DOCSIS 4.0 Security: A Comprehensive Guide to Successful Deployments (2022)

By Massimiliano Pala, Doug Jones, Yuan Tian, Craig Pratt; CableLabs

DOCSIS® 4.0 security introduces several important enhancements when compared to previous generations of the protocol [SECv4.0]. To better understand the impact and use of DOCSIS 4.0 new features and how they relate to today’s deployments and practices, let’s start from reviewing the history of DOCSIS security and its evolution.

The first version of the Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification or DOCSIS® was released in 1997. The document specified the first standard approach to providing Internet access to subscribers over a cable operator’s shared-access Hybrid Fiber-Coaxial (HFC) network (i.e., cable network).

The initial DOCSIS security architecture supported two major schemes: the Baseline Privacy Interface (BPI) and the Full Security (FS), a Security System with a removable security module. These two schemes specified the requirements to implement DOCSIS’ two main security goals of protecting users and operators from data privacy issues and theft-of-service. The DOCSIS 1.0 specification eventually dropped FS due to a lack of support from the community. DOCSIS 1.1 strengthened BPI with its implementation of BPI+, which later evolved into the DOCSIS Security Specification in DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1.

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