[TLS] draft-rescorla-tls-subcerts

Eric Rescorla <ekr@rtfm.com> Thu, 07 July 2016 19:29 UTC

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From: Eric Rescorla <ekr@rtfm.com>
Date: Thu, 7 Jul 2016 12:28:33 -0700
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Subject: [TLS] draft-rescorla-tls-subcerts
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We've talked several times about designing some sort of TLS delegation
mechanism. A few of us got together and put together some initial thoughts
about the options at:

The general idea here is to have some mechanism for allowing what
are effectively end-entities to issue short-lived credentials that allow
entities to act on their behalf (e.g., for CDN use cases).
Comments welcome.

In terms of the security analysis, it's obviously very important that this
not present a risk to existing TLS servers. The mechanism designed here is
intended to be future safe in that sense, though perhaps we've missed

I also wanted to clarify a couple points about attacks where the
certificate that signs the delegated credential is also used for ordinary
TLS operation (which generally is a practice that's pretty scary). As noted
above it's important that existing certs not be usable this way, but maybe
future certs would be.

1. It's important to construct the delegated credential in such a way that
you can't use a TLS server as a signing oracle. If you choose "option 2"
where you define a new structure, then it's probably sufficient to use the
TLS 1.3 "context-including" digitally-signed production proposed by AGL. If
you you choose "option 1" where the delegated credential is an X.509 cert,
then you'd need to make some rules about fixing portions of the cert that
the TLS client can't control.

2. If you're concerned about attacks like those of Jager et al. which
exploit RSA decryption, what's important is that the attacker not be able
to get the server to do TLS 1.2-style static RSA with the key. Playing with
the usage bits definitely makes it harder to configure the server this way
(because it's likely to cause bustage) but may not be enough, because
sufficiently busted clients and server might be willing to use them that
way anyway.

In the next rev, we'll update the draft to make these points more clearly.