Some last call comments:
* The document never mentions the fact that this document is
IPR-encumbered. As far as I recall, much of the dicussion within tcpm
with respect to the level of requirements of this document
(MAY/SHOULD/MUST, etc.) had to do with this fact. I believe the document
should include a warning mentioning that there's an IPR on the document,
so that implementers can consider this point in their decision of
whether to implement the described mechanisms or not.
* The document discusses blind attacks, and to some extent assesses the
difficulty in guessing the four-tuple that identifies a TCP connection.
However, it does not even mention port randomization, which is probably
the most simple and straightforward approach for mitigating blind
attacks against TCP. This was raised by me and other quite a few times
in the tcpm wg list, pre and post wglc, but this comment was never
addressed. It's particularly curious that port randomization is not
mentioned when tsvwg is working on it (draft-ietf-tsvwg-port-randomization).
* Among the factors that determine how easy these attacks be exploited
is the window size. This document should provide, at the very least,
pointers with advice on what to do with the tcp window. While quickly
skimming through RFC 4953, it seems it has some advice on the TCP
window. We do offer a lengthy discussion of this and other issues in
* Yet another factor is TCP ISN randomization. At the very least, this
document could/should a pointer to RFC 1948. We do offer a lengthy
discussion of this and other issues in draft-gont-tcp-security and
* Just of the top of my head: Hadn't the BGP spec been updated so that a
well-known port was not required as the *source* port?
* The counter-measure of for the SYN-based reset attack may have missed
a common heuristics for the handling of SYN segments. See pages 86 and
87 of the UK CPNI paper on TCP security. FWIW, we argue that the
processing of SYN segments proposed in [Ramaiah et al, 2008] should
apply only for connections in any of the synchronized states other than
the TIME-WAIT state.
* When it comes to TCP-based blind-connection reset attacks, there's a
much more trivial -- yet not discussed before? -- alternative. See
Section 11.1.3 and Section 11.1.4 in draft-gont-tcp-security and the
These variants should, at the very least, be mentioned and a pointer
provided to them as, at least in theory, are much easier to exploit.
* When it comes to the data injection attack, Michael Zalewski sketched
another attack vector which may be easier to exploit. We discuss it in
Section 16.2 of draft-gont-tcp-security and the CPNI doc, along with
advice. IMO, this vector should be mentioned, too.
Needless to say, I'm in favor of improving the robustness of TCP and,
IPRs-aside, I'm happy with the implementation of the counter-measures
described in the tcpsecure I-D (all three).
I'm also glad that this doc is getting close to publication. Five years
working on a document is quite a lot of time! (yes, it could have been
worse, some might argue).
The IESG wrote:
The IESG has received a request from the TCP Maintenance and Minor
Extensions WG (tcpm) to consider the following document:
- 'Improving TCP's Robustness to Blind In-Window Attacks '
<draft-ietf-tcpm-tcpsecure-11.txt> as a Proposed Standard
The IESG plans to make a decision in the next few weeks, and solicits
final comments on this action. Please send substantive comments to the
ietf(_at_)ietf(_dot_)org mailing lists by 2009-04-16. Exceptionally,
comments may be sent to iesg(_at_)ietf(_dot_)org instead. In either case,
retain the beginning of the Subject line to allow automated sorting.
The file can be obtained via
IESG discussion can be tracked via
The following IPR Declarations may be related to this I-D:
IETF-Announce mailing list
e-mail: fernando(_at_)gont(_dot_)com(_dot_)ar || fgont(_at_)acm(_dot_)org
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