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RFC 4101

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Writing Protocol Models


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Network Working Group                                        E. Rescorla
Request for Comments: 4101                                    RTFM, Inc.
Category: Informational                                              IAB
                                                               June 2005

                        Writing Protocol Models

Status of This Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2005).


   The IETF process depends on peer review.  However, IETF documents are
   generally written to be useful for implementors, not reviewers.  In
   particular, while great care is generally taken to provide a complete
   description of the state machines and bits on the wire, this level of
   detail tends to get in the way of initial understanding.  This
   document describes an approach for providing protocol "models" that
   allow reviewers to quickly grasp the essence of a system.

1.  Introduction

   The IETF process depends on peer review.  However, in many cases, the
   documents submitted for publication are extremely difficult to
   review.  Because reviewers have only limited amounts of time, this
   leads to extremely long review times, inadequate reviews, or both.
   In our view, a large part of the problem is that most documents fail
   to present an architectural model for how the protocol operates,
   opting instead to simply describe the protocol and let the reviewer
   figure it out.

   This is acceptable when documenting a protocol for implementors,
   because they need to understand the protocol in any case; but it
   dramatically increases the strain on reviewers.  Reviewers need to
   get the big picture of the system and then focus on particular
   points.  They simply do not have time to give the entire document the
   attention an implementor would.

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   One way to reduce this load is to present the reviewer with a
   MODEL -- a short description of the system in overview form.  This
   provides the reviewer with the context to identify the important or
   difficult pieces of the system and focus on them for review.  As a
   side benefit, if the model is done first, it can be serve as an aid
   to the detailed protocol design and a focus for early review, prior
   to protocol completion.  The intention is that the model would either
   be the first section of the protocol document or be a separate
   document provided with the protocol.

2.  The Purpose of a Protocol Model

   A protocol model needs to answer three basic questions:

   1. What problem is the protocol trying to achieve?
   2. What messages are being transmitted and what do they mean?
   3. What are the important, but unobvious, features of the protocol?

   The basic idea is to provide enough information that the reader could
   design a protocol which was roughly isomorphic to the protocol being
   described.  Of course, this doesn't mean that the protocol would be
   identical, but merely that it would share most important features.
   For instance, the decision to use a KDC-based authentication model is
   an essential feature of Kerberos [KERBEROS].  By contrast, the use of
   ASN.1 is a simple implementation decision.  S-expressions -- or XML,
   had it existed at the time -- would have served equally well.

   The purpose of a protocol model is explicitly not to provide a
   complete or alternate description of the protocol being discussed.
   Instead, it is to provide a big picture overview of the protocol so
   that readers can quickly understand the essential elements of how it

3.  Basic Principles

   In this section we discuss basic principles that should guide your

3.1.  Less is more

   Humans are only capable of keeping a very small number of pieces of
   information in their head at once.  Because we're interested in
   ensuring that people get the big picture, we have to dispense with a
   lot of detail.  That's good, not bad.  The simpler you can make
   things the better.

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3.2.  Abstraction is good

   A key technique for representing complex systems is to try to
   abstract away pieces.  For instance, maps are better than photographs
   for finding out where you want to go because they provide an
   abstract, stylized, view of the information you're interested in.
   Don't be afraid to compress multiple protocol elements into a single
   abstract piece for pedagogical purposes.

3.3.  A few well-chosen details sometimes help

   The converse of the previous principle is that sometimes details help
   to bring a description into focus.  Many people work better when
   given examples.  Thus, it's often a good approach to talk about the
   material in the abstract and then provide a concrete description of
   one specific piece to bring it into focus.  Authors should focus on
   the normal path.  Error cases and corner cases should only be
   discussed where they help illustrate an important point.

4.  Writing Protocol Models

   Our experience indicates that it is easiest to grasp protocol models
   when they are presented in visual form.  We recommend a presentation
   format centered around a few key diagrams, with explanatory text for
   each.  These diagrams should be simple and typically consist of
   "boxes and arrows" -- boxes representing the major components, arrows
   representing their relationships, and labels indicating important

   We recommend a presentation structured in three parts to match the
   three questions mentioned in the previous sections.  Each part should
   contain 1-3 diagrams intended to illustrate the relevant points.

