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Internet Engineering Task Force                              Mark Allman
INTERNET DRAFT                              NASA Lewis/Sterling Software
File: draft-allman-ftp-variable-05.txt                   Shawn Ostermann
                                                         Ohio University
                                                         August 18, 1997
                                              Expires: February 18, 1998

           FTP Extensions for Variable Protocol Specification

Status of this Memo

    This document is an Internet-Draft.  Internet-Drafts are working
    documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), its areas,
    and its working groups.  Note that other groups may also distribute
    working documents as Internet-Drafts.

    Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six
    months and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents
    at any time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as
    reference material or to cite them other than as ``work in

    To learn the current status of any Internet-Draft, please check the
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    ftp.isi.edu (US West Coast).


    The specification for the File Transfer Protocol assumes that the
    underlying network protocols use a 32-bit network address and a
    16-bit transport address (specifically IP version 4 and TCP).  With
    the deployment of version 6 of the Internet Protocol, network
    addresses will no longer be 32-bits.  This paper specifies
    extensions to FTP that will allow the protocol to work over a
    variety of network and transport protocols.

1.  Introduction

    The File Transfer Protocol [PR85] only provides the ability to open
    data connections on networks using the TCP/IPv4 protocol suite
    [Com95].  FTP assumes network addresses will be 32 bits in length
    and the transport address (TCP port number) will be 16 bits long.

    Changes to FTP to support different network and transport protocols
    will be needed as new protocols are deployed (most notably, IPv6
    [DH96]).  RFC 1639 [Pis94] specifies extensions to FTP to enable its
    use over various network protocols.  While RFC 1639 allows for
    variable length transport addresses, it provides no mechanism to
    choose which transport protocol will be used.  The transport
    protocol is assumed to be based on the network protocol chosen.

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    This document provides a specification which makes no assumptions
    regarding the underlying network and transport protocols.  In this
    specification, the FTP commands PORT and PASV are replaced with EPRT
    and EPSV, respectively.

2.  The EPRT Command

    The EPRT command allows for the specification of an extended address
    for the data connection.  The extended address consists of the
    network and transport protocols as well as the network and transport
    addresses.  The format of EPRT is:


    The EPRT command keyword must be followed by a single space.
    Following the space, a delimiter character (<d>) must be specified.
    The delimiter character MUST be one of the ASCII characters in range
    33-126 inclusive, the character "|" (ASCII 124) is recommended
    unless it coincides with a character needed to encode the network or
    transport address.

    The <net-prt> and <trans-prt> arguments MUST be upper-case strings
    indicating the protocol to be used (and, implicitly, the address
    length).  This specification defines keywords for the following

        Network Protocols:

            Keyword         Protocol
            -------         --------
            IP4             Internet Protocol, Version 4 [Pos81a]
            IP6             Internet Protocol, Version 6 [DH96]

        Transport Protocols:

            Keyword         Protocol
            -------         --------
            TCP             Transmission Control Protocol [Pos81b]
            RDP             Reliable Data Protocol [PH90]

    Keywords for other protocols will be specified as needed.

    The <net-addr> and <trans-addr> are protocol specific string
    representations of the respective addresses.  For each of the
    following keywords, addresses MUST be in the following format:

        Keyword     Address Format      Example
        -------     --------------      -------
        IP4         dotted decimal
        IP6         IPv6 string         1080::8:800:200C:417A
                    defined in [HD96]

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        Keyword     Address Format      Example
        -------     --------------      -------
        TCP         string              6446
                    of decimal port
        RDP         string              3684
                    of decimal port

    The <net-prt>, <trans-prt> and <net-addr> fields are optional.  If
    left blank, their default values are as follows:

        Field           Default Value If Omitted
        -----           ------------------------
        <net-prt>       Network protocol of the control connection
        <trans-prt>     Transport protocol of the control connection
        <net-addr>      Network address of the control connection

    The following are sample EPRT commands:

        EPRT |IP4|TCP||6275|

        EPRT ||RDP||5282|

    The first command specifies that the server should use IPv4/TCP to
    open a data connection to the host "" on port 6275.  The
    second command specifies that the server should use the network
    protocol and network address used by the control connection to open
    an RDP data connection on port 5282.

