[expect-ct] Is expect-ct policy intended for long-term use? (plus: no user recourse)

=JeffH <Jeff.Hodges@KingsMountain.com> Fri, 25 November 2016 02:05 UTC

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From: =JeffH <Jeff.Hodges@KingsMountain.com>
To: Emily Stark <estark@google.com>
Cc: IETF HTTP WG <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>
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Subject: [expect-ct] Is expect-ct policy intended for long-term use? (plus: no user recourse)
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Emily wrote:
 > I anticipate Expect-CT to be useful more than a year and less than 5
 > years. Within 1-2 years, I expect/hope several browsers will be
 > requiring CT for all new certificates. They can still implement
 > Expect-CT to protect sites against backdating and against
 > certificates that were issued before the date that they started
 > requiring CT for all new certs.

ok, by "they" you mean UAs, yes?


 > Once a browser is requiring CT for *all* certificates (e.g. because
 > the maximum validity period has elapsed beyond the date that the
 > browser began requiring CT for all new certs), then I don't think
 > Expect-CT is useful for that browser anymore.

by implication you mean "useful" for a server (aka "relying party" (RP)) 
and user, yes?

because what we are protecting here is not so much the browser (vendor) 
but the RP and user, yes?

I could see Expect-CT to be useful for the longer term if it were to 
signal additional RP-desired selective UA behavior such as "no user 
recourse", *if* the browsers were not going to implement such behavior, 
e.g., as a a matter of course in the case of errors during secure 
connection establishment.

=JeffH



 > On Wed, Nov 23, 2016 at 4:47 PM, =JeffH
 > <Jeff.Hodges@kingsmountain.com> wrote:
 > WRT "Expect-CT"
 > <https://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-stark-expect-ct>
 > (aka "the I-D" in the below)...
 >
 > Is the expect-ct policy intended to be used long-term by servers?
 >
 > I.e., is this server-declared expect-ct policy only a stop-gap until
 > all browsers natively enforce their vendors' "ct policies"?
 >
 > At first glance, it seems the answer is "yes, expect-ct has long-term
 > usefulness" given the language in
 > <https://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-stark-expect-ct-00#section-2.1.2>,
 >
 > i.e., a host's declaration of expect-ct policy is stating that the UA
 > must terminate any connection to that host (and port?) that does not
 > satisfy the UA's ct policy.
 >
 > However, given this..
 >
 > On Sunday, November 13, 2016 at 4:47 AM, Emily Stark wrote:
 >> That is, eventually, when browsers require CT for all
 >> certificates, [...] I see Expect-CT as a way that individual sites
 >> can opt in to the future early ("the future" being when browsers
 >> require CT for all certificates)
 >
 > ..it sounds like the browsers intend to do that in any case, and if
 > so, on what timescale?
 >
 > I.e., is it worthwhile to go through all the work to formally define
 > Expect-CT in an RFC?
 >
 > I'm not sure. This is part of the reason why I uploaded this as an
 > experimental draft. I'm not 100% sure what's the right process or
 > venue is for a mechanism that is not meant to stick around forever.
 >
 >
 > Though, if there is some functionality that a server-declared
 > expect-ct policy stipulates that is not intended to be implemented by
 > default in near- to intermediate-term, then formally specifying
 > Expect-CT perhaps has a reasonable cost-benefit regardless. Or also
 > if explicit server-declared "expect-ct" policy would be useful to the
 > long-tail of HTTPS clients other than the dominant browsers.
 >
 > Perhaps one should consider having the expect-ct policy additionally
 > mean that there is "no user recourse" to connection termination as a
 > result of CT-policy violation. I note the I-D does not presently
 > state that.
 >
 > See <https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc6797#section-12.1> for how this
 > is discussed in HSTS. You might consider adding "no user recourse" to
 > a "UA implementation advice" section.
 >
 > That seems reasonable to include, though I don't think "no user
 > recourse" is enough benefit to justify keeping Expect-CT around after
 > it has otherwise exhausted its usefulness.
 >
 >
 > Though, like any of this (including HSTS), the browsers could in the
 > future decide that they will have a "no user recourse" policy by
 > default for all secure transport establishment failures. It's a
 > question of how far in the future might that occur (in order to
 > justify present-to-intermediate-term work).
 >
 > HTH,
 >
 > =JeffH
 >
 >
 >