4.1.  Describe the problem you're trying to solve

   The most critical task that a protocol model must perform is to
   explain what the protocol is trying to achieve.  This provides
   crucial context for understanding how the protocol works, and whether
   it meets its goals.  Given the desired goals, an experienced reviewer
   will usually have an idea of how they would approach the problem and,
   thus, be able to compare that approach with the approach taken by the
   protocol under review.

   The "Problem" section of the model should start with a short
   statement of the environments in which the protocol is expected to be
   used.  This section should describe the relevant entities and the
   likely scenarios under which they would participate in the protocol.
   The Problem section should feature a diagram of the major

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   communicating parties and their inter-relationships.  It is
   particularly important to lay out the trust relationships between the
   various parties, as these are often unobvious.

4.1.1.  Example: STUN (RFC 3489)

   STUN [STUN] is a UNilateral Self-Address Fixing (UNSAF) [UNSAF]
   protocol that allows a machine located behind a NAT to determine what
   its external apparent IP address is.  Although STUN provides a
   complete and thorough description of the operation of the protocol,
   it does not provide a brief, up-front overview suitable for a quick
   understanding of its operation.  The rest of this section shows what
   a suitable overview might look like.

   Network Address Translation (NAT) makes it difficult to run a number
   of classes of service from behind the NAT gateway.  This is
   particularly a problem when protocols need to advertise address/port
   pairs as part of the application layer protocol.  Although the NAT
   can be configured to accept data destined for that port, address
   translation means the address that the application knows about is not
   the same as the one on which it is reachable.

   Consider the scenario represented in the figure below.  A SIP client
   is initiating a session with a SIP server in which it wants the SIP
   server to send it some media.  In its Session Description Protocol
   (SDP) [SDP] request it provides the IP address and port on which it
   is listening.  However, unbeknownst to the client, a NAT is in the
   way.  The NAT translates the IP address in the header, but unless it
   is SIP aware, it doesn't change the address in the request.  The
   result is that the media goes into a black hole.

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                   |    SIP    |
                   |  Server   |
                   |           |
                        | [FROM:]
                        | [MSG: SEND MEDIA TO]
                   |           |
                   |    NAT    |
     --------------+  Gateway  +----------------
                   |           |
                        | [FROM:]
                        | [MSG: SEND MEDIA TO]
                   |    SIP    |
                   |  Client   |
                   |           |

   The purpose of STUN is to allow clients to detect this situation and
   determine the address mapping.  They can then place the appropriate
   address in their application-level messages.  This is done by using
   an external STUN server.  That server is able to determine the
   translated address and tell the STUN client, as shown below.

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                               |   STUN    |
                               |  Server   |
                               |           |
                                   ^   |
   [IP HDR FROM:] |   | [IP HDR TO:]
   [MSG: WHAT IS MY ADDRESS?]      |   | [MSG: YOU ARE]
                                   |   v
                               |           |
                               |    NAT    |
                 --------------+  Gateway  +----------------
                               |           |
                                  ^    |
   [IP HDR FROM:]  |    | [IP HDR TO:]
   [MSG: WHAT IS MY ADDRESS?]     |    | [MSG: YOU ARE]
                                  |    v
                               |    SIP    |
                               |  Client   |
                               |           |

4.2.  Describe the protocol in broad overview

   Once the problem has been described, the next task is to give a broad
   overview of the protocol.  This means showing, either in "ladder
   diagram" or "boxes and arrows" form, the protocol messages that flow
   between the various networking agents.  This diagram should be
   accompanied with explanatory text that describes the purpose of each
   message and the MAJOR data elements.

   This section SHOULD NOT contain detailed descriptions of the
   protocol messages or of each data element.  In particular, bit
   diagrams, ASN.1 modules, and XML schema SHOULD NOT be shown.  The
   purpose of this section is not to provide a complete
   description of the protocol, but to provide enough of a
   map that a person reading the full protocol document can see
   where each specific piece fits.

