This document describes a convention for labeling an IPv6 datagram
within a particular system security policy. The labels are designed
for use within a Mandatory Access Control (MAC) system. A real-world
example is the security classification system in use within the UK
Government. Some data held by the government is "classified", and is
therefore restricted by law to those people who have the appropriate
Commercial examples of information labeling schemes also exist
[CW87]. For example, one global electrical equipment company has a
formal security policy that defines six different Sensitivity Levels
for its internal data, ranging from "Class 1" to "Class 6"
information. Some financial institutions use multiple compartments
to restrict access to certain information (e.g., "mergers and
acquisitions", "trading") to those working directly on those projects
and to deny access to other groups within the company (e.g., equity
trading). A CALIPSO Sensitivity Label is the network instantiation
of a particular information security policy, and the policy's related
labels, classifications, compartments, and Releasabilities.
Some years ago, the Mandatory Access Control (MAC) policy for US
Government classified information was specified formally in
mathematical notation [BL73]. As it happens, many other
organizations or governments have the same basic Mandatory Access
Control (MAC) policy for information with differing ("vertical")
Sensitivity Levels. This document builds upon the formal definitions
of Bell-LaPadula [BL73]. There are two basic principles: "no write
down" and "no read up".
The first rule means that an entity having minimum Sensitivity Level
X must not be able to write information that is marked with a
Sensitivity Level below X. The second rule means that an entity
having maximum Sensitivity Level X must not be able to read
information having a Sensitivity Level above X. In a normal
deployment, information downgrading ("write down") must not occur
automatically, and is permitted if and only if a person with
appropriate "downgrade" privilege manually verifies the information
is permitted to be downgraded before s/he manually relabels (i.e.,
"downgrades") the information. Subsequent to the original work by
Bell and LaPadula in this area, this formal model was extended to
also support ("horizontal") Compartments of information.
This document extends Bell-LaPadula to accommodate the notion of
separate Domains of Interpretation (DOI) [BL73]. Each DOI
constitutes a single comparable domain of Sensitivity Labels as
stated by Bell-LaPadula. Sensitivity Labels from different domains
cannot be directly compared using Bell-LaPadula semantics.
This document is focused on providing specifications for (1) encoding
Sensitivity Labels in packets, and (2) how such Sensitivity Labels
are to be interpreted and enforced at the IP layer. This document
recognizes that there are several kinds of application processing
that occur above the IP layer that significantly impact end-to-end
system security policy enforcement, but are out of scope for this
document. In particular, how the network labeling policy is enforced
within processing in an End System is critical, but is beyond the
scope of a network (IP) layer Sensitivity Label encoding standard.
Other specifications exist, which discuss such details [TCSEC] [TNI]
[CMW] [ISO-15408] [CC] [MLOSPP].
This specification does not preclude an End System capable of
providing labeled packets across some range of Sensitivity Labels. A
Compartmented Mode Workstation (CMW) is an example of such an End
System [CMW]. This is useful if the End System is capable of, and
accredited to, separate processing across some range of Sensitivity
Labels. Such a node would have a range associated with it within the
network interface connecting the node to the network. As an example,
an End System has the range "SECRET: TOP SECRET" associated with it
in the Intermediate System to which the node is attached. SECRET
processing on the node is allowed to traverse the network to other
"SECRET : SECRET" segments of the network, ultimately to a "SECRET :
SECRET" node. Likewise, TOP SECRET processing on the node is allowed
to traverse a network through "TOP SECRET: TOP SECRET" segments,
ultimately to some "TOP SECRET: TOP SECRET" node. The node in this
case can allow a user on this node to access SECRET and TOP SECRET
resources, provided the user holds the appropriate clearances and has
been correctly configured.
With respect to a given network, each distinct Sensitivity Label
represents a separate virtual network, which shares the same physical
network. There are rules for moving information between the various
virtual networks. The model we use within this document is based on
the Bell-LaPadula model, but is extended to cover the concept of
differing Domains of Interpretation. Nodes that implement this
protocol MUST enforce this mandatory separation of data.
CALIPSO provides for both horizontal ("Compartment") and vertical
("Sensitivity Level") separation of information, as well as
separation based on DOI. The basic rule is that data MUST NOT be
delivered to a user or system that is not approved to receive it.
NOTE WELL: Wherever we say "not approved", we also mean "not
cleared", "not certified", and/or "not accredited" as applicable in
one's operational community.
This specification does not enable AUTOMATIC relabeling of
information, within a DOI or to a different DOI. That is, neither
automatic "upgrading" nor automatic "downgrading" of information are
enabled by this specification. Local security policies might allow
some limited downgrading, but this normally requires the intervention
of some human entity and is usually done within an End System with
respect to the internal Sensitivity Label, rather than on a network
or in an intermediate-system (e.g., router, guard). Automatic
downgrading is not suggested operational practice; further discussion
of downgrading is outside the scope of this protocol specification.
