ORNL research effort
ORNL has had an active research role in group key management since 1995. A simple group key management protocol was implemented as part of the development of secure PVM (tech report, 240KB). In 1996, we did beta testing of ISAKMP in our IP security test bed and acquired the GKMP demonstration code. We then developed our own variations on GKMP (described below).
Papers and RFCs
This document describes a protocol for intra-domain group key management for IP multicast security, based on the framework of [HCD99]. In order to support multicast groups, the domain is divided into a number of administratively-scoped "areas". A host-member of a multicast group is defined to reside within one (and only one) of these areas. The purpose of placing host-members in areas is to achieve flexible and efficient key management, particularly in the face of the problem of changes (joining, leaving, ejections) in the membership of a multicast group. A separate administratively-scoped area control-group is defined for each (data) multicast group, for the express purpose of key management and other control-message delivery.
This document provides a framework for group key management for multicast security, motivated by three main considerations, namely the multicast application, scalability and trust-relationships among entities. It introduces two planes corresponding to the network entities and functions important to multicasting and to security. The key management plane consists of two hierarchy-levels in the form of a single 'trunk region' (inter-region) and one or more 'leaf regions' (intra-region). The advantages of the framework among others are that it is scalable, it has reduced complexity and allows the independence in regions of group key management.
The Group Secure Association Key Management Protocol (GSAKMP) provides a security framework for creating cryptographic groups on a network. It provides mechanisms to disseminate group security policy, perform access control based upon PKI certificates, generate group keys, and recover from compromise. This framework addresses group scalability issues by facillitating delegation of process-intensive actions in a secure and controlled manner.
A multicast cryptographic key management system is being developed utilizing research on hierarchical topologies from the National Security Agency (NSA). Besides matching the hierarchical nature of the military command structure, this approach is primarily of interest because it permits the rapid distribution of session keys for a large number of users in a manner that efficiently uses the bandwidth-limited wireless medium.
This specification proposes a protocol to create grouped symmetric keys and distribute them amongst communicating peers. This protocol has the following advantages: 1) virtually invisible to operator, 2) no central key distribution site is needed, 3) only group members have the key, 4) sender or receiver oriented operation, 5) can make use of multicast communications protocols.
Providing security services for multicast, such as traffic integrity, authentication, and confidentiality, is particularly problematic since it requires securely distributing a group (session) key to each of a group's receivers. Traditionally, the key distribution function has been assigned to a central network entity, or Key Distribution Centre (KDC), but this method does not scale for wide-area multicasting, where group members may be widely-distributed across the internetwork, and a wide-area group may be densely populated. Even more problematic is the scalable distribution of sender-specific keys. Sender-specific keys are required if data traffic is to be authenticated on a per-sender basis. This RFC provides a scalable solution to the multicast key distribution problem.
This report describes an architecture and implementation for doing group key management over a data communications network. The architecture describes a protocol for establishing a shared encryption key among an authenticated and authorized collection of network entities. Group access requires one or more authorization certificates. The implementation includes a simple public key and certificate infrastructure. Multicast is used for some of the key management messages. An application programming interface multiplexes key management and user application messages. An implementation using the new IP security protocols is postulated. The architecture is compared with other group key management proposals, and the performance and the limitations of the implementation are described.
As multicast applications are deployed for mainstream use, the need to secure multicast communications will become critical. Multicast, however, does not fit the point-to-point model of most network security protocols which were designed with unicast communications in mind. As we will show, securing multicast (or group) communications is fundamentally different from securing unicast (or paired) communications. In turn, these differences can result in scalability problems for many typical applications. In this paper, we examine and model the differences between unicast and multicast security and then propose Iolus: a novel framework for scalable secure multicasting. Protocols based on Iolus can be used to achieve a variety of security objectives and may be used either to directly secure multicast communications or to provide a separate group key management service to other "security-aware" applications. We describe the architecture and operation of Iolus in detail and also describe our experience with a protocol based on the Iolus framework.
This report contains a discussion of the difficult problem of key management for multicast communication sessions. It focuses on two main areas of concern with respect to key management, which are, initializing the multicast group with a common net key and rekeying the multicast group. A rekey may be necessary upon the compromise of a user or for other reasons (e.g., periodic rekey). In particular, this report identifies a technique which allows for secure compromise recovery, while also being robust against collusion of excluded users.
This document describes extensions to the base SKIP protocol to allow encrypted and authenticated multicast communications.
Dan Harkins from Cisco and Naganand Doraswamy from Bay Networks presented a proposal at the Washington IETF for a multicast key management, MKMP. MKMP is intended to provide scalable and secure distribution of multicast keys. It assures liveness, key doesn't cross wire (even encrypted), except on rekey operation. Routers do not need join secure multicast group, and it is independent of underlying m-cast routing. MKMP uses IPsec to secure multicast traffic and ISAKMP/Oakley-type messages for KM. MKMP-aware routers can become Group Key Distributors; the Group Information Tuple enforces access and delegates key distribution authority. Uses an ALL-MKMP-BOXES group. Key acquisition is separate from group join. To create a secure group, group key manager creates key, list of candidate key distributors, and access control info. Periodic key distributor solicitations sent to multicast group address; if message reaches candidate group key distributor, it obtains key from group key manager using key distribution protocol. Only routers already on the distribution tree become GKDs. Next steps are to clean up and issue draft MKMP specification. MKMP may require a separately chartered WG, but won't be considered by IESG until current IPsec docs passed.
This paper addresses issues relevant to implementing security for IP multicast networks. These issues are of importance to application developers wishing to implement security services for their multicast applications. The paper investigates the steps required to create a secure multicast session including issues of group membership and key distribution. A common simple criteria is established that can be used to evaluate multicast keying architectures. The criteria focuses on the efficiency and scalability of the keying solution. Using this criteria, several keying architectures are evaluated and compared to determine their strengths and weaknesses.
With the growth and commercialization of the Internet, the need for secure IP multicast is growing. In this draft we present a taxonomy of multicast security issues. We first sketch some multicast group parameters that are relevant to security, and outline the basic security issues concerning multicast in general, with emphasis on IP multicast. Next we suggest two `benchmark' scenarios for secure multicast solutions. Lastly we review some previous works.