Skip to main content

Short-Lived Certificates for Secure Telephone Identity

The information below is for an old version of the document.
Document Type
This is an older version of an Internet-Draft whose latest revision state is "Expired".
Author Jon Peterson
Last updated 2017-03-13
RFC stream (None)
Stream Stream state (No stream defined)
Consensus boilerplate Unknown
RFC Editor Note (None)
IESG IESG state I-D Exists
Telechat date (None)
Responsible AD (None)
Send notices to (None)
Network Working Group                                        J. Peterson
Internet-Draft                                                   Neustar
Intended status: Standards Track                          March 13, 2017
Expires: September 14, 2017

         Short-Lived Certificates for Secure Telephone Identity


   When certificates are used as credentials to attest the assignment of
   ownership of telephone numbers, some mechanism is required to provide
   certificate freshness.  This document specifies short-lived
   certificates as a means of guaranteeing certificate freshness, in
   particular relying on the Automated Certificate Management
   Environment (ACME) to allow signers to acquire certifcates as needed.

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
   working documents as Internet-Drafts.  The list of current Internet-
   Drafts is at

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   This Internet-Draft will expire on September 14, 2017.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2017 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   ( in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of

Peterson               Expires September 14, 2017               [Page 1]
Internet-Draft                 STIR Certs                     March 2017

   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  Short-lived certificates for STIR . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   4.  Certificate Acquisition with ACME . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   5.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   6.  Privacy Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   7.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   8.  Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   9.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     9.1.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     9.2.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9

1.  Introduction

   The STIR problem statement [RFC7340] discusses many attacks on the
   telephone network that are enabled by impersonation, including
   various forms of robocalling, voicemail hacking, and swatting.  One
   of the most important components of a system to prevent impersonation
   is the implementation of credentials which identify the parties who
   control telephone numbers.  The STIR certificates
   [I-D.ietf-stir-certificates] specification describes a credential
   system based on [X.509] version 3 certificates in accordance with
   [RFC5280] for that purpose.  Those credentials can then be used by
   STIR authentication services [I-D.ietf-stir-rfc4474bis] to sign
   PASSporT objects [I-D.ietf-stir-passport] carried in a SIP [RFC3261]

   The STIR certificates document specifies an extension to X.509 that
   defines a Telephony Number (TN) Authorization List that may be
   included by certificate authorities in certificates.  This extension
   provides additional information that relying parties can use when
   validating transactions with the certificate.  When a SIP request,
   for example, arrives at a terminating administrative domain, the
   calling number attested by the SIP request can be compared to the TN
   Authorization List of the certificate that signed the request to
   determine if the caller is authorized to use that calling number in

   No specific recommendation is made in the STIR certificates document
   for a means of determining the freshness of certificates with a TN
   Authorization List.  This document explores how short-lived
   certificates could be used as a means of preserving that freshness.

Peterson               Expires September 14, 2017               [Page 2]
Internet-Draft                 STIR Certs                     March 2017

   Short-lived certificates also have a number of other desirable
   properties that fulfill important operational requirements for
   network operators.  The use of the Automated Certificate Management
   Environment (ACME) [I-D.ietf-acme-acme] to manage these short-lived
   certificates is the focus of the architecture specified here.  The
   interaction of STIR with ACME has already been explored in

2.  Terminology

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

3.  Short-lived certificates for STIR

   While there is no easy definition of what constitutes a "short-lived"
   certificate, the term typically refers to certificates that are valid
   only for days or even hours, as opposed to the months or years common
   in traditional public key infrastructures.  When the private keying
   material associated with a certificate that has an expiry of months
   or years is compromised by an adversary, the issuing authority must
   revoke the certificate, which requires relying parties to review
   certificate revocation lists or to access real-time status
   information with protocols such as OCSP.  Short-lived certificates
   offer an alternative where, if compromised, certificates will shortly
   expire anyway, and rather than revoking and reissuing the certificate
   in response to a crisis, certificates routinely roll-over and cannot
   be cached for a long term by relying parties, minimizing their value
   to attackers.

