RFC 8981 Temporary Address Extensions to Autoconf February 2021
Gont, et al. Standards Track [Page]
Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
Standards Track
F. Gont
SI6 Networks
S. Krishnan
T. Narten
R. Draves
Microsoft Research

RFC 8981

Temporary Address Extensions for Stateless Address Autoconfiguration in IPv6


This document describes an extension to IPv6 Stateless Address Autoconfiguration that causes hosts to generate temporary addresses with randomized interface identifiers for each prefix advertised with autoconfiguration enabled. Changing addresses over time limits the window of time during which eavesdroppers and other information collectors may trivially perform address-based network-activity correlation when the same address is employed for multiple transactions by the same host. Additionally, it reduces the window of exposure of a host as being accessible via an address that becomes revealed as a result of active communication. This document obsoletes RFC 4941.

Status of This Memo

This is an Internet Standards Track document.

This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). It represents the consensus of the IETF community. It has received public review and has been approved for publication by the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG). Further information on Internet Standards is available in Section 2 of RFC 7841.

Information about the current status of this document, any errata, and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8981.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

[RFC4862] specifies Stateless Address Autoconfiguration (SLAAC) for IPv6, which typically results in hosts configuring one or more "stable" IPv6 addresses composed of a network prefix advertised by a local router and a locally generated interface identifier (IID). The security and privacy implications of such addresses have been discussed in detail in [RFC7721], [RFC7217], and [RFC7707]. This document specifies an extension to SLAAC for generating temporary addresses that can help mitigate some of the aforementioned issues. This document is a revision of RFC 4941 and formally obsoletes it. Section 5 describes the changes from [RFC4941].

The default address selection for IPv6 has been specified in [RFC6724]. In some cases, the determination as to whether to use stable versus temporary addresses can only be made by an application. For example, some applications may always want to use temporary addresses, while others may want to use them only in some circumstances or not at all. An Application Programming Interface (API) such as that specified in [RFC5014] can enable individual applications to indicate a preference for the use of temporary addresses.

Section 2 provides background information. Section 3 describes a procedure for generating temporary addresses. Section 4 discusses implications of changing IIDs. Section 5 describes the changes from [RFC4941].

1.1. Terminology

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "NOT RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in BCP 14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all capitals, as shown here.

The terms "public address", "stable address", "temporary address", "constant IID", "stable IID", and "temporary IID" are to be interpreted as specified in [RFC7721].

The term "global-scope addresses" is used in this document to collectively refer to "Global unicast addresses" as defined in [RFC4291] and "Unique local addresses" as defined in [RFC4193], and not to "globally reachable addresses" as defined in [RFC8190].

1.2. Problem Statement

Addresses generated using SLAAC [RFC4862] contain an embedded interface identifier, which may remain stable over time. Anytime a fixed identifier is used in multiple contexts, it becomes possible to correlate seemingly unrelated activity using this identifier.

The correlation can be performed by:

  • An attacker who is in the path between the host in question and the peer(s) to which it is communicating, who can view the IPv6 addresses present in the datagrams.
  • An attacker who can access the communication logs of the peers with which the host has communicated.

Since the identifier is embedded within the IPv6 address, it cannot be hidden. This document proposes a solution to this issue by generating interface identifiers that vary over time.

Note that an attacker, who is on path, may be able to perform significant correlation based on:

  • The payload contents of unencrypted packets on the wire.
  • The characteristics of the packets, such as packet size and timing.

Use of temporary addresses will not prevent such correlation, nor will it prevent an on-link observer (e.g., the host's default router) from tracking all the host's addresses.

2. Background

This section discusses the problem in more detail, provides context for evaluating the significance of the concerns in specific environments, and makes comparisons with existing practices.

2.1. Extended Use of the Same Identifier

The use of a non-changing IID to form addresses is a specific instance of the more general case where a constant identifier is reused over an extended period of time and in multiple independent activities. Anytime the same identifier is used in multiple contexts, it becomes possible for that identifier to be used to correlate seemingly unrelated activity. For example, a network sniffer placed strategically on a link traversed by all traffic to/from a particular host could keep track of which destinations a host communicated with and at what times. In some cases, such information can be used to infer things, such as what hours an employee was active, when someone is at home, etc. Although it might appear that changing an address regularly in such environments would be desirable to lessen privacy concerns, it should be noted that the network-prefix portion of an address also serves as a constant identifier. All hosts at, say, a home would have the same network prefix, which identifies the topological location of those hosts. This has implications for privacy, though not at the same granularity as the concern that this document addresses. Specifically, all hosts within a home could be grouped together for the purposes of collecting information. If the network contains a very small number of hosts -- say, just one -- changing just the IID will not enhance privacy, since the prefix serves as a constant identifier.

