Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

11/14/2013
03:00 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

NSA Leaks Bolster IETF Work On Internet Security

The Internet Engineering Task Force's efforts to add security to the Internet's protocols have been reinvigorated by fallout from revelations of controversial NSA spying programs

Ongoing efforts to beef up the security of the Internet's underlying protocols may have gotten a major boost, thanks to the National Security Agency (NSA).

Officials from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) today said last week's plenary meeting of the body charged with developing protocols for the Net was dominated with talk of better securing the Internet to thwart wide-scale surveillance akin to those programs leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

"There is noticeable momentum," said Stephen Farrell, IETF Security Area Director, today in a press briefing on last week's IETF 88 Plenary in Vancouver.

Among some of the IETF security efforts that could see the light of day relatively soon is work on guidance for easily "turning on" encryption between email servers. Farrell says email providers already are looking at this, and the hope is they will roll it out "in a matter of months."

"Clearly, there's a very long-term question: With a lot of technology things you can do, there remains an adversary willing to spend a lot of effort and money and [who] will still be able to extract metadata from various protocols," Farrell said. "But we can make it significantly harder to launch the pervasive attacks we've been seeing."

New IETF protocols don't get written or adopted overnight, however. The voluntary, open committee process for proposing and ultimately releasing a protocol specification can take years, even for some of the most straightforward technologies. Security is even tougher. "None of the solutions in securing the Internet is necessarily easy," noted IETF chair Jari Arkko. "You need backward compatibility, interoperability among different parties, and different components."

The Snowden leaks helped spur an about-face by the IETF in its work on the next-generation Web protocol, HTTP 2.0. In March 2012, the HTTPbis Working Group charged with the HTTP 2.0 work decided against encryption by default using the Transport Layer Security protocol. The working group has since decided to rethink that in the wake of the NSA Internet surveillance revelations.

Also on the table is work on securing the transport protocols underlying the Net. One notable effort is a proposed protocol for adding encryption directly to the TCP protocol itself. There's also a working group forming to cover security in application-layer protocols, including instant messaging, for example.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How to Better Secure Your Microsoft 365 Environment
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/25/2021
Attackers Leave Stolen Credentials Searchable on Google
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/21/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
2020: The Year in Security
Download this Tech Digest for a look at the biggest security stories that - so far - have shaped a very strange and stressful year.
Flash Poll
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
COVID-19 has created a new IT paradigm in the enterprise -- and a new level of cybersecurity risk. This report offers a look at how enterprises are assessing and managing cyber-risk under the new normal.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-3331
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-27
WinSCP before 5.17.10 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary programs when the URL handler encounters a crafted URL that loads session settings. (For example, this is exploitable in a default installation in which WinSCP is the handler for sftp:// URLs.)
CVE-2021-3326
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-27
The iconv function in the GNU C Library (aka glibc or libc6) 2.32 and earlier, when processing invalid input sequences in the ISO-2022-JP-3 encoding, fails an assertion in the code path and aborts the program, potentially resulting in a denial of service.
CVE-2021-22641
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-27
A heap-based buffer overflow issue has been identified in the way the application processes project files, allowing an attacker to craft a special project file that may allow arbitrary code execution on the Tellus Lite V-Simulator and V-Server Lite (versions prior to 4.0.10.0).
CVE-2021-22653
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-27
Multiple out-of-bounds write issues have been identified in the way the application processes project files, allowing an attacker to craft a special project file that may allow arbitrary code execution on the Tellus Lite V-Simulator and V-Server Lite (versions prior to 4.0.10.0).
CVE-2021-22655
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-27
Multiple out-of-bounds read issues have been identified in the way the application processes project files, allowing an attacker to craft a special project file that may allow arbitrary code execution on the Tellus Lite V-Simulator and V-Server Lite (versions prior to 4.0.10.0).