Re: [TLS] RFC-4366-bis and the unrecognized_name(112) alert

Michael D'Errico <> Wed, 09 June 2010 18:14 UTC

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Date: Wed, 09 Jun 2010 11:14:32 -0700
From: Michael D'Errico <>
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To: Marsh Ray <>
References: <> from "Michael D'Errico" at Jun 9, 10 07:29:12 am <> <> <p0624083bc83572582a36@[]> <>
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Subject: Re: [TLS] RFC-4366-bis and the unrecognized_name(112) alert
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Marsh Ray wrote:
> I accept that I may be in the minority on this (I honestly don't see why
> this case shouldn't be considered grounds for outright handshake
> failure). Still, as a guy who writes app code on the client side, the
> server side, and sometimes in between it seems to me like what we're
> calling "unpredictable client behavior" here is really the effect of
> conscious design decisions that made by implementers of TLS libraries
> and client application code.

Let me try another approach.

Now that you know that my server code might send an unrecognized_name
warning alert to you in some very limited circumstances, what will you
do in your client code?  Since you don't care about this particular edge
case, the sensible thing is for you to ignore it.

Here's some pseudo-code:

     if (alert_level is fatal)
         abort handshake;
     else if (alert_level is not warning)
         abort handshake;  // protocol error
     else if (alert is close_notify)
         forward EOF to application;
         // ignore warnings we don't care about

> So if a modern SNI-aware client wishes to abort the handshake on
> receiving the name mismatch warning, is it really appropriate for the
> revised spec to attempt to defeat that by saying the server should
> withhold this information from the client and the warning SHOULD NOT be
> sent at all?

The ability to send a warning-level unrecognized_name alert is in the
current spec (RFC 4366).  You are arguing that since you don't care
about the information it conveys that we should ban it.