   In certain cases, it may be helpful to provide a state machine
   description of the behavior of network elements.  However, such
   state machines should be kept as minimal as possible.  Remember that
   the purpose is to promote high-level comprehension, not complete

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4.2.1.  Example: DCCP

   Datagram Congestion Control Protocol [DCCP] is a protocol for
   providing datagram transport with network-friendly congestion
   avoidance behavior.  The DCCP base protocol document is over 100
   pages long and the congestion control mechanisms themselves are
   separate.  Therefore, it is very helpful to have a an architectural
   overview of DCCP that abstracts away the details.  The remainder of
   this section is an attempt to do so.

   NOTE: The author of this document was on the DCCP review team and
   his experience with that document was one of the motivating factors
   for this document.  Since the review, the DCCP authors have added
   some overview material, some of which derives from earlier versions
   of this document.

   Although DCCP is datagram-oriented like UDP, it is stateful
   like TCP.  Connections go through the following phases:

      1. Initiation
      2. Feature negotiation
      3. Data transfer
      4. Termination  Initiation

   As with TCP, the initiation phase of DCCP involves a three-way
   handshake, shown below.

   Client                                      Server
   ------                                      ------
   DCCP-Request            ->
   [Ports, Service,
                           <-           DCCP-Response
   DCCP-Ack                ->

                           DCCP 3-way handshake

   In the DCCP-Request message, the client tells the server the name of
   the service it wants to talk to and the ports it wants to communicate
   on.  Note that ports are not tightly bound to services, as they are
   in TCP or UDP common practice.  It also starts feature negotiation.
   For pedagogical reasons, we will present feature negotiation

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   separately in the next section.  However, realize that the early
   phases of feature negotiation happen concurrently with initiation.

   In the DCCP-Response message, the server tells the client that it is
   willing to accept the connection and continues feature negotiation.
   In order to prevent SYN flood-style DOS attacks, DCCP incorporates an
   IKE-style cookie exchange.  The server can provide the client with a
   cookie that contains all of the negotiation state.  This cookie must
   be echoed by the client in the DCCP-Ack, thus removing the need for
   the server to keep state.

   In the DCCP-Ack message, the client acknowledges the DCCP-Response
   and returns the cookie to permit the server to complete its side of
   the connection.  As indicated above, this message may also include
   feature negotiation messages.  Feature Negotiation

   In DCCP, feature negotiation is performed by attaching options to
   other DCCP packets.  Thus, feature negotiation can be piggybacked on
   any other DCCP message.  This allows feature negotiation during
   connection initiation as well as during data flow.

   Somewhat unusually, DCCP features are one-sided.  Thus, it's possible
   to have a different congestion control regime for data sent from
   client to server than from server to client.

   Feature negotiation is done with the Change and Confirm options.
   There are four feature negotiation options in all: Change L, Confirm
   L, Change R, and Confirm R.  The "L" options are sent by the feature
   location, where the feature is maintained, and the "R" options are
   sent by the feature remote.

   A Change R message says to the peer "change this option setting on
   your side".  The peer can respond with a Confirm L, meaning "I've
   changed it".  Some features allow Change R options to contain
   multiple values, sorted in preference order.  For example:

          Client                                        Server
          ------                                        ------
          Change R(CCID, 2) -->
                                        <-- Confirm L(CCID, 2)
                     * agreement that CCID/Server = 2 *

          Change R(CCID, 3 4) -->
                                   <-- Confirm L(CCID, 4, 4 2)
                     * agreement that CCID/Server = 4 *

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   In the second exchange, the client requests that the server use
   either CCID 3 or CCID 4, with 3 preferred.  The server chooses 4 and
   supplies its preference list, "4 2".

   The Change L and Confirm R options are used for feature negotiations
   that are initiated by the feature location.  In the following
   example, the server requests that CCID/Server be set to 3 or 2 (with
   3 being preferred), and the client agrees.