One of the requirements for correlating seemingly unrelated activities is the use (and reuse) of an identifier that is recognizable over time within different contexts. IP addresses provide one obvious example, but there are more. For example:

  • Many hosts also have DNS names associated with their addresses, in which case, the DNS name serves as a similar identifier. Although the DNS name associated with an address is more work to obtain (it may require a DNS query), the information is often readily available. In such cases, changing the address on a host over time would do little to address the concerns raised in this document, unless the DNS name is also changed at the same time (see Section 4).
  • Web browsers and servers typically exchange "cookies" with each other [RFC6265]. Cookies allow web servers to correlate a current activity with a previous activity. One common usage is to send back targeted advertising to a user by using the cookie supplied by the browser to identify what earlier queries had been made (e.g., for what type of information). Based on the earlier queries, advertisements can be targeted to match the (assumed) interests of the end user.

The use of a constant identifier within an address is of special concern, because addresses are a fundamental requirement of communication and cannot easily be hidden from eavesdroppers and other parties. Even when higher layers encrypt their payloads, addresses in packet headers appear in the clear. Consequently, if a mobile host (e.g., laptop) accessed the network from several different locations, an eavesdropper might be able to track the movement of that mobile host from place to place, even if the upper-layer payloads were encrypted.

Changing addresses over time limits the time window over which eavesdroppers and other information collectors may trivially correlate network activity when the same address is employed for multiple transactions by the same host. Additionally, it reduces the window of exposure during which a host is accessible via an address that becomes revealed as a result of active communication.

The security and privacy implications of IPv6 addresses are discussed in detail in [RFC7721], [RFC7707], and [RFC7217].

2.2. Possible Approaches

One approach, compatible with the SLAAC architecture, would be to change the IID portion of an address over time. Changing the IID can make it more difficult to look at the IP addresses in independent transactions and identify which ones actually correspond to the same host, both in the case where the routing-prefix portion of an address changes and when it does not.

Many hosts function as both clients and servers. In such cases, the host would need a name (e.g., a DNS domain name) for its use as a server. Whether the address stays fixed or changes has little impact on privacy, since the name remains constant and serves as a constant identifier. However, when acting as a client (e.g., initiating communication), such a host may want to vary the addresses it uses. In such environments, one may need multiple addresses: a stable address associated with the name, which is used to accept incoming connection requests from other hosts, and a temporary address used to shield the identity of the client when it initiates communication.

On the other hand, a host that functions only as a client may want to employ only temporary addresses for public communication.

To make it difficult to make educated guesses as to whether two different IIDs belong to the same host, the algorithm for generating alternate identifiers must include input that has an unpredictable component from the perspective of the outside entities that are collecting information.

3. Protocol Description

The following subsections define the procedures for the generation of IPv6 temporary addresses.

3.1. Design Guidelines

Temporary addresses observe the following properties:

  1. Temporary addresses are typically employed for initiating outgoing sessions.
  2. Temporary addresses are used for a short period of time (typically hours to days) and are subsequently deprecated. Deprecated addresses can continue to be used for established connections but are not used to initiate new connections.
  3. New temporary addresses are generated over time to replace temporary addresses that expire (i.e., become deprecated and eventually invalidated).
  4. Temporary addresses must have a limited lifetime (limited "valid lifetime" and "preferred lifetime" from [RFC4862]). The lifetime of an address should be further reduced when privacy-meaningful events (such as a host attaching to a different network, or the regeneration of a new randomized Media Access Control (MAC) address) take place. The lifetime of temporary addresses must be statistically different for different addresses, such that it is hard to predict or infer when a new temporary address is generated or correlate a newly generated address with an existing one.
  5. By default, one address is generated for each prefix advertised by SLAAC. The resulting interface identifiers must be statistically different when addresses are configured for different prefixes or different network interfaces. This means that, given two addresses, it must be difficult for an outside entity to infer whether the addresses correspond to the same host or network interface.
  6. It must be difficult for an outside entity to predict the interface identifiers that will be employed for temporary addresses, even with knowledge of the algorithm/method employed to generate them and/or knowledge of the IIDs previously employed for other temporary addresses. These IIDs must be semantically opaque [RFC7136] and must not follow any specific patterns.

3.2. Assumptions

The following algorithm assumes that, for a given temporary address, an implementation can determine the prefix from which it was generated. When a temporary address is deprecated, a new temporary address is generated. The specific valid and preferred lifetimes for the new address are dependent on the corresponding lifetime values set for the prefix from which it was generated.

