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X.509 Key and Signature Encoding for the KeyNote Trust Management System

The information below is for an old version of the document that is already published as an RFC.
Document Type
This is an older version of an Internet-Draft that was ultimately published as RFC 5708.
Author Angelos D. Keromytis
Last updated 2020-01-21 (Latest revision 2009-03-30)
RFC stream Independent Submission
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IESG IESG state RFC 5708 (Informational)
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Responsible AD Tim Polk
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Internet-Draft                                            A.D. Keromytis
Expires: October 20, 2009                            Columbia University
Intended Status: Proposed                                 March 25, 2009
Filename: draft-keromytis-keynote-x509-02.txt

                X.509 Key and Signature Encoding for the
                    KeyNote Trust Management System

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   This memo describes X.509 key identifiers and signature encoding
   for version 2 of the KeyNote trust-management system [KEYNOTE].
   X.509 certificates [RFC3280] can be directly used in the Authorizer
   or Licensees field (or in both fields) in a KeyNote assertion,
   allowing for easy integration with protocols that already use X.509
   certificates for authentication.

   In addition, the document defines additional signature types that
   use other hash functions (beyond the MD5 and SHA1 hash functions
   that are defined in [RFC2792]).

1.  Introduction

   KeyNote is a simple and flexible trust-management system designed to
   work well for a variety of large- and small-scale Internet-based
   applications.  It provides a single, unified language for both local
   policies and credentials.  KeyNote policies and credentials, called
   `assertions', contain predicates that describe the trusted actions
   permitted by the holders of specific public keys.  KeyNote
   assertions are essentially small, highly-structured programs.  A 
   signed assertion, which can be sent over an untrusted network, is
   also called a `credential assertion'.  Credential assertions, which
   also serve the role of certificates, have the same syntax as policy
   assertions but are also signed by the principal delegating the trust.
   Note that only one principal may sign a credential assertion, but
   trust may be delegated to multiple principals.  The credential
   assertion may delegate trust to each of these principals separately,
   or to groups of principals required to act together.  For more
   details on KeyNote, see [KEYNOTE].  This document assumes reader 
   familiarity with the KeyNote system.

   Cryptographic keys may be used in KeyNote to identify principals.  To
   facilitate interoperation between different implementations and to
   allow for maximal flexibility, keys must be converted to a normalized
   canonical form (depended on the public key algorithm used) for the
   purposes of any internal comparisons between keys.  For example, an
   RSA key may be encoded in base64 ASCII in one credential, and
   in hexadecimal ASCII in another.  A KeyNote implementation must
   internally convert the two encodings to a normalized form that allows
   for comparison between them.  Furthermore, the internal structure of
   an encoded key must be known for an implementation to correctly
   decode it. RFC 2792 [RFC2792] describes the RSA and DSA key
   identifier and signature encodings for use in KeyNote assertions.
   This document specifies a new key identifier, allowing X.509
   certificates [RFC3280] to be used as a key substitute wherever an
   RSA or DSA key may be used in KeyNote.  Specifically, KeyNote will
   use the key associated with the Subject of an X.509 certificate.  In
   addition, this document defines a corresponding signature encoding,
   to be used in conjunction with X.509 key identifiers.  Finally, this
   document defines new signature encodings that use new hash functions
   beyond the MD5 and SHA1 functions defined in RFC 2792, and which in
   recent years have been found to be vulnerable to attack.

1.1. Conventions

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [RFC2119].

2.  X.509 Key Identifier Encoding

   X.509 key identifiers in KeyNote are encoded as an ASN1 DER encoding
   of the whole X.509 certificate, as defined in Section 4 of RFC 3280

   For use in KeyNote credentials, the ASN1 DER-encoded object is then 
   ASCII- encoded (e.g., as a string of hex digits or base64

   X.509 keys encoded in this way in KeyNote must be identified by the
   "x509-XXX:" algorithm name, where XXX is an ASCII encoding ("hex" or
   "base64").  Other ASCII encoding schemes may be defined in the

3.  X.509 Key Identifier Normalized Forms

   For comparison purposes, X.509 certificates are parsed, the Subject
   public key is extracted and decomposed according to the rules
   described in Section 2 of [RFC2792].  The resulting RSA or DSA key
   is then used for comparing, per [RFC2792].  All X.509 key comparisons
   in KeyNote occur between normalized forms.  Note that this allows for
   comparison between a directly encoded RSA or DSA key (as specified in
   RFC 2792) and the same key when contained in an X.509 certificate.

4.  X.509 Signature Computation and Encoding

   X.509 key identifier signatures are defined for historical reasons.
   Implementers are encouraged to use the RSA or DSA-based signature
   encodings instead.