          Client                                       Server
          ------                                       ------
                                      <-- Change L(CCID, 3 2)
          Confirm R(CCID, 3, 3 2)  -->
                     * agreement that CCID/Server = 3 *  Data Transfer

   Rather than have a single congestion control regime, as in TCP, DCCP
   offers a variety of negotiable congestion control regimes.  The DCCP
   documents describe two congestion control regimes: additive increase,
   multiplicative decrease (CCID-2 [CCID2]), and TCP-friendly rate
   control (CCID-3 [CCID3]).  CCID-2 is intended for applications that
   want maximum throughput.  CCID-3 is intended for real-time
   applications that want smooth response to congestion.  CCID-2

   CCID-2's congestion control is extremely similar to that of TCP.  The
   sender maintains a congestion window and sends packets until that
   window is full.  Packets are Acked by the receiver.  Dropped packets
   and ECN [ECN] are used to indicate congestion.  The response to
   congestion is to halve the congestion window.  One subtle difference
   between DCCP and TCP is that the Acks in DCCP must contain the
   sequence numbers of all received packets (within a given window), not
   just the highest sequence number, as in TCP.  CCID-3

   CCID-3 is an equation-based form of rate control, intended to provide
   smoother response to congestion than CCID-2.  The sender maintains a
   "transmit rate".  The receiver sends Ack packets that contain
   information about the receiver's estimate of packet loss.  The sender
   uses this information to update its transmit rate.  Although CCID-3
   behaves somewhat differently than TCP in its short-term congestion
   response, it is designed to operate fairly with TCP over the long

Top       Page 10  Termination

   Connection termination in DCCP is initiated by sending a Close
   message.  Either side can send a Close message.  The peer then
   responds with a Reset message, at which point the connection is
   closed.  The side that sent the Close message must quietly preserve
   the socket in TIMEWAIT state for 2MSL.

   Client                                      Server
   ------                                      ------
   Close                    ->
                            <-                  Reset
   [Remains in TIMEWAIT]

   Note that the server may wish to close the connection but not remain
   in TIMEWAIT (e.g., due to a desire to minimize server-side state).
   In order to accomplish this, the server can elicit a Close from the
   client by sending a CloseReq message and, thus, keep the TIMEWAIT
   state on the client.

4.3.  Describe any important protocol features

   The final section (if there is one) should contain an explanation of
   any important protocol features that are not obvious from the
   previous sections.  In the best case, all the important features of
   the protocol would be obvious from the message flow.  However, this
   isn't always the case.  This section is an opportunity for the author
   to explain those features.  Authors should think carefully before
   writing this section.  If there are no important points to be made,
   they should not populate this section.

   Examples of the kind of feature that belongs in this section include:
   high-level security considerations, congestion control information,
   and overviews of the algorithms that the network elements are
   intended to follow.  For instance, if you have a routing protocol,
   you might use this section to sketch out the algorithm that the
   router uses to determine the appropriate routes from protocol

4.3.1.  Example: WebDAV COPY and MOVE

   The WebDAV standard [WEBDAV] is fairly terse, preferring to define
   the required behaviors and let the reader work out the implications.
   In some situations, explanatory material that details those
   implications can help the reader understand the overall model.  The
   rest of this section describes one such case.

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   WebDAV [WEBDAV] includes both a COPY method and a MOVE method.  While
   a MOVE can be thought of as a COPY followed by DELETE, COPY+DELETE
   and MOVE aren't entirely equivalent.

   The use of COPY+DELETE as a substitute for MOVE is problematic
   because of the creation of the intermediate file.  Consider the case
   where the user is approaching a quota boundary.  A COPY+DELETE should
   be forbidden because it would temporarily exceed the quota.  However,
   a simple rename should work in this situation.

   The second issue is permissions.  The WebDAV permissions model allows
   the server to grant users permission to rename files, but not to
   create new ones.  This is unusual in ordinary filesystems, but
   nothing prevents it in WebDAV.  This is clearly not possible if a
   client uses COPY+DELETE to do a MOVE.

   Finally, a COPY+DELETE does not produce the same logical result as
   would be expected with a MOVE.  Because COPY creates a new resource,
   it is permitted (but not required) to use the time of new file
   creation as the creation date property.  By contrast, the expectation
   for MOVE is that the renamed file will have the same properties as
   the original.

5.  Formatting Issues

   The requirement that Internet-Drafts and RFCs be renderable in ASCII
   is a significant obstacle when writing the sort of graphics-heavy
   document being described here.  Authors may find it more convenient
   to do a separate protocol model document in Postscript or PDF and
   simply make it available at review time -- though an archival version
   would certainly be handy.