Finally, this document assumes that, when a host initiates outgoing communications, temporary addresses can be given preference over stable addresses (if available), when the device is configured to do so. [RFC6724] mandates that implementations provide a mechanism that allows an application to configure its preference for temporary addresses over stable addresses. It also allows an implementation to prefer temporary addresses by default, so that the connections initiated by the host can use temporary addresses without requiring application-specific enablement. This document also assumes that an API will exist that allows individual applications to indicate whether they prefer to use temporary or stable addresses and override the system defaults (see, for example, [RFC5014]).

3.3. Generation of Randomized IIDs

The following subsections specify example algorithms for generating temporary IIDs that follow the guidelines in Section 3.1 of this document. The algorithm specified in Section 3.3.1 assumes a pseudorandom number generator (PRNG) is available on the system. The algorithm specified in Section 3.3.2 allows for code reuse by hosts that implement [RFC7217].

3.3.1. Simple Randomized IIDs

One approach is to select a pseudorandom number of the appropriate length. A host employing this algorithm should generate IIDs as follows:

  1. Obtain a random number from a PRNG that can produce random numbers of at least as many bits as required for the IID (please see the next step). [RFC4086] specifies randomness requirements for security.
  2. The IID is obtained by taking as many bits from the random number obtained in the previous step as necessary. See [RFC7136] for the necessary number of bits (i.e., the length of the IID). See also [RFC7421] for a discussion of the privacy implications of the IID length. Note: there are no special bits in an IID [RFC7136].
  3. The resulting IID MUST be compared against the reserved IPv6 IIDs [RFC5453] [IANA-RESERVED-IID] and against those IIDs already employed in an address of the same network interface and the same network prefix. In the event that an unacceptable identifier has been generated, a new IID should be generated by repeating the algorithm from the first step.

3.3.2. Generation of IIDs with Pseudorandom Functions

The algorithm in [RFC7217] can be augmented for the generation of temporary addresses. The benefit of this is that a host could employ a single algorithm for generating stable and temporary addresses by employing appropriate parameters.

Hosts would employ the following algorithm for generating the temporary IID:

  1. Compute a random identifier with the expression:

    RID = F(Prefix, Net_Iface, Network_ID, Time, DAD_Counter, secret_key)


    Random Identifier
    A pseudorandom function (PRF) that MUST NOT be computable from the outside (without knowledge of the secret key). F() MUST also be difficult to reverse, such that it resists attempts to obtain the secret_key, even when given samples of the output of F() and knowledge or control of the other input parameters. F() SHOULD produce an output of at least as many bits as required for the IID. BLAKE3 (256-bit key, arbitrary-length output) [BLAKE3] is one possible option for F(). Alternatively, F() could be implemented with a keyed-hash message authentication code (HMAC) [RFC2104]. HMAC-SHA-256 [FIPS-SHS] is one possible option for such an implementation alternative. Note: use of HMAC-MD5 [RFC1321] is considered unacceptable for F() [RFC6151].
    The prefix to be used for SLAAC, as learned from an ICMPv6 Router Advertisement message.
    The MAC address corresponding to the underlying network-interface card, in the case the link uses IEEE 802 link-layer identifiers. Employing the MAC address for this parameter (over the other suggested options in [RFC7217]) means that the regeneration of a randomized MAC address will result in a different temporary address.
    Some network-specific data that identifies the subnet to which this interface is attached -- for example, the IEEE 802.11 Service Set Identifier (SSID) corresponding to the network to which this interface is associated. Additionally, "Simple Procedures for Detecting Network Attachment in IPv6" ("Simple DNA") [RFC6059] describes ideas that could be leveraged to generate a Network_ID parameter. This parameter SHOULD be employed if some form of "Network_ID" is available.
    An implementation-dependent representation of time. One possible example is the representation in UNIX-like systems [OPEN-GROUP], which measure time in terms of the number of seconds elapsed since the Epoch (00:00:00 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), 1 January 1970). The addition of the "Time" argument results in (statistically) different IIDs over time.
    A counter that is employed to resolve the conflict where an unacceptable identifier has been generated. This can be result of Duplicate Address Detection (DAD), or step 3 below.
    A secret key that is not known by the attacker. The secret key SHOULD be of at least 128 bits. It MUST be initialized to a pseudorandom number (see [RFC4086] for randomness requirements for security) when the operating system is "bootstrapped". The secret_key MUST NOT be employed for any other purpose than the one discussed in this section. For example, implementations MUST NOT employ the same secret_key for the generation of stable addresses [RFC7217] and the generation of temporary addresses via this algorithm.
  2. The IID is finally obtained by taking as many bits from the RID value (computed in the previous step) as necessary, starting from the least significant bit. See [RFC7136] for the necessary number of bits (i.e., the length of the IID). See also [RFC7421] for a discussion of the privacy implications of the IID length. Note: there are no special bits in an IID [RFC7136].
  3. The resulting IID MUST be compared against the reserved IPv6 IIDs [RFC5453] [IANA-RESERVED-IID] and against those IIDs already employed in an address of the same network interface and the same network prefix. In the event that an unacceptable identifier has been generated, the DAD_Counter should be incremented by 1, and the algorithm should be restarted from the first step.