Implementers of this specification MUST NOT permit automatic
upgrading or downgrading of information in the default configuration
of their implementation. Implementers MAY add a configuration knob
that would permit a System Security Officer holding appropriate
privilege to enable automatic upgrading or downgrading of
information. If an implementation supports such a knob, the
existence of the configuration knob must be clearly documented and
the default knob setting MUST be that automatic upgrading or
downgrading is DISABLED. Automatic information upgrading and
downgrading is not recommended operational practice.
Many existing MLS deployments already use (and operationally need to
use) more than one DOI concurrently. User feedback from early
versions of this specification indicates that it is common at present
for a single network link (i.e., IP subnetwork) to carry traffic for
both a particular coalition (or joint-venture) activity and also for
the government (or other organization) that owns and operates that
particular network link. On such a link, one CALIPSO DOI would
typically be used for the coalition traffic and some different
CALIPSO DOI would typically be used for non-coalition traffic (i.e.,
traffic that is specific to the government that owns and operates
that particular network link). For example, a UK military network
that is part of a NATO deployment might have and use a UK MoD DOI for
information originating/terminating on another UK system, while
concurrently using a different NATO DOI for information
originating/terminating on a non-UK NATO system.
Additionally, operational experience with existing MLS systems has
shown that if a system only supports a single DOI at a given time,
then it is impossible for a deployment to migrate from using one DOI
value to a different DOI value in a smooth, lossless, zero downtime,
Therefore, a node that implements this specification MUST be able to
support at least two CALIPSO DOIs concurrently. Support for more
than two concurrent CALIPSO DOIs is encouraged. This requirement to
support at least two CALIPSO DOIs concurrently is not necessarily an
implementation constraint upon MLS operating system internals that
are unrelated to the network.
Indeed, use of multiple DOIs is also operationally useful in
deployments having a single administration that also have very large
numbers of compartments. For example, such a deployment might have
one set of related compartments in one CALIPSO DOI and a different
set of compartments in a different CALIPSO DOI. Some compartments
might be present in both DOIs, possibly at different bit positions of
the compartment bitmap in different DOIs. While this might make some
implementations more complex, it might also be used to reduce the
typical size of the IPv6 CALIPSO option in data packets.
Moving information between any two DOIs is permitted -- if and only
if -- the owners of the DOIs:
1) Agree to the exchange,
2) Publish a document with a table of equivalencies that
maps the CALIPSO values of one DOI into the other
and make that document available to security
administrators of MLS systems within the deployment
scope of those two DOIs.
The owners of two DOIs may choose to permit the exchange on or
between any of their systems, or may restrict exchange to a small
subset of the systems they own/accredit. One-way agreements are
permissible, as are agreements that are a subset of the full table of
equivalences. Actual administration of inter-DOI agreements is
outside the scope of this document.
When data leaves an End System it is exported to the network, and
marked with a particular DOI, Sensitivity Level, and Compartment Set.
(This triple is collectively termed a Sensitivity Label.) This
Sensitivity Label is derived from the internal Sensitivity Label (the
end-system-specific implementation of a given Sensitivity Label), and
the Export DOI. Selection of the Export DOI is described in detail
in Section 6.2.1.
When data arrives at an End System, it is imported from the network
to the End System. The data from the datagram takes on an internal
Sensitivity Label based on the Sensitivity Label contained in the
datagram. This assumes the datagram is marked with a recognizable
DOI, there is a corresponding internal Sensitivity Label equivalent
to the CALIPSO Sensitivity Label, and the datagram is "within range"
for the receiving logical interface.
A node has one or more physical interfaces. Each physical interface
is associated with a physical network segment used to connect the
node, router, LAN, or WAN. One or more Sensitivity Label ranges are
associated with each physical network interface. Sensitivity Label
ranges from multiple DOIs must be enumerated separately. Multiple
ranges from the same DOI are permissible.
Each node also might have one or more logical network interfaces.
A given logical network interface might be associated with more than
one physical interface. For example, a switch/router might have two
separate Ethernet ports that are associated with the same Virtual
Local Area Network (VLAN), where that one VLAN mapped to a single
IPv6 subnetwork [IEEE802.1Q].
A given physical network interface might have more than one
associated logical interface. For example, a node might have 2
logical network interfaces, each for a different IP subnetwork
("super-netting"), on a single physical network interface (e.g., on a
single Network Interface Card of a personal computer).
Alternatively, also as an example, a single Ethernet port might have
multiple Virtual LANs (VLANs) associated with it, where each VLAN
could be a separate logical network interface.
One or more Sensitivity Label ranges are associated with each logical
network interface. Sensitivity Label ranges from multiple DOIs must
be enumerated separately. Multiple ranges from the same DOI are
permissible. Each range associated with a logical interface must
fall within a range separately defined for the corresponding physical
There is specific user interest in having IPv6 routers that can apply
per-logical-interface mandatory access controls based on the contents
of the CALIPSO Sensitivity Labels in IPv6 packets. The authors note
that since the early 1990s, and continuing through today, some
commercial IPv4 router products provide MAC enforcement for the RFC
1108 IP Security Option.
In transit, a datagram is handled based on its CALIPSO Sensitivity
Label, and is usually neither imported to or exported from the
various Intermediate Systems it transits. There also is the concept
of "CALIPSO Gateways", which import data from one DOI and export it
to another DOI such that the effective Sensitivity Label is NOT
changed, but is merely represented using a different DOI. In other
words, such devices would be trustworthy, trusted, and authorized to
provide on-the-fly relabeling of packets at the boundaries between
complete systems of End Systems within a single DOI. Typically, such
systems require specific certification(s) and accreditation(s) before
deployment or use.