6.  A Complete Example: Internet Key Exchange (IKE)

   Internet Key Exchange (IKE) [IKE] is one of the most complicated
   security protocols ever designed by the IETF.  Although the basic IKE
   core is a fairly straightforward Diffie-Hellman-based handshake, this
   can often be difficult for new readers to understand abstractly,
   apart from the protocol details.  The remainder of this section
   provides overview of IKE suitable for those new readers.

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6.1.  Operating Environment

   Internet key Exchange (IKE) [IKE] is a key establishment and
   parameter negotiation protocol for Internet protocols.  Its primary
   application is for establishing security associations (SAs) [IPSEC]
   for IPsec AH [AH] and ESP [ESP].

   +--------------------+                       +--------------------+
   |                    |                       |                    |
   |   +------------+   |                       |   +------------+   |
   |   |    Key     |   |         IKE           |   |    Key     |   |
   |   | Management | <-+-----------------------+-> | Management |   |
   |   |  Process   |   |                       |   |  Process   |   |
   |   +------------+   |                       |   +------------+   |
   |         ^          |                       |         ^          |
   |         |          |                       |         |          |
   |         v          |                       |         v          |
   |   +------------+   |                       |   +------------+   |
   |   |   IPsec    |   |        AH/ESP         |   |   IPsec    |   |
   |   |   Stack    | <-+-----------------------+-> |   Stack    |   |
   |   |            |   |                       |   |            |   |
   |   +------------+   |                       |   +------------+   |
   |                    |                       |                    |
   |                    |                       |                    |
   |     Initiator      |                       |     Responder      |
   +--------------------+                       +--------------------+

   The general deployment model for IKE is shown above.  The IPsec
   engines and IKE engines typically are separate modules.  When no
   security association exists for a packet that needs to be processed
   (either sent or received), the IPsec engine contacts the IKE engine
   and asks it to establish an appropriate SA.  The IKE engine contacts
   the appropriate peer and uses IKE to establish the SA.  Once the IKE
   handshake is finished it registers the SA with the IPsec engine.

   In addition, IKE traffic between the peers can be used to refresh
   keying material or adjust operating parameters, such as algorithms.

6.1.1.  Initiator and Responder

   Although IPsec is basically symmetrical, IKE is not.  The party who
   sends the first message is called the INITIATOR.  The other party is
   called the RESPONDER.  In the case of TCP connections, the INITIATOR
   will typically be the peer doing the active open (i.e., the client).

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6.1.2.  Perfect Forward Secrecy

   One of the major concerns in IKE design was that traffic be protected
   even if the keying material of the nodes was later compromised,
   provided that the session in question had terminated and so the
   session-specific keying material was gone.  This property is often
   called Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS) or back traffic protection.

6.1.3.  Denial of Service Resistance

   Because IKE allows arbitrary peers to initiate computationally-
   expensive cryptographic operations, it potentially allows resource
   consumption denial of service (DoS) attacks to be mounted against the
   IKE engine.  IKE includes countermeasures designed to minimize this

6.1.4.  Keying Assumptions

   Because Security Associations are essentially symmetric, both sides
   must, in general, be authenticated.  Because IKE needs to be able to
   establish SAs between a broad range of peers with various kinds of
   prior relationships, IKE supports a very flexible keying model.
   Peers can authenticate via shared keys, digital signatures (typically
   from keys vouched for by certificates), or encryption keys.

6.1.5.  Identity Protection

   Although IKE requires the peers to authenticate to each other, it was
   considered desirable by the working group to provide some identity
   protection for the communicating peers.  In particular, the peers
   should be able to hide their identity from passive observers and one
   peer should be able to require the author to authenticate before they
   self-identity.  In this case, the designers chose to make the party
   who speaks first (the INITIATOR) identify first.

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6.2.  Protocol Overview

   At a very high level, there are two kinds of IKE handshake:

   (1) Those that establish an IKE security association.
   (2) Those that establish an AH or ESP security association.

