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Operational Considerations for BRSKI Registrar

Document Type Active Internet-Draft (individual)
Authors Michael Richardson , Wei Pan
Last updated 2024-02-14
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Network Working Group                                      M. Richardson
Internet-Draft                                  Sandelman Software Works
Intended status: Best Current Practice                            W. Pan
Expires: 17 August 2024                              Huawei Technologies
                                                        14 February 2024

             Operational Considerations for BRSKI Registrar


   This document describes a number of operational modes that a BRSKI
   Registration Authority (Registrar) may take on.

   Each mode is defined, and then each mode is given a relevance within
   an over applicability of what kind of organization the Registrar is
   deployed into.  This document does not change any protocol

   This document includes operational advice about avoiding unwanted

About This Document

   This note is to be removed before publishing as an RFC.

   Status information for this document may be found at

   Discussion of this document takes place on the anima Working Group
   mailing list (, which is archived at

   Source for this draft and an issue tracker can be found at

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

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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     1.1.  Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     1.2.  Reference Network and Diagrams  . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
       1.2.1.  Tier-1 Network  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
       1.2.2.  Enterprise Network  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
       1.2.3.  Home Network  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     1.3.  Internal architectural view . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
       1.3.1.  Pledge Interface (Southbound Interface) . . . . . . .   6
       1.3.2.  MASA client (Northbound Interface)  . . . . . . . . .   8
       1.3.3.  Join Proxy (Southbound Interface) . . . . . . . . . .   9
       1.3.4.  EST and BRSKI GRASP announcements . . . . . . . . . .   9
       1.3.5.  Certification Authority . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
       1.3.6.  Management Interface  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   2.  Connecting the Autonomic Control Plane to the Network
           Operations Center (NOC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   3.  Public Key Infrastructure Recommendations for the
           Registrar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
     3.1.  PKI recommendations for Tier-1/ISP Networks . . . . . . .  11
     3.2.  Enterprise Network  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
     3.3.  Home Network  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
   4.  Architecture Considerations for the Registrar . . . . . . . .  14
     4.1.  Completely Synchronous Registrar  . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
     4.2.  Partially Synchronous Registrar . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
     4.3.  Asynchronous Registrar  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
   5.  Certificates needed for the Registrar . . . . . . . . . . . .  16

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     5.1.  TLS Server Certificate for BRSKI-EST  . . . . . . . . . .  16
     5.2.  TLS Client Certificate for BRSKI-MASA . . . . . . . . . .  16
       5.2.1.  Use of Publically Anchored TLS Client Certificate with
               BRSKI-MASA connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
     5.3.  Certificate for signing of Voucher-Requests . . . . . . .  17
   6.  Autonomic Control Plane Addressing  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
   7.  Privacy Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18
   8.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18
     8.1.  Denial of Service Attacks against the Registrar . . . . .  18
     8.2.  Loss of Keys/Corruption of Infrastructure . . . . . . . .  19
   9.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
   10. Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
   11. Changelog . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20
   12. References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20
     12.1.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20
     12.2.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  23

1.  Introduction

   [RFC8995] introduces a mechanism for new devices (called pledges) to
   be onboarded into a network without intervention from an expert

   A key aspect of this is that there has to be a thing for the pledge
   to join!  [RFC8995] refers to this thing as the "Domain", identified
   technically by the "DomainID".  The Registrar component embodies the
   identity, membership and trust anchor of the domain.  Membership in
   the domain is proven by possession of a valid Local DeviceID, a form
   of [ieee802-1AR] certificate.

   The Registrar is the component that implements the domain,
   authorizing new devices (pledges) to join.  Proper and efficient
   operation of the Registrar is key aspect for the Autonomic
   mechanisms, and for enabling secure onboarding.

   This document provides implementation, deployment and operational
   guidance for the BRSKI Registrar.

   There are however several classes of operator of a local domain: ISP
   and large managed multi-side Enterprises are the primary target for
   this document.  Medium sized single site Enterprises and Industrial
   Plant users are a secondary target for this document.  Unmanaged
   small enterprises and home users are addressed in a separate section
   at the end as special case.

