RSVP raises the following security issues.
Corrupted or spoofed reservation requests could lead to theft of service by unauthorized parties or to denial of service caused by locking up network resources. RSVP protects against such attacks with a hop-by-hop authentication mechanism using an encrypted hash function. The mechanism is supported by INTEGRITY objects that may appear in any RSVP message. These objects use a keyed cryptographic digest technique, which assumes that RSVP neighbors share a secret. Although this mechanism is part of the base RSVP specification, it is described in a companion document [Baker96].
Widespread use of the RSVP integrity mechanism will require the availability of the long-sought key management and distribution infrastructure for routers. Until that infrastructure becomes available, manual key management will be required to secure RSVP message integrity.
Policy control will depend upon positive authentication of the user responsible for each reservation request. Policy data may therefore include cryptographically protected user certificates. Specification of such certificates is a future issue.
Even without globally-verifiable user certificates, it may be possible to provide practical user authentication in many cases by establishing a chain of trust, using the hop-by-hop INTEGRITY mechanism described earlier.
The first two security issues concerned RSVP's operation. A third security issue concerns resource reservations for secure data streams. In particular, the use of IPSEC (IP Security) in the data stream poses a problem for RSVP: if the transport and higher level headers are encrypted, RSVP's generalized port numbers cannot be used to define a session or a sender.
To solve this problem, an RSVP extension has been defined in which the security association identifier (IPSEC SPI) plays a role roughly equivalent to the generalized ports [RFC 2207].