IPSECME                                                          S. Shen
Internet-Draft                                                    Huawei
Updates: RFC4307                                                  Y. Mao
(if approved)                                                        H3C
Expires: May 28, 2010
Intended status: Standards Track                             NSS. Murthy
Expires: June 7, 2010                            Freescale Semiconductor
                                                       November 24,
                                                        December 4, 2009

    Using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) Counter Mode with IKEv2


   This document describes the usage of Advanced Encryption Standard
   Counter Mode (AES-CTR), with an explicit initialization vector, by
   IKEv2 for encrypting the IKEv2 exchanges that follow the IKE_SA_INIT

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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
     1.1.  Conventions Used In This Document  . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
   2.  AES Counter Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
   3.  IKEv2 Encrypted Payload  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
     3.1.  Initialization Vector (IV) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
     3.2.  Integrity Checksum Data  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
     3.3.  Padding  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
   4.  Counter Block Format . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8
   5.  IKEv2 Conventions  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
     5.1.  Keying Material and Nonces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
     5.2.  Encryption identifier  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
     5.3.  Key Length Attribute . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
   6.  Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
   7.  IANA Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
   8.  Acknowledgments  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
   9.  References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
     9.1.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
     9.2.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
   Authors' Addresses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 16

1.  Introduction

   IKEv2 [RFC4306] is a component of IPsec used for performing mutual
   authentication and establishing and maintaining security associations
   (SAs).  [RFC4307] defines the set of algorithms that are mandatory to
   implement as part of IKEv2, as well as algorithms that should be
   implemented because they may be promoted to mandatory at some future
   time.  [RFC4307] requires that an implementation "SHOULD" support
   Advanced Encryption Standard [AES] in Counter Mode [MODES] (AES-CTR)
   as a Transform Type 1 Algorithm (encryption).

   Although the [RFC4307] specifies that the AES-CTR encryption
   algorithm feature SHOULD be supported by IKEv2, no existing document
   specifies how IKEv2 can support the feature.  This document provides
   the specification and usage of AES-CTR counter mode by IKEv2.

   All the IKEv2 messages that follow the initial exchange (IKE_SA_INIT)
   are cryptographically protected using the cryptographic algorithms
   and keys negotiated in the first two messages of the IKEv2 exchange.
   These subsequent messages use the syntax of the IKEv2 Encrypted
   Payload as explained in [RFC4306].

   This document explains how IKEv2 makes use of the AES-CTR algorithm
   for encrypting IKE messages that follow the initial exchange: The
   second pair of messages (IKE_AUTH) in the initial exchange, messages
   in CREATE_CHILD_SA exchanges, messages in INFORMATIONAL exchanges.

1.1.  Conventions Used In This Document

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].

2.  AES Counter Mode

   This section briefly describes AES and AES Counter Mode and cites the
   algorithm description part in Section 2.1 of [RFC3686].

   AES [AES] is a symmetric block cipher that processes data blocks of
   128 bits, using cipher keys with lengths of 128, 192, or 256 bits.

   The use of AES algorithm operations in IKEv2 is as defined in [AES].
   AES in Counter Mode (AES-CTR) is used in IEKv2 in the same way as it
   is used to encrypt ESP payloads [RFC3686].

   NIST has defined five modes of operation for AES and other FIPS-
   approved block ciphers [MODES].  Each of these modes has different
   characteristics.  The five modes are: ECB (Electronic Code Book), CBC
   (Cipher Block Chaining), CFB (Cipher FeedBack), OFB (Output
   FeedBack), and CTR (Counter).

   Only AES Counter mode (AES-CTR) is discussed in this specification.
   AES-CTR requires the encryptor to generate a unique per-packet value
   and communicate this value to the decryptor.  This specification
   calls this per-packet value an initialization vector (IV).  The same
   IV and key combination MUST NOT be used more than once.  The
   encryptor can generate the IV in any manner that ensures uniqueness.
   Common approaches to IV generation include incrementing a counter for
   each packet and linear feedback shift registers (LFSRs).

   This specification calls for the use of a nonce for additional
   protection against precomputation attacks.  The nonce value need not
   be secret.  However, the nonce MUST be unpredictable prior to the
   establishment of the IKE security association that is making use of

   AES-CTR has many properties that make it an attractive encryption
   algorithm for use in high-speed networking.  AES-CTR uses the AES
   block cipher to create a stream cipher.  Data is encrypted and
   decrypted by XORing with the key stream produced by encrypting
   sequential counter block values with AES.  AES-CTR is easy to
   implement, and AES-CTR can be pipelined and parallelized.  AES-CTR
   also supports key stream precomputation.

