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posted by janrinok on Thursday January 26 2023, @09:16PM   Printer-friendly
from the just-wait-and-see-how-long-it-takes-to-migrate-to-IPv8 dept.

NSA offers security guidelines for IPv6 migration:

The US National Security Agency (NSA) has published a guidance document for system administrators to help them mitigate potential security issues as their organizations transition to Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).

The prosaically named "IPv6 Security Guidance" [PDF] was compiled for admins inside the Department of Defense (DoD), but is likely to prove useful as a quick reference for anyone managing the transition from IPv4 to IPv6, which could turn out to be a more drawn-out experience than was originally anticipated.

"The Department of Defense will incrementally transition from IPv4 to IPv6 over the next few years and many DoD networks will be dual-stacked," NSA Cybersecurity Technical Director Neal Ziring said in a statement accompanying the publication of the document.

"It's important that DoD system admins use this guidance to identify and mitigate potential security issues as they roll out IPv6 support in their networks."

One of the recommendations is pretty basic: education. Successfully securing an IPv6 network requires, at a minimum, a fundamental knowledge of the differences between the IPv4 and IPv6 protocols and how they operate, the NSA says, so all network administrators should receive proper training.

It advises that security methods used in IPv4 networks will largely also be used with IPv6, but with adaptations to address where there are differences.

Security issues associated with an IPv6 implementation will generally surface in networks that are either new to IPv6 or in early phases of the transition. This is because such networks will lack maturity in IPv6 configuration as well as likely lacking experience in IPv6 by the admins.

Organizations running both IPv4 and IPv6 simultaneously will have additional security risks, with further countermeasures needed to mitigate these due to the increased attack surface of having both IPv4 and IPv6, the document warns.

There are no massive revelations from the NSA, but advice that many admins are likely to be already aware of, such as the recommendation to assign IP addresses on the network via a DHCPv6 server instead of relying on stateless address auto-configuration (SLAAC).

The latter uses a self-assigned IPv6 address that incorporates the fixed MAC address from the NIC, leading to concerns that data traffic could be linked to a specific device and potentially an individual associated with that equipment. Whether this is a major concern to anyone outside of defense or government is another matter, of course.

The NSA also recommends avoiding the use of IPv6 tunneling, often used to transport IPv6 packets within IPv4 packets across existing network infrastructure, again to reduce the potential attack surface and lessen complexity. It advises that tunneling protocols may be allowed if they are required during a transition, but they should be limited to approved systems where their usage is well understood and where they are explicitly configured.


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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by isostatic on Friday January 27 2023, @11:48AM

    by isostatic (365) on Friday January 27 2023, @11:48AM (#1288896) Journal

    ipv6 has some security benefits -- I can break into you computer and do a ping/tcp/udp/etc sweep of 10.0.0.0/8 quite easily. Can't do that on a /48 ipv6 network. Sure I can listen for machines sending arp requests, but that's only on the local subnet

    (security only through obscurity is not security, but obscurity can play a part in security)

    I'd be OK if I could just change to ipv6, but I don't like the requirement for dual stack. Double the workload for 5% gain?

    If ipv6 tooling had been built originally to be able to cope with ipv4 addresses natively it would be fine. I could have an ipv6 only device, I'd send a ping to 1.2.3.4, it would be translated by the tool or kernel to ::FFFF:1.2.3.4, the message sent to wherever my route for ::ffff:/whatever goes to, and once it reaches a dual stack router it gets mapped via NAT to transmit to 1.2.3.4.

    That way I can change an entire network to ipv6 only and still be able to reach ipv4 with no change to my user applications.

    But instead I have to make choices at the application layer, and that is far harder than just deploying an ipv6 network

    (there's then all the ipv6 addons and changes from ipv4, meaning I can't simply keep using the same techniques, but I can't forget my ipv4 stuff, so I have to have more plates to spin to maintain both ipv4 and ipv6 architectures)

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