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ESP

Encapsulating Security Payload

The ESP (Encapsulation Security Payload) header normally forms part of an extension to the IP header, and is denoted in the IP type field by the value 50. The header itself is used to indicate the SPI (Security Parameter Index) value that has been employed, which in turn is associated to the key and algorithm that has been used to encrypt the IP payload. Only those entities privy to the SA (Security Association) have the mapping between the SPI and the key, consequently they are the only users who can decrypt the data. The ESP protocol is defined in RFC 2406.

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