Beginners Guide to Securing IPv6

Contributed by Dustin Paul

Internet Protocol version six (IPv6) is already running on most networks by default. The debate of whether or not IPv6 is going to stay around or not is over. Full implementation of native IPv6 networks may be very far in the future, or never; but IPv6 traffic is routing in, out, or to your network. This internet protocol has been around since the early 1990’s. Governments, large corporations, and industry leaders are implementing it globally. Information Security (InfoSec) analysts and managers must be pro-active in pursuing education and training on IPv6. Online learning resources are increasingly available. Along with improving expertise, InfoSec professionals must improve network visibility for IPv6 traffic. Using Network Intrusion Detection Systems (NIDS) and honeypots can help identify potential threats and reduce network impact. InfoSec professionals have the ability to mitigate network risks, after improving expertise and visibility

The importance of knowing how to secure network devices and nodes using IPv6 is paramount. IPv6 implementation is increasing, along with IPv6 overall traffic. Increased IPv6 network traffic will result in increased malicious activity over IPv6. Figure 1 shows the percentage of users that are accessing resources via IPv6. Figure 2 shows number of hits a second, as well as traffic volume over time. This only visualizes the steady increase of IPv6 traffic over the internet. This is why InfoSec professionals must be willing to learn what IPv6 will do on their network. “That is why it is important to understand the issues with IPv6 and prepare your defenses. This should be done before IPv6 networks become a larger target for hackers[4].”

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