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Limited Additional Mechanisms for PKIX and SMIME

Document Charter Limited Additional Mechanisms for PKIX and SMIME WG (lamps)
Title Limited Additional Mechanisms for PKIX and SMIME
Last updated 2021-05-25
State Approved
WG State Active
IESG Responsible AD Roman Danyliw
Charter edit AD Roman Danyliw
Send notices to (None)

The PKIX and S/MIME Working Groups have been closed for some time. Some
updates have been proposed to the X.509 certificate documents produced 
by the PKIX Working Group and the electronic mail security documents 
produced by the S/MIME Working Group.

The LAMPS (Limited Additional Mechanisms for PKIX and SMIME) Working 
Group is chartered to make updates where there is a known constituency 
interested in real deployment and there is at least one sufficiently 
well specified approach to the update so that the working group can 
sensibly evaluate whether to adopt a proposal.

The LAMPS WG is now tackling these topics:

1. Specify the use of short-lived X.509 certificates for which no
revocation information is made available by the Certification Authority.
Short-lived certificates have a lifespan that is shorter than the time
needed to detect, report, and distribute revocation information.  As a
result, revoking short-lived certificates is unnecessary and pointless.

2. Update the specification for the cryptographic protection of email
headers -- both for signatures and encryption -- to improve the
implementation situation with respect to privacy, security, usability
and interoperability in cryptographically-protected electronic mail.
Most current implementations of cryptographically-protected electronic
mail protect only the body of the message, which leaves significant 
room for attacks against otherwise-protected messages.

3. The Certificate Management Protocol (CMP) is specified in RFC 4210, 
and it offers a vast range of certificate management options.  CMP is 
currently being used in many different industrial environments, but it 
needs to be tailored to the specific needs of such machine-to-machine 
scenarios and communication among PKI management entities.  The LAMPS 
WG will develop a "lightweight" profile of CMP to more efficiently 
support of these environments and better facilitate interoperable 
implementation, while preserving cryptographic algorithm agility.  In 
addition, necessary updates and clarifications to CMP will be 
specified in a separate document.  This work will be coordinated with 
the LWIG WG.

4. Provide concrete guidance for implementers of email user agents to 
promote interoperability of end-to-end cryptographic protection of 
email messages.  This may include guidance about the generation, 
interpretation, and handling of protected messages; management of 
the relevant certificates; documentation of how to avoid common 
failure modes; strategies for deployment in a mixed environment; as 
well as test vectors and examples that can be used by implementers 
and interoperability testing.  The resulting robust consensus 
among email user agent implementers is expected to provide more 
usable and useful cryptographic security for email users.

5. Recent progress in the development of quantum computers pose a 
threat to widely deployed public key algorithms.  As a result, 
there is a need to prepare for a day when cryptosystems such as 
RSA, Diffie-Hellman, ECDSA, ECDH, and EdDSA cannot be depended 
upon in the PKIX and S/MIME protocols.

5.a. The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 
has a Post-Quantum Cryptography (PQC) effort to produce one or more 
quantum-resistant public-key cryptographic algorithm standards. 
The LAMPS WG will specify the use of these new PQC public key 
algorithms with the PKIX certificates and the Cryptographic Message 
Syntax (CMS). These specifications will use object identifiers 
for the new algorithms that are assigned by NIST.

5.b. A lengthy transition from today's public key algorithms to 
PQC public key algorithms is expected. Time will be needed to gain 
full confidence in the new PQC public key algorithms.

5.b.i. The LAMPS WG will specify formats, identifiers, enrollment, 
and operational practices for "hybrid key establishment" that 
combines the shared secret values one or more traditional 
key-establishment algorithm and one or more NIST PQC 
key-establishment algorithm or a PQC key-establishment algorithm 
vetted by the CFRG.  The shared secret values will be combined using 
HKDF (see RFC 5869), one of the key derivation functions in NIST 
SP 800-56C, or a key derivation function vetted by the CFRG.

5.b.ii. The LAMPS WG will specify formats, identifiers, enrollment, 
and operational practices for "dual signature" that combine one or 
more traditional signature algorithm with one or more NIST PQC 
signature algorithm or a PQC algorithm vetted by the CFRG.

In addition, the LAMPS WG may investigate other updates to documents
produced by the PKIX and S/MIME WG. The LAMPS WG may produce
clarifications where needed, but the LAMPS WG shall not adopt
anything beyond clarifications without rechartering.