This Section describes the default behavior of CALIPSO-compliant End
Systems and Intermediate Systems. Implementers MAY implement
configuration knobs to vary from this behavior, provided that the
default behavior (i.e., if the system administrator does not
explicitly change the configured behavior of the device) is as
described below. If implementers choose to implement such
configuration knobs, the configuration parameters and the behaviors
that they enable and disable SHOULD be documented for the benefit of
system administrators of those devices.
Each Intermediate System or End System is responsible for properly
interpreting and enforcing the MLS Mandatory Access Control policy.
Practically, this means that each node must evaluate the label on the
inbound packet, ensure that this Sensitivity Label is valid (i.e.,
within range) for the receiving interface, and at a minimum only
forward the packet to an interface and node where the Sensitivity
Label of the packet falls within the assigned range of that node's
Packets with an invalid (e.g., out-of-range) Sensitivity Label for
the receiving interface MUST be dropped upon receipt. A Sensitivity
Label is valid if and only if the Sensitivity Label falls within the
range assigned to the transmitting interface on the sending system
and within the range assigned to the receiving interface on the
receiving system. These rules also need to be applied by
Intermediate Systems on each hop that a CALIPSO-labeled packet
traverses, not merely at the end points of a labeled IP session. As
an example, it is a violation of the default MLS MAC policy for a
packet with a higher Sensitivity Level (e.g., "MOST SECRET") to
transit a link whose maximum Sensitivity Level is less than that
first Sensitivity Level (e.g., "SECRET").
If an unlabeled packet is received from a node that does not support
CALIPSO Sensitivity Labels (i.e., unable to assign Sensitivity Labels
itself) and the packet is destined for a node that supports CALIPSO
Sensitivity Labels, then the receiving intermediate system needs to
insert a Sensitivity Label. This Sensitivity Label MUST be equal to
the maximum Sensitivity Label assigned to the originating node if and
only if that is known to the receiving node. If this receiving
Intermediate System does not know which Sensitivity Label is assigned
to the originating node, then the maximum Sensitivity Label of the
interface that received the unlabeled packet MUST be inserted.
NOTE WELL: The procedure in the preceding paragraph is NOT a label
upgrade -- because it is not changing an existing label; instead, it
is simply inserting a Sensitivity Label that has the only "safe"
value, given that no other information is known to the receiving
node. In large-scale deployments, it is very unlikely that a given
node will have any authoritative a priori information about the
security configuration of any node that is NOT on a directly attached
If a packet is to be sent to a node that is defined to not be
Sensitivity Label aware, from a node that is label aware, then the
Sensitivity Label MAY be removed upon transmission if and only if
local security policy explicitly permits this. The originating node
is still responsible for ensuring that the Sensitivity Label on the
packet falls within the Sensitivity Label range associated with the
receiving node. If the packet will traverse more than one subnetwork
between origin and destination, and those subnetworks are labeled,
then the packet SHOULD normally contain a Sensitivity Label so that
the packet will be able to reach the destination and the Intermediate
Systems will be able to apply the requisite MAC policy to the packet.
NOTE WELL: In some IPv4 MLS network deployments that exist as of the
publication date, if a first-hop router receives an unlabeled IPv4
packet, the router inserts an appropriate Sensitivity Label into that
IPv4 packet, in the manner described above. So sending a packet
without a label across a multiple subnetwork path to a destination
does not guarantee that the packet will arrive containing no
This section describes the format of the CALIPSO option for use with
IPv6 datagrams. CALIPSO is an IPv6 Hop-By-Hop Option, rather than an
IPv6 Destination Option, to ensure that a security gateway or router
can apply access controls to IPv6 packets based on the CALIPSO label
carried by the packet.
An IPv6 datagram that has not been tunneled contains at most one
CALIPSO label. In the special case where (1) a labeled IPv6 datagram
is tunneled inside another labeled IPv6 datagram AND (2) IP Security
is NOT providing confidentiality protection for the inner packet, the
outer CALIPSO Sensitivity Label must have the same meaning as the
inner CALIPSO Sensitivity Label. For example, it would be invalid to
encapsulate an unencrypted IPv6 packet with a Sensitivity Label of
(SECRET, no compartments) inside a packet with an outer Sensitivity
Label of (UNCLASSIFIED).
If the inner IPv6 packet is tunneled inside the Encapsulating
Security Payload (ESP) and confidentiality is being provided to that
inner packet, then the outer packet MAY have a different CALIPSO
Sensitivity Label -- subject to local security policy.
