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This document describes the Handover Keying (HOKEY) re-authentication problem statement. The current Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) keying framework is not designed to support re-authentication and handovers without re-executing an EAP method. This often causes unacceptable latency in various mobile wireless environments. This document details the problem and defines design goals for a generic mechanism to reuse derived EAP keying material for handover.
3. Problem Statement
4. Design Goals
5. Security Goals
5.1. Key Context and Domino Effect
5.2. Key Freshness
5.5. Channel Binding
5.6. Transport Aspects
6. Use Cases and Related Work
6.1. Method-Specific EAP Re-authentication
6.2. IEEE 802.11r Applicability
6.3. CAPWAP Applicability
7. Security Considerations
8. IANA Considerations
11.1. Normative References
11.2. Informative References
§ Authors' Addresses
§ Intellectual Property and Copyright Statements
The Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP), specified in RFC 3748 [RFC3748] (Aboba, B., Blunk, L., Vollbrecht, J., Carlson, J., and H. Levkowetz, “Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP),” June 2004.) is a generic framework supporting multiple authentication methods. The primary purpose of EAP is network access control. It also supports exporting session keys derived during the authentication. The EAP keying hierarchy defines two keys that are derived at the top level, the Master Session Key (MSK) and the Extended Master Session Key (EMSK).
In many common deployment scenario, an EAP peer and EAP server authenticate each other through a third party known as the pass-through authenticator (hereafter referred to as simply "authenticator"). The authenticator is responsible for encapsulating EAP packets from a network access technology lower layer within the Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (AAA) protocol. The authenticator does not directly participate in the EAP exchange, and simply acts as a gateway during the EAP method execution.
After successful authentication, the EAP server transports the MSK to the authenticator. Note that this is performed using AAA protocols, not EAP itself. The underlying L2 or L3 protocol uses the MSK to derive additional keys, including the transient session keys (TSKs) used for per-packet encryption and authentication.
Note that while the authenticator is one logical device, there can be multiple physical devices involved. For example, the CAPWAP model [RFC3990] (O'Hara, B., Calhoun, P., and J. Kempf, “Configuration and Provisioning for Wireless Access Points (CAPWAP) Problem Statement,” February 2005.) splits authenticators into two logical devices: Wireless Termination Points (WTPs) and Access Controllers (ACs). Depending on the configuration, authenticator features can be split in a variety of ways between physical devices, however from the EAP perspective there is only one logical authenticator.
The current models of EAP authentication and keying are frequently not efficient in cases where the peer is a mobile device [MSA03] (Mishra, A., Shin, M., and W. Arbaugh, “An Empirical Analysis of the IEEE 802.11 MAC-Layer Handoff Process,” April 2003.)[KP01] (Koodli, R. and C. Perkins, “Fast Handover and Context Relocation in Mobile Networks,” October 2001.). In existing implementations, when a peer arrives at the new authenticator, it runs an EAP method irrespective of whether it has been authenticated to the network recently and has unexpired keying material. A full EAP method execution involves an EAP-Response/Identity message from the peer to server, followed by one or more round trips between the EAP server and peer to perform the authentication, followed by the EAP-Success or EAP-Failure message from the EAP server to peer. At a minimum, the peer has 2 round trips with the EAP server.
There have been attempts to solve the problem of efficient re-authentication in various ways. However, those solutions are either EAP-method specific or EAP lower-layer specific. Furthermore, these solutions do not deal with scenarios involving handovers to new authenticators, or do not conform to the AAA keying requirements specified in [RFC4962] (Housley, R. and B. Aboba, “Guidance for Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (AAA) Key Management,” July 2007.).
This document provides a detailed description of efficient EAP-based re-authentication protocol design goals. The scope of this protocol is specifically re-authentication and handover between authenticators within a single administrative domain. Inter-technology handover and inter-administrative-domain handover are outside the scope of this protocol.
In this document, several words are used to signify the requirements of the specification. These words are often capitalized. The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119] (Bradner, S., “Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels,” March 1997.), with the qualification that unless otherwise stated they apply to the design of the re-authentication protocol, not its implementation or application.