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   This document first introduces the different scales of deployment as
   a reference for further discussion and contrasts, and then provides
   analyses some consequences of architectural choices that may be
   appropriate for different scales of deployments.

   The document includes security best practices for the management of
   the certificates and the certification authorities.

1.1.  Terminology

   Although this document is not an IETF Standards Track publication, it
   adopts the conventions for normative language to provide clarity of
   instructions to the implementer.  The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in BCP 14 [RFC2119]
   [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all capitals, as shown

1.2.  Reference Network and Diagrams

   In order to deal with the full complexity and generality of
   operations, the reference network described herein is a bit more
   complicated than many networks actually are.

   XXX-some of these diagrams as more complex than the document
   currently justifies.

1.2.1.  Tier-1 Network

   In this guide one target is a world-wide Tier-1 ISP.  It has three
   network operations centers (NOC), the two major ones in Frankfurt and
   Denver, with an secondary center located in Perth, Australia.  The
   exact location of these NOCs is not important: the locations have
   been chosen to have an hour overlap in their 8-6 daytime shift,
   typical of world-wide operations.  This overlap is also not
   important, it just adds a degree of realism to this discussion.  The
   use of actual names makes subsequent discussion about failures

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                         .---------.   .------.
                         | Denver  |   | NYC  |
                    .----|---------|---|router|-.   .-----------.
                   /     | NOC/JRC |   '------'   \ | Frankfurt |
                  '      '---------'               '|-----------|
             .---------.                            | NOC/JRC   |
             | SanJose |                            '-----------'
             | router  |                                  .
             '---------'                                 /
                 |                                      /
                 |                                     /
          .-----------.                               /
          |   Perth   |              .-------.       /
          |-----------|              | Tokyo |      /
          | NOC/EST   |--------------|router |-----'
          |           |              '-------'

                   Figure 1: Reference Tier-1 ISP network

   XXX-there were some extended consequences that this diagram was
   anticipating, which have yet to be writen.

1.2.2.  Enterprise Network

   A second target is a medium Enterprise that has a single (probably
   on-premise) data center.  The Enterprise has Information Technology
   (IT) operations that include the routers and systems supporting it's
   office staff in it's buildings.  It has Building Operations which
   integrates the IoT devices found in the buildings that it owns, and
   it has Operations Technology (OT) that manages the automated systems
   in it's on-site manufacturing facilities.

                               | Data Center |
                         /     | NOC/JRC     |       \
                        /      '-------------'        \
                       /                               \
                      /                                 \
                     /                                   \
            .--------------.                      .-------------.
            | Office Staff |                      |   building  |
            |   routers    |                      |  automation |
            |   switches   |                      |     IoT     |
            |   servers    |                      |   sensors   |
            '--------------'                      '-------------'

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                   Figure 2: Reference Enterprise network

1.2.3.  Home Network

   A third target is a resident with a single CPE device.  The home
   owner has a few medium sized devices (a home NAS) as well as a few
   IoT devices (light bulbs, clothes washing machine).

1.3.  Internal architectural view

   A Registrar will have four major interfaces, connected together by a
   common database.

                            |    MASA    |
                            |  Interface |
                            | BRSKI-MASA |
           .------------.          |           .---------------.
           | management |    .----------.      | certification |
           | interface  |<---| database |----->|   authority   |
           '------------'    '----------'      '---------------'
          .------------.     .-----------.       .------------.
          | Join Proxy |     |  Pledge   |--.    | EST/BRSKI  |
          |------------|     | Interface |  |    |------------|
          | GRASP      |     | BRSKI-EST |e |    |    GRASP   |
          | (DULL)     |     '-----------'T |    '------------'
          '------------'        '-----------'

          Figure 3: Reference Internal Architecture for Registrar

1.3.1.  Pledge Interface (Southbound Interface)

   The pledge interface is the southbound interface.  This interface
   runs the BRSKI-EST protocol.  It may also offer a constrained-BRSKI
   protocol using CoAP as described in
   [I-D.ietf-anima-constrained-voucher].  It may further offer ultra-
   constrained onboarding protocols such as [I-D.selander-lake-authz].

