Re: [pkix] Self-issued certificates

王文正 <wcwang@cht.com.tw> Fri, 17 July 2015 14:37 UTC

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From: =?utf-8?B?546L5paH5q2j?= <wcwang@cht.com.tw>
To: "Miller, Timothy J." <tmiller@mitre.org>, "mrex@sap.com" <mrex@sap.com>
Thread-Topic: [pkix] Self-issued certificates
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Date: Fri, 17 Jul 2015 14:37:53 +0000
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Cc: PKIX <pkix@ietf.org>
Subject: Re: [pkix] Self-issued certificates
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>> I had not recognized your term "RFC 4210 rollover announcement" as 
>> something that refers to a technical protocol that includes the 
>> relevant PDUs.
>> 
>> rfc4210 is sufficient complex and awkward that is not used anywhere 
>> around TLS (at least the stuff that I come in contact with) nor common 
>> web-service or pkcs#7/CMS based data exchange scenarios.
> 
>I didn’t say it was *used*, I said it would *work*.  ;)

Actually, according to my experiences, certification paths with self-issued certificates worked seamlessly in most TLS/SSL environments, except with Microsoft IIS.

In a case where the end-entity certificate is a SSL certificate, after the root key rollover, the certification path will be as follows:

old root self-signed cert --> new-with-old self-issued cert --> subordinate CA cert --> SSL cert

Most SSL/TLS servers, such as apache+openssl, is able to correctly send the certificates payload ("new-with-old self-issued cert --> subordinate CA cert --> SSL cert") to client sides during the SSL/TLS handshake.
Also, most browsers, including IE, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera, can successfully chain the certification path to the trust anchor (the old root self-signed cert) and successfully validate it because they simply treat the new-with-old self-issued cert as a normal intermediate certificate.

The only problem I had ever encountered is caused by Microsoft IIS. Unlike other SSL/TLS servers which can be configured to send whatever intermediate certificates you specified to the client side, Microsoft IIS insists to automatically decide which are the intermediate certificates for your SSL certificate. Unfortunately, Microsoft IIS incorrectly decides that the new-with-old self-issued cert is not an intermediate certificate to be sent to the client side. My guess is that Microsoft IIS mistakenly treat the self-issued cert as a self-signed root cert (it may thought any cert will be a self-signed cert if the same DN appears in the subject
and issuer fields), therefore it decides not to send it to the client side. The result is a broken certification path in the client side.

Interestingly, Microsoft IE itself can validate the certification path "old root self-signed cert --> new-with-old self-issued cert --> subordinate CA cert --> SSL cert" without any problem.

Wen-Cheng Wang

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