Security and Protocols

From the Editor’s Desk

By: Mirjam Kühne

Date: December 7, 2007

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Even though IPv6 and related topics were, once again, being discussed at the most recent meet-ing of the IETF, another, higher-level discussion took place at IETF 70 in Vancouver, Canada, last December: How can one measure the success of a standard and protocol developed within the IETF? Dave Thaler and Bernard Aboba have studied that issue, and they offered a number of answers, some of which are surprising. Read their presentation.


Vancouver, site of IETF 70
Photo Credit: Mirjam Kühne, with permission

The subject stimulated good discussions at IETF 70 and raises some interesting issues, particularly as it relates to Internet security and security protocols. While opinions may vary about whether security protocols developed by the IETF are successful, security remains a topic close to IETF’s heart. For more than 10 years, every document has been required to include a section on security considerations. Still, the enormous amounts of unwanted traffic on the Internet cause concern. A few years ago, the Internet Architecture Board held a workshop on the subject. In this issue of the IETF Journal, we feature an updated summary of the workshop, including a number of important facts and notable observations. Also in this issue you’ll read about João Damas’s and Frederico Neves’s solution to a long-standing security hole in the Domain Name System, which is described in their article The Perfect Attack.

Typically, the IETF Journal features short updates of the ongoing activities of Internet Research Task Force research groups. In this issue, we are pleased to offer more-detailed reports of those activities, including current work, achievements, and future plans.

We would also like to call attention to a number of newcomers who have contributed to this issue of the IETF Journal. One is Tomas Carlsson, who, in addition to an in-depth report on the IETF 70 fellows, offers an analysis of IETF culture. Another is Bryan Ford, an MIT student who reports on new directions in the Transport Area.

We thank all of our contributors to this issue, and we wish you fun reading. And, as always, we welcome both your comments and your contributions for future issues.