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Voice 3.0: Let’s make it secure by default!

Posted By oej On June 30, 2011 @ 16:03 In dnssec,IETF standards & drafts,ipv6,Security,tls,Voice 3.0 | Comments Disabled

Alec Saunders has written a new manifesto called “Voice 3.0: The emergence of the Voice Web [1]“. It’s very good reading and I agree with most of it. Please read it! What I am missing, which you will see in my comment far down the side, are two things:

  • IPv6 – it’s the glue that will make Voice 3.0 work
  • Security – we need to learn from our mistakes and make Voice 3.0 secure by default

I have written a lot of information about SIP and IPv6 on Edvina’s web sit [2]e, Twitter [3] and Facebook [4]. Dan York has joined me in this campaign and have a lot of good podcasts, presentations and information on Voxeo’s IPv6 resources page [5]. There’s quite a lot of work we still need to do, but we’re heading in the right direction in the SIP community.

I’m embarrassed

Now is the  time to start working on security. I find it really embarrassing that we have almost no experience of security in VoIP. The protocol has been around for ten years or more and we’re still confused. The hardware vendors claim that the CPUs can’t handle it. Or the DSP’s. Or something else. As we move towards more video we need more CPU power to encrypt. On the other side we have users that doesn’t require any security. They run stuff over the enterprise networks, over home networks and the Internet without bothering with who can listen in, access the log files or access their accounts.

The dark side

This last year, the number of attacks on SIP servers has grown in numbers. I hear not only rumours, but see attacks in progress. I have met a number of people who have lost huge amounts of money on International calls to foreign countries, placed by unknown hackers that figured out that their account (typically “300″) had a very complicated password (typically “300″). The next thing that we’re going to see during summer leave or xmas is someone showing a journalist how easy it is to see that the boss calls the union several times a day, propably to negotiate layoffs. Or calling competition, maybe to sell the company.

Let’s agree on one thing: ALL networks are insecure

I think it’s time to stop ignoring security. I think we have to agree that it makes our architecture much more easy if we assume that ALL networks are insecure. We can not judge, our users surely can not determine if a network is secure or not. They have to be able to connect to any open WiFi network and use the services we produce. Without thinking about anything else than reaching their office, customer, family or the kid back home. Every communication needs to be secure. Period.

If we start there, we’re on the right track. Now we need to work together and figure out where to go. How do we exchange encryption keys? How do we handle identities? Where do we start. Let’s not make the mistake of trying to hook on to a global PKI that doesn’t scale (and has proven not to be secure) like the one used by the web. PGP is interesting, but only scale on a nerd level. It’s too complicated the way we use it today. I would not even try to explain it and make my mother use it. We need to work on this.

Distributed webs of trust

Maybe it’s Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn that will be the trust platform. Or a combination of them using systems like OpenID, oAuth and SAML 2.0 in various combinations. We need something simple, scalable and secure. That’s not easy to fulfill. Especially in a world filled with engineers with a lot of opinions, experiences and ideas. It’s our responsibility to start working on this. The IETF and other parties are already working hard on other components of Voice 3.0.Let’s get our act together on the security part of the vision for Voice 3.0 too. We need to, step by step, build a trustworthy platform for realtime communication for everyone.


Article printed from VoIP-Forum: https://www.voip-forum.com

URL to article: https://www.voip-forum.com/ietf/2011-06/voice3-0-security/

URLs in this post:

[1] Voice 3.0: The emergence of the Voice Web: http://www.saunderslog.com/2011/06/24/voice-3-0-the-emergence-of-the-voice-web/

[2] web sit: http://edvina.net/sipv6/

[3] Twitter: http://twitter.com/sipv6

[4] Facebook: http://facebook.com/sipv6/

[5] IPv6 resources page: http://blogs.voxeo.com/speakingofstandards/ipv6/

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