OSPFv3 Authentication and Encryption

OSPFv3 doesn’t have an authentication field in its header like OSPFv2 does, instead it relies on IPsec to get the job done.

IPsec supports two encapsulation types. The first one is AH (Authentication Header) which as the name implies, authenticates the header. The other encapsulation type is ESP (Encapsulating Security Payload) which encrypts packets. We can use both for OSPFv3 so besides authentication, encryption is also a possibility.

In this lesson I’ll show you how to configure both options.

Configuration

We will use the following topology for this:

OSPFv3 R1 R2 Area 0

We only need two routers for this demonstration. I will only use the link-local IPv6 addresses on these two routers. Let’s enable OSPFv3:

R1 & R2#
(config)#interface FastEthernet 0/0
(config-if)#ipv6 ospf 1 area 0

Now we can play with authentication…

IPsec Authentication

To get started we have to use the ipv6 ospf authentication command:

R1(config)#interface FastEthernet 0/0
R1(config-if)#ipv6 ospf authentication ?
ipsec Use IPsec authentication
null Use no authentication

Since we want authentication, we’ll select ipsec:

R1(config-if)#ipv6 ospf authentication ipsec ?
  spi  Set the SPI (Security Parameters Index)

First we have to choose a SPI. You can pick any number you like but it has to match on both routers. Let’s pick the lowest available number (256):

R1(config-if)#ipv6 ospf authentication ipsec spi 256 ?
  md5   Use MD5 authentication
  sha1  Use SHA-1 authentication

Now we can choose what authentication we would like, MD5 or SHA1. SHA1 is more secure so let’s select that:

R1(config-if)#ipv6 ospf authentication ipsec spi 256 sha1 ?
  0           The key is not encrypted (plain text)
  7           The key is encrypted
  Hex-string  SHA-1 key (40 chars)

Now we have to type in a key string ourselves. Normally IPsec uses IKE (Internet Key Exchange) for the security association between two devices. However since we can have multiple OSPFv3 neighbors on a single segment we can’t use IKE and we’ll have to use a static key instead.

For this example I will use an online SHA1 generator to generate a key but for a production network you really should use a safer method to generate a key. Let’s enter that key:

R1(config)#interface FastEthernet 0/0
R1(config-if)#ipv6 ospf authentication ipsec spi 256 sha1 A5DEC4DD155A695A8B983AACEAA5A97C6AECB6D1

As soon as you do this the OSPFv3 neighbor adjacency will drop so let’s copy and paste the same line on R2:

R2(config)#interface FastEthernet 0/0
R2(config-if)#ipv6 ospf authentication ipsec spi 256 sha1 A5DEC4DD155A695A8B983AACEAA5A97C6AECB6D1

That should do the job.

It’s also possible to configure authentication for the entire area. If you want this you’ll have to use the area 0 authentication command under the OSPFv3 process.

let’s verify our work:

R1#show ipv6 ospf interface FastEthernet 0/0 | include auth
  SHA-1 authentication SPI 256, secure socket UP (errors: 0)
R2#show ipv6 ospf interface FastEthernet 0/0 | include auth
  SHA-1 authentication SPI 256, secure socket UP (errors: 0)

If you look at the OSPF specific information on the interface then you can see that authentication has been enabled. Since we are using IPsec, you can also check the security associations:

R1#show crypto ipsec sa

interface: FastEthernet0/0
    Crypto map tag: (none), local addr ::

   IPsecv6 policy name: OSPFv3-1-256 
   IPsecv6-created ACL name: FastEthernet0/0-ipsecv6-ACL

   protected vrf: (none)
   local  ident (addr/mask/prot/port): (FE80::/10/89/0)
   remote ident (addr/mask/prot/port): (::/0/89/0)
   current_peer :: port 500
     PERMIT, flags={origin_is_acl,}
    #pkts encaps: 50, #pkts encrypt: 50, #pkts digest: 50
    #pkts decaps: 31, #pkts decrypt: 31, #pkts verify: 31
    #pkts compressed: 0, #pkts decompressed: 0
    #pkts not compressed: 0, #pkts compr. failed: 0
    #pkts not decompressed: 0, #pkts decompress failed: 0
    #send errors 0, #recv errors 0

