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Ipv6 for IT Professionals

The IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6), the current version of the Internet Protocol is likely to make inroads into corporate IT systems very soon. Many IT managers are not concerned about this new technology at all. Yet, it will force its way into IT departments, which will make them face potential security vulnerabilities included in the protocol, alarms a security consultant.

The "Internet Engineering Task Force" has designed IPv6 to take the place of IPv4. The major function of IPv6 is to increase IP address pool. The "Office of Management and Budget" has made it mandatory for federal agencies to adopt IPv6 by 2008.

Each computer is identified on the Internet by Internet protocol addresses that are unique numerical identifiers . It helps to transmit the data to its exact destination. The ingression of IPv6 has considerably increased the number of IP addresses present for the world to utilize. IPv6 greatly expands IP address space, enhances network administration and contains standardized security characteristics.

According to Van Hauser, a security consultant and founder of a hacking group, companies need to gear up for IPv6 even if their plans to upgrade their networks is not in the fore. During a presentation at the "Hack In The Box Security Conference" (HITB) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Mr. Hauser discussed the security vulnerabilities inherent in IPv6. He said that with the support of IPv6 in the operating systems, IT managers should be prepared to deal with the security concerns in the new protocol. He added that the vulnerabilities in IPv6 were the same as in IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4).

One of the vulnerabilities that IPv6 and IPv4 have in common is the ability of a hacker to impose a 'man-in-the-middle' attack. A hacker in this attack regulates or inserts programs or components back and forth between two users. The two users do not come to know about the network link between them that has been controlled remotely by a third unknown source.

The vulnerabilities in IPv6 can be secured by using IPSec (IP Security) on the networks. However, IPSec doesn't eliminate most of the problems nor make the network completely secure.

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