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Security Dictionary
Can't tell 'smtp' from 'snmp'? Find the precise meaning of these and hundreds of other security-related terms in our convenient and up-to-date Security Dictionary.
Authentication Header (AH)
(I) An Internet IPsec protocol [R2402] designed to provide connectionless data integrity service and data origin authentication service for IP datagrams, and (optionally) to provide protection against replay attacks.

(C) Replay protection may be selected by the receiver when a security association is established. AH authenticates upper-layer protocol data units and as much of the IP header as possible. However, some IP header fields may change in transit, and the value of these fields, when the packet arrives at the receiver, may not be predictable by the sender. Thus, the values of such fields cannot be protected end-to-end by AH; protection of the IP header by AH is only partial when such fields are present.

(C) AH may be used alone, or in combination with the IPsec ESP protocol, or in a nested fashion with tunneling. Security services can be provided between a pair of communicating hosts, between a pair of communicating security gateways, or between a host and a gateway. ESP can provide the same security services as AH, and ESP can also provide data confidentiality service. The main difference between authentication services provided by ESP and AH is the extent of the coverage; ESP does not protect IP header fields unless they are encapsulated by AH.

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