     local crypto endpt.: ::,
     remote crypto endpt.: ::
     path mtu 1500, ipv6 mtu 1500, ipv6 mtu idb FastEthernet0/0
     current outbound spi: 0x100(256)
     PFS (Y/N): N, DH group: none

     inbound esp sas:

     inbound ah sas:
      spi: 0x100(256)
        transform: ah-sha-hmac ,
        in use settings ={Transport, }
        conn id: 2001, flow_id: NETGX:1, sibling_flags 80000001, crypto map: (none)
        no sa timing
        replay detection support: N
        Status: ACTIVE

     inbound pcp sas:

     outbound esp sas:

     outbound ah sas:
      spi: 0x100(256)
        transform: ah-sha-hmac ,
        in use settings ={Transport, }
        conn id: 2002, flow_id: NETGX:2, sibling_flags 80000001, crypto map: (none)
        no sa timing
        replay detection support: N
        Status: ACTIVE

     outbound pcp sas:

Above you can see our SPI number and that we are using SHA authentication. There’s one more useful command:

R1#show crypto ipsec policy 
Crypto IPsec client security policy data

Policy name:      OSPFv3-1-256
Policy refcount:  1
Inbound  AH SPI:  256 (0x100)
Outbound AH SPI:  256 (0x100)
Inbound  AH Key:  A5DEC4DD155A695A8B983AACEAA5A97C6AECB6D1
Outbound AH Key:  A5DEC4DD155A695A8B983AACEAA5A97C6AECB6D1
Transform set:    ah-sha-hmac

This gives us a nice overview with our authentication method, SPI and keys. If you are interested, here’s a wireshark capture of our authenticated OSPFv3 packets:

Wireshark Ipv6 Ospfv3 Ah

Above you can see the authentication header. If you want to take a look for yourself then you can find the capture file here.

Configurations

Want to take a look for yourself? Here you will find the configuration of each device.

R1

hostname R1
!
ipv6 unicast-routing 
!
interface fastEthernet 0/0
 ipv6 enable
 ipv6 ospf 1 area 0
 ipv6 ospf authentication ipsec spi 256 sha1 A5DEC4DD155A695A8B983AACEAA5A97C6AECB6D1
!
ipv6 router ospf 1
 router-id 1.1.1.1
!
end

R2

hostname R2
!
ipv6 unicast-routing 
!
interface fastEthernet 0/0
 ipv6 enable
 ipv6 ospf 1 area 0
 ipv6 ospf authentication ipsec spi 256 sha1 A5DEC4DD155A695A8B983AACEAA5A97C6AECB6D1
!
ipv6 router ospf 1
 router-id 2.2.2.2
!
end

IPsec Encryption

Let’s take a look at the second method, using IPsec ESP to authenticate and encrypt OSPFv3 traffic. Let’s get rid of the current IPsec AH configuration:

R1 & R2#
(config)#interface FastEthernet 0/0
(config-if)no ipv6 ospf authentication ipsec spi 256 sha1 A5DEC4DD155A695A8B983AACEAA5A97C6AECB6D1

Now we can enable ESP, there’s a different command we have to use:

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Forum Replies

  1. Rene, do you have IPSEC lesson?

  2. Is the “0” or “7” option relating to whether or not the running-config file saves the key as encrypted or clear text?

  3. Hello Chris

    Options 0 and 7 refer to whether or not the key that is sent between the routers during the authentication process is encrypted. In order to encrypt the key in the configuration file, use the system password-encryption command. This command encrypts authentication key passwords among others.

    I hope this has been helpful!

    Laz

  4. Hi,
    does this means IPsec is the only way to authenticate in OSPFv3?
    I tried with the following and it worked:

    R2#interface Ethernet0/0
    
    no ip address
    
    ipv6 address 2001::2/64
    
    ospfv3 1 authentication key-chain CISCO
    
    ospfv3 1 ipv6 area 0
    
    
    
    R2#show ospfv3 ipv6
    
    OSPFv3 1 address-family ipv6
    
    Router ID 2.2.2.2
    
    Active Key-chains:
    
      Key chain CISCO: Send key 1, Algorithm HMAC-SHA-1, Number of interfaces 1
    
        Area BACKBONE(0)
    

    thanks

    Edit: This post gives the idea that OSPFv3 does not support any authentication beside IPsec, but after checking it does support t

    ... Continue reading in our forum

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