3.4. Generating Temporary Addresses

[RFC4862] describes the steps for generating a link-local address when an interface becomes enabled, as well as the steps for generating addresses for other scopes. This document extends [RFC4862] as follows. When processing a Router Advertisement with a Prefix Information option carrying a prefix for the purposes of address autoconfiguration (i.e., the A bit is set), the host MUST perform the following steps:

  1. Process the Prefix Information option as specified in [RFC4862], adjusting the lifetimes of existing temporary addresses, with the overall constraint that no temporary addresses should ever remain "valid" or "preferred" for a time longer than (TEMP_VALID_LIFETIME) or (TEMP_PREFERRED_LIFETIME - DESYNC_FACTOR), respectively. The configuration variables TEMP_VALID_LIFETIME and TEMP_PREFERRED_LIFETIME correspond to the maximum valid lifetime and the maximum preferred lifetime of temporary addresses, respectively.

    DESYNC_FACTOR is the value computed when the address was created (see step 4 below).
  2. One way an implementation can satisfy the above constraints is to associate with each temporary address a creation time (called CREATION_TIME) that indicates the time at which the address was created. When updating the preferred lifetime of an existing temporary address, it would be set to expire at whichever time is earlier: the time indicated by the received lifetime or (CREATION_TIME + TEMP_PREFERRED_LIFETIME - DESYNC_FACTOR). A similar approach can be used with the valid lifetime.

    DESYNC_FACTOR is the value computed when the address was created (see step 4 below).
  3. If the host has not configured any temporary address for the corresponding prefix, the host SHOULD create a new temporary address for such prefix.

    For example, a host might implement prefix-specific policies such as not configuring temporary addresses for the Unique Local IPv6 Unicast Addresses (ULAs) [RFC4193] prefix.
  4. When creating a temporary address, DESYNC_FACTOR MUST be computed and associated with the newly created address, and the address lifetime values MUST be derived from the corresponding prefix as follows:

    • Its valid lifetime is the lower of the Valid Lifetime of the prefix and TEMP_VALID_LIFETIME.
    • Its preferred lifetime is the lower of the Preferred Lifetime of the prefix and TEMP_PREFERRED_LIFETIME - DESYNC_FACTOR.
  5. A temporary address is created only if this calculated preferred lifetime is greater than REGEN_ADVANCE time units. In particular, an implementation MUST NOT create a temporary address with a zero preferred lifetime.
  6. New temporary addresses MUST be created by appending a randomized IID to the prefix that was received. Section 3.3 of this document specifies some sample algorithms for generating the randomized IID.
  7. The host MUST perform DAD on the generated temporary address. If DAD indicates the address is already in use, the host MUST generate a new randomized IID and repeat the previous steps as appropriate (starting from step 4), up to TEMP_IDGEN_RETRIES times. If, after TEMP_IDGEN_RETRIES consecutive attempts, the host is unable to generate a unique temporary address, the host MUST log a system error and SHOULD NOT attempt to generate a temporary address for the given prefix for the duration of the host's attachment to the network via this interface. This allows hosts to recover from occasional DAD failures or otherwise log the recurrent address collisions.

3.5. Expiration of Temporary Addresses

When a temporary address becomes deprecated, a new one MUST be generated. This is done by repeating the actions described in Section 3.4, starting at step 4). Note that, in normal operation, except for the transient period when a temporary address is being regenerated, at most one temporary address per prefix should be in a nondeprecated state at any given time on a given interface. Note that if a temporary address becomes deprecated as result of processing a Prefix Information option with a zero preferred lifetime, then a new temporary address MUST NOT be generated (in response to the same Prefix Information option). To ensure that a preferred temporary address is always available, a new temporary address SHOULD be regenerated slightly before its predecessor is deprecated. This is to allow sufficient time to avoid race conditions in the case where generating a new temporary address is not instantaneous, such as when DAD must be performed. The host SHOULD start the process of address regeneration REGEN_ADVANCE time units before a temporary address is deprecated.

