RFC 6614

Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                         S. Winter
Request for Comments: 6614                                       RESTENA
Category: Experimental                                       M. McCauley
ISSN: 2070-1721                                                      OSC
                                                               S. Venaas
                                                             K. Wierenga
                                                                May 2012

          Transport Layer Security (TLS) Encryption for RADIUS


   This document specifies a transport profile for RADIUS using
   Transport Layer Security (TLS) over TCP as the transport protocol.
   This enables dynamic trust relationships between RADIUS servers.

Status of This Memo

   This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is
   published for examination, experimental implementation, and

   This document defines an Experimental Protocol for the Internet
   community.  This document is a product of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF).  It represents the consensus of the IETF
   community.  It has received public review and has been approved for
   publication by the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).  Not
   all documents approved by the IESG are a candidate for any level of
   Internet Standard; see Section 2 of RFC 5741.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
   and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at

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RFC 6614                     RADIUS over TLS                    May 2012

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2012 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction ....................................................3
      1.1. Requirements Language ......................................3
      1.2. Terminology ................................................4
      1.3. Document Status ............................................4
   2. Normative: Transport Layer Security for RADIUS/TCP ..............5
      2.1. TCP port and Packet Types ..................................5
      2.2. TLS Negotiation ............................................5
      2.3. Connection Setup ...........................................5
      2.4. Connecting Client Identity .................................7
      2.5. RADIUS Datagrams ...........................................8
   3. Informative: Design Decisions ..................................10
      3.1. Implications of Dynamic Peer Discovery ....................10
      3.2. X.509 Certificate Considerations ..........................10
      3.3. Ciphersuites and Compression Negotiation Considerations ...11
      3.4. RADIUS Datagram Considerations ............................11
   4. Compatibility with Other RADIUS Transports .....................12
   5. Diameter Compatibility .........................................13
   6. Security Considerations ........................................13
   7. IANA Considerations ............................................14
   8. Acknowledgements ...............................................15
   9. References .....................................................15
      9.1. Normative References ......................................15
      9.2. Informative References ....................................16
   Appendix A. Implementation Overview: Radiator .....................18
   Appendix B. Implementation Overview: radsecproxy ..................19
   Appendix C. Assessment of Crypto-Agility Requirements .............20

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1.  Introduction

   The RADIUS protocol [RFC2865] is a widely deployed authentication and
   authorization protocol.  The supplementary RADIUS Accounting
   specification [RFC2866] provides accounting mechanisms, thus
   delivering a full Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (AAA)
   solution.  However, RADIUS is experiencing several shortcomings, such
   as its dependency on the unreliable transport protocol UDP and the
   lack of security for large parts of its packet payload.  RADIUS
   security is based on the MD5 algorithm, which has been proven to be

   The main focus of RADIUS over TLS is to provide a means to secure the
   communication between RADIUS/TCP peers using TLS.  The most important
   use of this specification lies in roaming environments where RADIUS
   packets need to be transferred through different administrative
   domains and untrusted, potentially hostile networks.  An example for
   a worldwide roaming environment that uses RADIUS over TLS to secure
   communication is "eduroam", see [eduroam].

   There are multiple known attacks on the MD5 algorithm that is used in
   RADIUS to provide integrity protection and a limited confidentiality
   protection (see [MD5-attacks]).  RADIUS over TLS wraps the entire
   RADIUS packet payload into a TLS stream and thus mitigates the risk
   of attacks on MD5.

   Because of the static trust establishment between RADIUS peers (IP
   address and shared secret), the only scalable way of creating a
   massive deployment of RADIUS servers under the control of different
   administrative entities is to introduce some form of a proxy chain to
   route the access requests to their home server.  This creates a lot
   of overhead in terms of possible points of failure, longer
   transmission times, as well as middleboxes through which
   authentication traffic flows.  These middleboxes may learn privacy-
   relevant data while forwarding requests.  The new features in RADIUS
   over TLS obsolete the use of IP addresses and shared MD5 secrets to
   identify other peers and thus allow the use of more contemporary
   trust models, e.g., checking a certificate by inspecting the issuer
   and other certificate properties.

1.1.  Requirements Language

   In this document, several words are used to signify the requirements
   of the specification.  The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED",
", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be
   interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [RFC2119].

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1.2.  Terminology

   RADIUS/TLS node:  a RADIUS-over-TLS client or server

   RADIUS/TLS Client:  a RADIUS-over-TLS instance that initiates a new

   RADIUS/TLS Server:  a RADIUS-over-TLS instance that listens on a
                       RADIUS-over-TLS port and accepts new connections

   RADIUS/UDP: a classic RADIUS transport over UDP as defined in

1.3.  Document Status

   This document is an Experimental RFC.

