K, E(K, P)) = P for all
   values of K and P.  Each cipher also has a limit T on the number of
   times that it can be used with any fixed key value.  The EKTKey MUST
   NOT be used for encryption more than T times.  Note that if the same
   FullEKTField is retransmitted three times, that only counts as one

   Security requirements for EKT Ciphers are discussed in Section 6.

4.4.1.  AES Key Wrap

   The default EKT Cipher is the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) Key
   Wrap with Padding algorithm [RFC5649].  It requires a plaintext
   length M that is at least one octet, and it returns a ciphertext with
   a length of N = M + (M mod 8) + 8 octets.  It can be used with key
   sizes of L = 16 octets or L = 32 octets, and its use with those key
   sizes is indicated as AESKW128 or AESKW256, respectively.  The key
   size determines the length of the AES key used by the Key Wrap
   algorithm.  With this cipher, T=2^(48).

                        | Cipher   |  L |      T |
                        | AESKW128 | 16 | 2^(48) |
                        | AESKW256 | 32 | 2^(48) |

                           Table 1: EKT Ciphers

   As AES-128 is the mandatory-to-implement transform in SRTP, AESKW128
   MUST be implemented for EKT.  AESKW256 MAY be implemented.

4.4.2.  Defining New EKT Ciphers

   Other specifications may extend this document by defining other
   EKTCiphers, as described in Section 7.  This section defines how
   those ciphers interact with this specification.

   An EKTCipher determines how the EKTCiphertext field is written and
   how it is processed when it is read.  This field is opaque to the
   other aspects of EKT processing.  EKT Ciphers are free to use this
   field in any way, but they SHOULD NOT use other EKT or SRTP fields as
   an input.  The values of the parameters L and T MUST be defined by
   each EKTCipher.  The cipher MUST provide integrity protection.

4.5.  Synchronizing Operation

   If a source has its EKTKey changed by key management, it MUST also
   change its SRTP master key, which will cause it to send out a new
   FullEKTField and eventually begin encrypting with it, as described in
   Section 4.3.1.  This ensures that if key management thought the
   EKTKey needs changing (due to a participant leaving or joining) and
   communicated that to a source, the source will also change its SRTP
   master key, so that traffic can be decrypted only by those who know
   the current EKTKey.

4.6.  Timing and Reliability Considerations

   A system using EKT learns the SRTP master keys distributed with the
   FullEKTField sent with SRTP, rather than with call signaling.  A
   receiver can immediately decrypt an SRTP packet, provided the SRTP
   packet contains a FullEKTField.

   This section describes how to reliably and expediently deliver new
   SRTP master keys to receivers.

   There are three cases to consider.  In the first case, a new sender
   joins a session and needs to communicate its SRTP master key to all
   the receivers.  In the second case, a sender changes its SRTP master
   key, which needs to be communicated to all the receivers.  In the
   third case, a new receiver joins a session already in progress and
   needs to know the sender's SRTP master key.

   The three cases are as follows:

   New sender:
      A new sender SHOULD send a packet containing the FullEKTField as
      soon as possible, ideally in its initial SRTP packet.  To
      accommodate packet loss, it is RECOMMENDED that the FullEKTField
      be transmitted in three consecutive packets.  If the sender does
      not send a FullEKTField in its initial packets and receivers have
      not otherwise been provisioned with a decryption key, then
      decryption will fail and SRTP packets will be dropped until the
      receiver receives a FullEKTField from the sender.

      By sending an EKT Tag over SRTP, the rekeying event shares fate
      with the SRTP packets protected with that new SRTP master key.  To
      accommodate packet loss, it is RECOMMENDED that three consecutive
      packets containing the FullEKTField be transmitted.

   New receiver:
      When a new receiver joins a session, it does not need to
      communicate its sending SRTP master key (because it is a
      receiver).  Also, when a new receiver joins a session, the sender
      is generally unaware of the receiver joining the session; thus,
      senders SHOULD periodically transmit the FullEKTField.  That
      interval depends on how frequently new receivers join the session,
      the acceptable delay before those receivers can start processing
      SRTP packets, and the acceptable overhead of sending the
      FullEKTField.  If sending audio and video, the RECOMMENDED
      frequency is the same as the rate of intra-coded video frames.  If
      only sending audio, the RECOMMENDED frequency is every 100 ms.