As an optional optimization, an implementation MAY remove a deprecated temporary address that is not in use by applications or upper layers, as detailed in Section 6.

3.6. Regeneration of Temporary Addresses

The frequency at which temporary addresses change depends on how a device is being used (e.g., how frequently it initiates new communication) and the concerns of the end user. The most egregious privacy concerns appear to involve addresses used for long periods of time (from weeks to years). The more frequently an address changes, the less feasible collecting or coordinating information keyed on IIDs becomes. Moreover, the cost of collecting information and attempting to correlate it based on IIDs will only be justified if enough addresses contain non-changing identifiers to make it worthwhile. Thus, having large numbers of clients change their address on a daily or weekly basis is likely to be sufficient to alleviate most privacy concerns.

There are also client costs associated with having a large number of addresses associated with a host (e.g., in doing address lookups, the need to join many multicast groups, etc.). Thus, changing addresses frequently (e.g., every few minutes) may have performance implications.

Hosts following this specification SHOULD generate new temporary addresses over time. This can be achieved by generating a new temporary address REGEN_ADVANCE time units before a temporary address becomes deprecated. As described above, this produces addresses with a preferred lifetime no larger than TEMP_PREFERRED_LIFETIME. The value DESYNC_FACTOR is a random value computed when a temporary address is generated; it ensures that clients do not generate new addresses at a fixed frequency and that clients do not synchronize with each other and generate new addresses at exactly the same time. When the preferred lifetime expires, a new temporary address MUST be generated using the algorithm specified in Section 3.4 (starting at step 4).

Because the frequency at which it is appropriate to generate new addresses varies from one environment to another, implementations SHOULD provide end users with the ability to change the frequency at which addresses are regenerated. The default value is given in TEMP_PREFERRED_LIFETIME and is one day. In addition, the exact time at which to invalidate a temporary address depends on how applications are used by end users. Thus, the suggested default value of two days (TEMP_VALID_LIFETIME) may not be appropriate in all environments. Implementations SHOULD provide end users with the ability to override both of these default values.

Finally, when an interface connects to a new (different) link, existing temporary addresses for the corresponding interface MUST be removed, and new temporary addresses MUST be generated for use on the new link, using the algorithm in Section 3.4. If a device moves from one link to another, generating new temporary addresses ensures that the device uses different randomized IIDs for the temporary addresses associated with the two links, making it more difficult to correlate addresses from the two different links as being from the same host. The host MAY follow any process available to it to determine that the link change has occurred. One such process is described by "Simple DNA" [RFC6059]. Detecting link changes would prevent link down/up events from causing temporary addresses to be (unnecessarily) regenerated.

3.7. Implementation Considerations

Devices implementing this specification MUST provide a way for the end user to explicitly enable or disable the use of temporary addresses. In addition, a site might wish to disable the use of temporary addresses in order to simplify network debugging and operations. Consequently, implementations SHOULD provide a way for trusted system administrators to enable or disable the use of temporary addresses.

Additionally, sites might wish to selectively enable or disable the use of temporary addresses for some prefixes. For example, a site might wish to disable temporary-address generation for ULA [RFC4193] prefixes while still generating temporary addresses for all other prefixes advertised via PIOs for address configuration. Another site might wish to enable temporary-address generation only for the prefixes 2001:db8:1::/48 and 2001:db8:2::/48 while disabling it for all other prefixes. To support this behavior, implementations SHOULD provide a way to enable and disable generation of temporary addresses for specific prefix subranges. This per-prefix setting SHOULD override the global settings on the host with respect to the specified prefix subranges. Note that the per-prefix setting can be applied at any granularity, and not necessarily on a per-subnet basis.

3.8. Defined Protocol Parameters and Configuration Variables

Protocol parameters and configuration variables defined in this document include:

Default value: 2 days. Users should be able to override the default value.
Default value: 1 day. Users should be able to override the default value. Note: The TEMP_PREFERRED_LIFETIME value MUST be smaller than the TEMP_VALID_LIFETIME value, to avoid the pathological case where an address is employed for new communications but becomes invalid in less than 1 second, disrupting those communications.
2 + (TEMP_IDGEN_RETRIES * DupAddrDetectTransmits * RetransTimer / 1000)
A random value within the range 0 - MAX_DESYNC_FACTOR. It is computed each time a temporary address is generated, and is associated with the corresponding address. It MUST be smaller than (TEMP_PREFERRED_LIFETIME - REGEN_ADVANCE).
Default value: 3

4. Implications of Changing IIDs

The desire to protect individual privacy can conflict with the desire to effectively maintain and debug a network. Having clients use addresses that change over time will make it more difficult to track down and isolate operational problems. For example, when looking at packet traces, it could become more difficult to determine whether one is seeing behavior caused by a single errant host or a number of them.