   This interface faces into the operator's network, receiving requests
   from devices to join the network.

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   There is no requirement that the different onboarding protocols run
   on the same system, or from the same IP address.  They may also be
   seperated onto different networks, and perform all of their
   coordination through the database.

   For [RFC8995] use, the pledge interface is an HTTPS interface.

   Due to the use of provinsional trust state in the BRSKI-EST interface
   the pledge never verifies the contents of the TLS server certificate.
   The registrar may also run on arbitrary port numbers, as the port
   number is part of the announcements used in the discovery
   protocol(s).  The voucher pins the associated certificate, so the
   Registrar does not need to have any specific (subjectAltName)

   [I-D.ietf-anima-constrained-join-proxy] describes a mechanism to
   provide a stateless proxy of CoAPS connections, in which case DTLS
   traffic will be proxied by the Join Proxy to the port that the
   Registrar announces via GRASP within the ACP.  In this case, then
   there is DTLS layer below the CoAP layer.

   [RFC9031] describes a proxy mechanism that can be used with
   [I-D.selander-lake-authz] to pass CoAP traffic.  In this case,
   depending upon the chosen AKE, the key agreement protocol would be
   above CoAP.

   [I-D.richardson-anima-state-for-joinrouter] offers some additional
   mechanisms, one of which involves dynamically created IPIP tunnels.
   If these mechanisms are in use, then the southbound interface would
   need to support these options as well.

   The Pledge Interface requires a TLS ServerCertificate, and
   Section 5.1 discusses option for creating this certificate.

   The certificates (or DH keys) used for the different protocols could
   entirely different.  If horizontal scaling is used, where there are
   multiple systems offering a BRSKI-EST interface (probably using a
   load balancing mechanism) then it is not necessary to have the same
   private keys for each system.  This assumption requires that the
   entire BRSKI-EST protocol exchange occur in a single TLS session
   (i.e. using HTTP/1.1 sessions), or that the load balancing system is
   able to consistently map each pledge to the same BRSKI-EST interface.

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   As explained above, the Pledge Inteface does not require a public IP
   address, nor does it have have to run on port 443.  The address and
   port of the Pledge interface to the Registrar is advertised by the
   Registrar using GRASP, according to [RFC8995] section 4.1.1.  The
   service may run on any available port.  The HTTPS, CoAP and CoAPS
   port numbers do not need to be coordinated.

   In an ACP application ([RFC8994]), the Pledge Interface SHOULD have
   an IPv6 Unique Local Address (ULA) address from the prefix allocated
   to the ACP.  Section 2 provides some options for how the Pledge
   Interface can be best connected to the ACP.

   Outside of the ACP context, running the Pledge interface on an IP
   address that has a FQDN that resolves to that IP address (if only
   internally), and operating it on port 443 may have operational
   advantages.  The Registrar may have additional management functions,
   it may also serve as an EST end point for certificate renewal, and
   [I-D.ietf-anima-brski-cloud] proposes a mechanism to bootstrap
   devices which are not connected by a convex ACP, or no ACP.  The
   Registrar may be accessible via multiple interfaces.

1.3.2.  MASA client (Northbound Interface)

   The MASA client interface connects outward to the Internet to speak
   to the Manufacturer Authorized Signing Authority (MASA).  This is a
   TLS Client interface.

   Use of a TLSClientCertificate is RECOMMENDED as this may be the best
   way for a manufacturer to identify clients.  Section 5.2 discusses
   options for signing this certificate.

   The Northbound interface (V->W) described in
   [I-D.selander-lake-authz] may require a proof of possesion of the
   (private) key which the pledge (U) has witnessed.  In that case, this
   proof of posession may need to be done in the Southbound BRSKI-EST
   interface, and stored in the database for use by the Northbound
   BRSKI-MASA system.  The private keys from the Southbound interfaces
   SHOULD NOT be made available on the Northbound interfaces.