As a general principle, the meaning of the Sensitivity Labels must be
identical when one has a labeled cleartext IP packet that has been
encapsulated (tunneled) inside another labeled IP packet. This is
true whether one has IPv6 tunneled in IPv6, IPv4 tunneled in IPv6, or
IPv6 tunneled in IPv4. This is essential to maintaining proper
Mandatory Access Controls.
This option's syntax has been designed with intermediate systems in
mind. It is now common for an MLS network deployment to contain an
Intermediate Systems acting as a guard (sometimes several acting as
guards). Such a guard device needs to be able to very rapidly parse
the Sensitivity Label in each packet, apply ingress interface MAC
policy, forward the packet while aware of the packet's Sensitivity
Label, and then apply egress interface MAC policy.
At least one prior IP Sensitivity Label option [FIPS-188] used a
syntax that was unduly complex to parse in IP routers, hence that
option never was implemented in an IP router. So there is a
deliberate effort here to choose a streamlined option syntax that is
easy to parse, encode, and implement in more general terms.
5.1. Option Format
The CALIPSO option is an IPv6 Hop-by-Hop Option and is designed to
comply with IPv6 optional header rules. Following the nomenclature
of Section 4.2 of RFC 2460, the Option Type field of this option must
have 4n+2 alignment [RFC2460].
The CALIPSO Option Data MUST NOT change en route, except when (1)
"DOI translation" is performed by a trusted Intermediate System, (2)
a CALIPSO Option is inserted by a trusted Intermediate System upon
receipt of an unlabeled IPv6 packet, or (3) a CALIPSO Option is
removed by a last-hop trusted Intermediate System immediately prior
to forwarding the packet to a destination node that does not
implement support for CALIPSO labels. The details of these three
exceptions are described elsewhere in this document.
If the option type is not recognized by a node examining the packet,
the option is ignored. However, all implementations of this
specification MUST be able to recognize this option and therefore
MUST NOT ignore this option if it is present in an IPv6 packet.
This option is designed to comply with the IPv6 optional header rules
[RFC2460]. The CALIPSO option is always carried in a Hop-By-Hop
Option Header, never in any other part of an IPv6 packet. This rule
exists because IPv6 routers need to be able to see the CALIPSO label
so that those routers are able to apply MLS Mandatory Access Controls
to those packets.
The diagram below shows the CALIPSO option along with the required
(first) two fields of the Hop-By-Hop Option Header that envelops the
CALIPSO option. The design of the CALIPSO option is arranged to
avoid the need for 16 bits of padding between the HDR EXT LEN field
and the start of the CALIPSO option. Also, the CALIPSO Domain of
Interpretation field is laid out so that it normally will be 32-bit
| Next Header | Hdr Ext Len | Option Type | Option Length|
| CALIPSO Domain of Interpretation |
| Cmpt Length | Sens Level | Checksum (CRC-16) |
| Compartment Bitmap (Optional; variable length) |
5.1.1. Option Type Field
This field contains an unsigned 8-bit value. Its value is 00000111
Nodes that do not recognize this option should ignore it. In many
cases, not all routers in a given MLS deployment will contain support
for this CALIPSO option. For interoperability reasons, it is
important that routers that do not support the CALIPSO forward this
packet normally, even though those routers do not recognize the
In the event the IPv6 packet is fragmented, this option MUST be
copied on fragmentation. Virtually all users want the choice of
using the IP Authentication Header (a) to authenticate this option
and (b) to bind this option to the associated IPv6 packet.
5.1.2. Option Length Field
This field contains an unsigned integer one octet in size. Its
minimum value is eight (e.g., when the Compartment Bitmap field is
absent). This field specifies the Length of the option data field of
this option in octets. The Option Type and Option Length fields are
not included in the length calculation.
5.1.3. Compartment Length Field
This field contains an unsigned 8-bit integer. The field specifies
the size of the Compartment Bitmap field in 32-bit words. The
minimum value is zero, which is used only when the information in
this packet is not in any compartment. (In that situation, the
CALIPSO Sensitivity Label has no need for a Compartment Bitmap).
Note that measuring the Compartment Bitmap field length in 32-bit
words permits the header to be 64-bit aligned, following IPv6
guidelines, without wasting 32 bits. Using 64-bit words for the size
of the Compartment Bitmap field length would force 32 bits of padding
with every option in order to maintain 64-bit alignment; wasting
those bits in every CALIPSO option is undesirable.
Because this specification represents Releasabilities on the wire as
inverted Compartments, the size of the Compartment Bitmap field needs
to be large enough to hold not only the set of logical Compartments,
but instead to hold both the set of logical Compartments and the set
of logical Releasabilities.
Recall that the overall length of this option MUST follow IPv6
optional header rules, including the word alignment rules. This has
implications for the valid values for this field. In some cases, the
length of the Compartment Bitmap field might need to exceed the
number of bits required to hold the sum of the logical Compartments
and the logical Releasabilities, in order to comply with IPv6
5.1.5. Domain of Interpretation Field
This field contains an unsigned 32-bit integer. IANA maintains a
registry with assignments of the DOI values used in this field. The
DOI identifies the rules under which this datagram must be handled
and protected. The NULL DOI, in which this field is all zeros, MUST
NOT appear in any IPv6 packet on any network.