With respect to EAP, this document follows the terminology that has been defined in [RFC3748] (Aboba, B., Blunk, L., Vollbrecht, J., Carlson, J., and H. Levkowetz, “Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP),” June 2004.) and [I‑D.ietf‑eap‑keying] (Aboba, B., Simon, D., and P. Eronen, “Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) Key Management Framework,” November 2007.).
Under the existing model, any re-authentication requires a full EAP exchange with the EAP server to which the peer initially authenticated [RFC3748] (Aboba, B., Blunk, L., Vollbrecht, J., Carlson, J., and H. Levkowetz, “Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP),” June 2004.). This introduces handover latency from both network transit time and processing delay. In service provider networks, the home EAP server for a peer could be on the other side of the world, and typical intercontinental latencies across the Internet are 100 to 300 milliseconds per round trip [LGS07] (Ledlie, J., Gardner, P., and M. Selter, “Network Coordinates in the Wild,” April 2007.). Processing delays average a couple of milliseconds for symmetric-key operations and hundreds of milliseconds for public-key operations.
An EAP conversation with a full EAP method run can take two or more round trips and to complete, causing delays in re-authentication and handover times. Some methods specify the use of keys and state from the initial authentication to finish subsequent authentications in fewer round trips and without using public-key operations (detailed Section 6.1). However, even in those cases, multiple round trips to the EAP server are required, resulting in unacceptable handover times.
In summary, it is undesirable to run an EAP Identity and complete EAP method exchange each time a peer authenticates to a new authenticator or needs to extend its current authentication with the same authenticator. Furthermore, it is desirable to specify a method-independent, efficient, re-authentication protocol. Keying material from the initial authentication can be used to enable efficient re-authentication. It is also desirable to have a local server with low-latency connectivity to the peer that can facilitate re-authentication. Lastly, a re-authentication protocol should also be capable of supporting scenarios where an EAP server passes authentication information to a remote re-authentication server, allowing a peer to re-authenticate locally without having to communicate with its home re-authentication server.
These problems are the primary issues to be resolved. In solving them, there are a number of constraints to conform to and those result in some additional work to be done in the area of EAP keying.
The following are the goals and constraints in designing the EAP re-authentication and key management protocol:
- Lower latency operation:
- The protocol MUST be responsive to handover and re-authentication latency performance objectives within a mobile access network. A solution that reduces latency as compared to a full EAP authentication will be most favorable, since in networks that rely on reactive re-authentication this will directly impact handover times.
- EAP lower-layer independence:
- Any keying hierarchy and protocol defined MUST be lower layer independent in order to provide capabilities over heterogeneous technologies. The defined protocols MAY require some additional support from the lower layers that use it, but should not require any particular lower layer.
- EAP method independence:
- Changes to existing EAP methods MUST NOT be required as a result of the re-authentication protocol. There MUST be no requirements imposed on future EAP methods, provided they satisfy [I‑D.ietf‑eap‑keying] (Aboba, B., Simon, D., and P. Eronen, “Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) Key Management Framework,” November 2007.) and [RFC4017] (Stanley, D., Walker, J., and B. Aboba, “Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) Method Requirements for Wireless LANs,” March 2005.). Note that the only EAP methods for which independence is required are those that currently conform to the specifications of [I‑D.ietf‑eap‑keying] (Aboba, B., Simon, D., and P. Eronen, “Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) Key Management Framework,” November 2007.) and [RFC4017] (Stanley, D., Walker, J., and B. Aboba, “Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) Method Requirements for Wireless LANs,” March 2005.). In particular, methods that do not generate the keys required by [I‑D.ietf‑eap‑keying] (Aboba, B., Simon, D., and P. Eronen, “Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) Key Management Framework,” November 2007.) need not be supported by the re-authentication protocol.