    Upon receipt of a valid EPRT command, the server MUST return a code
    of 200 (Command OK).  The standard negative error codes 500 and 501
    [PR85] are sufficient to handle most errors (e.g., syntax errors)
    involving the EPRT command.  However, two additional error codes are
    needed.  The response code 522 indicates that the server does not
    support the requested network protocol.  Likewise, the response code
    523 indicates that the server does not support the requested
    transport protocol.  The interpretation of these error codes is:

        5yz Negative Completion
        x2z Connections
        xy2 Extended Port Failure - unknown network protocol
        xy3 Extended Port Failure - unknown transport protocol

    The text portion of the response MUST indicate which protocol(s) the
    server does support.  If the network protocol is unsupported, the
    format of the response string MUST be:

        <text stating that the network protocol is unsupported> \

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    In this document, any text enclosed within "<>" is informational
    text that can be written in any language.  In the above case, the
    text SHOULD indicate that the network protocol in the EPRT command
    is not supported by the server.  Two example response strings

        Supported network protocols (IP6)

        Supported network protocols (IP4,IP6)

    Similarly, if the transport protocol is not supported, the format of
    the response string MUST be:

        <text stating that the transport protocol is unsupported> \

    where the protocols are identified by the keywords listed above for
    the EPRT command.

    In the case when both the network and transport protocols specified
    in the EPRT command are unsupported, the error reported MUST be 522
    (unsupported network protocol).

3.  The EPSV Command

    The EPSV command requests that a server listen on a data port and
    wait for a connection.  The response to this command includes all
    information needed to setup a connection using the EPRT command.
    The response code for entering passive mode using an extended
    address MUST be 229.  The interpretation of this code, according to
    [PR85] is:

        2yz Positive Completion
        x2z Connections
        xy9 Extended Passive Mode Entered

    The text returned in response to the EPSV command MUST be:

        <text indicating server is entering extended passive mode> \

    The portion of the string enclosed in parentheses MUST be the exact
    string needed by the EPRT command to open the data connection, as
    specified above.  An example response string follows:

        Entering Extended Passive Mode (|IP4|TCP||6446|)

    The standard negative error codes 500 and 501 are sufficient to
    handle all errors involving the EPSV command (e.g., syntax errors).

4.  IPv6 Transition Issues

    To aid in transition from IPv4 to IPv6 it is RECOMMENDED that the
    network address be omitted from the EPRT command and the EPSV

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    response whenever possible.  This will allow the end hosts to
    utilize standard IPv6 mechanisms to communicate, rather than forcing
    FTP to negotiate the network protocol.

5.  Security Issues

    These FTP extensions increase the scope of the FTP "bounce attack"
    by making it possible for connections to be made using a transport
    protocol other than TCP.  A companion Internet Draft [AO96] is a
    more general discussion of FTP security issues and techniques to
    reduce these security problems.

6.  Conclusions

    The extensions specified in this paper will enable FTP to operate
    over a variety of network and transport protocols.


    [AO97] Mark Allman and Shawn Ostermann.  FTP Security
        Considerations, August 1997.  I-D
        draft-allman-ftp-sec-consider-02.txt (work in progress).

    [Com95] Douglas E. Comer.  Internetworking with TCP/IP, Volume 1,
        Principles, Protocols, and Architecture.  Prentice Hall, 3rd
        edition, 1995.

    [DH96] S. Deering and R. Hinden.  Internet Protocol, Version 6
        (IPv6) Specification, January 1996.  RFC 1883.

    [HD96] R. Hinden and S. Deering.  IP Version 6 Addressing
        Architecture, January 1996.  RFC 1884.

    [Pis94] D. Piscitello.  FTP Operation Over Big Address Records
        (FOOBAR), June 1994.  RFC 1639.

    [PH90] C. Partridge and R. Hinden.  Version 2 of the Reliable Data
        Protocol (RDP), April 1990.  RFC 1151.

    [Pos81a] J. Postel.  Internet Protocol, September 1981.  RFC 791.

    [Pos81b] J. Postel.  Transmission Control Protocol, September 1981.
        RFC 793.

    [PR85] J. Postel and J. Reynolds.  File Transfer Protocol (FTP),
        October 1985.  RFC 959.

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Author's Addresses:

    Mark Allman
    NASA Lewis Research Center/Sterling Software
    21000 Brookpark Rd.  MS 54-2
    Cleveland, OH  44135

    Shawn Ostermann
    School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
    Ohio University
    416 Morton Hall
    Athens, OH  45701

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