   It is one out of several approaches to address known cryptographic
   weaknesses of the RADIUS protocol (see also Section 4).  The
   specification does not fulfill all recommendations on a AAA transport
   profile as per [RFC3539]; in particular, by being based on TCP as a
   transport layer, it does not prevent head-of-line blocking issues.

   If this specification is indeed selected for advancement to Standards
   Track, certificate verification options (Section 2.3, point 2) need
   to be refined.

   Another experimental characteristic of this specification is the
   question of key management between RADIUS/TLS peers.  RADIUS/UDP only
   allowed for manual key management, i.e., distribution of a shared
   secret between a client and a server.  RADIUS/TLS allows manual
   distribution of long-term proofs of peer identity as well (by using
   TLS-PSK ciphersuites, or identifying clients by a certificate
   fingerprint), but as a new feature enables use of X.509 certificates
   in a PKIX infrastructure.  It remains to be seen if one of these
   methods will prevail or if both will find their place in real-life
   deployments.  The authors can imagine pre-shared keys (PSK) to be
   popular in small-scale deployments (Small Office, Home Office (SOHO)
   or isolated enterprise deployments) where scalability is not an issue
   and the deployment of a Certification Authority (CA) is considered
   too much of a hassle; however, the authors can also imagine large
   roaming consortia to make use of PKIX.  Readers of this specification
   are encouraged to read the discussion of key management issues within
   [RFC6421] as well as [RFC4107].

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   It has yet to be decided whether this approach is to be chosen for
   Standards Track.  One key aspect to judge whether the approach is
   usable on a large scale is by observing the uptake, usability, and
   operational behavior of the protocol in large-scale, real-life

   An example for a worldwide roaming environment that uses RADIUS over
   TLS to secure communication is "eduroam", see [eduroam].

2.  Normative: Transport Layer Security for RADIUS/TCP

2.1.  TCP port and Packet Types

   The default destination port number for RADIUS over TLS is TCP/2083.
   There are no separate ports for authentication, accounting, and
   dynamic authorization changes.  The source port is arbitrary.  See
   Section 3.4 for considerations regarding the separation of
   authentication, accounting, and dynamic authorization traffic.

2.2.  TLS Negotiation

   RADIUS/TLS has no notion of negotiating TLS in an established
   connection.  Servers and clients need to be preconfigured to use
   RADIUS/TLS for a given endpoint.

2.3.  Connection Setup

   RADIUS/TLS nodes

   1.  establish TCP connections as per [RFC6613].  Failure to connect
       leads to continuous retries, with exponentially growing intervals
       between every try.  If multiple servers are defined, the node MAY
       attempt to establish a connection to these other servers in
       parallel, in order to implement quick failover.

   2.  after completing the TCP handshake, immediately negotiate TLS
       sessions according to [RFC5246] or its predecessor TLS 1.1.  The
       following restrictions apply:

       *  Support for TLS v1.1 [RFC4346] or later (e.g., TLS 1.2
          [RFC5246]) is REQUIRED.  To prevent known attacks on TLS
          versions prior to 1.1, implementations MUST NOT negotiate TLS
          versions prior to 1.1.

       *  Support for certificate-based mutual authentication is

       *  Negotiation of mutual authentication is REQUIRED.

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       *  Negotiation of a ciphersuite providing for confidentiality as
          well as integrity protection is REQUIRED.  Failure to comply
          with this requirement can lead to severe security problems,
          like user passwords being recoverable by third parties.  See
          Section 6 for details.

       *  Support for and negotiation of compression is OPTIONAL.

       *  Support for TLS-PSK mutual authentication [RFC4279] is

       *  RADIUS/TLS implementations MUST, at a minimum, support
          negotiation of the TLS_RSA_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA, and SHOULD
          support TLS_RSA_WITH_RC4_128_SHA and
          TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA as well (see Section 3.3.

       *  In addition, RADIUS/TLS implementations MUST support
          negotiation of the mandatory-to-implement ciphersuites
          required by the versions of TLS that they support.

   3.  Peer authentication can be performed in any of the following
       three operation models:

       *  TLS with X.509 certificates using PKIX trust models (this
          model is mandatory to implement):

          +  Implementations MUST allow the configuration of a list of
             trusted Certification Authorities for incoming connections.

          +  Certificate validation MUST include the verification rules
             as per [RFC5280].

          +  Implementations SHOULD indicate their trusted Certification
             Authorities (CAs).  For TLS 1.2, this is done using
             [RFC5246], Section 7.4.4, "certificate_authorities" (server
             side) and [RFC6066], Section 6 "Trusted CA Indication"
             (client side).  See also Section 3.2.