   The MASA client interface is outgoing only and does not require any
   special connectivity.  It may be placed behind a typical enterprise
   or residential NAT44 gateway.  IPv6 connectivity is RECOMMENDED
   however, as an increasing number of MASA may prefer IPv6 only
   connectivity.  It does need access to DNS, and the DNS lookups SHOULD
   be validated with DNSSEC.

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   The MASA client interface will need to validate the server
   certificates of the MASA, and to do this it will need access to the
   common public WebPKI ([WebPKI]) trust anchors to validate the MASA.
   The MASA client MAY also require access to a database of pinned
   certificates to validate specific manufacturers as called out for in
   [RFC8995] section 2.8 and section 5.4.

1.3.3.  Join Proxy (Southbound Interface)

   In the ACP context, the Registrar is expected to have a Join Proxy
   operating on the Southbound Interface in order to announce the
   existence of the Registrar to the local network, for the benefit of
   directly connected devices.  This permits the systems on the LAN in
   the NOC itself to autonomically join the domain.

   The Join Proxy MAY announce the IP address (ULA) and port of the
   actual Pledge Interface, rather than announcing a link-local address
   and then performing a proxy operation.

1.3.4.  EST and BRSKI GRASP announcements

   As specified in [RFC8995] section 4.3, in an ACP context, the
   Registrar MUST announce itself inside the ACP using GRASP.  The
   Registrar MUST incorporate enough of a GRASP daemon in order to
   perform the M_FLOOD announcements.

   As specified in [RFC8995] section 6.1.2, in an ACP context, if the
   Registrar will also be providing for renewal of certificates using
   EST, then it SHOULD announce itself inside the ACP using GRASP.  See
   [RFC8994] section for details.  Unless made impossible due to
   loading concerns, it is RECOMMENDED that all Registrar instances
   offer certificate renewal services in this fashion.

   The use of [RFC8739] Short-Term Automatically-Renewed Certificates is
   RECOMMENDED.  This mandates that the EST server be highly available.
   If STAR-style renewals are not used, then the Certification Authority
   will need to make OCSP or CRL Distribution points available.

1.3.5.  Certification Authority

   If the Enterprise/ISP has an existing certification authority system
   that it wishes to use, then an interface to it has to be enabled.
   This may run protocols like EST, CMP or ACME.

   Smaller Enterprises and Residential uses of BRSKI are encouraged to
   use an internal (private) certification authority.  See Section 3 for
   a discussion of securing this CA.

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1.3.6.  Management Interface

   The Registrar will require a management interface.  As is the trend,
   this will often be a web-based single page application using AJAX API
   calls to perform communications.  This interface SHOULD be made
   available on the Southbound NOC interface only, and it MUST be on a
   different IP address and port number then the BRSKI-EST interface.
   It should be secured with HTTPS, and use of a public ([WebPKI])
   anchor is reasonable as it may be that the internal certification
   authority may be unavailable or require maintenance.

   An entirely separate process is justified with the only connection to
   the other procesess being the database.  (This does not mean it can
   not share code modules)

2.  Connecting the Autonomic Control Plane to the Network Operations
    Center (NOC)

   [RFC8994] section 8.1 describes a mechanism to connect non-ACP
   capable systems to the ACP.  The use of this mechanism is critical to
   incremental deployment of ANIMA and BRSKI in operators.

   The deployment of BRSKI capable equipment would ideally occur in an
   outward wave, a concentric ring, from the NOC.


   This would start by an upgrade of the router that connects the NOC to
   the production network.  This device needs to support the ACP connect

   It is possible, but beyond the scope of this document, to do initial
   connectivity of the ACP and of multiple NOCs by manually configured
   IPsec tunnels.  This is likely an important step for incremental
   initial deployment.

   The Registrar described in the next section either needs to be
   connected via one of the above mentioned tunnels, or it must be
   located on a network with ACP Connect, or it must itself be part of
   an automatically configured ACP.  It is quite reasonable for the
   Registrar to be part of a larger appliance that also includes an ACP
   Connect functionality.

