Is there a way to protect devices that listen to multicast?

If someone manages to get on a network where devices are listening on multicast, what prevents someone from sending packets and the devices from doing what they receive?

Most devices have little to no security options such as IP white listing like loud speakers that work with VoIP phones. Once on the network I can send whatever I want to these devices and they do what they hear. Even VoIP and paging that listen on multicast.

Is the only real security option to ensure no one can get on the network or VLAN?

1 Answer 1


IP Multicast Security has been a topic of much work since the RFC 1112 Host Extensions for IP Multicasting support became prevalent. Media corporations have obvious interest in this exact thing.

To get you started, you may wish to become at least familiar with the introductions and summaries of these RFCs.

Some of the difficulties with authentication in a multiple recipient environment are masterfully covered by Efficient Multicast Pack et Authentication.

The three partially competing interests IP multicast channel implementation are these.

  1. Network efficiency (which is the primary reason behind multicasting)
  2. Dealing with data corruption (differentiating packet drops or corruption from attack artifacts)
  3. Application of cryptology to complex and potentially changing tree structures

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