          +  Peer validation always includes a check on whether the
             locally configured expected DNS name or IP address of the
             server that is contacted matches its presented certificate.
             DNS names and IP addresses can be contained in the Common
             Name (CN) or subjectAltName entries.  For verification,
             only one of these entries is to be considered.  The
             following precedence applies: for DNS name validation,
             subjectAltName:DNS has precedence over CN; for IP address
             validation, subjectAltName:iPAddr has precedence over CN.

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             Implementors of this specification are advised to read
             [RFC6125], Section 6, for more details on DNS name

          +  Implementations MAY allow the configuration of a set of
             additional properties of the certificate to check for a
             peer's authorization to communicate (e.g., a set of allowed
             values in subjectAltName:URI or a set of allowed X509v3
             Certificate Policies).

          +  When the configured trust base changes (e.g., removal of a
             CA from the list of trusted CAs; issuance of a new CRL for
             a given CA), implementations MAY renegotiate the TLS
             session to reassess the connecting peer's continued

       *  TLS with X.509 certificates using certificate fingerprints
          (this model is optional to implement): Implementations SHOULD
          allow the configuration of a list of trusted certificates,
          identified via fingerprint of the DER encoded certificate
          octets.  Implementations MUST support SHA-1 as the hash
          algorithm for the fingerprint.  To prevent attacks based on
          hash collisions, support for a more contemporary hash function
          such as SHA-256 is RECOMMENDED.

       *  TLS using TLS-PSK (this model is optional to implement).

   4.  start exchanging RADIUS datagrams (note Section 3.4 (1)).  The
       shared secret to compute the (obsolete) MD5 integrity checks and
       attribute encryption MUST be "radsec" (see Section 3.4 (2)).

2.4.  Connecting Client Identity

   In RADIUS/UDP, clients are uniquely identified by their IP address.
   Since the shared secret is associated with the origin IP address, if
   more than one RADIUS client is associated with the same IP address,
   then those clients also must utilize the same shared secret, a
   practice that is inherently insecure, as noted in [RFC5247].

   RADIUS/TLS supports multiple operation modes.

   In TLS-PSK operation, a client is uniquely identified by its TLS

   In TLS-X.509 mode using fingerprints, a client is uniquely identified
   by the fingerprint of the presented client certificate.

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   In TLS-X.509 mode using PKIX trust models, a client is uniquely
   identified by the tuple (serial number of presented client

   Note well: having identified a connecting entity does not mean the
   server necessarily wants to communicate with that client.  For
   example, if the Issuer is not in a trusted set of Issuers, the server
   may decline to perform RADIUS transactions with this client.

   There are numerous trust models in PKIX environments, and it is
   beyond the scope of this document to define how a particular
   deployment determines whether a client is trustworthy.
   Implementations that want to support a wide variety of trust models
   should expose as many details of the presented certificate to the
   administrator as possible so that the trust model can be implemented
   by the administrator.  As a suggestion, at least the following
   parameters of the X.509 client certificate should be exposed:

   o  Originating IP address

   o  Certificate Fingerprint

   o  Issuer

   o  Subject

   o  all X509v3 Extended Key Usage

   o  all X509v3 Subject Alternative Name

   o  all X509v3 Certificate Policies

   In TLS-PSK operation, at least the following parameters of the TLS
   connection should be exposed:

   o  Originating IP address

   o  TLS Identifier

2.5.  RADIUS Datagrams

   Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting packets are sent
   according to the following rules:

   RADIUS/TLS clients transmit the same packet types on the connection
   they initiated as a RADIUS/UDP client would (see Section 3.4 (3) and
   (4)).  For example, they send

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   o  Access-Request

   o  Accounting-Request

   o  Status-Server

   o  Disconnect-ACK

   o  Disconnect-NAK

   o  ...

   and they receive

   o  Access-Accept

   o  Accounting-Response

   o  Disconnect-Request

   o  ...

   RADIUS/TLS servers transmit the same packet types on connections they
   have accepted as a RADIUS/UDP server would.  For example, they send

   o  Access-Challenge

   o  Access-Accept

   o  Access-Reject

   o  Accounting-Response

   o  Disconnect-Request

   o  ...

   and they receive

   o  Access-Request

   o  Accounting-Request

   o  Status-Server

   o  Disconnect-ACK

   o  ...

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   Due to the use of one single TCP port for all packet types, it is
   required that a RADIUS/TLS server signal which types of packets are
   supported on a server to a connecting peer.  See also Section 3.4 for
   a discussion of signaling.

   o  When an unwanted packet of type 'CoA-Request' or 'Disconnect-
      Request' is received, a RADIUS/TLS server needs to respond with a
      'CoA-NAK' or 'Disconnect-NAK', respectively.  The NAK SHOULD
      contain an attribute Error-Cause with the value 406 ("Unsupported
      Extension"); see [RFC5176] for details.

   o  When an unwanted packet of type 'Accounting-Request' is received,
      the RADIUS/TLS server SHOULD reply with an Accounting-Response
      containing an Error-Cause attribute with value 406 "Unsupported
      Extension" as defined in [RFC5176].  A RADIUS/TLS accounting
      client receiving such an Accounting-Response SHOULD log the error
      and stop sending Accounting-Request packets.