   When two peers that have never communicated before need to establish
   an AH/ESH SA, they must first establish an IKE SA.  This allows them
   to exchange an arbitrary amount of protected IKE traffic.  They can
   then use that SA to do a second handshake to establish SAs for AH and
   ESP.  This process is shown in schematic form below.  The notation
   E(SA,XXXX) is used to indicate that traffic is encrypted under a
   given SA.

   Initiator                               Responder
   ---------                               ---------

   Handshake MSG           ->                        \  Stage 1:
                           <-         Handshake MSG   \ Establish IKE
                                                      / SA (IKEsa)
                          [...]                      /

                                                     \  Stage 2:
   E(IKEsa, Handshake MSG) ->                         \ Establish AH/ESP
                           <- E(IKEsa, Handshake MSG) / SA

                      The two kinds of IKE handshake

   IKE terminology is somewhat confusing, referring under different
   circumstances to "phases" and "modes".  For maximal clarity we will
   refer to the Establishment of the IKE SA as "Stage 1" and the
   Establishment of AH/ESP SAs as "Stage 2".  Note that it's quite
   possible for there to be more than one Stage 2 handshake, once Stage
   1 has been finished.  This might be useful for establishing multiple
   AH/ESP SAs with different cryptographic properties.

   The Stage 1 and Stage 2 handshakes are actually rather different,
   because the Stage 2 handshake can, of course, assume that its traffic
   is being protected with an IKE SA.  Accordingly, we will first
   discuss Stage 1 and then Stage 2.

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6.2.1.  Stage 1

   There are a large number of variants of the IKE Stage 1 handshake,
   necessitated by use of different authentication mechanisms.  However,
   broadly speaking Stage 1 handshakes fall into one of two basic
   categories: MAIN MODE, which provides identity protection and DoS
   resistance, and AGGRESSIVE MODE, which does not.  We will cover MAIN
   MODE first.  Main Mode

   Main Mode is a six message (3 round trip) handshake, which offers
   identity protection and DoS resistance.  An overview of the handshake
   is below.

   Initiator                                   Responder
   ---------                                   ---------
   CookieI, Algorithms      ->                          \  Parameter
                            <-      CookieR, Algorithms /  Establishment

   Nonce, Key Exchange      ->
                            <-       Nonce, Key Exchange\  Establish
                                                        /  Shared key

   E(IKEsa, Auth Data)      ->
                            <-       E(IKEsa, Auth data)\  Authenticate
                                                        /      Peers

                     IKE Main Mode handshake (Stage 1)

   In the first round trip, the Initiator offers a set of algorithms and
   parameters.  The Responder picks out the single set that it likes and
   responds with that set.  It also provides CookieR, which will be used
   to prevent DoS attacks.  At this point, there is no secure
   association but the peers have tentatively agreed upon parameters.
   These parameters include a Diffie-Hellman (DH) group, which will be
   used in the second round trip.

   In the second round trip, the Initiator sends the key exchange
   information.  This generally consists of the Initiator's Diffie-
   Hellman public share (Yi).  He also supplies CookieR, which was
   provided by the responder.  The Responder replies with his own DH
   share (Yr).  At this point, both Initiator and Responder can compute
   the shared DH key (ZZ).  However, there has been no authentication
   and, therefore, they don't know with any certainty that the
   connection hasn't been attacked.  Note that as long as the peers
   generate fresh DH shares for each handshake, PFS will be provided.

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   Before we move on, let's take a look at the cookie exchange.  The
   basic anti-DoS measure used by IKE is to force the peer to
   demonstrate that it can receive traffic from you.  This foils blind
   attacks like SYN floods [SYNFLOOD] and also makes it somewhat easier
   to track down attackers.  The cookie exchange serves this role in
   IKE.  The Responder can verify that the Initiator supplied a valid
   CookieR before doing the expensive DH key agreement.  This does not
   totally eliminate DoS attacks, because an attacker who was willing to
   reveal his location could still consume server resources; but it does
   protect against a certain class of blind attack.

   In the final round trip, the peers establish their identities.
   Because they share an (unauthenticated) key, they can send their
   identities encrypted, thus providing identity protection from
   eavesdroppers.  The exact method of proving identity depends on what
   form of credential is being used (signing key, encryption key, shared
   secret, etc.), but in general you can think of it as a signature over
   some subset of the handshake messages.  So, each side would supply
   its certificate and then sign using the key associated with that
   certificate.  If shared keys are used, the authentication data would
   be a key ID and a MAC.  Authentication using public key encryption
   follows similar principles, but is more complicated.  Refer to the
   IKE document for more details.

