Re: [TLS] Review of draft-ietf-tls-external-psk-guidance

Christopher Wood <> Tue, 18 August 2020 23:46 UTC

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Date: Tue, 18 Aug 2020 16:45:38 -0700
From: Christopher Wood <>
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Subject: Re: [TLS] Review of draft-ietf-tls-external-psk-guidance
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Hi Watson,

Apologies for the delay. I filed this issue to track your feedback:

I think the issues and editorial suggestions you make are sound. I'll propose some text soon.


On Mon, Jul 6, 2020, at 12:47 PM, Watson Ladd wrote:
> Dear WG,
> I've taken a look at the draft and I think while its discussion of the
> properties and limitations of the external PSKs are good, I think the
> recommendations in section 7 could use some minor editorial work.
> In particular  "SHOULD be combined with a DH exchange for forward
> secrecy." I would like to see rephrased to make clear that this is
> about the TLS PSK Key Exchange Mode. It wasn't immediately clear to me
> on first read, especially given the next sentence is (maybe) about key
> establishment outside of TLS.
> "If only low-entropy keys are available, then key establishment
> mechanisms such as Password Authenticated Key Exchange (PAKE) that
> mitigate the risk of offline dictionary attacks SHOULD be employed".
> I have some questions about the meaning of this sentence. If it's
> about potential future additions to TLS ciphersuites, then it should
> be more clear that this doesn't currently exist and will in the
> future.  If it's about designing an ad-hoc key distribution mechanism
> to be run one time ahead of PSK TLS, then I think we should say so
> more clearly and provide guidance on how to do this and think through
> the implications.
> Section 7.1.1. While it's a good idea to compare byte by byte, humans
> entering PSK identifiers may run into trouble due to all the ways
> visually identical strings may not actually be identical. It might be
> worth calling this out as a consideration.
> Sincerely,
> Watson Ladd
> _______________________________________________
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