   One of the additional benefits of using short-lived certificates is
   that they do not require relying parties to perform any certificate
   freshness check.  The trade-off is that the signer must acquire new
   certificates frequently, so the cost of round-trip times to the
   certificate authority is paid on the signer's side rather than the
   verifier's side; however, in environments where many parties may rely
   on a single certificate, or at least where a single certificate will
   be used to sign many transactions during its short lifetime, the
   overall architecture will incur less processing delay.

   In the STIR context, the TN Authorization List defined in
   [I-D.ietf-stir-certificates] adds a new wrinkle to the behavior of
   short-lived certificates.  Because a subject may have authority over
   multiple telephone numbers, a certificate issued to that subject
   could attest the authority over all, some, or just one of those
   telephone numbers.  If an authentication service wanted to acquire a

Peterson               Expires September 14, 2017               [Page 3]
Internet-Draft                 STIR Certs                     March 2017

   new certificate on a per-call basis, for example, they could acquire
   a certificate that can only sign for the calling party number of the
   call in question.  At the other end of the spectrum, a large service
   provider could acquire a certificate valid for millions of numbers,
   but expire the certificate after a very short duration - say one hour
   - to reduce the risk that the certificate would be compromised.

   This inherent flexibility in the architecture permits authentication
   services to implement very narrow policies for certificate usage.  A
   large service provider who wanted to avoid revealing which phone
   numbers they controlled, for example, could provide no information in
   the certificate that signs a call other than just the single
   telephone number that corresponds to the calling party's number.  How
   frequently the service provider feels that they need to expire that
   certificate and acquire a new one is entirely a matter of policy to
   them.  This makes it much harder for entities monitoring signatures
   over calls to guess who owns which numbers, and provides a much more
   complicated threat surface for attackers trying to compromise the

   In order to reduce the burden on verification services, an
   authentication service could also piggyback a short-lived certificate
   onto the signed SIP request, so that no network lookup and consequent
   round-trip delay would be required on the terminating side to acquire
   the new certificate.  [I-D.ietf-stir-rfc4474bis] already provides a
   way of pointing to a certificate in a MIME body associated with the
   SIP request.  Future work could specify other means of carrying
   certificates within SIP requests via a header rather than a body, to
   optimize for intermediaries adding and extracting these certificates.

4.  Certificate Acquisition with ACME

   One of the primary burdens of short-lived certificates is building an
   operational system that allows signers to acquire new certificates
   and put them to immediate use.  ACME [I-D.ietf-acme-acme] is designed
   for exactly this purpose.  After a client registers with an ACME
   server, and the authority of the client for the names in question is
   established (through means such as [I-D.peterson-acme-telephone]),
   the client can at any time apply for a certificate to be issued by
   sending an appropriate JSON request to the server.  That request will
   contain a CSR [RFC2986] indicating the intended scope of authority as
   well the validity interval of the certificate in question.
   Ultimately, this will enable the client to download the certificate
   from a certificate URL designated by the server.

   [TBD: What needs to fixed for the TN Authorization List extension,
   including both TN and SPC cases>]

Peterson               Expires September 14, 2017               [Page 4]
Internet-Draft                 STIR Certs                     March 2017

5.  IANA Considerations

   This document contains no actions for the IANA.

6.  Privacy Considerations

   Short-lived certificates provide attractive privacy properties when
   compared to real-time status query protocols like OCSP, which require
   relying parties to perform a network dip that can reveal a great deal
   about the source and destination of communications.  For STIR, these
   problems are compounded by the presence of the TN Authorization List
   extension to certificates.  Short-lived certificates can minimize the
   data that needs to appear in the TN Authorization List, and
   consequently reduce the amount of information about the caller leaked
   by certificate usage to an amount equal to what is leaked by the call
   signaling itself.

   [More TBD]

7.  Security Considerations

   This document is entirely about security.  For further information on
   certificate security and practices, see [RFC5280], in particular its
   Security Considerations.

