Commenting on just one portion:
| 2. VoIP over DTLS
| As Perry indicated in another message, you can certainly run VoIP
| over DTLS, which removes the buffering and retransmit issues 
| James is alluding to. Similarly, you could run VoIP over IPsec
| (AH/ESP). However, for performance reasons, this is not the favored
| approach inside IETF.
| The relevant issue here is packet size. Say you're running a 
| low bandwidth codec like G.729 at 8 kbps. If you're operating at
| the commonly used 50 pps, then each packet is 160 bits == 20 bytes.
| The total overhead of the IP, UDP, and RTP headers is 40 bytes,
| so you're sending 60 byte packets. 
| - If you use DTLS with AES in CBC mode, you have the 4 byte DTLS
|   header, plus a 16 byte IV, plus 10 bytes of MAC (in truncated MAC
|   mode), plus 2 bytes of padding to bring you up to the AES block
|   boundary: DTLS adds 32 bytes of overhead, increasing packet
|   size by over 50%. The IPsec situation is similar.
| - If you use CTR mode and use the RTP header to form the initial
|   CTR state, you can remove all the overhead but the MAC itself,
|   reducing the overhead down to 10 bytes with only 17% packet
|   expansion (this is how SRTP works)
If efficiency is your goal - and realistically it has to be *a* goal -
then you need to think about the semantics of what you're securing.  By
the nature of VOIP, there's very little semantic content in any given
packet, and because VOIP by its nature is a real-time protocol, that
semantic content loses all value in a very short time.  Is it really
worth 17% overhead to provide this level of authentication for data that
isn't, in and of itself, so significant?  At least two alternative
approach suggest themselves:

        - Truncate the MAC to, say, 4 bytes.  Yes, a simple brute
                force attack lets one forge so short a MAC - but
                is such an attack practically mountable in real
                time by attackers who concern you?

        - Even simpler, send only one MAC every second - i.e.,
                every 50 packets, for the assumed parameters.
                Yes, an attacker can insert a second's worth
                of false audio - after which he's caught.  I
                suppose one could come up with scenarios in
                which that matters - but they are very specialized.
                VOIP is for talking to human beings, and for
                human beings in all but extraordinary circumstances
                a second is a very short time.

          If you don't like 1 second, make this configurable.  Even
                dropping it to 1/10 second and sticking to DTLS
                (with a modification, of course) drops your overhead
                to 5% - and 1/10 second isn't even enough time to
                insert a "no" into the stream.  For many purposes,
                a value of 10 seconds - which reduces the overhead to
                an insignificant level - is probably acceptable.

It's great to build generic encrypted tunnels that provide strong
security guarantees regardless of what you send through them - just as
it's great to provide generic stream protocols like TCP that don't care
what you use them for.  The whole point of this discussion has been
that, in some cases, the generic protocols aren't really what you need:
They don't provide quite the guarantees you need, and they impose
overhead that may be unacceptable in some cases.  The same argument
applies to cryptographic algorithms.  Yes, there is a greater danger if
cryptographic algorithms are misused:  Using TCP where it's inappropri-
ate *usually* just screws up your performance, while an inappropriate
cryptographic primitive may compromise your security.  Of course, if you
rely on TCP's "reliablity" in an inappropriate way, you can also get
into serious trouble - but that's more subtle and rare.  Then again,
actually mounting real attacks against some of the cryptographic
weaknesses we sometimes worry about is also pretty subtle and rare.

The NSA quote someone - Steve Bellovin? - has repeated comes to mind:
Amateurs talk about algorithms.  Professionals talk about economics.
Using DTLS for VOIP provides you with an extremely high level of
security, but costs you 50% packet overhead.  Is that worth it to you?
It really depends - and making an intelligent choice requires that
various alternatives along the cost/safety curve actually be available.

                                                        -- Jerry

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