[keyassure] publishing the public key

Henry Story <henry.story@bblfish.net> Mon, 14 February 2011 10:20 UTC

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From: Henry Story <henry.story@bblfish.net>
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Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2011 11:20:33 +0100
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Subject: [keyassure] publishing the public key
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  In draft-dane-04 [1] one can currently only publish either a signature or a certificate in the DNS. That is the only allowed formats of the resource record are as specified in section 2.2

  1 -- Hash of an end-entity certificate
  2 -- Full end-entity certificate in DER encoding
  3 -- Hash of an certification authority's certificate
  4 -- Full certification authority's certificate in DER encoding

Why not publish the only piece of the certificate that is important in public key cryptography: the public key. ( This is what WebID does currently ) This should be shorter than the certificate, and though it will be longer than the signature, it will be a lot more useful, tying the publisher much less to a particular serialisation format. So you reduce the PGP/X509 disagreements.

There is no need to send a full certificate. Many users will only need to tie a name to a public key and to have a guarantee of the integrity of the information. But the integrity is itself assured by DNSSEC. The tying of the name to the public key is done by the lookup in DNS, as with eg: _443._tcp.www.example.com ) So all that is really required is to return the public key - the type (RSA, DSA, ...) and the fields. This can be done in ASN.1.

  The following use case may help: Imagine a future revision of TLS, which permits the server to not send the server certificate, a bit as the client_certificate_url extension of TLS 1.2 allows the client to send a URL to a location of his certificate, instead of sending his certificate in order to save bandwidth. Here the server just tells the client to look up his public key in DNSSEC .  This would then save bandwidth at both ends: the server would not need to send his certificate and DNSSEC would just send the minimal information needed to confirm. 

   The public key by itself would not be able to contain the types of restrictions on usage of the key of course: only use for signing, ... that are available in X509. 

   An important question is of course: how much bandwidth does one save?


[1] http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-ietf-dane-protocol-04

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