NOTE WELL: The Domain Of Interpretation value where all 4 octets
contain zero is defined to be the NULL DOI. The NULL DOI has no
compartments and has a single level whose value and CALIPSO
representation are each zero. The NULL DOI MUST NOT ever appear on
the wire. If a packet is received containing the NULL DOI, that
packet MUST be dropped and the event SHOULD be logged as a security
5.1.6. Sensitivity Level Field
This contains an unsigned 8-bit value. This field contains an opaque
octet whose value indicates the relative sensitivity of the data
contained in this datagram in the context of the indicated DOI. The
values of this field MUST be ordered, with 00000000 being the lowest
Sensitivity Level and 11111111 being the highest Sensitivity Level.
However, in a typical deployment, not all 256 Sensitivity Levels will
be in use. So the set of valid Sensitivity Level values depends upon
the CALIPSO DOI in use. This sensitivity ordering rule is necessary
so that Intermediate Systems (e.g., routers or MLS guards) will be
able to apply MAC policy with minimal per-packet computation and
5.1.7. 16-Bit Checksum Field
This 16-bit field contains the a CRC-16 checksum as defined in
Appendix C of RFC 1662 [RFC1662]. The checksum is calculated over
the entire CALIPSO option in this packet, including option header,
zeroed-out checksum field, option contents, and any required padding
The checksum MUST always be computed on transmission and MUST always
be verified on reception. This checksum only provides protection
against accidental corruption of the CALIPSO option in cases where
neither the underlying medium nor other mechanisms, such as the IP
Authentication Header (AH), are available to protect the integrity of
Note that the checksum field is always required, even when other
integrity protection mechanisms (e.g., AH) are used. This method is
chosen for its reliability and simplicity in both hardware and
software implementations, and because many implementations already
support this checksum due to its existing use in various IETF
5.1.8. Compartment Bitmap Field
This contains a variable number of 64-bit words. Each bit represents
one compartment within the DOI. Each "1" bit within an octet in the
Compartment Bitmap field represents a separate compartment under
whose rules the data in this packet must be protected. Hence, each
"0" bit indicates that the compartment corresponding with that bit is
not applicable to the data in this packet. The assignment of
identity to individual bits within a Compartment Bitmap for a given
DOI is left to the owner of that DOI.
This specification represents a Releasability on the wire as if it
were an inverted Compartment. So the Compartment Bitmap holds the
sum of both logical Releasabilities and also logical Compartments for
a given DOI value. The encoding of the Releasabilities in this field
is described elsewhere in this document. The Releasability encoding
is designed to permit the Compartment Bitmap evaluation to occur
without the evaluator necessarily knowing the human semantic
associated with each bit in the Compartment Bitmap. In turn, this
facilitates the implementation and configuration of Mandatory Access
Controls based on the Compartment Bitmap within IPv6 routers or guard
5.2. Packet Word Alignment Considerations
The basic option is variable length, due to the variable length
Compartment Bitmap field.
Intermediate Systems that lack custom silicon processing capabilities
and most End Systems perform best when processing fixed-length,
fixed-location items. So the IPv6 base specification levies certain
requirements on all IPv6 optional headers.
The CALIPSO option must maintain this IPv6 64-bit alignment rule for
the option overall. Please note that the Compartment Bitmap field
has a length in quanta of 32-bit words (e.g., 0 bits, 32 bits, 64
bits, 96 bits), which permits the overall CALIPSO option length to be
64-bit aligned -- without requiring 32 bits of NULL padding with
every CALIPSO option.
This section describes specific protocol processing steps required
for systems that claim to implement or conform with this
6.1. Sensitivity Label Comparisons
This section describes how comparisons are made between two
Sensitivity Labels. Implementing this comparison correctly is
critical to the MLS system providing the intended Mandatory Access
Controls (MACs) to network traffic entering or leaving the system.
A Sensitivity Label consists of a DOI, a Sensitivity Level, and zero
or more Compartments. The following notation will be used:
A.DOI = the DOI portion of Sensitivity Label A
A.LEV = the Sensitivity Level portion of Sensitivity Label A
A.COMP = the Compartments portion of Sensitivity Label A
6.1.1. "Within Range"
A Sensitivity Label "M" is "within range" for a particular range
"LO:HI" if and only if:
1. M, LO, and HI are members of the same DOI.
(M.DOI == LO.DOI == HI.DOI)
2. The range is a valid range. A given range LO:HI is
valid if and only if HI dominates LO.
((LO.LEV <= HI.LEV) && (LO.COMP <= HI.COMP))
3. The Sensitivity Level of M dominates the low-end (LO)
Sensitivity Level AND the Sensitivity Level of M is
dominated by the high-end (HI) Sensitivity Level.