- AAA protocol compatibility and keying:
- Any modifications to EAP and EAP keying MUST be compatible with RADIUS [I‑D.ietf‑radext‑design] (Weber, G. and A. DeKok, “RADIUS Design Guidelines,” April 2010.) and Diameter [I‑D.ietf‑dime‑app‑design‑guide] (Fajardo, V., Tschofenig, H., and L. Morand, “Diameter Applications Design Guidelines,” March 2010.). Extensions to both RADIUS and Diameter to support these EAP modifications are acceptable. The designs and protocols must be configurable to satisfy the AAA key management requirements specified in RFC 4962 [RFC4962] (Housley, R. and B. Aboba, “Guidance for Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (AAA) Key Management,” July 2007.).
- Compatibility and co-existence with compliant ([RFC3748] (Aboba, B., Blunk, L., Vollbrecht, J., Carlson, J., and H. Levkowetz, “Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP),” June 2004.) [I‑D.ietf‑eap‑keying] (Aboba, B., Simon, D., and P. Eronen, “Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) Key Management Framework,” November 2007.)) EAP deployments SHOULD be provided. Specifically, the protocol should be designed such that fall back to EAP authentication occurs if not all devices in the network support fast re-authentication.
- Cryptographic Agility:
- Any re-authentication protocol MUST support cryptographic algorithm agility, to avoid hard-coded primitives whose security may eventually prove to be compromised. The protocol MAY support cryptographic algorithm negotiation, provided it does not adversely affect overall performance (i.e. by requiring additional round trips).
The section draws from the guidance provided in [RFC4962] (Housley, R. and B. Aboba, “Guidance for Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (AAA) Key Management,” July 2007.) to further define the security goals to be achieved by a complete re-authentication keying solution.
Any key must have a well-defined scope and must be used in a specific context and for the intended use. This specifically means the lifetime and scope of each key must be defined clearly so that all entities that are authorized to have access to the key have the same context during the validity period. In a hierarchical key structure, the lifetime of lower level keys must not exceed the lifetime of higher level keys. This requirement may imply that the context and the scope parameters have to be exchanged. Furthermore, the semantics of these parameters must be defined to provide proper channel binding specifications. The definition of exact parameter syntax definition is part of the design of the transport protocol used for the parameter exchange and that may be outside scope of this protocol.
If a key hierarchy is deployed, compromising lower level keys must not result in a compromise of higher level keys which were used to derive the lower level keys. The compromise of keys at each level must not result in compromise of other keys at the same level. The same principle applies to entities that hold and manage a particular key defined in the key hierarchy. Compromising keys on one authenticator must not reveal the keys of another authenticator. Note that the compromise of higher-level keys has security implications on lower levels.
Guidance on parameters required, caching, storage and deletion procedures to ensure adequate security and authorization provisioning for keying procedures must be defined in a solution document.
All the keying material must be uniquely named so that it can be managed effectively.
As [RFC4962] (Housley, R. and B. Aboba, “Guidance for Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (AAA) Key Management,” July 2007.) defines, a fresh key is one that is generated for the intended use. This would mean the key hierarchy must provide for creation of multiple cryptographically separate child keys from a root key at higher level. Furthermore, the keying solution needs to provide mechanisms for refreshing each of the keys within the key hierarchy.
Each handover keying participant must be authenticated to any other party with whom it communicates to the extent it is necessary to ensure proper key scoping, and securely provide its identity to any other entity that may require the identity for defining the key scope.
The EAP Key management document [I‑D.ietf‑eap‑keying] (Aboba, B., Simon, D., and P. Eronen, “Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) Key Management Framework,” November 2007.) discusses several vulnerabilities that are common to handover mechanisms. One important issue arises from the way the authorization decisions might be handled at the AAA server during network access authentication. For example, if AAA proxies are involved, they may influence authorization decisions. Furthermore, the reasons for making a particular authorization decision are not communicated to the authenticator. In fact, the authenticator only knows the final authorization result. The proposed solution must make efforts to document and mitigate authorization attacks.
