[TLS] Genart last call review of draft-ietf-tls-exported-authenticator-09

Christer Holmberg via Datatracker <noreply@ietf.org> Sun, 07 July 2019 10:58 UTC

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Date: Sun, 07 Jul 2019 03:58:09 -0700
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Subject: [TLS] Genart last call review of draft-ietf-tls-exported-authenticator-09
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Reviewer: Christer Holmberg
Review result: Ready with Issues

I am the assigned Gen-ART reviewer for this draft. The General Area
Review Team (Gen-ART) reviews all IETF documents being processed
by the IESG for the IETF Chair.  Please treat these comments just
like any other last call comments.

For more information, please see the FAQ at


Document: draft-ietf-tls-exported-authenticator-09
Reviewer: Christer Holmberg
Review Date: 2019-07-07
IETF LC End Date: 2019-07-16
IESG Telechat date: Not scheduled for a telechat

Summary: The document is well written. However, I have found some issues that
the author may want to consider clarifying in the document.

Major issues: N/A

Minor issues:

The last sentence of Section 1 says that the mechanism requires TLS version 1.2
or later. Would it be useful to state that in a dedicated Applicability section?

Can the mechanism be used also for DTLS?

The documents talk about additional certificates. If I only have one additional
certificate, can I use that for multiple authenticators throughout the TLS

Section 3 and 4 say that the authenticator request and authenticator SHOULD be
sent using TLS, and Section 1 says that the proof of authentication can be sent
out-of-band. I think it would be useful to clarify whether both the
authenticator request and authenticator can be sent out-of-band ( i.e., not
using the TLS connection that the additional authentication is associated
with), and also to state whether it IS allowed to send the authenticator
request and authenticator on the TLS connection they are associated with.

Section 5 talks about an endpoint sending an empty authenticator. But, what if
the sender of the authenticator request does not receive anything?  Does it
simply move on? Does it terminate the TLS session? Is the action based on local

Related to MIN_5, I can't find text about how endpoints inform each other about
the support of the mechanism, so maybe a few words about that would be useful.
And some words about backward compatibility with endpoints that don't support
the mechanism.

What happens if the validation of an authenticator fails? Does the requester
simply move on? Does it terminate the TLS session? Is the action based on local

Nits/editorial comments:

The document uses "session", "TLS connection" and "TLS communication"
terminology. Is that intentional, or wouuld it be possible to use consistent

Section 3 says: "The authenticator request is a structured message that can be
created..." Section 4 says: "The authenticator is a structured message that can
be exported..."

In the 2nd paragraph of Section 4 it is stated that "authenticator" is sent
based on an "authenticator request". I wonder if that could be stated already
in the beginning of Section 4, to further clarify the difference between them.

"The authenticator is a structured message, triggered by an authenticator
request, that can be exported from either party of a TLS connection."