8.  Acknowledgments

   Stephen Farrell provided key input to the discussions leading to this

9.  References

9.1.  Normative References

              ATIS Recommendation 0300251, "Codes for Identification of
              Service Providers for Information Exchange", 2007.

   [DSS]      National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S.
              Department of Commerce | NIST FIPS PUB 186-4, "Digital
              Signature Standard, version 4", 2013.

              Barnes, R., Hoffman-Andrews, J., and J. Kasten, "Automatic
              Certificate Management Environment (ACME)", draft-ietf-
              acme-acme-05 (work in progress), February 2017.

Peterson               Expires September 14, 2017               [Page 5]
Internet-Draft                 STIR Certs                     March 2017

              Peterson, J. and S. Turner, "Secure Telephone Identity
              Credentials: Certificates", draft-ietf-stir-
              certificates-11 (work in progress), October 2016.

              Wendt, C. and J. Peterson, "Personal Assertion Token
              (PASSporT)", draft-ietf-stir-passport-11 (work in
              progress), February 2017.

              Peterson, J., Jennings, C., Rescorla, E., and C. Wendt,
              "Authenticated Identity Management in the Session
              Initiation Protocol (SIP)", draft-ietf-stir-rfc4474bis-16
              (work in progress), February 2017.

              Peterson, J. and R. Barnes, "ACME Identifiers and
              Challenges for Telephone Numbers", draft-peterson-acme-
              telephone-00 (work in progress), October 2016.

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997,

   [RFC2392]  Levinson, E., "Content-ID and Message-ID Uniform Resource
              Locators", RFC 2392, DOI 10.17487/RFC2392, August 1998,

   [RFC2818]  Rescorla, E., "HTTP Over TLS", RFC 2818,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2818, May 2000,

   [RFC2986]  Nystrom, M. and B. Kaliski, "PKCS #10: Certification
              Request Syntax Specification Version 1.7", RFC 2986,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2986, November 2000,

   [RFC3261]  Rosenberg, J., Schulzrinne, H., Camarillo, G., Johnston,
              A., Peterson, J., Sparks, R., Handley, M., and E.
              Schooler, "SIP: Session Initiation Protocol", RFC 3261,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC3261, June 2002,

Peterson               Expires September 14, 2017               [Page 6]
Internet-Draft                 STIR Certs                     March 2017

   [RFC3447]  Jonsson, J. and B. Kaliski, "Public-Key Cryptography
              Standards (PKCS) #1: RSA Cryptography Specifications
              Version 2.1", RFC 3447, DOI 10.17487/RFC3447, February
              2003, <>.

   [RFC3986]  Berners-Lee, T., Fielding, R., and L. Masinter, "Uniform
              Resource Identifier (URI): Generic Syntax", STD 66,
              RFC 3986, DOI 10.17487/RFC3986, January 2005,

   [RFC4055]  Schaad, J., Kaliski, B., and R. Housley, "Additional
              Algorithms and Identifiers for RSA Cryptography for use in
              the Internet X.509 Public Key Infrastructure Certificate
              and Certificate Revocation List (CRL) Profile", RFC 4055,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC4055, June 2005,

   [RFC5019]  Deacon, A. and R. Hurst, "The Lightweight Online
              Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP) Profile for High-Volume
              Environments", RFC 5019, DOI 10.17487/RFC5019, September
              2007, <>.

   [RFC5280]  Cooper, D., Santesson, S., Farrell, S., Boeyen, S.,
              Housley, R., and W. Polk, "Internet X.509 Public Key
              Infrastructure Certificate and Certificate Revocation List
              (CRL) Profile", RFC 5280, DOI 10.17487/RFC5280, May 2008,

   [RFC5912]  Hoffman, P. and J. Schaad, "New ASN.1 Modules for the
              Public Key Infrastructure Using X.509 (PKIX)", RFC 5912,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC5912, June 2010,

   [RFC5958]  Turner, S., "Asymmetric Key Packages", RFC 5958,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC5958, August 2010,

   [RFC6818]  Yee, P., "Updates to the Internet X.509 Public Key
              Infrastructure Certificate and Certificate Revocation List
              (CRL) Profile", RFC 6818, DOI 10.17487/RFC6818, January
              2013, <>.

