Karen O'Donoghue

Author Archives: Karen O'Donoghue

Working Collaboratively to Improve Emerging Network Time Security Implementations

Accurate and secure time is essential for the security and trustworthiness of the Internet. Many systems that we regularly interact with rely on accurate time to function properly. Accurate time also provides an essential foundation for online security, and many security mechanisms, such as digital certificates used for Transport Layer Security (TLS), depend on accurate timekeeping. The Network Time Protocol (NTP) provides time synchronization for clocks on computer networks.

NTP’s security mechanisms were designed back in an era when most Internet traffic was trusted, and the risk of attack was unlikely. Due to the continued exponential expansion of the Internet, these mechanisms became outdated and needed to be redesigned. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has been working on a specification for Network Time Security (NTS) for several years now. This specification was approved by the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) in March of this year and is currently in the RFC editing process for the final publication. Over the course of the last couple of years, there have been a series of NTS projects held as part of the IETF Hackathons. These projects have worked to identify mistakes and ambiguities in the specification and to test and improve interoperability Continue reading