Re: [TLS] Collisions (Re: Consensus Call: FNV vs SHA1)

Simon Josefsson <> Mon, 10 May 2010 22:19 UTC

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From: Simon Josefsson <>
To: Nicolas Williams <>
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Date: Tue, 11 May 2010 00:19:29 +0200
In-Reply-To: <> (Nicolas Williams's message of "Mon, 10 May 2010 16:56:52 -0500")
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Subject: Re: [TLS] Collisions (Re: Consensus Call: FNV vs SHA1)
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Nicolas Williams <> writes:

> On Mon, May 10, 2010 at 11:48:09PM +0200, Simon Josefsson wrote:
>> Nicolas Williams <> writes:
>> >  - Add a description of what happens if cached object checksums collide.
>> >
>> >    No, the current security considerations section doesn't deal with
>> >    this, and rightly so _if_ collisions are not a security problem, but
>> >    what happens when there are collisions?  Do hanshakes fail?
>> I agree that it is important to explain this.
>> If collisions happen, it appears that we do get slightly weaker
>> semantics of what it means for a handshake to succeed: we aren't
>> cryptographically certain (in the sense that there is cryptographic
>> reduction) that the client and server agree on the data used during the
>> handshake for cached items (CA cert list, server certificate) after the
>> handshake has concluded.
> In the success case I think we are certain that we don't care about
> collisions, if there were any: the cryptographic properties of TLS
> ensure this.

Ensures what?  As far as I can see, it doesn't ensure that the server
knows which server certificate the client saw, or that the client knows
which ca-cert-list the server offered.  Both could influence which
client certificate the client selects, which seems potentially bad.

For example, I looked in the document, and I don't see any requirement
that clients only cache information from a server _after_ having
performed a successful handshake against the server.  Without that, an
attacker could setup a fake server that causes clients to cache some
information (different from what the real server would send), fail the
handshake, and let the client re-try against the real server, and the
client would then use the wrong cached information.

> It's the failure case I'm concerned with.  If failures occur, how do you
> recover?  If failures occur, will users want this?

I also want to see these questions (+ answers) covered in the document.
The answers aren't clear to me.

>> This problem would be solved if the Finished message were computed over
>> the replaced data rather than the digest value.  Then any data
>> mismatches would be detected at the TLS Finished computation, and the
>> handshake fail.  Perhaps this is simpler than introducing a
>> cryptographic digest.
> I think modifying the way Finished msgs are computed would make this
> protocol way too complicated.  I'd be happier with the server assigning
> object IDs to cacheable objects.

Doesn't this have the same problem with collisions?