3.  Informative: Design Decisions

   This section explains the design decisions that led to the rules
   defined in the previous section.

3.1.  Implications of Dynamic Peer Discovery

   One mechanism to discover RADIUS-over-TLS peers dynamically via DNS
   is specified in [DYNAMIC].  While this mechanism is still under
   development and therefore is not a normative dependency of RADIUS/
   TLS, the use of dynamic discovery has potential future implications
   that are important to understand.

   Readers of this document who are considering the deployment of DNS-
   based dynamic discovery are thus encouraged to read [DYNAMIC] and
   follow its future development.

3.2.  X.509 Certificate Considerations

   (1)  If a RADIUS/TLS client is in possession of multiple certificates
        from different CAs (i.e., is part of multiple roaming consortia)
        and dynamic discovery is used, the discovery mechanism possibly
        does not yield sufficient information to identify the consortium
        uniquely (e.g., DNS discovery).  Subsequently, the client may
        not know by itself which client certificate to use for the TLS
        handshake.  Then, it is necessary for the server to signal to
        which consortium it belongs and which certificates it expects.
        If there is no risk of confusing multiple roaming consortia,
        providing this information in the handshake is not crucial.

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RFC 6614                     RADIUS over TLS                    May 2012

   (2)  If a RADIUS/TLS server is in possession of multiple certificates
        from different CAs (i.e., is part of multiple roaming
        consortia), it will need to select one of its certificates to
        present to the RADIUS/TLS client.  If the client sends the
        Trusted CA Indication, this hint can make the server select the
        appropriate certificate and prevent a handshake failure.
        Omitting this indication makes it impossible to
        deterministically select the right certificate in this case.  If
        there is no risk of confusing multiple roaming consortia,
        providing this indication in the handshake is not crucial.

3.3.  Ciphersuites and Compression Negotiation Considerations

   Not all TLS ciphersuites in [RFC5246] are supported by available TLS
   tool kits, and licenses may be required in some cases.  The existing
   implementations of RADIUS/TLS use OpenSSL as a cryptographic backend,
   which supports all of the ciphersuites listed in the rules in the
   normative section.

   The TLS ciphersuite TLS_RSA_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA is mandatory to
   implement according to [RFC4346]; thus, it has to be supported by
   RADIUS/TLS nodes.

   The two other ciphersuites in the normative section are widely
   implemented in TLS tool kits and are considered good practice to

3.4.  RADIUS Datagram Considerations

   (1)  After the TLS session is established, RADIUS packet payloads are
        exchanged over the encrypted TLS tunnel.  In RADIUS/UDP, the
        packet size can be determined by evaluating the size of the
        datagram that arrived.  Due to the stream nature of TCP and TLS,
        this does not hold true for RADIUS/TLS packet exchange.
        Instead, packet boundaries of RADIUS packets that arrive in the
        stream are calculated by evaluating the packet's Length field.
        Special care needs to be taken on the packet sender side that
        the value of the Length field is indeed correct before sending
        it over the TLS tunnel, because incorrect packet lengths can no
        longer be detected by a differing datagram boundary.  See
        Section 2.6.4 of [RFC6613] for more details.

   (2)  Within RADIUS/UDP [RFC2865], a shared secret is used for hiding
        attributes such as User-Password, as well as in computation of
        the Response Authenticator.  In RADIUS accounting [RFC2866], the
        shared secret is used in computation of both the Request
        Authenticator and the Response Authenticator.  Since TLS
        provides integrity protection and encryption sufficient to

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        substitute for RADIUS application-layer security, it is not
        necessary to configure a RADIUS shared secret.  The use of a
        fixed string for the obsolete shared secret eliminates possible
        node misconfigurations.

   (3)  RADIUS/UDP [RFC2865] uses different UDP ports for
        authentication, accounting, and dynamic authorization changes.
        RADIUS/TLS allocates a single port for all RADIUS packet types.
        Nevertheless, in RADIUS/TLS, the notion of a client that sends
        authentication requests and processes replies associated with
        its users' sessions and the notion of a server that receives
        requests, processes them, and sends the appropriate replies is
        to be preserved.  The normative rules about acceptable packet
        types for clients and servers mirror the packet flow behavior
        from RADIUS/UDP.