(LO.LEV <= M.LEV <= HI.LEV)
4. The Sensitivity Label M has a Compartment Set that
dominates the Compartment Set contained in the
Sensitivity Label from the low-end range (LO), and
that is dominated by the Compartment Set contained
in the high-end Sensitivity Label (HI) from the range.
(LO.COMP <= M.COMP <= HI.COMP)
6.1.2. "Less Than" or "Below Range"
A Sensitivity Label "M" is "less than" some other Sensitivity Label
"LO" if and only if:
1. The DOI for the Sensitivity Label M is identical
to the DOI for both the low-end and high-end of
(M.DOI == LO.DOI == HI.DOI)
2. The Sensitivity Level of M is less than the
Sensitivity Level of LO.
(M.LEV < LO.LEV)
3. The Compartment Set of Sensitivity Label M is
dominated by the Compartment Set of Sensitivity
(M.COMP <= LO.COMP)
A Sensitivity Label "M" is "below range" for a Sensitivity Label
"LO:HI", if LO dominates M and LO is not equal to M.
6.1.3. "Greater Than" or "Above Range"
A Sensitivity Label "M" is "greater than" some Sensitivity Label "HI"
if and only if:
1. Their DOI's are identical.
(M.DOI == HI.DOI)
2A. M's Sensitivity Level is above HI's Sensitivity Level.
(M.LEV > HI.LEV)
2B. M's Compartment Set is greater than HI's Compartment Set.
(M.COMP > HI.COMP)
A Sensitivity Label "M" is "above range" for a Sensitivity Label,
"LO:HI", if M dominates HI and M is not equal to HI.
6.1.4. "Equal To"
A Sensitivity Label "A" is "equal to" another Sensitivity Label "B"
if and only if:
1. They have the exact same DOI.
(A.DOI == B.DOI)
2. They have identical Sensitivity Levels.
(A.LEV == B.LEV)
3. Their Compartment Sets are identical.
(A.COMP == B.COMP)
6.1.5. "Disjoint" or "Incomparable"
A Sensitivity Label "A" is disjoint from another Sensitivity Label
"B" if any of these conditions are true:
1. Their DOI's differ.
(A.DOI <> B.DOI)
2. B does not dominate A, A does not dominate B,
and A is not equal to B.
(^( (A < B) || (A > B) || (A == B) ))
3. Their Compartment Sets are disjoint from each other;
A's Compartment Set does not dominate B's Compartment
Set AND B's Compartment Set does not dominate A's
(^( (A.COMP >= B.COMP) || (A.COMP <= B.COMP) ))
6.2. End System Processing
This section describes CALIPSO-related processing for IPv6 packets
imported or exported from an End System claiming to implement or
conform with this specification. This document places no additional
requirements on IPv6 nodes that do not claim to implement or conform
with this document.
An End System that sends data to the network is said to "export" it
to the network. Before a datagram can leave an end system and be
transmitted over a network, the following ordered steps must occur:
1. Selection of the export DOI:
a) If the upper-level protocol selects a DOI,
then that DOI is selected.
b) Else, if there are tables defining a specific default
DOI for the specific destination End System address
or for the network address, then that DOI is selected.
c) Else, if there is a specific DOI associated with the
sending logical interface (i.e., IP address), then that
DOI is selected.
d) Else the default DOI for the system is selected.
NOTE WELL: A connection-oriented transport-layer protocol session
(e.g., Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) session, Stream Control
Transmission Protocol (SCTP) session) MUST have the same DOI and same
Sensitivity Label for the life of that connection. The DOI is
selected at connection initiation and MUST NOT change during the
A trusted multi-level application that possesses appropriate
privilege MAY use multiple connection-oriented transport-layer
protocol sessions with differing Sensitivity Labels concurrently.
Some trusted UDP-based applications (e.g., remote procedure call
service) multiplex different transactions having different
Sensitivity Levels in different packets for the same IP session
(e.g., IP addresses and UDP ports are constant for a given UDP
session). In such cases, the Trusted Computing Base MUST ensure that
each packet is labeled with the correct Sensitivity Label for the
information carried in that particular packet.
In the event the End System selects and uses a specific DOI and that
DOI is not recognized by the originating node's first-hop router, the
packet MUST be dropped by the first-hop router. In such a case, the
networking API should indicate the connection failure (e.g., with
some appropriate error, such as ENOTREACH). This fault represents
(1) incorrect configuration of either the Intermediate System or of
the End System or (2) correct operation for a node that is not
permitted to send IPv6 packets with that DOI through that
When an MLS End System is connected to an MLS LAN, it is possible
that there would be more than one first-hop Intermediate System
concurrently, with different Intermediate Systems having different
valid Sensitivity Label ranges. Thoughtful use of the IEEE 802
Virtual LAN (VLAN) standard (e.g., with different VLAN IDs
corresponding to different sensitivity ranges) might ease proper
system configuration in such deployments.
2. Export Labeling:
Once the DOI is selected, the CALIPSO Sensitivity
Label and values are determined based on the internal
Sensitivity Label and the DOI. In the event the internal
Sensitivity Level does not map to a valid CALIPSO
Sensitivity Label, then an error SHOULD be returned
to the upper-level protocol and that error MAY be
logged. No further attempt to send this datagram
should be made.