Channel Binding procedures are needed to avoid a compromised intermediate authenticator providing unverified and conflicting service information to each of the peer and the EAP server. To support fast re-authentication, there will be intermediate entities between the peer and the back-end EAP server. Various keys need to be established and scoped between these parties and some of these keys may be parents to other keys. Hence the channel binding for this architecture will need to consider layering intermediate entities at each level to make sure that an entity with higher level of trust can examine the truthfulness of the claims made by intermediate parties.
Depending on the physical architecture and the functionality of the elements involved, there may be a need for multiple protocols to perform the key transport between entities involved in the handover keying architecture. Thus, a set of requirements for each of these protocols, and the parameters they will carry, must be developed.
The use of existing AAA protocols for carrying EAP messages and keying material between the AAA server and AAA clients that have a role within the architecture considered for the keying problem will be carefully examined. Definition of specific parameters, required for keying procedures and to be transferred over any of the links in the architecture, are part of the scope. The relation of the identities used by the transport protocol and the identities used for keying also needs to be explored.
In order to further clarify the items listed in scope of the proposed work, this section provides some background on related work and the use cases envisioned for the proposed work.
A number of EAP methods support fast re-authentication. In this section we examine their properties in further detail.
EAP-SIM [RFC4186] (Haverinen, H. and J. Salowey, “Extensible Authentication Protocol Method for Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) Subscriber Identity Modules (EAP-SIM),” January 2006.) and EAP-AKA [RFC4187] (Arkko, J. and H. Haverinen, “Extensible Authentication Protocol Method for 3rd Generation Authentication and Key Agreement (EAP-AKA),” January 2006.) supports fast re-authentication, bootstrapped by the keys generated during an initial full authentication. In response to the typical EAP-Request/Identity, the peer sends a specially formatted identity indicating a desire to perform a fast re-authentication. A single round-trip occurs to verify knowledge of the existing keys and provide fresh nonces for generating new keys. This is followed by an EAP success. In the end, it requires a single local round trip between the peer and authenticator, followed by another round trip between the peer and EAP server. AKA is based on symmetric-key cryptography, so processing latency is minimal.
EAP-TTLS [I‑D.funk‑eap‑ttls‑v0] (Funk, P. and S. Blake-Wilson, “EAP Tunneled TLS Authentication Protocol Version 0 (EAP-TTLSv0),” April 2008.) and PEAP [I‑D.josefsson‑pppext‑eap‑tls‑eap] (Josefsson, S., Palekar, A., Simon, D., and G. Zorn, “Protected EAP Protocol (PEAP) Version 2,” October 2004.) support using TLS session resumption for fast re-authentication. During the TLS handshake, the client includes the message ID of the previous session he wishes to resume, and the server can echo that ID back if it agrees to resume the session. EAP-FAST [RFC4851] (Cam-Winget, N., McGrew, D., Salowey, J., and H. Zhou, “The Flexible Authentication via Secure Tunneling Extensible Authentication Protocol Method (EAP-FAST),” May 2007.) also supports TLS session resumption, but additionally allows stateless session resumption as defined in [RFC4507] (Salowey, J., Zhou, H., Eronen, P., and H. Tschofenig, “Transport Layer Security (TLS) Session Resumption without Server-Side State,” May 2006.). Overall, for all three protocols there are still two round trips between the peer and EAP server, in addition to the local round trip for the Identity request and response.
To improve performance, fast re-authentication needs to reduce the number of overall round trips. Optimal performance could result from eliminating the EAP-Request/Identity and EAP-Response/Identity messages observed in typical EAP method execution, and allowing a single round trip between the peer and a local re-authentication server.
