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IPsec AH: IP Authentication Header
IP Authentication Header (AH), a key protocol in the IPsec (Internet Security) architecture, is used to provide connectionless integrity and data origin authentication for IP datagrams, and to provide protection against replays. This protection service against replay is an optional service to be selected by the receiver when a Security Association is established. AH provides authentication for as much of the IP header as possible, as well as for upper level protocol data. However, some IP header fields may change in transit and the value of these fields, when the packet arrives at the receiver, may not be predictable by the sender. The values of such fields cannot be protected by AH. Thus the protection provided to the IP header by AH is only partial in some cases.
IPsec AH may be applied alone, in combination with the IP Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP), or in a nested fashion through the use of tunnel mode. Security services can be provided between a pair of communicating hosts, between a pair of communicating security gateways, or between a security gateway and a host. ESP may be used to provide the same security services, and it also provides a confidentiality (encryption) service.
The primary difference between the authentication provided by ESP and AH is the extent of the coverage. Specifically, ESP does not protect any IP header fields unless those fields are encapsulated by ESP. For more details on how to use AH and ESP in various network environments.
When used with IPv6, the Authentication Header normally appears after the IPv6 Hop-by-Hop Header and before the IPv6 Destination Options. When used with IPv4, the Authentication Header normally follows the main IPv4 header.
Protocol Structure - IPsec AH: IP Authentication Header
|Security parameters index (SPI)
|Sequence Number Field
|Authentication data (variable)|
- Next header - identifies the type of the next payload after the Authentication Header.
- Payload Length - specifies the length of AH in 32-bit words (4-byte units), minus "2".
- SPI - an arbitrary 32-bit value that, in combination with the destination IP address and security protocol (AH), uniquely identifies the Security Association for this datagram.
- Sequence Number - it contains a monotonically increasing counter value and is mandatory and is always present even if the receiver does not elect to enable the anti-replay service for a specific SA.
- Authentication Data - a variable-length field containing an Integrity Check Value (ICV) computed over the ESP packet minus the Authentication Data.
IPsec , ESP , DES, AES, IKE, DOI, HMAC, HMAC-MD5, HMAC-SHA, PKI, IP , IPv6 , ICMP , IGMP
IPsec AH is defined by IETF (www.ietf.org ) in RFC 2402.Reference
http://www.javvin.com/protocol/rfc2402.pdf : IP Authentication Header.