3. Access Control:
Once the datagram is marked and the sending logical
interface is selected (by the routing code), the
datagram's Sensitivity Label is compared against the
Sensitivity Label range(s) associated with that logical
interface. For the datagram to be sent, the interface
MUST list the DOI of the datagram Sensitivity Label as
one of the permissible DOI's and the datagram Sensitivity
Label must be within range for the range associated with
that DOI. If the datagram fails this access test, then
an error SHOULD be returned to the upper-level protocol
and MAY be logged. No further attempt to send this
datagram should be made.
When a datagram arrives at an interface on an End System, the
receiving End System MUST:
1. Verify the CALIPSO checksum. Datagrams with
invalid checksums MUST be silently dropped.
Such a drop event SHOULD be logged as a security
fault with an indication of what happened.
2. Verify the CALIPSO has a known and valid DOI.
Datagrams with unrecognized or illegal DOIs MUST
be silently dropped. Such an event SHOULD be
logged as a security fault with an indication
of what happened.
3. Verify the DOI is a permitted one for the receiving
interface. Datagrams with prohibited DOI values
MUST be silently dropped. Such an event SHOULD
be logged as a security fault with an indication
of what happened.
4. Verify the CALIPSO Sensitivity Label is within
the permitted range for the receiving interface:
NOTE WELL: EACH permitted DOI on an interface has
a separate table describing the permitted range
for that DOI.
A datagram with a Sensitivity Label within the
permitted range is accepted for further processing.
A datagram with a Sensitivity Label disjoint with
the permitted range MUST be silently dropped.
Such an event SHOULD be logged as a security fault,
with an indication that the packet was dropped
because of a disjoint Sensitivity Label. An ICMP
error message MUST NOT be sent in this case.
A datagram with a Sensitivity Label below the
permitted range MUST be dropped. This event
SHOULD be logged as a security fault, with an
indication that the packet was below range.
An ICMP error message MUST NOT be sent in this case.
A datagram with a Sensitivity Label above the
permitted range MUST be dropped. This event
SHOULD be logged as a security fault, with an
indication that the packet was above range.
An ICMP error message MUST NOT be sent in this case.
5. Once the datagram has been accepted, the receiving
system MUST use the import Sensitivity Label and DOI
to associate the appropriate internal Sensitivity Label
with the data in the received datagram. This label
information MUST be carried as part of the information
returned to the upper-layer protocol.
6.3. Intermediate System Processing
This section describes CALIPSO-related processing for IPv6 packets
transiting an IPv6 Intermediate System that claims to implement and
comply with this specification. This document places no additional
requirements on IPv6 Intermediate Systems that do not claim to comply
or conform with this document.
The CALIPSO packet format has been designed so that one can configure
an Intermediate System with the minimum sensitivity level, maximum
Sensitivity Level, minimum compartment bitmap, and maximum
compartment bitmap -- and then deploy that system without forcing the
system to know the detailed human meaning of each Sensitivity Level
or compartment bit value. Instead, once the minimum and maximum
labels have been configured, the Intermediate System can apply a
simple algorithm to determine whether or not a packet is within range
for a given interface. This design should be straight-forward to
implement in Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) or Field
Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) hardware, because the option format is
simple and easy to parse, and because only a single comparison
algorithm (defined in this RFC, hence known in advance) is needed.
Intermediate Systems have slightly different rules for processing
marked datagrams than do End Systems. Primarily, Intermediate
Systems do not IMPORT or EXPORT transit datagrams, they just forward
them. Also, in most deployments intermediate systems are used to
provide Mandatory Access Controls to packets traversing more than one
The following checks MUST occur before any other processing. Upon
receiving a CALIPSO-labeled packet, an Intermediate System must:
1. Determine whether or not this datagram is destined
for (addressed to) this Intermediate System. If
so, then the Intermediate System becomes an End
System for the purposes of receiving this
particular datagram and the rules for IMPORTing
described above are followed.
2. Verify the CALIPSO checksum. Datagrams with
invalid checksums MUST be silently dropped. The
drop event SHOULD be logged as a security fault
with an indication of what happened and MAY
additionally be logged as a network fault.
A checksum failure could indicate a general network
problem (e.g., noise on a radio link) that is
unrelated to the presence of a CALIPSO option, but
it also could indicate an attempt by an adversary
to tamper with the value of a CALIPSO label.
3. Verify the CALIPSO has a known and valid DOI.
Datagrams with unrecognized or illegal DOIs MUST
be silently dropped. Such an event SHOULD be
logged as a security fault with an indication of
4. Verify the DOI is a permitted one for the receiving
interface. Datagrams with prohibited DOIs MUST be
silently dropped. Such a drop SHOULD be logged as
a security fault with an indication of what
5. Verify the Sensitivity Label within the CALIPSO
is within the permitted range for the receiving
Each permitted DOI on an interface has a separate
table describing the permitted range for that DOI.