   [RFC6960]  Santesson, S., Myers, M., Ankney, R., Malpani, A.,
              Galperin, S., and C. Adams, "X.509 Internet Public Key
              Infrastructure Online Certificate Status Protocol - OCSP",
              RFC 6960, DOI 10.17487/RFC6960, June 2013,

Peterson               Expires September 14, 2017               [Page 7]
Internet-Draft                 STIR Certs                     March 2017

   [RFC7030]  Pritikin, M., Ed., Yee, P., Ed., and D. Harkins, Ed.,
              "Enrollment over Secure Transport", RFC 7030,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC7030, October 2013,

   [RFC7093]  Turner, S., Kent, S., and J. Manger, "Additional Methods
              for Generating Key Identifiers Values", RFC 7093,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC7093, December 2013,

   [RFC7230]  Fielding, R., Ed. and J. Reschke, Ed., "Hypertext Transfer
              Protocol (HTTP/1.1): Message Syntax and Routing",
              RFC 7230, DOI 10.17487/RFC7230, June 2014,

   [RFC7519]  Jones, M., Bradley, J., and N. Sakimura, "JSON Web Token
              (JWT)", RFC 7519, DOI 10.17487/RFC7519, May 2015,

   [X.509]    ITU-T Recommendation X.509 (10/2012) | ISO/IEC 9594-8,
              "Information technology - Open Systems Interconnection -
              The Directory: Public-key and attribute certificate
              frameworks", 2012.

   [X.680]    ITU-T Recommendation X.680 (08/2015) | ISO/IEC 8824-1,
              "Information Technology - Abstract Syntax Notation One:
              Specification of basic notation".

   [X.681]    ITU-T Recommendation X.681 (08/2015) | ISO/IEC 8824-2,
              "Information Technology - Abstract Syntax Notation One:
              Information Object Specification".

   [X.682]    ITU-T Recommendation X.682 (08/2015) | ISO/IEC 8824-2,
              "Information Technology - Abstract Syntax Notation One:
              Constraint Specification".

   [X.683]    ITU-T Recommendation X.683 (08/2015) | ISO/IEC 8824-3,
              "Information Technology - Abstract Syntax Notation One:
              Parameterization of ASN.1 Specifications".

9.2.  Informative References

   [RFC2046]  Freed, N. and N. Borenstein, "Multipurpose Internet Mail
              Extensions (MIME) Part Two: Media Types", RFC 2046,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2046, November 1996,

Peterson               Expires September 14, 2017               [Page 8]
Internet-Draft                 STIR Certs                     March 2017

   [RFC3647]  Chokhani, S., Ford, W., Sabett, R., Merrill, C., and S.
              Wu, "Internet X.509 Public Key Infrastructure Certificate
              Policy and Certification Practices Framework", RFC 3647,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC3647, November 2003,

   [RFC5055]  Freeman, T., Housley, R., Malpani, A., Cooper, D., and W.
              Polk, "Server-Based Certificate Validation Protocol
              (SCVP)", RFC 5055, DOI 10.17487/RFC5055, December 2007,

   [RFC6961]  Pettersen, Y., "The Transport Layer Security (TLS)
              Multiple Certificate Status Request Extension", RFC 6961,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6961, June 2013,

   [RFC7340]  Peterson, J., Schulzrinne, H., and H. Tschofenig, "Secure
              Telephone Identity Problem Statement and Requirements",
              RFC 7340, DOI 10.17487/RFC7340, September 2014,

   [RFC7375]  Peterson, J., "Secure Telephone Identity Threat Model",
              RFC 7375, DOI 10.17487/RFC7375, October 2014,

   [X.520]    ITU-T Recommendation X.520 (10/2012) | ISO/IEC 9594-6,
              "Information technology - Open Systems Interconnection -
              The Directory: Selected Attribute Types", 2012.

Author's Address

   Jon Peterson
   Neustar, Inc.


Peterson               Expires September 14, 2017               [Page 9]