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Network Services and Functionality


Today the internet provides a generic packet-based public infrastructure for communication. Several networks carrying both non-business and business oriented traffic communicate via this infrastructure.  Image-data transmission from one point to another over the internet usually faces challenges of authenticity, integrity and privacy. It is the desire for everyone using the internet to send and receive data without having doubt about the data being compromised. Even though the current standard protocol IPv4 is faced with critical issues of security, IPv6 addresses most of these challenges appropriately. Irrespective of the security and other challenges faced by IPv4, this protocol has proven to be interoperable, robust and easily implemented. Most of the devices on the network are either given a unique address manually or assigned dynamically by a DHCP server. With over 70,000 routes in the routing table this posses a greater challenge or effort in maintaining routing information. Another challenge is the exponential growth of the mobile devices requiring network or internet connection hence creating a need for a simpler, automatic and better way of assigning IDs to the devices without depending on the complicated system of DHCP infrastructure. 

In matters of security IPv6 has made it possible for the encryption of data being transmitted on the internet. This protects the data from being altered or viewed while on transit. The design of addressing in IPv6 is hierarchical, efficient and summarized that enables simplified routing for ISPs leading to smaller routing tables. The design of the header in IPv6 minimizes its validation and processing hence improvement in speeds. There is also the presence of additional information in IPv6 header which in turn sets the rules for handling traffic and easier identification for QoS. IPv6 supports both stateful (similar to address configuration with a DHCP server) and stateless (address configuration without a DHCP server) configuration of addresses.  IPv6 implements ICMPv6 Router Discovery and redirect messages which have efficient unicast and multicast messages. The protocol named Neighbour Discovery is new in IPv6 and replaces the ARP as used in IPv6.

Figure 1 demonstrates a translator for an IPv6 location commune with nodes in an IPv4 system. The inner routing of the IPv6 site should be configured in such a way that packets which are anticipated for IPv4 nodes route towards the translator. Hosts within the IPv6 site forward the packets towards the nodes in the IPv4 network by use of IPv6 addresses which plot individual IPv4 hosts in an associative way. In this scenario, a design offered recommends that IPv6 nodes need to make use of IPv4 and IPv6 which are compatible tackle as their own forms of address.  An IPv4-mapped IPv6 address while communicating with IPv4-only nodes. An IPv4-enabled IPv6 address embraces an IPv4 address in a minimum form of  about 32-bits, and this comprises of an exceptional high  96-bit prefix which consists of 0:0:0:0:0:0. All of them are zero bits and mainly recognize an IPv6/IPv4 or IPv6-node. It becomes hard for them to recognize an IPv4-only node. Likewise, an IPv4-mapped IPv6 address categorizes an IPv4-only node. Its high-order, which is 96-bits in nature and has the initials of 0:0:0:0:0: FFFF.

Address Binding

For addresses which are statically recorded the binding occurs incase the translator is started. If the translator is organized to use IPv4 mapped/well-matched with IPv6 addresses. The bindings are unreservedly static because they are defined by the unique IPv6 addresses. The other static mapping may be between subjective IPv4 and IPv6 addresses.

Procedures for the configuration of IPv6 Protocol on a Windows Machine

Installing IPV6 protocol stack was done first using the Network Connections folder.

The IPv4 section of the network experienced the following attacks in relation to its security.

  • Denial of Service Attacks (DoS):  The hacking software flooded host J in the IPv4 segment of the network with requests interfering with its telnet requests to host K on the same network.
  • Worms & Viruses distribution: Awambez virus propagated to all host machines on the IPv4 segment of the network.
  • Man-in-the-middle attacks (MITM): It was possible to intercept, read, modify and insert some text in the messages being sent between two hosts without either host noticing the compromise.  
  • Fragmentation attacks: Windows operating system was the most destabilized as compared to Linux operating system when small fragmented IPv4 packets were assembled at the host. This fragmentations when assembled they exceeded the normal size. 
  • ARP Poison: In the data packets captured by the hacking software spoofing of IP addresses belonging to some hosts on the network was evident. These IP addresses were associated with fake MAC addresses            

One most important finding derived from this study is the requirement of  all reputable organizations for the development of plans of security responsible for the co-existence that are not tied to individual decisions as well as the schedules in as far as the adoption of IPv6 as well as their transition is concerned. It has also been identified that there are the existence of the capabilities of the IPv6 in majority of the networks that are equipped with the host as well as the router deployments that are reasonably recent. The IPv6capabilities are usually shipped in the form of default in the majority of the operating systems of the router as well as the host. This has the implication that they are in a position of being “turned on” any particular time to serve a specific purpose or by accident or for serving a malicious purpose. Majority of the existing systems usually ships the IPv6 alongside one of the transition mechanisms associated with it in a form that is default enabled. In most of the platforms that are in existent, enabling of the protocol of the IPv6 leads to an automatic enabling of the various mechanisms of transition.

On the native IPv4 network that does not offer support for IPv6, IPv6 traffic was transmitted after being encapsulated with IPv4 header. This technique is referred to as IPv6 tunneling and one such technology is 6to4. This was achieved by the 6to4 capable computer making a DNS query for the 6to4 relay routers. When the response of the DNS query provided many addresses, the host managed to select an appropriate 6to4 relay router through sending IPv6 packet to each router and choosing the first router to respond.

The malicious program or virus managed to propagate through the IPv4 segment of the network due to the small address space of IPv4. MITM was able to intercept read and modify the text messages due to the absence of authentication mechanisms in IPv4.

The advent of the IPv6 together with its adoption is projected to pose disaster to the security of information just as is the characteristic of any new innovation. This has been evidenced in the cases of the email, instant messaging, the wireless, the VOIP, the mobile devices, the social networks, the e-commerce, the cloud computing, just to mention but a few. The situation is even worse in the consideration of granddaddy reigning champions of disasters of security namely the web browsers as well as the web applications. The issue of the “IPv4 running out” for a decade admonition is most likely to become a reality in the future. Despite this undisputable fact most of the people do not appreciate the existence of the IPv6. The adoption of the IPv6 is prone to languish until a time that the feasibility of acquiring the IPv4 is nil. This is the time that IPv6 will be hurriedly put in place with less consideration of its proper design, testing or even some efforts towards the understanding of the issues that surround it.

IPv6 has addressed most if not all the challenges presented by IPv4. This challenges being security, auto configuration, routing and to number but a few, additional IP address space. The number scheme of IPv6 is a little bit complicated but just as users got used to IPv4 they will get used to IPv6 too. IPv6 is largely supported by many operating systems and application developers including browsers (Kashuk 2008). Although IPv4 is still being used on most networks sooner than later IPv6 will be rapidly implemented to take care of address depletion.

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