A rejected datagram with a Sensitivity Label below
or disjoint with the permitted range MUST be
silently dropped. Such an event SHOULD be logged
as a security fault with an indication of what
happened. An ICMP error message MUST NOT be sent
in this case.
A rejected datagram with a Sensitivity Label above
the permitted range MUST be dropped. The drop
event SHOULD be logged as a security fault with an
indication of what happened. An ICMP error message
MUST NOT be sent in this case.
If and only if all the above conditions are met is the datagram
accepted by the IPv6 Intermediate System for further processing and
At this point, the datagram is within the permitted range for the
Intermediate System, so appropriate ICMP error messages MAY be
created by the IP module back to the originating End System regarding
the forwarding of the datagram. These ICMP messages MUST be created
with the exact same Sensitivity Label as the datagram causing the
error. Standard rules about generating ICMP error messages (e.g.,
never generate an ICMP error message in response to a received ICMP
error message) continue to apply. Note that these locally generated
ICMP messages must go through the same outbound checks (including MAC
checks) as any other forwarded datagram as described in the following
6.3.2. Translation by Intermediate Systems
It is at this point, after input processing and before output
processing, that translation of the CALIPSO from one DOI to another
DOI takes place in an Intermediate System, if at all. Section 6.4
describes the two possible approaches to translation.
Once the forwarding code has selected the interface through which the
datagram will be transmitted, the following takes place:
1. If the output interface requires that all packets
contain a CALIPSO label, then verify that the packet
contains a CALIPSO label.
2. Verify the DOI is a permitted one for the sending
interface and that the datagram is within the
permitted range for the DOI and for the interface.
3. Datagrams with prohibited DOIs or with out-of-range
Sensitivity Labels MUST be dropped. Any drop event
SHOULD be logged as a security fault, including
appropriate details about which datagram was
dropped and why.
4. Datagrams with prohibited DOIs or out-of-range
Sensitivity Labels MAY result in an ICMP "Destination
Unreachable" error message, depending upon the
security configuration of the system.
If the cause of the dropped packet is that the
DOI is prohibited or unrecognized, then a reason
code of "No Route to Host" is used. If the dropped
packet's DOI is valid, but the Sensitivity Label
is out of range, then a reason code of
"Administratively Prohibited" is used. If an
unlabeled packet has been dropped because the
packet is required to be labeled, then a reason
code of "Administratively Prohibited" is used.
In all cases, if an ICMP Error Message is sent,
then it MUST be sent with the same Sensitivity
Label as the rejected datagram.
The choice of whether or not to send an ICMP
message, if sending an ICMP message for this case
is implemented, MUST be configurable, and SHOULD
default to not sending an ICMP message. Standard
conditions about generating ICMP error messages
(e.g., never send an ICMP error message about a
received ICMP error message) continue to apply.
A system that provides on-the-fly relabeling is said to "translate"
from one DOI to another. There are basically two ways a datagram can
Either the Sensitivity Label can be converted from a CALIPSO
Sensitivity Label, to an internal Sensitivity Label, and then back to
a new CALIPSO Sensitivity Label, exclusive-or a CALIPSO Sensitivity
Label can be directly remapped into a new CALIPSO Sensitivity Label.
The first of these methods is the functional equivalent of
"importing" the datagram then "exporting" it and is covered in detail
in the "Import" (Section 6.2.2) and "Export" (Section 6.2.1) sections
The remainder of this section describes the second method, which is
direct relabeling. The choice of which method to use for relabeling
is an implementation decision outside the scope of this document.
A system that provides on-the-fly relabeling without importing or
exporting is basically a special case of the Intermediate System
rules listed above. Translation or relabeling takes place AFTER all
input checks take place, but before any output checks are done.
Once a datagram has passed the Intermediate System input processing
and input validation described in Section 6.3.1, and has been
accepted as valid, the CALIPSO in that datagram may be relabeled. To
determine the new Sensitivity Label, first determine the new output
The selection of the output DOI may be based on any of Incoming DOI,
Incoming Sensitivity Label, Destination End System, Destination
Network, Destination Subnetwork, Sending Interface, or Receiving
Interface, or combinations thereof. Exact details on how the output
DOI is selected are implementation dependent, with the caveat that it
should be consistent and reversible. If a datagram from End System A
to End System B with DOI X maps into DOI Y, then a datagram from B to
A with DOI Y should map into DOI X.
Once the output DOI is selected, the output Sensitivity Label is
determined based on (1) the input DOI and input Sensitivity Label and
(2) the output DOI. In the event the input Sensitivity Label does
not map to a valid output Sensitivity Label for the output DOI, then
the datagram MUST be silently dropped and the drop event SHOULD be
logged as a security fault.
Once the datagram has been relabeled, the Intermediate System output
procedures described in Section 6.3.3 are followed, with the
exception that any error that would cause an ICMP error message to be
generated back to the originating End System instead MUST silently
drop the datagram without sending an ICMP error message. Such a drop
SHOULD be logged as a security fault.