Privacy and Security in IPv6 Addressing

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Virginia Tech

Due to an exponentially larger address space than Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4), the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) uses new methods to assign network addresses to Internet nodes. StateLess Address Auto Configuration (SLAAC) creates an address using a static value derived from the Media Access Control (MAC) address of a network interface as host portion, or interface identifier (IID). The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol version 6 (DHCPv6) uses a client-server model to manage network addresses, providing stateful address configuration. While DHCPv6 can be configured to assign randomly distributed addresses, the DHCP Unique Identifier (DUID) was designed to remain static for clients as they move between different DHCPv6 subnets and networks. Both the IID and DUID are static values which are publicly exposed, creating a privacy and security threat for users and nodes.

The static IID and DUID allow attackers to violate unsuspecting IPv6 users' privacy and security with ease. These static identifiers make geographic tracking and network traffic correlation over multiple sessions simple. Also, different classes of computer and network attacks, such as system-specific attacks and Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks, are easier to successfully employ due to these identifiers. This research identifies and tests the validity of the privacy and security threat of static IIDs and DUIDs. Solutions which mitigate or eliminate the threat posed by static identifiers in IPv6 are identified.

Security, Network Addressing, Privacy, Pv6