   Pipelining is possible because AES internally has multiple rounds.  A
   hardware implementation (and some software implementations) can
   create a pipeline by unwinding the loop implied by this round
   structure.  For example, after a 16-octet block has been input, one
   round later another 16-octet block can be input, and so on.  In AES-
   CTR, these inputs are the sequential counter block values used to
   generate the key stream.

   Multiple independent AES encrypt implementations can also be used to
   improve performance.  For example, one could use two AES encrypt
   implementations in parallel to process a sequence of counter block
   values, doubling the effective throughput.

   The sender can precompute the key stream.  Since the key stream does
   not depend on any data in the packet, the key stream can be
   precomputed once the nonce and IV are assigned.  This precomputation
   can reduce packet latency.  The receiver cannot perform similar
   precomputation because the IV will not be known before the packet

   AES-CTR uses only the AES encrypt operation (for both encryption and
   decryption), making AES-CTR implementations smaller than
   implementations of many other AES modes.

   When used correctly, AES-CTR provides a high level of
   confidentiality.  Unfortunately, AES-CTR is easy to use incorrectly.
   Being a stream cipher, any reuse of the per-packet value, called the
   IV, with the same nonce and key is catastrophic.  An IV collision
   immediately leaks information about the plaintext in both packets.
   For this reason, it is inappropriate to use this mode of operation
   with static keys.  Extraordinary measures would be needed to prevent
   reuse of an IV value with the static key across power cycles.  To be
   safe, implementations MUST use fresh keys with AES-CTR.  The initial
   exchange of the IKEv2 protocol [RFC4306] can be used to establish
   fresh keys for an IKEv2 SA, and it also provides the nonce value.

   With AES-CTR, it is trivial to use a valid ciphertext to forge other
   (valid to the decryptor) ciphertexts.  Thus, it is equally
   catastrophic to use AES-CTR without a companion authentication
   function.  Implementations MUST use AES-CTR in conjunction with an
   authentication function, such as HMAC-SHA-1-96 [RFC2404].

   To encrypt a payload with AES-CTR, the encryptor partitions the
   plaintext, PT, into 128-bit blocks.  The final block need not be 128
   bits; it can be less.

      PT = PT[1] PT[2] ...  PT[n]

   Each PT block is XORed with a block of the key stream to generate the
   ciphertext, CT.  The AES encryption of each counter block results in
   128 bits of key stream.  The most significant 96 bits of the counter
   block are set to the nonce value, which is 32 bits, followed by the
   per-packet IV value, which is 64 bits.  The least significant 32 bits
   of the counter block are initially set to one.  This counter value is
   incremented by one to generate subsequent counter blocks, each
   resulting in another 128 bits of key stream.  The encryption of n
   plaintext blocks can be summarized as:

      CTRBLK := NONCE || IV || ONE
      FOR i := 1 to n-1 DO
        CT[i] := PT[i] XOR AES(CTRBLK)
        CTRBLK := CTRBLK + 1
      CT[n] := PT[n] XOR TRUNC(AES(CTRBLK))

   The AES() function performs AES encryption with the fresh key.

   The TRUNC() function truncates the output of the AES encrypt
   operation to the same length as the final plaintext block, returning
   the most significant bits.

   Decryption is similar.  The decryption of n ciphertext blocks can be
   summarized as:

      CTRBLK := NONCE || IV || ONE
      FOR i := 1 to n-1 DO
        PT[i] := CT[i] XOR AES(CTRBLK)
        CTRBLK := CTRBLK + 1
      PT[n] := CT[n] XOR TRUNC(AES(CTRBLK))

3.  IKEv2 Encrypted Payload

   Section 3.14 of IKEv2 [RFC4306] explains the IKEv2 Encrypted Payload.
   The encrypted Payload, denoted SK{...} contains other IKEv2 payloads
   in encrypted form.

   The payload includes an Initialization Vector (IV) whose length is
   defined by the encryption algorithm negotiated.  It also includes
   Integrity Checksum data.  These two fields are not encrypted.

3.1.  Initialization Vector (IV)

   The IV field MUST be eight octets when the AES-CTR algorithm is used
   for encryption.  The IV MUST be chosen by the encryptor in a manner
   that ensures that the same IV value is NOT used more than once with a
   given encryption key.  The encryptor can generate the IV in any
   manner that ensures uniqueness.  See Section 4 for how the IV is used
   to construct counter blocks for AES-CTR use within IKEv2.

3.2.  Integrity Checksum Data

   Since it is trivial to construct a forgery AES-CTR ciphertext from a
   valid AES-CTR ciphertext, an integrity algorithm must be used when
   using AES-CTR.  IKEv2 does require Integrity Check Data for the
   Encrypted Payload as described in section 3.14 of [RFC4306].  The
   choice of integrity algorithms in IKEv2 is defined in [RFC4307] or
   its future update documents.