It is currently recommended that network deployments provide multiple IPv6 addresses from each prefix to general-purpose hosts [RFC7934]. However, in some scenarios, use of a large number of IPv6 addresses may have negative implications on network devices that need to maintain entries for each IPv6 address in some data structures (e.g., SAVI [RFC7039]). For example, concurrent active use of multiple IPv6 addresses will increase Neighbor Discovery traffic if Neighbor Caches in network devices are not large enough to store all addresses on the link. This can impact performance and energy efficiency on networks on which multicast is expensive (see e.g., [MCAST-PROBLEMS]). Additionally, some network-security devices might incorrectly infer IPv6 address forging if temporary addresses are regenerated at a high rate.

The use of temporary addresses may cause unexpected difficulties with some applications. For example, some servers refuse to accept communications from clients for which they cannot map the IP address into a DNS name. That is, they perform a DNS PTR query to determine the DNS name corresponding to an IPv6 address, and may then also perform a AAAA query on the returned name to verify it maps back into the same address. Consequently, clients not properly registered in the DNS may be unable to access some services. However, a host's DNS name (if non-changing) would serve as a constant identifier. The wide deployment of the extension described in this document could challenge the practice of inverse-DNS-based "validation", which has little validity, though it is widely implemented. In order to meet server challenges, hosts could register temporary addresses in the DNS using random names (for example, a string version of the random address itself), albeit at the expense of increased complexity.

In addition, some applications may not behave robustly if an address becomes invalid while it is still in use by the application or if the application opens multiple sessions and expects them to all use the same address.

[RFC4941] employed a randomized temporary IID for generating a set of temporary addresses, such that temporary addresses configured at a given time for multiple SLAAC prefixes would employ the same IID. Sharing the same IID among multiple addresses allowed a host to join only one solicited-node multicast group per temporary address set.

This document requires that the IIDs of all temporary addresses on a host are statistically different from each other. This means that when a network employs multiple prefixes, each temporary address of a set will result in a different solicited-node multicast address, and, thus, the number of multicast groups that a host must join becomes a function of the number of SLAAC prefixes employed for generating temporary addresses.

Thus, a network that employs multiple prefixes may require hosts to join more multicast groups than in the case of implementations of RFC 4941. If the number of multicast groups were large enough, a host might need to resort to setting the network interface card to promiscuous mode. This could cause the host to process more packets than strictly necessary and might have a negative impact on battery life and system performance in general.

We note that since this document reduces the default TEMP_VALID_LIFETIME from 7 days (in [RFC4941]) to 2 days, the number of concurrent temporary addresses per SLAAC prefix will be smaller than for RFC 4941 implementations; thus, the number of multicast groups for a network that employs, say, between 1 and 3 prefixes, will be similar to the number of such groups for RFC 4941 implementations.

Implementations concerned with the maximum number of multicast groups that would be required to join as a result of configured addresses, or the overall number of configured addresses, should consider enforcing implementation-specific limits on, e.g., the maximum number of configured addresses, the maximum number of SLAAC prefixes that are employed for autoconfiguration, and/or the maximum ratio for TEMP_VALID_LIFETIME/TEMP_PREFERRED_LIFETIME (which ultimately controls the approximate number of concurrent temporary addresses per SLAAC prefix). Many of these configuration limits are readily available in SLAAC and RFC 4941 implementations. We note that these configurable limits are meant to prevent pathological behaviors (as opposed to simply limiting the usage of IPv6 addresses), since IPv6 implementations are expected to leverage the usage of multiple addresses [RFC7934].

5. Significant Changes from RFC 4941

This section summarizes the substantive changes in this document relative to RFC 4941.

Broadly speaking, this document introduces the following changes:

6. Future Work

An implementation might want to keep track of which addresses are being used by upper layers so as to be able to remove a deprecated temporary address from internal data structures once no upper-layer protocols are using it (but not before). This is in contrast to current approaches, where addresses are removed from an interface when they become invalid [RFC4862], independent of whether or not upper-layer protocols are still using them. For TCP connections, such information is available in control blocks. For UDP-based applications, it may be the case that only the applications have knowledge about what addresses are actually in use. Consequently, an implementation generally will need to use heuristics in deciding when an address is no longer in use.