   At the end of the Main Mode handshake, the peers share:

      (1) A set of algorithms for encryption of further IKE traffic.
      (2) Traffic encryption and authentication keys.
      (3) Mutual knowledge of the peer's identity.  Aggressive Mode

   Although IKE Main Mode provides the required services, there was
   concern that the large number of round trips required added,
   excessive latency.  Accordingly, an Aggressive Mode was defined.
   Aggressive mode packs more data into fewer messages, and thus reduces
   latency.  However, it does not provide identity protection or
   protection against DoS.

   Initiator                                   Responder
   ---------                                   ---------
   Algorithms, Nonce,
   Key Exchange,            ->
                            <-         Algorithms, Nonce,
                                  Key Exchange, Auth Data
   Auth Data                ->

                  IKE Aggressive Mode Handshake (Stage 1)

Top       Page 17 
   After the first round trip, the peers have all the required
   properties, but the Initiator has not authenticated to the Responder.
   The third message closes the loop by authenticating the Initiator.
   Note that since the authentication data is sent in the clear, no
   identity protection is provided; and because the Responder does the
   DH key agreement without a round trip to the Initiator, there is no
   DoS protection

6.2.2.  Stage 2

   Stage 1 on its own isn't very useful.  The purpose of IKE, after all,
   is to establish associations to be used to protect other traffic, not
   merely to establish IKE SAs.  Stage 2 (what IKE calls "Quick Mode")
   is used for this purpose.  The basic Stage 2 handshake is shown

      Initiator                                    Responder
      ---------                                    ---------
      AH/ESP parameters,
      Algorithms, Nonce,
      Handshake Hash           ->
                               <-          AH/ESP parameters,
                                           Algorithms, Nonce,
                                               Handshake Hash
      Handshake Hash           ->

                      The Basic IKE Quick Mode (Stage 2)

   As with quick mode, the first two messages establish the algorithms
   and parameters while the final message is a check over the previous
   messages.  In this case, the parameters also include the transforms
   to be applied to the traffic (AH or ESP) and the kinds of traffic
   that are to be protected.  Note that there is no key exchange
   information shown in these messages.

   In this version of Quick Mode, the peers use the preexisting Stage 1
   keying material to derive fresh keying material for traffic
   protection (with the nonces to ensure freshness).  Quick mode also
   allows for a new Diffie-Hellman handshake for per-traffic key PFS.
   In that case, the first two messages shown above would also include
   Key Exchange payloads, as shown below.

Top       Page 18 
      Initiator                                    Responder
      ---------                                    ---------
      AH/ESP parameters,
      Algorithms, Nonce,
      Key Exchange,            ->
      Handshake Hash
                               <-          AH/ESP parameters,
                                           Algorithms, Nonce,
                                                Key Exchange,
                                               Handshake Hash
      Handshake Hash           ->

                  A Variant of Quick Mode with PFS (Stage 2)

6.3.  Other Considerations

   There are a number of features of IKE that deserve special
   consideration.  They are discussed here.

6.3.1.  Cookie Generation

   As mentioned previously, IKE uses cookies as a partial defense
   against DoS attacks.  When the responder receives Main Mode message 3
   containing the Key Exchange data and the cookie, it verifies that the
   cookie is correct.  However, this verification must not involve
   having a list of valid cookies.  Otherwise, an attacker could
   potentially consume arbitrary amounts of memory by repeatedly
   requesting cookies from a responder.  The recommended way to generate
   a cookie, as suggested by Phil Karn, is to have a single master key
   and compute a hash of the secret and the initiator's address
   information.  This cookie can be verified by recomputing the cookie
   value based on information in the third message, and seeing if it

6.3.2.  Endpoint Identities

   So far we have been rather vague about what kinds of endpoint
   identities are used.  In principle, there are three ways a peer might
   be identified: by a shared key, a pre-configured public key, or a
   certificate.  Shared Key

   In a shared key scheme, the peers share a symmetric key.  This key is
   associated with a key identifier, which is known to both parties.  It
   is assumed that the party verifying that identity also has a table
   that indicates for which traffic (i.e., what addresses) that identity
   is allowed to negotiate SAs.