   If none of the above three cases apply, a ShortEKTField SHOULD be

   In general, sending FullEKTField tags less frequently will consume
   less bandwidth but will increase the time it takes for a join or
   rekey to take effect.  Applications should schedule the sending of
   FullEKTField tags in a way that makes sense for their bandwidth and
   latency requirements.

5.  Use of EKT with DTLS-SRTP

   This document defines an extension to DTLS-SRTP called "SRTP EKTKey
   Transport", which enables secure transport of EKT keying material
   from the DTLS-SRTP peer in the server role to the client.  This
   allows such a peer to process EKT keying material in SRTP and
   retrieve the embedded SRTP keying material.  This combination of
   protocols is valuable because it combines the advantages of DTLS,
   which has strong authentication of the endpoint and flexibility,
   along with allowing secure multi-party RTP with loose coordination
   and efficient communication of per-source keys.

   In cases where the DTLS termination point is more trusted than the
   media relay, the protection that DTLS affords to EKT keying material
   can allow EKT Keys to be tunneled through an untrusted relay such as
   a centralized conference bridge.  For more details, see [RFC8871].

5.1.  DTLS-SRTP Recap

   DTLS-SRTP [RFC5764] uses an extended DTLS exchange between two peers
   to exchange keying material, algorithms, and parameters for SRTP.
   The SRTP flow operates over the same transport as the DTLS-SRTP
   exchange (i.e., the same 5-tuple).  DTLS-SRTP combines the
   performance and encryption flexibility benefits of SRTP with the
   flexibility and convenience of DTLS-integrated key and association
   management.  DTLS-SRTP can be viewed in two equivalent ways: as a new
   key management method for SRTP and as a new RTP-specific data format
   for DTLS.

5.2.  SRTP EKT Key Transport Extensions to DTLS-SRTP

   This document defines a new TLS negotiated extension called
   "supported_ekt_ciphers" and a new TLS handshake message type called
   "ekt_key".  The extension negotiates the cipher to be used in
   encrypting and decrypting EKTCiphertext values, and the handshake
   message carries the corresponding key.

   Figure 4 shows a message flow between a DTLS 1.3 client and server
   using EKT configured using the DTLS extensions described in this
   section.  (The initial cookie exchange and other normal DTLS messages
   are omitted.)  To be clear, EKT can be used with versions of DTLS
   prior to 1.3.  The only difference is that in pre-1.3 TLS, stacks
   will not have built-in support for generating and processing ACK

        Client                                             Server

         + use_srtp
         + supported_ekt_ciphers

                                                        + use_srtp
                                           + supported_ekt_ciphers
                                                    {... Finished}

        {... Finished}          -------->

                                <--------                 [EKTKey]

        [ACK]                   -------->

        |SRTP packets|          <------->           |SRTP packets|
        + <EKT Tags>                                  + <EKT Tags>

        {} Messages protected using DTLS handshake keys

        [] Messages protected using DTLS application traffic keys

        <> Messages protected using the EKTKey and EKT Cipher

        || Messages protected using the SRTP master key sent in
           a Full EKT Tag

                      Figure 4: DTLS 1.3 Message Flow

   In the context of a multi-party SRTP session in which each endpoint
   performs a DTLS handshake as a client with a central DTLS server, the
   extensions defined in this document allow the DTLS server to set a
   common EKTKey for all participants.  Each endpoint can then use EKT
   Tags encrypted with that common key to inform other endpoints of the
   keys it uses to protect SRTP packets.  This avoids the need for many
   individual DTLS handshakes among the endpoints, at the cost of
   preventing endpoints from directly authenticating one another.

         Client A                 Server                 Client B

             <----DTLS Handshake---->
                                     <----DTLS Handshake---->

             -------------SRTP Packet + EKT Tag------------->
             <------------SRTP Packet + EKT Tag--------------

5.2.1.  Negotiating an EKTCipher

   To indicate its support for EKT, a DTLS-SRTP client includes in its
   ClientHello an extension of type supported_ekt_ciphers listing the
   ciphers used for EKT by the client, in preference order, with the
   most preferred version first.  If the server agrees to use EKT, then
   it includes a supported_ekt_ciphers extension in its
   EncryptedExtensions (or ServerHello for DTLS 1.2) containing a cipher
   selected from among those advertised by the client.

