Recent Advances in IPv6 Security

Expo Theatre (Hall G) October 23, 2012 - Feedback     

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Fernando Gont

The IPv6 protocol suite was designed to accommodate the present and future growth of the Internet, and is expected to be the successor of the original IPv4 protocol suite. It has already been deployed in a number of production environments, and many organizations have already scheduled or planned its deployment in the next few years. Additionally, a number of activities such as the World IPv6 Day in2011 and the upcoming World IPv6 Launch Day (scheduled for June 2012) have led to an improvement in IPv6 awareness and an increase in the number of IPv6 deployments.

There are a number of factors that make the IPv6 protocol suite interesting from a security standpoint. Firstly, being a new technology, technical personnel has much less confidence with theIPv6 protocols than with their IPv4 counterpart, and thus it is more likely that the security implications of the protocols be overlooked when the protocols are deployed. Secondly, IPv6 implementations are much less mature than their IPv4 counterparts, and thus it is very likely that a number of vulnerabilities will be discovered in them before their robustness matches that of the existing IPv4 implementations. Thirdly, security products such as firewalls and NIDS’s (Network Intrusion Detection Systems) usually have less support for the IPv6 protocols than for their IPv4 counterparts, either in terms of features or in terms of performance. Fourthly, the security implications of IPv6 transition/co-existence technologies on existingIPv4 networks are usually overlooked, potentially enabling attackers to leverage these technologies to circumvent IPv4 security measures in unexpected ways.

During the last few years, the UK CPNI (Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure) carried out the first comprehensive security assessment of the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) and related technologies (such as transition/co-existence mechanisms). The result of the aforementioned project is a series of documents that provide advice both to programmers implementing the IPv6 protocol suite and to network engineers and security administrators deploying or operating the protocols. Part of the results of the aforementioned project have been recently published, leading to a number of improvements in manyIPv6 implementations, and in the protocol specifications themselves.

Fernando Gont will discuss the results of the aforementioned project, introducing the attendees to the “state of the art” in IPv6 security, and providing advice on how to deploy the IPv6 protocols securely.Gont will also discusss recent advances in IPv6 security areas such as Denial of Service attacks, firewall circumvention, and Network Reconnaissance, and will describe other IPv6 security areas in which further work is needed. Additionally, he will demonstrate the use of some attack/assessment tools that implement new network reconnaissance techniques or that exploit a number of vulnerabilities found in popular IPv6 implementations.