7. IANA Considerations

This document has no IANA actions.

8. Security Considerations

If a very small number of hosts (say, only one) use a given prefix for extended periods of time, just changing the interface-identifier part of the address may not be sufficient to mitigate address-based network-activity correlation, since the prefix acts as a constant identifier. The procedures described in this document are most effective when the prefix is reasonably nonstatic or used by a fairly large number of hosts. Additionally, if a temporary address is used in a session where the user authenticates, any notion of "privacy" for that address is compromised for the party or parties that receive the authentication information.

While this document discusses ways to limit the lifetime of interface identifiers to reduce the ability of attackers to perform address-based network-activity correlation, the method described is believed to be ineffective against sophisticated forms of traffic analysis. To increase effectiveness, one may need to consider the use of more advanced techniques, such as onion routing [ONION].

Ingress filtering has been and is being deployed as a means of preventing the use of spoofed source addresses in Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. In a network with a large number of hosts, new temporary addresses are created at a fairly high rate. This might make it difficult for ingress-/egress-filtering mechanisms to distinguish between legitimately changing temporary addresses and spoofed source addresses, which are "in-prefix" (using a topologically correct prefix and nonexistent interface identifier). This can be addressed by using access-control mechanisms on a per-address basis on the network ingress point -- though, as noted in Section 4, there are corresponding costs for doing so.

9. References

9.1. Normative References

Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, , <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc2119>.
Eastlake 3rd, D., Schiller, J., and S. Crocker, "Randomness Requirements for Security", BCP 106, RFC 4086, DOI 10.17487/RFC4086, , <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc4086>.
Hinden, R. and B. Haberman, "Unique Local IPv6 Unicast Addresses", RFC 4193, DOI 10.17487/RFC4193, , <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc4193>.
Hinden, R. and S. Deering, "IP Version 6 Addressing Architecture", RFC 4291, DOI 10.17487/RFC4291, , <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc4291>.
Narten, T., Nordmark, E., Simpson, W., and H. Soliman, "Neighbor Discovery for IP version 6 (IPv6)", RFC 4861, DOI 10.17487/RFC4861, , <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc4861>.
Thomson, S., Narten, T., and T. Jinmei, "IPv6 Stateless Address Autoconfiguration", RFC 4862, DOI 10.17487/RFC4862, , <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc4862>.
Krishnan, S., "Reserved IPv6 Interface Identifiers", RFC 5453, DOI 10.17487/RFC5453, , <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc5453>.
Thaler, D., Ed., Draves, R., Matsumoto, A., and T. Chown, "Default Address Selection for Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6)", RFC 6724, DOI 10.17487/RFC6724, , <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc6724>.
Carpenter, B. and S. Jiang, "Significance of IPv6 Interface Identifiers", RFC 7136, DOI 10.17487/RFC7136, , <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7136>.
Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC 2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174, , <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8174>.