   (4)  RADIUS/UDP [RFC2865] uses negative ICMP responses to a newly
        allocated UDP port to signal that a peer RADIUS server does not
        support the reception and processing of the packet types in
        [RFC5176].  These packet types are listed as to be received in
        RADIUS/TLS implementations.  Note well: it is not required for
        an implementation to actually process these packet types; it is
        only required that the NAK be sent as defined above.

   (5)  RADIUS/UDP [RFC2865] uses negative ICMP responses to a newly
        allocated UDP port to signal that a peer RADIUS server does not
        support the reception and processing of RADIUS Accounting
        packets.  There is no RADIUS datagram to signal an Accounting
        NAK.  Clients may be misconfigured for sending Accounting
        packets to a RADIUS/TLS server that does not wish to process
        their Accounting packet.  To prevent a regression of
        detectability of this situation, the Accounting-Response +
        Error-Cause signaling was introduced.

4.  Compatibility with Other RADIUS Transports

   The IETF defines multiple alternative transports to the classic UDP
   transport model as defined in [RFC2865], namely RADIUS over TCP
   [RFC6613] and the present document on RADIUS over TLS.  The IETF also
   proposed RADIUS over Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS)

   RADIUS/TLS does not specify any inherent backward compatibility to
   RADIUS/UDP or cross compatibility to the other transports, i.e., an
   implementation that utilizes RADIUS/TLS only will not be able to
   receive or send RADIUS packet payloads over other transports.  An
   implementation wishing to be backward or cross compatible (i.e.,
   wishes to serve clients using other transports than RADIUS/TLS) will

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   need to implement these other transports along with the RADIUS/TLS
   transport and be prepared to send and receive on all implemented
   transports, which is called a "multi-stack implementation".

   If a given IP device is able to receive RADIUS payloads on multiple
   transports, this may or may not be the same instance of software, and
   it may or may not serve the same purposes.  It is not safe to assume
   that both ports are interchangeable.  In particular, it cannot be
   assumed that state is maintained for the packet payloads between the
   transports.  Two such instances MUST be considered separate RADIUS
   server entities.

5.  Diameter Compatibility

   Since RADIUS/TLS is only a new transport profile for RADIUS, the
   compatibility of RADIUS/TLS - Diameter [RFC3588] and RADIUS/UDP
   [RFC2865] - Diameter [RFC3588] is identical.  The considerations
   regarding payload size in [RFC6613] apply.

6.  Security Considerations

   The computational resources to establish a TLS tunnel are
   significantly higher than simply sending mostly unencrypted UDP
   datagrams.  Therefore, clients connecting to a RADIUS/TLS node will
   more easily create high load conditions and a malicious client might
   create a Denial-of-Service attack more easily.

   Some TLS ciphersuites only provide integrity validation of their
   payload, and provide no encryption.  This specification forbids the
   use of such ciphersuites.  Since the RADIUS payload's shared secret
   is fixed to the well-known term "radsec" (see Section 2.3 (4)),
   failure to comply with this requirement will expose the entire
   datagram payload in plaintext, including User-Password, to
   intermediate IP nodes.

   By virtue of being based on TCP, there are several generic attack
   vectors to slow down or prevent the TCP connection from being
   established; see [RFC4953] for details.  If a TCP connection is not
   up when a packet is to be processed, it gets re-established, so such
   attacks in general lead only to a minor performance degradation (the
   time it takes to re-establish the connection).  There is one notable
   exception where an attacker might create a bidding-down attack
   though.  If peer communication between two devices is configured for
   both RADIUS/TLS (i.e., TLS security over TCP as a transport, shared
   secret fixed to "radsec") and RADIUS/UDP (i.e., shared secret
   security with a secret manually configured by the administrator), and
   the RADIUS/UDP transport is the failover option if the TLS session
   cannot be established, a bidding-down attack can occur if an

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   adversary can maliciously close the TCP connection or prevent it from
   being established.  Situations where clients are configured in such a
   way are likely to occur during a migration phase from RADIUS/UDP to
   RADIUS/TLS.  By preventing the TLS session setup, the attacker can
   reduce the security of the packet payload from the selected TLS
   ciphersuite packet encryption to the classic MD5 per-attribute
   encryption.  The situation should be avoided by disabling the weaker
   RADIUS/UDP transport as soon as the new RADIUS/TLS connection is
   established and tested.  Disabling can happen at either the RADIUS
   client or server side:

   o  Client side: de-configure the failover setup, leaving RADIUS/TLS
      as the only communication option

   o  Server side: de-configure the RADIUS/UDP client from the list of
      valid RADIUS clients

   RADIUS/TLS provides authentication and encryption between RADIUS
   peers.  In the presence of proxies, the intermediate proxies can
   still inspect the individual RADIUS packets, i.e., "end-to-end"
   encryption is not provided.  Where intermediate proxies are
   untrusted, it is desirable to use other RADIUS mechanisms to prevent
   RADIUS packet payload from inspection by such proxies.  One common
   method to protect passwords is the use of the Extensible
   Authentication Protocol (EAP) and EAP methods that utilize TLS.

