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Using TLS in Applications

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Charter for "Using TLS in Applications" (uta) WG
Title: Using TLS in Applications
WG State: Active
Charter State:
Responsible AD: Pete Resnick

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Last updated: 2013-12-11

Other versions: plain text

Charter charter-ietf-uta-01

There is a renewed and urgent interest in the IETF to increase the security
of transmissions over the Internet. Many application protocols have defined
methods for using TLS to authenticate the server (and sometimes the client), and
to encrypt the connection between the client and server. However, there is a
diversity of definitions and requirements, and that diversity has caused
confusion for application developers and also has led to lack of
interoperability or lack of deployment. Implementers and deployers are faced
with multiple security issues in real-world usage of TLS, which currently does
not preclude insecure ciphers and modes of operation.

This WG has the following tasks:

- Update the definitions for using TLS over a set of representative application
protocols.  This includes communication with proxies, between servers, and
between peers, where appropriate, in addition to client/server communication.

- Specify a set of best practices for TLS clients and servers, including but not
limited to recommended versions of TLS, using forward secrecy, and one or more
ciphersuites and extensions that are mandatory to implement.

- Consider, and possibly define, a standard way for an application client and
server to use unauthenticated encryption through TLS when server and/or client
authentication cannot be achieved.

- Create a document that helps application protocol developers use TLS in future
application definitions.

The initial set of representative application protocols is SMTP, POP, IMAP,
XMPP, and HTTP 1.1. It is expected that other protocols that use TLS might later
be updated using the guidelines from this WG, and that those updates will happen
through other WGs or through individual submissions.

The WG will make the fewest changes needed to achieve good interoperable
security for the applications using TLS.  No changes to TLS itself will be made
in this WG, and the WG will ensure that changes to current versions of popular
TLS libaries will not be required to conform to the WG's specifications.

This WG will collaborate with other IETF WGs, in particular with the TLS and