   X.509 key identifier signatures in KeyNote are identical to RSA- or
   DSA-based signatures [RFC2792].  The only difference is that the
   public key corresponding to the private key that generated the 
   signatures is encoded in an X.509 certificate in the ``Authorizer''
   field of the signed credential assertion.  However, an RSA- or
   DSA-based signature encoding (depending on the Subject key contained
   in the X.509 certificate itself) may be used instead.

   X.509 key identifier signatures in KeyNote are computed over the 
   assertion body (starting from the beginning of the first keyword,
   up to and including the newline character immediately before the 
   "Signature:" keyword) and the signature algorithm name (including
   the trailing colon character, e.g., "sig-x509-sha512-base64:")

   X.509 key identifier signatures are encoded as an ASN1 OCTET
   STRING object, containing the signature value.

   For use in KeyNote credentials, the ASN1 OCTET STRING is then ASCII-
   encoded (as a string of hex digits or base64 characters).

   X.509 key identifier signatures encoded in this way in KeyNote must
   be identified by the "sig-x509-XXX-YYY:" algorithm name, where XXX
   is a hash function name (see Section 5 and Section 7 of this
   document) and YYY is an ASCII encoding ("hex" or "base64").

5.  Hash Functions For RSA, DSA, and X.509 Key Identifier Signatures

   For historical reasons (backward compatibility), X.509 key
   identifier signatures SHOULD support SHA1 as the hash function,
   using the "sha1" keyword.  In addition, SHA256, SHA512 and
   RIPEMD160 [SHA256+] [SHA2-2] [RIPEMD-160] signatures MUST be
   supported for use with X509 key identifier signatures, by using
   the "sha256", "sha512" and "ripemd160" keywords respectively
   (see Section 7).

   In addition, SHA256, SHA512 and RIPEMD160 signature identifiers are 
   defined for RSA signatures, using the "sha256", "sha512" and
   "ripemd160" keywords respectively (see Section 7).

6.  Security Considerations

   This document discusses the format of X.509 keys and signatures
   as used in KeyNote.  The security of KeyNote credentials utilizing
   such keys and credentials is directly dependent on the strength of
   the related public key algorithms.  On the security of KeyNote
   itself, see [KEYNOTE].  Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the
   application developer to ensure that X.509 certificates are valid
   (signed by a trusted authority, not expired, and not revoked).

   The use of SHA1 as part of signatures and key identifiers is
   discouraged, because of the various weaknesses in the algorithm
   that have been identified in recent years.

7.  IANA Considerations

   Per [KEYNOTE], IANA should provide a registry of reserved algorithm
   identifiers.  The following identifiers are reserved by this document
   as public key identifier encodings:

   - "x509-hex"
   - "x509-base64"

   The following identifiers are reserved by this document as signature

   - "sig-x509-sha1-hex"
   - "sig-x509-sha1-base64"
   - "sig-x509-sha256-hex"
   - "sig-x509-sha256-base64"
   - "sig-x509-sha512-hex"
   - "sig-x509-sha512-base64"
   - "sig-x509-ripemd160-hex"
   - "sig-x509-ripemd160-base64"
   - "sig-rsa-sha256-hex"
   - "sig-rsa-sha256-base64"
   - "sig-rsa-sha512-hex"
   - "sig-rsa-sha512-base64"
   - "sig-rsa-ripemd160-hex"
   - "sig-rsa-ripemd160-base64"

   Note that the double quotes are not part of the algorithm

8. Normative References

   [RFC3280]    Housley, R., Polk, W., Ford, W., and D. Solo, "Internet
                X.509 Public Key Infrastructure Certificate and
                Certificate Revocation List (CRL) Profile", RFC 3280,
                April 2002.

   [SHA256+]    Eastlake, D. and T. Hansen, "US Secure Hash Algorithms
                (SHA and HMAC-SHA)", RFC 4634, July 2006.

   [RFC2119]    Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
                Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

9. Informative References

   [KEYNOTE]    Blaze, M., Feigenbaum, J., Ioannidis, J., and
                A. Keromytis, "The KeyNote Trust-Management System,
                Version 2", RFC 2704, September 1999.

   [RIPEMD-160]  3.ISO/IEC 10118-3:1998, "Information technology -
                 Security techniques - Hash-functions - Part 3:
                 Dedicated hash-functions," International Organization
                 for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland, 1998.

   [RFC2792]    Blaze, M., Ioannidis, J., and A. Keromytis, "DSA and RSA
                Key and Signature Encoding for the KeyNote Trust
                Management System", RFC 2792, March 2000.

   [SHA2-2]     NIST, "Descriptions of SHA-256, SHA-384, and SHA-512",
                May 2001,

10. Acknowledgements

   The author would like to thank Jim Schaad for his review and comments
   on earlier versions of this document.

Authors' Addresses

   Angelos D. Keromytis
   Department of Computer Science
   Columbia University
   Mail Code 0401
   1214 Amsterdam Avenue
   New York, New York 1007
   angelos <at> cs <dot> columbia <dot> edu