   When using certificate fingerprints to identify RADIUS/TLS peers, any
   two certificates that produce the same hash value (i.e., that have a
   hash collision) will be considered the same client.  Therefore, it is
   important to make sure that the hash function used is
   cryptographically uncompromised so that an attacker is very unlikely
   to be able to produce a hash collision with a certificate of his
   choice.  While this specification mandates support for SHA-1, a later
   revision will likely demand support for more contemporary hash
   functions because as of issuance of this document, there are already
   attacks on SHA-1.

7.  IANA Considerations

   No new RADIUS attributes or packet codes are defined.  IANA has
   updated the already assigned TCP port number 2083 to reflect the

   o  Reference: [RFC6614]

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RFC 6614                     RADIUS over TLS                    May 2012

   o  Assignment Notes: The TCP port 2083 was already previously
      assigned by IANA for "RadSec", an early implementation of RADIUS/
      TLS, prior to issuance of this RFC.  This early implementation can
      be configured to be compatible to RADIUS/TLS as specified by the
      IETF.  See RFC 6614, Appendix A for details.

8.  Acknowledgements

   RADIUS/TLS was first implemented as "RADSec" by Open Systems
   Consultants, Currumbin Waters, Australia, for their "Radiator" RADIUS
   server product (see [radsec-whitepaper]).

   Funding and input for the development of this document was provided
   by the European Commission co-funded project "GEANT2" [geant2] and
   further feedback was provided by the TERENA Task Force on Mobility
   and Network Middleware [terena].

9.  References

9.1.  Normative References

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [RFC2865]  Rigney, C., Willens, S., Rubens, A., and W. Simpson,
              "Remote Authentication Dial In User Service (RADIUS)",
              RFC 2865, June 2000.

   [RFC2866]  Rigney, C., "RADIUS Accounting", RFC 2866, June 2000.

   [RFC4279]  Eronen, P. and H. Tschofenig, "Pre-Shared Key Ciphersuites
              for Transport Layer Security (TLS)", RFC 4279,
              December 2005.

   [RFC5176]  Chiba, M., Dommety, G., Eklund, M., Mitton, D., and B.
              Aboba, "Dynamic Authorization Extensions to Remote
              Authentication Dial In User Service (RADIUS)", RFC 5176,
              January 2008.

   [RFC5246]  Dierks, T. and E. Rescorla, "The Transport Layer Security
              (TLS) Protocol Version 1.2", RFC 5246, August 2008.

   [RFC5247]  Aboba, B., Simon, D., and P. Eronen, "Extensible
              Authentication Protocol (EAP) Key Management Framework",
              RFC 5247, August 2008.

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RFC 6614                     RADIUS over TLS                    May 2012

   [RFC5280]  Cooper, D., Santesson, S., Farrell, S., Boeyen, S.,
              Housley, R., and W. Polk, "Internet X.509 Public Key
              Infrastructure Certificate and Certificate Revocation List
              (CRL) Profile", RFC 5280, May 2008.

   [RFC6066]  Eastlake, D., "Transport Layer Security (TLS) Extensions:
              Extension Definitions", RFC 6066, January 2011.

   [RFC6613]  DeKok, A., "RADIUS over TCP", RFC 6613, May 2012.

9.2.  Informative References

   [DYNAMIC]  Winter, S. and M. McCauley, "NAI-based Dynamic Peer
              Discovery for RADIUS/TLS and RADIUS/DTLS", Work
              in Progress, July 2011.

              Black, J., Cochran, M., and T. Highland, "A Study of the
              MD5 Attacks: Insights and Improvements", October 2006,

              DeKok, A., "DTLS as a Transport Layer for RADIUS", Work
              in Progress, October 2010.

   [RFC3539]  Aboba, B. and J. Wood, "Authentication, Authorization and
              Accounting (AAA) Transport Profile", RFC 3539, June 2003.

   [RFC3588]  Calhoun, P., Loughney, J., Guttman, E., Zorn, G., and J.
              Arkko, "Diameter Base Protocol", RFC 3588, September 2003.

   [RFC4107]  Bellovin, S. and R. Housley, "Guidelines for Cryptographic
              Key Management", BCP 107, RFC 4107, June 2005.

   [RFC4346]  Dierks, T. and E. Rescorla, "The Transport Layer Security
              (TLS) Protocol Version 1.1", RFC 4346, April 2006.