   The extension_data field of this extension contains an "EKTCipher"
   value, encoded using the syntax defined in [RFC8446]:

           enum {
           } EKTCipherType;

           struct {
               select (Handshake.msg_type) {
                   case client_hello:
                       EKTCipherType supported_ciphers<1..255>;

                   case server_hello:
                       EKTCipherType selected_cipher;

                   case encrypted_extensions:
                       EKTCipherType selected_cipher;

           } EKTCipher;

5.2.2.  Establishing an EKT Key

   Once a client and server have concluded a handshake that negotiated
   an EKTCipher, the server MUST provide to the client a key to be used
   when encrypting and decrypting EKTCiphertext values.  EKTKeys are
   sent in encrypted handshake records, using handshake type
   ekt_key(26).  The body of the handshake message contains an EKTKey
   structure as follows:

                    struct {
                      opaque ekt_key_value<1..256>;
                      opaque srtp_master_salt<1..256>;
                      uint16 ekt_spi;
                      uint24 ekt_ttl;
                    } EKTKey;

   The contents of the fields in this message are as follows:

      The EKTKey that the recipient should use when generating
      EKTCiphertext values

      The SRTP master salt to be used with any master key encrypted with
      this EKT Key

      The SPI value to be used to reference this EKTKey and SRTP master
      salt in EKT Tags (along with the EKT Cipher negotiated in the

      The maximum amount of time, in seconds, that this EKTKey can be
      used.  The ekt_key_value in this message MUST NOT be used for
      encrypting or decrypting information after the TTL expires.

   If the server did not provide a supported_ekt_ciphers extension in
   its EncryptedExtensions (or ServerHello for DTLS 1.2), then EKTKey
   messages MUST NOT be sent by the client or the server.

   When an EKTKey is received and processed successfully, the recipient
   MUST respond with an ACK message as described in Section 7 of
   [TLS-DTLS13].  The EKTKey message and ACK MUST be retransmitted
   following the rules of the negotiated version of DTLS.

   EKT MAY be used with versions of DTLS prior to 1.3.  In such cases,
   to provide reliability, the ACK message is still used.  Thus, DTLS
   implementations supporting EKT with pre-1.3 versions of DTLS will
   need to have explicit affordances for sending the ACK message in
   response to an EKTKey message and for verifying that an ACK message
   was received.  The retransmission rules for both sides are otherwise
   defined by the negotiated version of DTLS.

   If an EKTKey message is received that cannot be processed, then the
   recipient MUST respond with an appropriate DTLS alert.

5.3.  Offer/Answer Considerations

   When using EKT with DTLS-SRTP, the negotiation to use EKT is done at
   the DTLS handshake level and does not change the SDP Offer/Answer
   messaging [RFC3264].

5.4.  Sending the DTLS EKTKey Reliably

   The DTLS EKTKey message is sent using the retransmissions specified
   in Section 4.2.4 of DTLS [RFC6347].  Retransmission is finished with
   an ACK message, or an alert is received.

6.  Security Considerations

   EKT inherits the security properties of the key management protocol
   that is used to establish the EKTKey, e.g., the DTLS-SRTP extension
   defined in this document.

   With EKT, each SRTP sender and receiver MUST generate distinct SRTP
   master keys.  This property avoids any security concerns over the
   reuse of keys, by empowering the SRTP layer to create keys on demand.
   Note that the inputs of EKT are the same as for SRTP with key-
   sharing: a single key is provided to protect an entire SRTP session.
   However, EKT remains secure even when SSRC values collide.

   SRTP master keys MUST be randomly generated, and [RFC4086] offers
   some guidance about random number generation.  SRTP master keys MUST
   NOT be reused for any other purpose, and SRTP master keys MUST NOT be
   derived from other SRTP master keys.

   The EKT Cipher includes its own authentication/integrity check.

