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RadSec – A better RADIUS protocol Stig Venaas Stefan Winter

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Presentation on theme: "RadSec – A better RADIUS protocol Stig Venaas Stefan Winter"— Presentation transcript:

1 RadSec – A better RADIUS protocol Stig Venaas Stefan Winter

2 Overview RADIUS overview RadSec overview What is wrong with RADIUS RadSec benefits Radsec implementations, deployment and standardisation

3 RADIUS overview (1) Remote Authentication Dial In User Service First defined in RFC 2058 from 1997 Typically used for modem pools/terminal servers RADIUS uses UDP and a shared secret between client and server for authentication and encryption of passwords A user may specify a username/password RADIUS client sends message to RADIUS server with username in clear-text and password encrypted RADIUS server returns accept or reject Accept might contain attributes that tell terminal server what access group, IP address etc the user should get

4 RADIUS overview (2) Now used a lot for wireless access Enhanced with EAP Eduroam Makes use of a hierarchy of RADIUS servers The wireless access point in a network you visit may talk RADIUS to your home RADIUS servers RADIUS messages may travel through many servers and over long distances EAP is used between client host (e.g. laptop) and the home RADIUS server TLS connection between host and home RADIUS server Good protection of credentials, but some information related to the user may be sent as unprotected attributes to the RADIUS client

5 Roaming in eduroam root authenticator1authenticator2

6 RadSec overview RadSec is RADIUS over TLS A new transport layer for RADIUS Replaces UDP Benefits Security Reliability Convenience We will explain these benefits after discussing issues with RADIUS over UDP

7 RADIUS security Not very secure Uses MD5 and a shared secret for each client – server connection Message authentication Encryption of some attributes (passwords/keys) There are several weaknesses Particularly if one can listen in on the traffic for a long time Or, input known data and see how it gets encrypted Most attributes in clear-text, might help an attacker (privacy) For good security, one can use EAP with TLS tunnel between mobile node and home radius

8 RADIUS transport issues UDP client – server, simple retransmission scheme One RADIUS message == one UDP datagram Not working well for large messages (>MTU) In particular over longer distances, congested links RADIUS messages can get very large with EAP If a RADIUS message is fragmented, loss of one fragment means loss of entire message For EAP/TLS this can be avoided with EAP fragmentation Each EAP fragment results in a RADIUS request going all the way from client to home RADIUS server, and a response back Results in many messages and long authentication time

9 RadSec security TLS for all RADIUS communications TLS connection per client – server Both client and server use certificates Strong encryption Encrypts everything, good for privacy Strong authentication With proper use of certificates Certificates provide additional benefits Later slide

10 RadSec reliability RadSec uses TLS over TCP TCP ensures reliable transport One can send RADIUS messages larger than the MTU without fragmentation Copes better with packet loss than UDP fragments EAP message (fragments) can then be up to 1500 bytes, and the RADIUS messages will still not be fragmented Its common to set EAP MTU to a much lower value to avoid RADIUS fragmentation This means less RADIUS messages going back and forth, and less delay (an EAP message can easily be 8KB) Makes it easier to detect when a RADIUS server is down/unreachable (better server failover)

11 Other RadSec benefits Certificate based client authentication Does not care about IP addresses Can have e.g. travel kits with APs that can move to any location on the Internet that connect to the home RADIUS server Home server need only verify the certificate Certificate based server authentication Dynamic roaming What if RADIUS client could look at user identity find server using DNS SRV records, contact server, and get a certificate from server stating that it is authorised to serve Eduroam without a RADIUS hierarchy?

12 RadSec implementations RADIATOR The first implementation, commercial RADIUS radsecproxy ( A RADIUS proxy that also supports radsec Can be used to radsec-enable clients/servers Has been installed in Linux-based APs to make them support RadSec, package for OpenWRT Also used on hosts running FreeRADIUS servers Also useful in hierarchies like eduroam where most nodes only do proxying (routing of RADIUS messages) LANCOM access points APs with built in RadSec client

13 Mobile eduroam-in-a-fonera Eduroam travel kit 7x9x2cm AP RadSec enabled Fonera AP with OpenWRT Can be brought wherever eduroam is needed With normal RADIUS, the server would need to be configured with the IP address of the client Using certificates, the server just need to verify the AP certificate Hence, mobile with no re- configuration

14 Deployment and standardisation Used root and some sites In limited production use for 2 years Several NRNs ( and more) have done tests and are planning for deployment IETF standardisation IETF radext wg considering adoption Hope to get an RFC specifying RadSec Current specification is

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