   [RFC4953]  Touch, J., "Defending TCP Against Spoofing Attacks",
              RFC 4953, July 2007.

   [RFC6125]  Saint-Andre, P. and J. Hodges, "Representation and
              Verification of Domain-Based Application Service Identity
              within Internet Public Key Infrastructure Using X.509
              (PKIX) Certificates in the Context of Transport Layer
              Security (TLS)", RFC 6125, March 2011.

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RFC 6614                     RADIUS over TLS                    May 2012

   [RFC6421]  Nelson, D., "Crypto-Agility Requirements for Remote
              Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS)", RFC 6421,
              November 2011.

   [eduroam]  Trans-European Research and Education Networking
              Association, "eduroam Homepage", 2007,

   [geant2]   Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe,
              "European Commission Information Society and Media:
              GEANT2", 2008, <http://www.geant2.net/>.

              Open System Consultants, "RadSec - a secure, reliable
              RADIUS Protocol", May 2005,

              Venaas, S., "radsecproxy Project Homepage", 2007,

   [terena]   Trans-European Research and Education Networking
              Association (TERENA), "Task Force on Mobility and Network
              Middleware", 2008,

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RFC 6614                     RADIUS over TLS                    May 2012

Appendix A.  Implementation Overview: Radiator

   Radiator implements the RadSec protocol for proxying requests with
   the <Authby RADSEC> and <ServerRADSEC> clauses in the Radiator
   configuration file.

   The <AuthBy RADSEC> clause defines a RadSec client, and causes
   Radiator to send RADIUS requests to the configured RadSec server
   using the RadSec protocol.

   The <ServerRADSEC> clause defines a RadSec server, and causes
   Radiator to listen on the configured port and address(es) for
   connections from <Authby RADSEC> clients.  When an <Authby RADSEC>
   client connects to a <ServerRADSEC> server, the client sends RADIUS
   requests through the stream to the server.  The server then handles
   the request in the same way as if the request had been received from
   a conventional UDP RADIUS client.

   Radiator is compliant to RADIUS/TLS if the following options are

      <AuthBy RADSEC>

      *  Protocol tcp

      *  UseTLS

      *  TLS_CertificateFile

      *  Secret radsec


      *  Protocol tcp

      *  UseTLS

      *  TLS_RequireClientCert

      *  Secret radsec

   As of Radiator 3.15, the default shared secret for RadSec connections
   is configurable and defaults to "mysecret" (without quotes).  For
   compliance with this document, this setting needs to be configured
   for the shared secret "radsec".  The implementation uses TCP
   keepalive socket options, but does not send Status-Server packets.
   Once established, TLS connections are kept open throughout the server
   instance lifetime.

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RFC 6614                     RADIUS over TLS                    May 2012

Appendix B.  Implementation Overview: radsecproxy

   The RADIUS proxy named radsecproxy was written in order to allow use
   of RadSec in current RADIUS deployments.  This is a generic proxy
   that supports any number and combination of clients and servers,
   supporting RADIUS over UDP and RadSec.  The main idea is that it can
   be used on the same host as a non-RadSec client or server to ensure
   RadSec is used on the wire; however, as a generic proxy, it can be
   used in other circumstances as well.

   The configuration file consists of client and server clauses, where
   there is one such clause for each client or server.  In such a
   clause, one specifies either "type tls" or "type udp" for TLS or UDP
   transport.  Versions prior to 1.6 used "mysecret" as a default shared
   secret for RADIUS/TLS; version 1.6 and onwards uses "radsec".  For
   backwards compatibility with older versions, the secret can be
   changed (which makes the configuration not compliant with this

   In order to use TLS for clients and/or servers, one must also specify
   where to locate CA certificates, as well as certificate and key for
   the client or server.  This is done in a TLS clause.  There may be
   one or several TLS clauses.  A client or server clause may reference
   a particular TLS clause, or just use a default one.  One use for
   multiple TLS clauses may be to present one certificate to clients and
   another to servers.

   If any RadSec (TLS) clients are configured, the proxy will, at
   startup, listen on port 2083, as assigned by IANA for the OSC RadSec
   implementation.  An alternative port may be specified.  When a client
   connects, the client certificate will be verified, including checking
   that the configured Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) or IP address
   matches what is in the certificate.  Requests coming from a RadSec
   client are treated exactly like requests from UDP clients.

   At startup, the proxy will try to establish a TLS connection to each
   (if any) of the configured RadSec (TLS) servers.  If it fails to
   connect to a server, it will retry regularly.  There is some back-off
   where it will retry quickly at first, and with longer intervals
   later.  If a connection to a server goes down, it will also start
   retrying regularly.  When setting up the TLS connection, the server
   certificate will be verified, including checking that the configured
   FQDN or IP address matches what is in the certificate.  Requests are
   sent to a RadSec server, just like they would be to a UDP server.