   The presence of the SSRC in the EKTPlaintext ensures that an attacker
   cannot substitute an EKTCiphertext from one SRTP stream into another
   SRTP stream.  This mitigates the impact of cut-and-paste attacks that
   arise due to the lack of a cryptographic binding between the EKT Tag
   and the rest of the SRTP packet.  SRTP tags can only be cut-and-
   pasted within the stream of packets sent by a given RTP endpoint; an
   attacker cannot "cross the streams" and use an EKT Tag from one SSRC
   to reset the key for another SSRC.  The Epoch field in the
   FullEKTField also prevents an attacker from rolling back to a
   previous key.

   An attacker could send packets containing a FullEKTField, in an
   attempt to consume additional CPU resources of the receiving system
   by causing the receiving system to decrypt the EKT ciphertext and
   detect an authentication failure.  In some cases, caching the
   previous values of the ciphertext as described in Section 4.3.2 helps
   mitigate this issue.

   In a similar vein, EKT has no replay protection, so an attacker could
   implant improper keys in receivers by capturing EKTCiphertext values
   encrypted with a given EKTKey and replaying them in a different
   context, e.g., from a different sender.  When the underlying SRTP
   transform provides integrity protection, this attack will just result
   in packet loss.  If it does not, then it will result in random data
   being fed to RTP payload processing.  An attacker that is in a
   position to mount these attacks, however, could achieve the same
   effects more easily without attacking EKT.

   The key encryption keys distributed with EKTKey messages are group
   shared symmetric keys, which means they do not provide protection
   within the group.  Group members can impersonate each other; for
   example, any group member can generate an EKT Tag for any SSRC.  The
   entity that distributes EKTKeys can decrypt any keys distributed
   using EKT and thus any media protected with those keys.

   Each EKT Cipher specifies a value T that is the maximum number of
   times a given key can be used.  An endpoint MUST NOT encrypt more
   than T different FullEKTField values using the same EKTKey.  In
   addition, the EKTKey MUST NOT be used beyond the lifetime provided by
   the TTL described in Section 5.2.

   The key length of the EKT Cipher MUST be at least as long as the SRTP
   cipher and at least as long as the DTLS-SRTP ciphers.

   Part of the EKTPlaintext is known or is easily guessable to an
   attacker.  Thus, the EKT Cipher MUST resist known plaintext attacks.
   In practice, this requirement does not impose any restrictions on our
   choices, since the ciphers in use provide high security even when
   much plaintext is known.

   An EKT Cipher MUST resist attacks in which both ciphertexts and
   plaintexts can be adaptively chosen by an attacker querying both the
   encryption and decryption functions.

   In some systems, when a member of a conference leaves the conference,
   that conference is rekeyed so that the member who left the conference
   no longer has the key.  When changing to a new EKTKey, it is possible
   that the attacker could block the EKTKey message getting to a
   particular endpoint and that endpoint would keep sending media
   encrypted using the old key.  To mitigate that risk, the lifetime of
   the EKTKey MUST be limited by using the ekt_ttl.

7.  IANA Considerations

7.1.  EKT Message Types

   IANA has created a new table for "EKT Message Types" in the "Real-
   Time Transport Protocol (RTP) Parameters" registry.  The initial
   values in this registry are as follows:

                 | Message Type | Value | Specification |
                 | Short        |     0 | RFC 8870      |
                 | Unassigned   |     1 |               |
                 | Full         |     2 | RFC 8870      |
                 | Unassigned   | 3-254 |               |
                 | Reserved     |   255 | RFC 8870      |

                        Table 2: EKT Message Types

   New entries in this table can be added via "Specification Required"
   as defined in [RFC8126].  To avoid conflicts with pre-standard
   versions of EKT that have been deployed, IANA SHOULD give preference
   to the allocation of even values over odd values until the even code
   points are consumed.  Allocated values MUST be in the range of 0 to

   All new EKT messages MUST be defined to include a length parameter,
   as specified in Section 4.1.

7.2.  EKT Ciphers

   IANA has created a new table for "EKT Ciphers" in the "Real-Time
   Transport Protocol (RTP) Parameters" registry.  The initial values in
   this registry are as follows:

                  | Name       | Value | Specification |
                  | AESKW128   |     0 | RFC 8870      |
                  | AESKW256   |     1 | RFC 8870      |
                  | Unassigned | 2-254 |               |
                  | Reserved   |   255 | RFC 8870      |

                        Table 3: EKT Cipher Types

   New entries in this table can be added via "Specification Required"
   as defined in [RFC8126].  The expert SHOULD ensure that the
   specification defines the values for L and T as required in
   Section 4.4 of this document.  Allocated values MUST be in the range
   of 0 to 254.