9.2. Informative References

O'Connor, J., Aumasson, J. P., Neves, S., and Z. Wilcox-O'Hearn, "BLAKE3: one function, fast everywhere", , <https://blake3.io/>.
NIST, "Secure Hash Standard (SHS)", FIPS PUB 180-4, DOI 10.6028/NIST.FIPS.180-4, , <https://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/FIPS/NIST.FIPS.180-4.pdf>.
IANA, "Reserved IPv6 Interface Identifiers", <https://www.iana.org/assignments/ipv6-interface-ids>.
Perkins, C. E., McBride, M., Stanley, D., Kumari, W., and J. C. Zuniga, "Multicast Considerations over IEEE 802 Wireless Media", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-ietf-mboned-ieee802-mcast-problems-13, , <https://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-ietf-mboned-ieee802-mcast-problems-13>.
Reed, M.G., Syverson, P.F., and D.M. Goldschlag, "Proxies for Anonymous Routing", Proceedings of the 12th Annual Computer Security Applications Conference, DOI 10.1109/CSAC.1996.569678, , <https://doi.org/10.1109/CSAC.1996.569678>.
The Open Group, "The Open Group Base Specifications Issue 7", Section 4.16 Seconds Since the Epoch, IEEE Std 1003.1, , <http://pubs.opengroup.org/onlinepubs/9699919799/basedefs/contents.html>.
Ullrich, J. and E.R. Weippl, "Privacy is Not an Option: Attacking the IPv6 Privacy Extension", International Symposium on Recent Advances in Intrusion Detection (RAID), , <https://publications.sba-research.org/publications/Ullrich2015Privacy.pdf>.
Rivest, R., "The MD5 Message-Digest Algorithm", RFC 1321, DOI 10.17487/RFC1321, , <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc1321>.
Krawczyk, H., Bellare, M., and R. Canetti, "HMAC: Keyed-Hashing for Message Authentication", RFC 2104, DOI 10.17487/RFC2104, , <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc2104>.
Narten, T., Draves, R., and S. Krishnan, "Privacy Extensions for Stateless Address Autoconfiguration in IPv6", RFC 4941, DOI 10.17487/RFC4941, , <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc4941>.
Nordmark, E., Chakrabarti, S., and J. Laganier, "IPv6 Socket API for Source Address Selection", RFC 5014, DOI 10.17487/RFC5014, , <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc5014>.
Krishnan, S. and G. Daley, "Simple Procedures for Detecting Network Attachment in IPv6", RFC 6059, DOI 10.17487/RFC6059, , <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc6059>.
Turner, S. and L. Chen, "Updated Security Considerations for the MD5 Message-Digest and the HMAC-MD5 Algorithms", RFC 6151, DOI 10.17487/RFC6151, , <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc6151>.
Barth, A., "HTTP State Management Mechanism", RFC 6265, DOI 10.17487/RFC6265, , <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc6265>.
Wu, J., Bi, J., Bagnulo, M., Baker, F., and C. Vogt, Ed., "Source Address Validation Improvement (SAVI) Framework", RFC 7039, DOI 10.17487/RFC7039, , <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7039>.
Gont, F., "A Method for Generating Semantically Opaque Interface Identifiers with IPv6 Stateless Address Autoconfiguration (SLAAC)", RFC 7217, DOI 10.17487/RFC7217, , <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7217>.
Farrell, S. and H. Tschofenig, "Pervasive Monitoring Is an Attack", BCP 188, RFC 7258, DOI 10.17487/RFC7258, , <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7258>.
Carpenter, B., Ed., Chown, T., Gont, F., Jiang, S., Petrescu, A., and A. Yourtchenko, "Analysis of the 64-bit Boundary in IPv6 Addressing", RFC 7421, DOI 10.17487/RFC7421, , <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7421>.
Gont, F. and T. Chown, "Network Reconnaissance in IPv6 Networks", RFC 7707, DOI 10.17487/RFC7707, , <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7707>.
Cooper, A., Gont, F., and D. Thaler, "Security and Privacy Considerations for IPv6 Address Generation Mechanisms", RFC 7721, DOI 10.17487/RFC7721, , <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7721>.
Colitti, L., Cerf, V., Cheshire, S., and D. Schinazi, "Host Address Availability Recommendations", BCP 204, RFC 7934, DOI 10.17487/RFC7934, , <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7934>.
Bonica, R., Cotton, M., Haberman, B., and L. Vegoda, "Updates to the Special-Purpose IP Address Registries", BCP 153, RFC 8190, DOI 10.17487/RFC8190, , <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8190>.


Fernando Gont was the sole author of this document (a revision of RFC 4941). He would like to thank (in alphabetical order) Fred Baker, Brian Carpenter, Tim Chown, Lorenzo Colitti, Roman Danyliw, David Farmer, Tom Herbert, Bob Hinden, Christian Huitema, Benjamin Kaduk, Erik Kline, Gyan Mishra, Dave Plonka, Alvaro Retana, Michael Richardson, Mark Smith, Dave Thaler, Pascal Thubert, Ole Troan, Johanna Ullrich, Eric Vyncke, Timothy Winters, and Christopher Wood for providing valuable comments on earlier draft versions of this document.

This document incorporates errata submitted for RFC 4941 by Jiri Bohac and Alfred Hoenes (at the time of writing).

Suresh Krishnan was the sole author of RFC 4941 (a revision of RFC 3041). He would like to acknowledge the contributions of the IPv6 Working Group and, in particular, Jari Arkko, Pekka Nikander, Pekka Savola, Francis Dupont, Brian Haberman, Tatuya Jinmei, and Margaret Wasserman for their detailed comments.

Rich Draves and Thomas Narten were the authors of RFC 3041. They would like to acknowledge the contributions of the IPv6 Working Group and, in particular, Ran Atkinson, Matt Crawford, Steve Deering, Allison Mankin, and Peter Bieringer.

Authors' Addresses

Fernando Gont
SI6 Networks
Segurola y Habana 4310, 7mo Piso
Villa Devoto
Ciudad Autonoma de Buenos Aires
Suresh Krishnan
Thomas Narten
Richard Draves
Microsoft Research
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA
United States of America