IPv6 will need security, too, experts warn

Security has been one of the selling points for the new Internet protocol, but IPv6 is not inherently secure, say those planning its implementation.

'The biggest challenge we have of the next decade or so is security,' Latief Ladid, president of the IPv6 Forum, said today at the U.S. IPv6 Summit in Arlington, Va.

The Internet Engineering Task Force is still working on IPv6 security elements and 'many of them need to be tested in the real world,' said security consultant Richard Graveman.

One of the key security elements in IPv6 is IPSec encryption, which is mandatory in the new protocol. But security is more than IPSec, Graveman said.

'Downloading an encrypted virus and installing it is just as bad as downloading an unencrypted virus,' he said.

Good encryption will not stop hackers either, he said. 'You don't break good crypto, you go around it,' he said, so proper implementation of IPv6 and a secure platform still are key to securing networks.

Ladid warned that security should be included in any plans to transition a network to IPv6. Hackers already are studying the new protocols and are uncovering security flaws.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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