7.3.  TLS Extensions

   IANA has added supported_ekt_ciphers as a new extension name to the
   "TLS ExtensionType Values" table of the "Transport Layer Security
   (TLS) Extensions" registry:

   Value:  39

   Extension Name:  supported_ekt_ciphers

   TLS 1.3:  CH, EE

   Recommended:  Y

   Reference:  RFC 8870

7.4.  TLS Handshake Type

   IANA has added ekt_key as a new entry in the "TLS HandshakeType"
   table of the "Transport Layer Security (TLS) Parameters" registry:

   Value:  26

   Description:  ekt_key

   DTLS-OK:  Y

   Reference:  RFC 8870


8.  References

8.1.  Normative References

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997,

   [RFC3264]  Rosenberg, J. and H. Schulzrinne, "An Offer/Answer Model
              with Session Description Protocol (SDP)", RFC 3264,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC3264, June 2002,

   [RFC3711]  Baugher, M., McGrew, D., Naslund, M., Carrara, E., and K.
              Norrman, "The Secure Real-time Transport Protocol (SRTP)",
              RFC 3711, DOI 10.17487/RFC3711, March 2004,

   [RFC5234]  Crocker, D., Ed. and P. Overell, "Augmented BNF for Syntax
              Specifications: ABNF", STD 68, RFC 5234,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC5234, January 2008,

   [RFC5649]  Housley, R. and M. Dworkin, "Advanced Encryption Standard
              (AES) Key Wrap with Padding Algorithm", RFC 5649,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC5649, September 2009,

   [RFC5764]  McGrew, D. and E. Rescorla, "Datagram Transport Layer
              Security (DTLS) Extension to Establish Keys for the Secure
              Real-time Transport Protocol (SRTP)", RFC 5764,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC5764, May 2010,

   [RFC6347]  Rescorla, E. and N. Modadugu, "Datagram Transport Layer
              Security Version 1.2", RFC 6347, DOI 10.17487/RFC6347,
              January 2012, <>.

   [RFC8126]  Cotton, M., Leiba, B., and T. Narten, "Guidelines for
              Writing an IANA Considerations Section in RFCs", BCP 26,
              RFC 8126, DOI 10.17487/RFC8126, June 2017,

   [RFC8174]  Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC
              2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174,
              May 2017, <>.

   [RFC8446]  Rescorla, E., "The Transport Layer Security (TLS) Protocol
              Version 1.3", RFC 8446, DOI 10.17487/RFC8446, August 2018,

8.2.  Informative References

   [RFC4086]  Eastlake 3rd, D., Schiller, J., and S. Crocker,
              "Randomness Requirements for Security", BCP 106, RFC 4086,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC4086, June 2005,

   [RFC8723]  Jennings, C., Jones, P., Barnes, R., and A.B. Roach,
              "Double Encryption Procedures for the Secure Real-Time
              Transport Protocol (SRTP)", RFC 8723,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC8723, April 2020,

   [RFC8871]  Jones, P., Benham, D., and C. Groves, "A Solution
              Framework for Private Media in Privacy-Enhanced RTP
              Conferencing (PERC)", RFC 8871, DOI 10.17487/RFC8871,
              January 2021, <>.

              Rescorla, E., Tschofenig, H., and N. Modadugu, "The
              Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS) Protocol Version
              1.3", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-ietf-tls-
              dtls13-39, 2 November 2020,


   Thank you to Russ Housley, who provided a detailed review and
   significant help with crafting text for this document.  Thanks to
   David Benham, Yi Cheng, Lakshminath Dondeti, Kai Fischer, Nermeen
   Ismail, Paul Jones, Eddy Lem, Jonathan Lennox, Michael Peck, Rob
   Raymond, Sean Turner, Magnus Westerlund, and Felix Wyss for fruitful
   discussions, comments, and contributions to this document.

Authors' Addresses

   Cullen Jennings
   Cisco Systems


   John Mattsson
   Ericsson AB


   David A. McGrew
   Cisco Systems


   Dan Wing
   Citrix Systems, Inc.


   Flemming Andreasen
   Cisco Systems