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On the Use of Channel Bindings to Secure Channels
RFC 5056

Document type: RFC - Proposed Standard (November 2007; Errata)
Was draft-williams-on-channel-binding (individual in sec area)
Document stream: IETF
Last updated: 2013-03-02
Other versions: plain text, pdf, html

IETF State: (None)
Consensus: Unknown
Document shepherd: No shepherd assigned

IESG State: RFC 5056 (Proposed Standard)
Responsible AD: Sam Hartman
Send notices to: nicolas.williams@sun.com

Network Working Group                                        N. Williams
Request for Comments: 5056                                           Sun
Category: Standards Track                                  November 2007

           On the Use of Channel Bindings to Secure Channels

Status of This Memo

   This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
   Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
   Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
   and status of this protocol.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Abstract

   The concept of channel binding allows applications to establish that
   the two end-points of a secure channel at one network layer are the
   same as at a higher layer by binding authentication at the higher
   layer to the channel at the lower layer.  This allows applications to
   delegate session protection to lower layers, which has various
   performance benefits.

   This document discusses and formalizes the concept of channel binding
   to secure channels.

Williams                    Standards Track                     [Page 1]
RFC 5056                  On Channel Bindings              November 2007

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction ....................................................3
      1.1. Conventions Used in This Document ..........................4
   2. Definitions .....................................................4
      2.1. Properties of Channel Binding ..............................6
      2.2. EAP Channel Binding ........................................9
   3. Authentication and Channel Binding Semantics ...................10
      3.1. The GSS-API and Channel Binding ...........................10
      3.2. SASL and Channel Binding ..................................11
   4. Channel Bindings Specifications ................................11
      4.1. Examples of Unique Channel Bindings .......................11
      4.2. Examples of End-Point Channel Bindings ....................12
   5. Uses of Channel Binding ........................................12
   6. Benefits of Channel Binding to Secure Channels .................14
   7. IANA Considerations ............................................15
      7.1. Registration Procedure ....................................15
      7.2. Comments on Channel Bindings Registrations ................16
      7.3. Change Control ............................................17
   8. Security Considerations ........................................17
      8.1. Non-Unique Channel Bindings and Channel Binding
           Re-Establishment ..........................................18
   9. References .....................................................19
      9.1. Normative References ......................................19
      9.2. Informative References ....................................19
   Appendix A. Acknowledgments .......................................22

Williams                    Standards Track                     [Page 2]
RFC 5056                  On Channel Bindings              November 2007

1.  Introduction

   In a number of situations, it is useful for an application to be able
   to handle authentication within the application layer, while
   simultaneously being able to utilize session or transport security at
   a lower network layer.  For example, IPsec [RFC4301] [RFC4303]
   [RFC4302] is amenable to being accelerated in hardware to handle very
   high link speeds, but IPsec key exchange protocols and the IPsec
   architecture are not as amenable to use as a security mechanism
   within applications, particularly applications that have users as
   clients.  A method of combining security at both layers is therefore
   attractive.  To enable this to be done securely, it is necessary to
   "bind" the mechanisms together -- so as to avoid man-in-the-middle
   vulnerabilities and enable the mechanisms to be integrated in a
   seamless way.  This is the objective of "Channel Bindings".

   The term "channel binding", as used in this document, derives from
   the Generic Security Service Application Program Interface (GSS-API)
   [RFC2743], which has a channel binding facility that was intended for
   binding GSS-API authentication to secure channels at lower network
   layers.  The purpose and benefits of the GSS-API channel binding
   facility were not discussed at length, and some details were left
   unspecified.  Now we find that this concept can be very useful,
   therefore we begin with a generalization and formalization of
   "channel binding" independent of the GSS-API.

   Although inspired by and derived from the GSS-API, the notion of

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