3.3.  Padding

   AES-CTR does not require the plaintext to be padded to a multiple of
   the block size.  For the Padding field in the Encrypted Payload, as
   required in [RFC4306]: the sender SHOULD set the Pad Length to the
   minimum value that makes the combination of the Payloads, the
   Padding, and the Pad Length a multiple of the block size, but the
   recipient MUST accept any length that results in proper alignment.
   In this case when AES-CTR is used in IKEv2, the Padding field of the
   Encrypted Payload SHOULD be empty, and the Pad Length field SHOULD be

   It should be noticed that the ESP [RFC4303] Encrypted Payload
   requires alignment on a 4-byte boundary while the IKEv2 [RFC4306]
   Encrypted Payload does not have such a requirement.

4.  Counter Block Format

   All the IKEv2 messages following the initial exchange are
   cryptographically protected using the cryptographic algorithms and
   keys negotiated in the first two messages of the IKEv2 exchange.
   These subsequent messages use the syntax of the IKEv2 Encrypted

   The Encrypted Payload is the XOR of the plaintext and key stream.
   The key stream is generated by inputing Counter Blocks into the AES
   algorithm.  The AES counter block cipher block is 128 bits.  Counter
   Blocks are defined as in Figure 1.

   All messages carry the IV that is necessary to construct the sequence
   of counter blocks used to generate the key stream necessary to
   decrypt the payload.

   Figure 1 shows the format of the counter block.

       0                   1                   2                   3
       0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
      |                            Nonce                              |
      |                  Initialization Vector (IV)                   |
      |                                                               |
      |                         Block Counter                         |

                      Figure 1: Counter Block Format

   The components of the counter block are as follows:


      The Nonce field is 32 bits.  As the name implies, the nonce is a
      single use value.  That is, a fresh nonce value MUST be assigned
      for each security association.  It MUST be assigned at the
      beginning of the security association.  The nonce value need not
      be secret, but it MUST be unpredictable prior to the beginning of
      the security association.

   Initialization Vector (IV)

      The IV field is 64 bits.  The IV MUST be chosen by the encryptor
      in a manner that ensures that the same IV value is used only once
      for a given encryption key.  The encryptor includes the IV in the
      IKEv2 message containing encrypted payloads.

   Block Counter

      The block counter field is the least significant 32 bits of the
      counter block.  The block counter begins with the value of one,
      and it is incremented to generate subsequent portions of the key
      stream.  The block counter is a 32-bit big-endian integer value.

   Section 2 provides references to other documents for implementing the
   AES-CTR encryption/decryption process.

5.  IKEv2 Conventions

   This section describes the conventions used by the IKEv2 protocol to
   generate encryption keys and nonces for use with the AES-CTR
   algorithm in IKE-SA negotiations.  The identifiers and attributes
   related to AES-CTR required during IKE-SA and Child-SA negotiation
   are also defined.

   AES supports three key sizes: 128 bits, 192 bits, and 256 bits.  All
   IKEv2 implementations that implement AES-CTR MUST support the 128-bit
   key size.  An IKEv2 implementation MAY support key sizes of 192 and
   256 bits.

5.1.  Keying Material and Nonces

   IKEv2 can be used to establish fresh keys and nonces, as the same
   combination of IV and encryption key values MUST not NOT be reused when
   the AES-CTR algorithm is used for encryption.  This section describes
   the conventions for generating an unpredictable and secret Nonce and
   an encryption key of required lengths using IKEv2.

   IKEv2 negotiates four cryptographic algorithms with its peer using
   the IKE_SA_INIT exchange.  They include an encryption algorithm and a
   pseudo-random function (PRF).  All the payloads of IKEv2 messages
   that follow the IKE_SA_INIT exchange are encrypted using the
   negotiated encryption algorithm.  The PRF is used to generate the
   keying material required for the encryption algorithm.

   The AES-CTR encryption algorithm needs an encryption key and a nonce.
   The two directions of traffic flow use different encryption keys and
   nonces.  Section 2.14 of [RFC4306] details the process of generating
   the keying material.  SK_ei and SK_er represent the key material to
   be used for encryption purposes in the two directions.

   The size of the key material (SK_ei and SK_er) to be generated for
   the AES-CTR algorithm for different key lengths is as follows:

   AES-CTR with a 128 bit key

      The key material required is 20 octets.  The first 16 octets are
      the 128-bit AES key, and the remaining four octets are used as the
      nonce value in the counter block.

   AES-CTR with a 192 bit key

      The key material required is 28 octets.  The first 24 octets are
      the 192-bit AES key, and the remaining four octets are used as the
      nonce value in the counter block.

   AES-CTR with a 256 bit key

      The key material required is 36 octets.  The first 32 octets are
      the 256-bit AES key, and the remaining four octets are used as the
      nonce value in the counter block.

