Re: [TLS] [Last-Call] Last Call: <draft-ietf-tls-oldversions-deprecate-09.txt> (Deprecating TLSv1.0 and TLSv1.1) to Best Current Practice

Ted Lemon <> Fri, 04 December 2020 17:20 UTC

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From: Ted Lemon <>
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Date: Fri, 4 Dec 2020 12:20:35 -0500
Cc: Stephen Farrell <>, "BRUNGARD, DEBORAH A" <>, Rob Sayre <>, Peter Gutmann <>, Watson Ladd <>, Eliot Lear <>, "" <>, "" <>, "" <>, "STARK, BARBARA H" <>, "" <>
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To: "Ackermann, Michael" <>
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Subject: Re: [TLS] [Last-Call] Last Call: <draft-ietf-tls-oldversions-deprecate-09.txt> (Deprecating TLSv1.0 and TLSv1.1) to Best Current Practice
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Michael, fundamentally the disconnect here seems to be that the IETF could ever be responsible for helping businesses to figure out how to plan for changes in technology _other_ than by doing work like this. Deprecating old versions of protocols is exactly what the IETF should be doing. This is how the signal burbles up through your vendors to you.

I think it’s useful for folks from enterprises to show up and pay attention to this, but it’s important to recognize that the reason we are making these changes is not to cause you trouble. It’s to try to help you to avoid trouble. If you come to the IETF with the goal in mind to get us to not deprecate protocols that are obsolete and have known attacks that the newer version of the protocol fixes, that’s just not the right model. We aren’t the adversary here. The IETF is not causing the protocol to be obsolete. The IETF is simply observing that the protocol is in fact obsolete, and it’s past time to stop using it. That is, we are observing a fait accompli over which we have no control.

The reason we do this is in the hope that you will do what you need to do to protect your customers from this fait accompli. The only thing that we could do differently is to not try to alert you to this problem.

When it takes twelve years for (some) enterprises to upgrade to the new version of a protocol, that’s an indication of some kind of systemic problem. It’s not a problem the IETF can solve. What I heard you saying at the beginning of this problem was that the IETF needed to understand your operational realities. But the implication is that we don’t understand your operational realities. That’s not what’s going on here. What’s going on here is that we simply can’t do anything about your operational realities.

The fact that we can’t do anything about them does not mean that TLS 1.1 shouldn’t be deprecated. It just means that you, not the IETF, need to take the next step: now that we have told you TLS 1.1 is so obsolete that nobody should be using it anymore, you need to integrate that into your planning. You need to communicate with your vendors. You need to budget for whatever your plan of action is going to be. If you find yourself in an untenable situation because of this, you need to learn from that and change your planning methodology so that you aren’t caught up short next time a protocol needs to be obsoleted.

Don’t do business with vendors who do not have a plan for how to deal with this problem. Get it in the purchasing agreements. Get it in the service provider contracts. Begin planning your transition to the new protocol the day it’s published, or ideally as soon as you become aware that it’s going to be published. Don’t wait until we publish a document twelve years later saying that it’s now officially obsolete.

This is a very important problem, and I’m sorry if my previous note made it seem like I don’t take it seriously. I do. But it’s not a problem that the IETF can solve. If the IETF were to decide not to say that the protocol is obsolete, that wouldn’t solve it.  You have the problem whether we tell you you have the problem or not.