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IP Security Maintenance and Extensions (ipsecme)

WG Name IP Security Maintenance and Extensions
Acronym ipsecme
Area Security Area (sec)
State Active
Charter charter-ietf-ipsecme-13 Approved
Status update Show Changed 2024-03-19
Document dependencies
Additional resources Issue tracker, Wiki, Zulip stream
Personnel Chairs Tero Kivinen, Yoav Nir
Area Director Deb Cooley
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Charter for Working Group

The IPsec suite of protocols includes IKEv1 (RFC 2409 and associated
RFCs, IKEv1 is now obsoleted), IKEv2 (RFC 7296), and the IPsec
security architecture (RFC 4301). IPsec is widely deployed in VPN
gateways, VPN remote access clients, and as a substrate for
host-to-host, host-to-network, and network-to-network security.

The IPsec Maintenance and Extensions Working Group continues the work
of the earlier IPsec Working Group which was concluded in 2005. Its
purpose is to maintain the IPsec standard and to facilitate discussion
of clarifications, improvements, and extensions to IPsec, mostly to
ESP and IKEv2. The working group also serves as a focus point for
other IETF Working Groups who use IPsec in their own protocols.

The current work items include:

IKEv1 using shared secret authentication was partially resistant to
quantum computers. IKEv2 removed this feature to make the protocol
more usable. The working group will add a mode to IKEv2 or otherwise
modify the shared-secret mode of IKEv2 to have similar or better quantum
resistant properties to those of IKEv1.

Currently, widely used counter mode based ciphers send both the ESP
sequence number and IV in the form of a counter, as they are very
commonly the same. There has been interest to work on a document that
will compress the packet and derive IV from the sequence number
instead of sending it in separate field. The working group will
specify how this compression can be negotiated in the IKEv2, and
specify how the encryption algorithm and ESP format is used in this

The Group Domain of Interpretation (GDOI - RFC 6407) is an IKEv1-based
protocol for negotiating group keys for both multicast and unicast
uses. The Working Group will develop an IKEv2-based alternative that
will include cryptographic updates. A possible starting point is

Postquantum Cryptography brings new key exchange methods. Most of
these methods that are known to date have much larger public keys than
conventional Diffie-Hellman public keys. Directly using these methods in
IKEv2 might lead to a number of problems due to the increased size of
initial IKEv2 messages. The working group will analyze the possible
problems and develop a solution, that will make adding Postquantum key
exchange methods more easy. The solution will allow post quantum key
exchange to be performed in parallel with (or instead of) the existing
Diffie-Hellman key exchange.

A growing number of use cases for constrained networks - but not
limited to those networks - have shown interest in reducing ESP (resp. IKEv2)
overhead by compressing ESP (resp IKEv2) fields. The WG will define
extensions of ESP and IKEv2 to enable ESP header compression.

Possible starting points are draft-mglt-ipsecme-diet-esp,
draft-smyslov-ipsecme-ikev2-compression and

RFC7427 allows peers to indicate hash algorithms they support, thus
eliminating ambiguity in selecting a hash function for digital
signature authentication. However, advances in cryptography lead to a
situation when some signature algorithms have several signature
formats. A prominent example is RSASSA-PKCS#1 v 1.5 and RSASSA-PSS; however
it is envisioned that the same situation may repeat in future with
other signature algorithms. Currently IKE peers have no explicit way
to indicate to each other which signature format(s) they support. That
leads to interoperability problems. The WG will investigate the
situation and come up with a solution that allows peers to deal with
the problem in an interoperable way.

RFC7296 defines a generic notification code that is related to a
failure to handle an internal address failure. That code does not
explicitly allow an initiator to determine why a given address family
is not assigned, nor whether it should try using another address
family. The Working Group will specify a set of more specific
notification codes that will provide sufficient information to the
IKEv2 initiator about the encountered failure. A possible starting
pointing is draft-boucadair-ipsecme-ipv6-ipv4-codes.

Some systems support security labels (aka security context) as one of
the selectors of the SPD. This label needs to be part of the IKE
negotiation for the IPsec SA. Non-standard implementations exist for
IKEv1 (formerly abusing IPSEC Security Association Attribute 10, now
using private space IPSEC Security Association Attribute 32001). The
work is to standarize this for IKEv2, in a way that will be backwards
compatible with old implementations, meaning it must not require any
changes to implementations not supporting this.

RFC8229, published in 2017, specifies how to encapsulate
IKEv2 and ESP traffic in TCP. Implementation experience has
revealed that not all situations are covered in RFC8229, and that may
lead to interoperability problems or to suboptimal performance. The WG
will provide a document to give implementors more guidance about how to use
reliable stream transport in IKEv2 and clarify some issues that have been
discovered. A possible starting point is draft-smyslov-ipsecme-tcp-guidelines.

The demand for Traffic Flow Confidentiality has been increasing in the user
community, but the current method defined in RFC4303 (adding null
padding to each ESP payload) is very inefficient in its use of network
resources. The working group will develop an alternative TFC solution that
uses network resources more efficiently.


Date Milestone Associated documents
Jul 2022 G-DOI for IKEv2 to IESG draft-ietf-ipsecme-g-ikev2
Jun 2021 Signature algorithm negotiation for IKEv2 to IESG
Jun 2021 The ESP on contrained network to IESG

Done milestones

Date Milestone Associated documents
Done The security labels support for IKEv2 to IESG draft-ietf-ipsecme-labeled-ipsec
Done TCP-encapsulation guidelines document to IESG draft-ietf-ipsecme-rfc8229bis
Done Postquantum cryptography document for IKEv2 to IESG draft-ietf-ipsecme-ikev2-intermediate
Done Traffic Flow Confidentiality document to IESG draft-hopps-ipsecme-iptfs
Done The internal address failure indication in IKEv2 to IESG draft-ietf-ipsecme-ipv6-ipv4-codes