IPv6 transition – just get on with it!

A recent DEFCON presentation highlights the need to accelerate adoption of IPv6 on your network. You can either turn off IPv6 on all your hosts (which will break things), or get on with it and deploy IPv6 “for real”.

(TL;DR: your hosts already have dual-stack activated, not having IPv6 supported in your network opens up a  man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack. Though long known, there is now a “one click” exploit available.)

There’s been a lot of discussion on various IPv6-related mailing lists with how to drive the transition, how to transition, and which (if any) of the transition technologies should be used.

In general, NONE of the transition technologies (other than dual-stack) address this particular MITM attack. They (for the most part) leave old IPv4 nodes as-is on your network, and try to translate protocols and hide IPv6 from those old nodes (and vice versa).

Personally, I find it quite heartening that many are making good business cases for aggressive adoption of native IPv6. Some are also providing good historical evidence that we’ve made similar transitions in the past, without extensive transition technologies, with good success:

On 8/8/13 1:40 PM, Ray Hunter wrote (v6ops):
Actually I think your reasoning and reference to the IPX and Appletalk
phase out would suggest it’s easier to make a bold call: move to IPv6
ASAP for critical systems via dual stack, and for the rest you draw a
box around it and call it legacy and run it on IPv4 until it dies a natural death.

IMHO Going half way with NAT64/DNS64 just prolongs the pain and locks
you into a transition technology that is expensive and difficult to
operate for the life cycle of that box, and which has to remain in place
until the last app is migrated or switched off.

I’ve been in a fair number projects where you sometimes just have to
dare to cut the cord whilst maintaining a process to find out what has
broken. So one valid IPv6 only migration strategy might be: “If it’s
important, they’ll migrate before a flag day date. Otherwise they get
cut off.”

I cannot agree enough with the “prolongs the pain”  and “locks you into a transition technology “observations.

At work, we’re going on the assumption that we’ll be able to go dual-stack and not need any translation. So far, that looks viable for our internal networks. When we get to the consumer-facing stuff, well, we’ll see.

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