5.2.  Encryption identifier

   IKEv2 uses the IANA allocated encryption identifier value of 13 for
   ENCR_AES_CTR with an explicit IV as the transform ID during IKE-SA
   and Child-SA negotiation.

5.3.  Key Length Attribute

   Since the AES-CTR algorithm supports three key lengths, the Key
   Length attribute MUST be specified in both the IKE-SA and Child-SA
   negotiations.  The Key Length attribute MUST have a value of 128,
   192, or 256.

6.  Security Considerations

   Security considerations explained in section 7 of [RFC3686] are
   entirely relevant for this draft also.

   AES-CTR provides high confidentiality when used properly.  However,
   as a stream mode cipher, the security will be lost when AES-CTR is

   Generally, a stream cipher should not use static keys.  This is
   because key streams will be easily canceled when two ciphertexts use
   the same key stream (check the detailed description of this attack in
   [RFC3686]).  Therefore, IKEv2 should avoid an identical key being
   used for different IKE SAs or the same key stream being used on
   different blocks of plaintext.  Proper use of Nonce and counter as
   defined in Section 4 can successfully avoid the risk.

   A stream cipher like AES-CTR is also vulnerable to data forgery
   attacks (check [RFC3686] for a demonstration of this attack).
   However, when integrity protection is provided as Section 3.2
   requires, this risk is avoided.

   Additionally, since AES has a 128-bit block size, regardless of the
   mode employed, the ciphertext generated by AES encryption becomes
   distinguishable from random values after 2^64 blocks are encrypted
   with a single key.  Since IKEv2 is not likely to carry traffic in
   such a high quantity, this won't be a big concern here.  However,
   when a large amount of traffic appears in the future or under
   abnormal circumstances, implementations SHOULD generate a fresh key
   before 2^64 blocks are encrypted with the same key.

   For generic attacks on AES, such as brute force or precalculations,
   the requirement of key size provides reasonable security

7.  IANA Considerations

   IANA [IANA-Para] has assigned 13 as the "IKEv2 Encryption Transform
   ID" to the name "ENCR_AES_CTR" for AES-CTR encryption with an
   explicit IV, in the IANA "Internet Key Exchange Version 2 (IKEv2)
   Parameters" registry.  This document specifies how to use this
   transform during IKE_SA negotiations.  Hence IANA should add to that
   entry a reference to this RFC.

8.  Acknowledgments

   The authors thank Yaron Sheffer, Paul Hoffman, Tero Kivinen and
   Alfred Hoenes for their direction and comments on this document.

9.  References

9.1.  Normative References

   [RFC4306]  Kaufman, C., "Internet Key Exchange (IKEv2) Protocol",
              RFC 4306, December 2005.

   [RFC4307]  Schiller, J., "Cryptographic Algorithms for Use in the
              Internet Key Exchange Version 2 (IKEv2)", RFC 4307,
              December 2005.

   [AES]      National Institute of Standards and Technology, "Advanced
              Encryption Standard (AES)", FIPS PUB 197, November 2001, <

              Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, "Internet Key
              Exchange Version 2 (IKEv2) Parameters", September 2009,

   [MODES]    Dworkin, M., "Recommendation for Block Cipher Modes of
              Operation Methods and Techniques", NIST Special
              Publication 800-38A, December 2001, <http://csrc.nist.gov/

9.2.  Informative References

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [RFC2404]  Madson, C. and R. Glenn, "The Use of HMAC-SHA-1-96 within
              ESP and AH", RFC 2404, November 1998.

   [RFC2409]  Harkins, D. and D. Carrel, "The Internet Key Exchange
              (IKE)", RFC 2409, November 1998.

   [RFC3686]  Housley, R., "Using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)
              Counter Mode With IPsec Encapsulating Security Payload
              (ESP)", RFC 3686, January 2004.

   [RFC4303]  Kent, S., "IP Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP)",
              RFC 4303, December 2005.

              Barker, E., Barker, W., Burr, W., Polk, W., and M. Smid,
              "Recommendation for Key Management - Part1 - General
              (Revised)", NIST Special Publication 800-57, March 2007, <

Authors' Addresses

   Sean Shen
   4, South 4th Street, Zhongguancun
   Beijing  100190

   Email: sean.s.shen@gmail.com

   Yu Mao
   H3C Tech. Co., Ltd
   Oriental Electronic Bld.
   No.2 Chuangye Road
   Shang-Di Information Industry
   Hai-Dian District
   Beijing  100085

   Email: maoyu@h3c.com

   N S Srinivasa Murthy
   Freescale Semiconductor
   HYDERABAD  500082

   Email: ssmurthy.nittala@freescale.com