IPsecME charter

This is Working in progress charter for the IPsecME for 2017 rechartering process.

Candidate Charter

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 IKEv2 to have similar quantum resistant properties than IKEv1 had.

Split DNS

Split-DNS is a common configuration for VPN deployments, in which only one or a few private DNS domains are accessible and resolvable via the tunnel. Adding new configuration attributes to IKEv2 for configuring Split-DNS would allow more deployments to adopt IKEv2. This configuration should also allow verification of the domains using DNSSEC. Working group will specify needed configuration attributes for IKEv2.

Implicit IV

Currently, widely used counter mode based ciphers send both the ESP sequence number and IV in form of 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 case.

Group DOI for IKEv2

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 draft-yeung-g-ikev2

Postquantum cryptography for IKEv2

Postquantum Cryptography brings new key exchange methods. Most of these methods that are known to date have much larger public keys then conventional Diffie-Hellman public keys. Direct 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 network - but not limited to - 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.

draft-mglt-ipsecme-diet-esp and draft-mglt-ipsecme-ikev2-diet-esp-extension are expected to be good starting points for ESP compression. draft-smyslov-ipsecme-ikev2-compression and draft-smyslov-ipsecme-ikev2-compact are good starting point for IKEv2 compression.

Signature algorithm negotiation

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 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 each other which signature format(s) the support, that leads to ineroperability 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.

Address Failure Errors

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. draft-boucadair-ipsecme-ipv6-ipv4-codes could be used as a starting point for this item.

Labeled IPsec

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.

Charter expiry

This charter will expire in December 2019. If the charter is not updated before that time, the WG will be closed and any remaining documents revert back to individual Internet-Drafts.

Proposed new items, but not agreed for charter addition yet

Responder MOBIKE (discussion ongoing in the list)

MOBIKE protocol [RFC4555] is used to move existing IKE/IPsec SA from one IP address to another. However, in MOBIKE it is the initiator of the IKE SA (i.e. remote access client) that controls this process. If there are several responders each having own IP address and acting together as a load sharing cluster, then it is desirable for them to have ability to request initiator to switch to a particular member. The working group will analyze the possibility to extend MOBIKE protocol or to develop new IKE extension that will allow to build load sharing clusters in an interoperable way.

Mitigating privacy concerns (new, no proper charter text)

IKEv2 is currently vulnerable to the two following privacy concerns:

1) It's not possible to run a server that obfuscates IKEv2/IPsec using TLS.

Today thanks to RFC 8229 it is possible to run an IKEv2/IPsec server on TCP port 443 with TLS. However if a government agent tries to send an SA_INIT over that it will discover that this server runs IKEv2/IPsec, and may blacklist it. We should add a mechanism to IKEv2 that allows the server to only respond to SA_INIT from known entities (e.g. that possess a shared secret).

2) The privacy of the initiator's identity in the presence of a man in

the middle attacker is not protected. Today an attacker with full control of the network can receive the IDi/IDr sent by the initiator in the first AUTH packet. We should add a mechanism to IKEv2 that allows the initiator to only send IDi/IDr to known entities (e.g. that possess a shared secret).


Last modified 20 months ago Last modified on Mar 23, 2018, 3:47:07 AM