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Date:   Thu, 13 Jan 2022 13:06:22 +0100
From:   Ard Biesheuvel <>
To:     Hannes Frederic Sowa <>
Cc:     "Jason A. Donenfeld" <>,
        Toke Høiland-Jørgensen <>,
        "open list:BPF JIT for MIPS (32-BIT AND 64-BIT)" 
        Linux Kernel Mailing List <>,
        Geert Uytterhoeven <>,
        Herbert Xu <>,
        Jean-Philippe Aumasson <>,
        Linux Crypto Mailing List <>,
        Erik Kline <>,
        Fernando Gont <>,
        Lorenzo Colitti <>,
Subject: Re: [PATCH RFC v1 2/3] ipv6: move from sha1 to blake2s in address calculation

On Thu, 13 Jan 2022 at 12:15, Hannes Frederic Sowa
<> wrote:
> Hello,
> On 13.01.22 00:31, Jason A. Donenfeld wrote:
> > On 1/13/22, Toke Høiland-Jørgensen <> wrote:
> >> However, if we make this change, systems setting a stable_secret and
> >> using addr_gen_mode 2 or 3 will come up with a completely different
> >> address after a kernel upgrade. Which would be bad for any operator
> >> expecting to be able to find their machine again after a reboot,
> >> especially if it is accessed remotely.
> >>
> >> I haven't ever used this feature myself, though, or seen it in use. So I
> >> don't know if this is purely a theoretical concern, or if the
> >> stable_address feature is actually used in this way in practice. If it
> >> is, I guess the switch would have to be opt-in, which kinda defeats the
> >> purpose, no (i.e., we'd have to keep the SHA1 code around
> Yes, it is hard to tell if such a change would have real world impact
> due to not knowing its actual usage in the field - but I would avoid
> such a change. The reason for this standard is to have stable addresses
> across reboots. The standard is widely used but most servers or desktops
> might get their stable privacy addresses being generated by user space
> network management systems (NetworkManager/networkd) nowadays. I would
> guess it could be used in embedded installations.
> The impact of this change could be annoying though: users could suddenly
> lose connectivity due to e.g. changes to the default gateway after an
> upgrade.
> > I'm not even so sure that's true. That was my worry at first, but
> > actually, looking at this more closely, DAD means that the address can
> > be changed anyway - a byte counter is hashed in - so there's no
> > gurantee there.
> The duplicate address detection counter is a way to merely provide basic
> network connectivity in case of duplicate addresses on the network
> (maybe some kind misconfiguration or L2 attack). Such detected addresses
> would show up in the kernel log and an administrator should investigate
> and clean up the situation. Afterwards bringing the interface down and
> up again should revert the interface to its initial (dad_counter == 0)
> address.
> > There's also the other aspect that open coding sha1_transform like
> > this and prepending it with the secret (rather than a better
> > construction) isn't so great... Take a look at the latest version of
> > this in my branch to see a really nice simplification and security
> > improvement:
> >
> >
> All in all, I consider the hash produced here as being part of uAPI
> unfortunately and thus cannot be changed. It is unfortunate that it
> can't easily be improved (I assume a separate mode for this is not
> reasonable). The patches definitely look like a nice cleanup.
> Would this be the only user of sha_transform left?

The question is not whether but when we can/will change this.

SHA-1 is broken and should be removed at *some* point, so unless the
feature itself is going to be obsolete, its implementation will need
to switch to a PRF that fulfils the requirements in RFC7217 once SHA-1
ceases to do so.

And I should also point out that the current implementation does not
even use SHA-1 correctly, as it omits the finalization step. This may
or may not matter in practice, but it deviates from crypto best
practices, as well as from RFC7217

I already pointed out to Jason (in private) that the PRF does not need
to be based on a cryptographic hash, so as far as I can tell, siphash
would be a suitable candidate here as well, and I already switched the
TCP fastopen code to that in the past. But SHA-1 definitely has to go.

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