One of the EAP lower layers, IEEE 802.11 [IEEE.802‑11R‑D9.0] (, “Information technology - Telecommunications and information exchange between systems - Local and metropolitan area networks - Specific requirements - Part 11: Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) specifications - Amendment 2: Fast BSS Transition,” January 2008.), is in the process of specifying a mechanism to avoid the problem of repeated full EAP exchanges in a limited setting, by introducing a two-level key hierarchy. The EAP authenticator is collocated with what is known as an R0 Key Holder (R0-KH), which receives the MSK from the EAP server. A pairwise master key (PMK-R0) is derived from the last 32 octets of the MSK. Subsequently, the R0-KH derives an PMK-R1 to be handed out to the attachment point of the peer. When the peer moves from one R1-KH to another, a new PMK-R1 is generated by the R0-KH and handed out to the new R1-KH. The transport protocol used between the R0-KH and the R1-KH is not specified.
In some cases, a mobile may seldom move beyond the domain of the R0-KH and this model works well. A full EAP authentication will generally be repeated when the PMK-R0 expires. However, in general cases mobiles may roam beyond the domain of R0-KHs (or EAP authenticators), and the latency of full EAP authentication remains an issue.
Another consideration is that there needs to be a key transfer protocol between the R0-KH and the R1-KH; in other words, there is either a star configuration of security associations between the key holder and a centralized entity that serves as the R0-KH, or if the first authenticator is the default R0-KH, there will be a full-mesh of security associations between all authenticators. This is undesirable.
The proposed work on EAP efficient re-authentication protocol aims at addressing re-authentication in a lower layer agnostic manner that also can fill some of the gaps in IEEE 802.11r.
The CAPWAP protocol [I‑D.ietf‑capwap‑protocol‑specification] (Montemurro, M., Stanley, D., and P. Calhoun, “CAPWAP Protocol Specification,” November 2008.) allows the functionality of an IEEE 802.11 access point to be split into two physical devices in enterprise deployments. Wireless Termination Points (WTPs) implement the physical and low-level MAC layers, while a centralized Access Controller (AC) provides higher-level management and protocol execution. Client authentication is handled by the AC, which acts as the AAA authenticator.
One of the many features provided by CAPWAP is the ability to roam between WTPs without executing an EAP authentication. To accomplish this, the AC caches the MSK from an initial EAP authentication, and uses it to execute a separate four-way handshake with the station as it moves between WTPs. The keys resulting from the four-way handshake are then distributed to the WTP to which the station is associated. CAPWAP is transparent to the station.
CAPWAP currently has no means to support roaming between ACs in an enterprise network. The proposed work on EAP efficient re-authentication addresses an inter-authenticator handover problem from an EAP perspective, which applies during handover between ACs. Inter-AC handover is a topic yet to be addressed in great detail and the re-authentication work can potentially address it in an effective manner.
This document details the HOKEY problem statement. Since HOKEY is an authentication protocol, there are a myriad of security-related issues surrounding its development and deployment.
In this document, we have detailed a variety of security properties inferred from [RFC4962] (Housley, R. and B. Aboba, “Guidance for Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (AAA) Key Management,” July 2007.) to which HOKEY must conform, including the management of key context, scope, freshness, and transport; resistance to attacks based on the domino effect; and authentication and authorization. See section Section 5 (Security Goals) for further details.
This document does not introduce any new IANA considerations.
This document represents the synthesis of two problem statement documents. In this section, we acknowledge their contributions, and involvement in the early documents.
- Mohan Parthasarathy
- Email: email@example.com
- Julien Bournelle
- France Telecom R&D
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hannes Tschofenig
- Email: Hannes.Tschofenig@siemens.com
- Rafael Marin Lopez
- Universidad de Murcia
- Email: email@example.com
The authors would like to thank the participants of the HOKEY working group for their review and comments, including Glen Zorn, Dan Harkins, Joe Salowey, and Yoshi Ohba. The authors would also like to thank those that provided last call reviews, including Bernard Aboba, Alan DeKok, and Hannes Tschofenig.