Top       Page 19  Pre-Configured Public Key

   A pre-configured public key scheme is the same as a shared key scheme
   except that the verifying party has the authenticating party's public
   key instead of a shared key.  Certificate

   In a certificate scheme, the authenticating party presents a
   certificate containing their public key.  It is straightforward to
   establish that this certificate matches the authentication data
   provided by the peer.  What is less straightforward is to determine
   whether a given peer is entitled to negotiate for a given class of
   traffic.  In theory, one might be able to determine this from the
   name in the certificate (e.g., the subject name contains an IP
   address that matches the ostensible IP address).  In practice, this
   is not clearly specified in IKE and, therefore, is not really
   interoperable.  Currently, it is likely that a configuration table
   maps certificates to policies, as in the other two authentication

7.  Security Considerations

   This document does not define any protocols and therefore has no
   security issues.

Top       Page 20 
A.  Appendix: IAB Members at the Time of This Writing

   Bernard Aboba
   Harald Alvestrand
   Rob Austein
   Leslie Daigle
   Patrik Falstrom
   Sally Floyd
   Jun-ichiro Itojun Hagino
   Mark Handley
   Bob Hinden
   Geoff Huston
   Eric Rescorla
   Pete Resnick
   Jonathan Rosenberg

Normative References

   There are no normative references for this document.

Informative References

   [AH]       Kent, S., and R. Atkinson, "IP Authentication Header", RFC
              2402, November 1998.

   [CCID2]    Floyd, S. and E. Kohler, "Profile for DCCP Congestion
              Control ID 2: TCP-like Congestion Control", Work in
              Progress, October 2003.

   [CCID3]    Floyd, S., Kohler, E., and J. Padhye, "Profile for DCCP
              Congestion Control ID 3: TFRC Congestion Control", Work in
              Progress, February 2004.

   [DCCP]     Kohler, E., Handley, M., and S. Floyd, "Datagram
              Congestion Control Protocol (DCCP)", Work in Progress,
              November 2004.

   [ECN]      Ramakrishnan, K. Floyd, S., and D. Black, "The Addition of
              Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) to IP", RFC 3168,
              September 2001.

   [ESP]      Kent, S. and R. Atkinson, "IP Encapsulating Security
              Payload (ESP)", RFC 2406, November 1998.

   [IKE]      Harkins, D. and D. Carrel, "The Internet Key Exchange
              (IKE)", RFC 2409, November 1998.

Top       Page 21 
   [IPSEC]    Kent, S. and R. Atkinson, "Security Architecture for the
              Internet Protocol", RFC 2401, November 1998.

   [KERBEROS] Kohl, J. and C. Neuman, "The Kerberos Network
              Authentication Service (V5)", RFC 1510, September 1993.

   [SDP]      Handley, M. and V. Jacobson, "SDP: Session Description
              Protocol" RFC 2327, April 1998.

   [STUN]     Rosenberg, J., Weinberger, J., Huitema, C., and R. Mahy,
              "STUN - Simple Traversal of User Datagram Protocol (UDP)",
              RFC 3489, March 2003.

   [SYNFLOOD] CERT Advisory CA-1996-21 TCP SYN Flooding and IP Spoofing
              Attacks <>,
              September 19, 1996.

   [UNSAF]    Daigle, L. and IAB, "IAB Considerations for UNilateral
              Self-Address Fixing (UNSAF) Across Network Address
              Translation", RFC 3424, November 2002.

   [WEBDAV]   Goland, Y., Whitehead, E., Faizi, A., Carter, S., and D.
              Jensen, "HTTP Extensions for Distributed Authoring --
              WEBDAV", RFC 2518, February 1999.

Authors' Addresses

   Eric Rescorla
   RTFM, Inc.
   2064 Edgewood Drive
   Palo Alto, CA 94303

   Phone: (650)-320-8549

   Internet Architecture Board


Top       Page 22 
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