[pkix] X.509 client certificates on Web - Deprecated by Google

Anders Rundgren <anders.rundgren.net@gmail.com> Thu, 03 September 2015 04:40 UTC

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To: "pkix@ietf.org" <pkix@ietf.org>
From: Anders Rundgren <anders.rundgren.net@gmail.com>
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Date: Thu, 3 Sep 2015 06:40:16 +0200
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Subject: [pkix] X.509 client certificates on Web - Deprecated by Google
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"While a use case exists for provisioning TLS client certificates for authentication, such a use case is inherently user-hostile for usability, and represents an authentication scheme that does not work well for the web. An alternative means for addressing this use case is to employ the work of the FIDO Alliance [12], which has strong positive signals from Microsoft and Google (both in the WG), is already supported via extensions in Chrome [13], with Mozilla evaluating support via similar means [14]. This offers a more meaningful way to offer strong, non-phishable authentication, in a manner that is more privacy preserving, offers a better user experience, better standards support, and more robust security capabilities"

W3C.org spokesmen are now speaking the same language:

"There have been several high-profile attacks on client certificates (see
for example "Triple Hand-shake" [1]) that make client certificates a not
suitable for authentication systems. X.509 is also problematic to parse,
leading to security issues [2]. While FIDO is not perfect (the privacy
community needs to look at the channel ID work too), its definitely best of
breed right now and I think will solve your use-case over the course of the
next year"

-- Anders