|[RFC2119]||Bradner, S., “Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels,” BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997 (TXT, HTML, XML).|
|[RFC3748]||Aboba, B., Blunk, L., Vollbrecht, J., Carlson, J., and H. Levkowetz, “Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP),” RFC 3748, June 2004 (TXT).|
|[RFC4017]||Stanley, D., Walker, J., and B. Aboba, “Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) Method Requirements for Wireless LANs,” RFC 4017, March 2005 (TXT).|
|[RFC4962]||Housley, R. and B. Aboba, “Guidance for Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (AAA) Key Management,” BCP 132, RFC 4962, July 2007 (TXT).|
|[I-D.funk-eap-ttls-v0]||Funk, P. and S. Blake-Wilson, “EAP Tunneled TLS Authentication Protocol Version 0 (EAP-TTLSv0),” draft-funk-eap-ttls-v0-05 (work in progress), April 2008 (TXT).|
|[I-D.ietf-capwap-protocol-specification]||Montemurro, M., Stanley, D., and P. Calhoun, “CAPWAP Protocol Specification,” draft-ietf-capwap-protocol-specification-15 (work in progress), November 2008 (TXT).|
|[I-D.ietf-dime-app-design-guide]||Fajardo, V., Tschofenig, H., and L. Morand, “Diameter Applications Design Guidelines,” draft-ietf-dime-app-design-guide-11 (work in progress), March 2010 (TXT).|
|[I-D.ietf-eap-keying]||Aboba, B., Simon, D., and P. Eronen, “Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) Key Management Framework,” draft-ietf-eap-keying-22 (work in progress), November 2007 (TXT).|
|[I-D.ietf-radext-design]||Weber, G. and A. DeKok, “RADIUS Design Guidelines,” draft-ietf-radext-design-13 (work in progress), April 2010 (TXT).|
|[I-D.josefsson-pppext-eap-tls-eap]||Josefsson, S., Palekar, A., Simon, D., and G. Zorn, “Protected EAP Protocol (PEAP) Version 2,” draft-josefsson-pppext-eap-tls-eap-10 (work in progress), October 2004 (TXT).|
|[RFC3990]||O'Hara, B., Calhoun, P., and J. Kempf, “Configuration and Provisioning for Wireless Access Points (CAPWAP) Problem Statement,” RFC 3990, February 2005 (TXT).|
|[RFC4186]||Haverinen, H. and J. Salowey, “Extensible Authentication Protocol Method for Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) Subscriber Identity Modules (EAP-SIM),” RFC 4186, January 2006 (TXT).|
|[RFC4187]||Arkko, J. and H. Haverinen, “Extensible Authentication Protocol Method for 3rd Generation Authentication and Key Agreement (EAP-AKA),” RFC 4187, January 2006 (TXT).|
|[RFC4507]||Salowey, J., Zhou, H., Eronen, P., and H. Tschofenig, “Transport Layer Security (TLS) Session Resumption without Server-Side State,” RFC 4507, May 2006 (TXT).|
|[RFC4851]||Cam-Winget, N., McGrew, D., Salowey, J., and H. Zhou, “The Flexible Authentication via Secure Tunneling Extensible Authentication Protocol Method (EAP-FAST),” RFC 4851, May 2007 (TXT).|
|[IEEE.802-11R-D9.0]||“Information technology - Telecommunications and information exchange between systems - Local and metropolitan area networks - Specific requirements - Part 11: Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) specifications - Amendment 2: Fast BSS Transition,” IEEE Standard 802.11r, January 2008.|
|[KP01]||Koodli, R. and C. Perkins, “Fast Handover and Context Relocation in Mobile Networks,” ACM SIGCOMM Computer and Communications Review, October 2001.|
|[LGS07]||Ledlie, J., Gardner, P., and M. Selter, “Network Coordinates in the Wild,” USENIX Symposium on Networked System Design and Implementation, April 2007.|
|[MSA03]||Mishra, A., Shin, M., and W. Arbaugh, “An Empirical Analysis of the IEEE 802.11 MAC-Layer Handoff Process,” ACM SIGCOMM Computer and Communications Review, April 2003.|
|T. Charles Clancy, Editor|
|Laboratory for Telecommunications Sciences|
|US Department of Defense|
|College Park, MD|
|San Diego, CA|
|San Diego, CA|
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