   The proxy supports Status-Server messages.  They are only sent to a
   server if enabled for that particular server.  Status-Server requests
   are always responded to.

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RFC 6614                     RADIUS over TLS                    May 2012

   This RadSec implementation has been successfully tested together with
   Radiator.  It is a freely available, open-source implementation.  For
   source code and documentation, see [radsecproxy-impl].

Appendix C.  Assessment of Crypto-Agility Requirements

   The RADIUS Crypto-Agility Requirements document [RFC6421] defines
   numerous classification criteria for protocols that strive to enhance
   the security of RADIUS.  It contains mandatory (M) and recommended
   (R) criteria that crypto-agile protocols have to fulfill.  The
   authors believe that the following assessment about the crypto-
   agility properties of RADIUS/TLS are true.

   By virtue of being a transport profile using TLS over TCP as a
   transport protocol, the cryptographically agile properties of TLS are
   inherited, and RADIUS/TLS subsequently meets the following points:

      (M) negotiation of cryptographic algorithms for integrity and auth

      (M) negotiation of cryptographic algorithms for encryption

      (M) replay protection

      (M) define mandatory-to-implement cryptographic algorithms

      (M) generate fresh session keys for use between client and server

      (R) support for Perfect Forward Secrecy in session keys

      (R) support X.509 certificate-based operation

      (R) support Pre-Shared keys

      (R) support for confidentiality of the entire packet

      (M/R) support Automated Key Management

   The remainder of the requirements is discussed individually below in
   more detail:

      (M) "...avoid security compromise, even in situations where the
      existing cryptographic algorithms utilized by RADIUS
      implementations are shown to be weak enough to provide little or
      no security" [RFC6421].  The existing algorithm, based on MD5, is
      not of any significance in RADIUS/TLS; its compromise does not
      compromise the outer transport security.

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RFC 6614                     RADIUS over TLS                    May 2012

      (R) mandatory-to-implement algorithms are to be NIST-Acceptable
      with no deprecation date - The mandatory-to-implement algorithm is
      TLS_RSA_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA.  This ciphersuite supports three-
      key 3DES operation, which is classified as Acceptable with no
      known deprecation date by NIST.

      (M) demonstrate backward compatibility with RADIUS - There are
      multiple implementations supporting both RADIUS and RADIUS/TLS,
      and the translation between them.

      (M) After legacy mechanisms have been compromised, secure
      algorithms MUST be used, so that backward compatibility is no
      longer possible - In RADIUS, communication between client and
      server is always a manual configuration; after a compromise, the
      legacy client in question can be de-configured by the same manual

      (M) indicate a willingness to cede change control to the IETF -
      Change control of this protocol is with the IETF.

      (M) be interoperable between implementations based purely on the
      information in the specification - At least one implementation was
      created exclusively based on this specification and is
      interoperable with other RADIUS/TLS implementations.

      (M) apply to all packet types - RADIUS/TLS operates on the
      transport layer, and can carry all packet types.

      (R) message data exchanged with Diameter SHOULD NOT be affected -
      The solution is Diameter-agnostic.

      (M) discuss any inherent assumptions - The authors are not aware
      of any implicit assumptions that would be yet-unarticulated in the

      (R) provide recommendations for transition - The Security
      Considerations section contains a transition path.

      (R) discuss legacy interoperability and potential for bidding-down
      attacks - The Security Considerations section contains a
      corresponding discussion.

   Summarizing, it is believed that this specification fulfills all the
   mandatory and all the recommended requirements for a crypto-agile
   solution and should thus be considered UNCONDITIONALLY COMPLIANT.

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RFC 6614                     RADIUS over TLS                    May 2012

Authors' Addresses

   Stefan Winter
   Fondation RESTENA
   6, rue Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi
   Luxembourg  1359

   Phone: +352 424409 1
   Fax:   +352 422473
   EMail: stefan.winter@restena.lu
   URI:   http://www.restena.lu.

   Mike McCauley
   Open Systems Consultants
   9 Bulbul Place
   Currumbin Waters  QLD 4223

   Phone: +61 7 5598 7474
   Fax:   +61 7 5598 7070
   EMail: mikem@open.com.au
   URI:   http://www.open.com.au.

   Stig Venaas
   Cisco Systems
   Tasman Drive
   San Jose, CA  95134

   EMail: stig@cisco.com

   Klaas Wierenga
   Cisco Systems International BV
   Haarlerbergweg 13-19
   Amsterdam  1101 CH
   The Netherlands

   Phone: +31 (0)20 3571752
   EMail: klaas@cisco.com
   URI:   http://www.cisco.com

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