Although IPv6 is a protocol with security features, the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 will create new risks and weaken the organization's security strategy. It is important to understand the potential hazards and how to make the transition without compromising the company ’s safety. Related: Are you ready for IPv6?

If you have n’t considered the impact of IPv6 on your network security, then it ’s time to start thinking about it!

You may know what are the main factors driving the application of the IPv6 protocol. Our IPv4 addresses are about to be exhausted! The 32-bit address scheme currently used by the IPv4 protocol can only accommodate 4.3 billion unique addresses. Although this number sounds a lot, as far as the people of the earth are concerned, everyone can't have an IP address. And some people need more than one IP address, such as the IP address between the work place and home, and other network equipment. The IPv6 protocol uses 128-bit addressing technology to solve this problem. The number of IP addresses allowed by the IPv6 protocol is 3.4x10 to the 38th power; such a large number will take a long time to run out.

So, what does the emergence of the IPv6 protocol mean to our security? Let us look at five issues that have an impact on our network:

1. Security personnel need education and training on the IPv6 protocol. The IPv6 protocol will enter your network under your control, which is only a matter of time. As with many new network technologies, it is very important to learn the basics of IPv6, especially learning addressing schemes and protocols in order to adapt to the processing of events and related activities.

2. Security tools need to be upgraded. IPv6 is not backward compatible. The hardware and software used for communication routing and security analysis of the entire network must be upgraded to support the IPv6 protocol, otherwise none of these hardware and software support IPv6. When using border protection equipment, it is very important to remember this. To be compatible with IPv6, routers, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems all require software or hardware upgrades.

3. Existing equipment needs additional settings. Devices that support IPv6 treat it as a completely independent protocol. Therefore, access control lists, rule bases and other setting parameters must be re-evaluated and converted to an environment that supports IPv6.

4. The tunnel protocol creates new risks. Networks and security groups have spent a lot of time and effort to ensure that IPv6 is a protocol with security features. However, one of the biggest risks of this conversion is the use of tunneling protocols to support the conversion to IPv6. These protocols allow IPv6 traffic to be isolated when IPv4 data flows through incompatible devices. Therefore, before you are ready to officially support IPv6, your network users can use these tunneling protocols to run IPv6. If this is a worrying issue, block the IPv6 tunneling protocol within your borders.

5. IPv6 automatic setting can cause addressing complexity. Another interesting feature of IPv6 is automatic setting. The automatic setting function allows the system to automatically obtain a network address without administrator intervention. IPv6 supports two different automatic setting technologies. The automatic setting of the monitoring status uses DHCPv6, which is a simple upgrade to the current DHCP protocol, and is not very different from a security point of view. In addition, pay attention to the automatic setting function of the non-monitoring state. This technique allows the system to generate its own IP address and check the repeatability of the address. From a system management perspective, this decentralized approach may be easier, but for network administrators who track the use (or abuse!) Of network resources, this approach poses a major challenge.

As you said, IPv6 is revolutionary. IPv6 allows us to prepare for ubiquitous access over the next decade. However, like other technological innovations, we need to pay close attention to IPv6 from a security perspective.

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