[TLS] SCSVs and SSLv3 fallback

Trevor Perrin <trevp@trevp.net> Thu, 04 April 2013 21:02 UTC

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From: Trevor Perrin <trevp@trevp.net>
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Subject: [TLS] SCSVs and SSLv3 fallback
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Hi,

I've heard (anecdotally) that HTTPS between browsers and webservers
who are both TLS-capable sometimes results in SSLv3 connections.
Presumably this is due to firewall interference with the TLS
handshake, causing browsers to retry an SSLv3 handshake.

I believe TLS Extensions are generally not sent in the SSLv3
ClientHello (?).  This isn't a major problem for TLS Extensions as
optimizations (e.g. session tickets or OCSP stapling).

However, there are proposals that *require* a TLS Extension response,
for security:
 - TACK's "TackExtension" [1]
 - Certificate Transparency's "SignedCertificateTimestampList" [2]
 - OCSP stapling in the presence of an X.509 "must-staple" extension [3]

How should these work in the case of a network-triggered SSLv3 fallback?


One proposal would note that some browsers do, I think, send the
RFC5746 TLS_EMPTY_RENEGOTIATION_INFO_SCSV ciphersuite in an SSLv3
ClientHello, and receive a "renegotiation_info" ServerHello extension
in return.

So there's evidence that this idiom of a "special ciphersuite value"
in an SSLv3 ClientHello, and a TLS Extension in ServerHello, is
"compatible-enough" with the horrible middleboxes triggering these
fallbacks.

This idiom wouldn't work with a proposal that sends data in
ClientHello, but both the TACK and CT proposals use empty
extension_data, and OCSP stapling seems like it would work as a binary
signal, as well (?).

So, is it reasonable for things like TACK to consider an SCSV value
that could be used instead of (or in combination with) a ClientHello
Extension, to request the corresponding ServerHello extension?


Trevor