3.  Public Key Infrastructure Recommendations for the Registrar

   The Registrar requires access to, or must contain a Certification
   Authority (CA).

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   This section deals with the situation where the CA is provided
   internally.  [I-D.ietf-acme-integrations] deals with the case where
   the CA is provided by an external service, and the CA trust anchors
   are public.  These use ACME ([RFC8555]) is used as the interface.
   That is out of scope for this document.

   There are also a number of commercial offerings where a private CA is
   operated by an external entity using a wide variety of protocols,
   including proprietary ones.  Those are also out of scope for this

   The requirements for the PKI depends upon what kind of network is
   being managed.

3.1.  PKI recommendations for Tier-1/ISP Networks

   A three-tier PKI infrastructure is appropriate for an ISP.  This
   entails having a root CA created with the key kept offline, and a
   number of intermediate CAs that have online keys that issue "day-to-
   day" certificates.

   Whether the root private key is secured by applying secret-splitting,
   and then storing the results on multiple USBs key kept in multiple
   safes, or via Hardware Security Module is a local decision informed
   by best current practices.

   The root CA is then used to sign a number of intermediate entities:
   this will include an intermediate CA for the Registrar that is
   deployed into each redundant NOC location.  Multiple intermediate CAs
   with a common root provides significantly more security and
   operational flexibility than attempts to share a private key among

   While the root CA should have a longevity of at least 5 years, after
   which it can be re-signed rather than re-generated.  (Resigning an
   existing key might not require replacement of trust anchors on all

   The intermediate CA keys need only have a 1-2 year duration, and
   before the end of their lifetime, a new private key should be
   generated and replace the old one.

   Shorter periods are possible, but until there is more experience with
   them, not recommended.  The intermediate CA key should be regenerated
   because the intermediate CA private key will need to be online,
   available to the Registrar CA system.  There are many more
   opportunities for the key to leak, such as into backups.

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   The intermediate CA is then used to sign End-Entity certificates
   which are returned as part of the BRSKI-EST mechanism.

   The Registrar needs both of client and server certificates for it's
   BRSKI-EST and BRSKI-MASA connections.  It is recommended that an
   additional intermediate CA can be created for manually issued
   certificates such as these.  This intermediate CA could be called the
   NOC Infrastructure CA, and could be used to issue certificates for
   all manner of infrastructure such as web-based monitoring tools.  The
   private root CA certificate should be installed into the browsers of
   NOC personnel.

   The document [I-D.moskowitz-ecdsa-pki] provides some practical
   instructions on setting up this kind of system.

   This document recommends the use of ECDSA keys for the root and
   subordinate CAs, but there may be operational reasons why an RSA
   subordinate CA will be required for some legacy equipment.

3.2.  Enterprise Network

   Enterprises that have multiple Network Operations Center should
   consider the recommendations above for an ISP.

   This section applies to Enterprises that have all NOC operations/
   personel into a single location, which is probably on-premise data
   center.  This is not a hard rule for scaling, but the intent is that
   physical security for the ACP Connect network is rather easy, that
   only a single legal jurisdiction will apply, and that it is possible
   to get people together easily to do things like resign keys.

   A three-tier PKI infrastructure is still recommended for the reason
   that it provides operational continuity options not available with a
   two-level system.  The recommendation is to have a root CA mechanism
   installed on a Virtual Machine which is not connected to a network.
   The root CA private key is kept offline, secret split among a number
   of USB keys, kept in the possession of key personnel.

   The secret split should have at least five components, of which at
   least three are required to reconstruct the key.  See
   [I-D.hallambaker-mesh-udf] section 4.5 for one such mechanism, there
   are many others, and there are no interoperability requirements for
   the secret split.

   The essential point is that the Enterprise is able to recover the
   root CA key even without some number of personnel and is able to
   continue operating it's network.

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   As in the ISP case, the intermediate CA is then used to sign End-
   Entity certificates which are returned as part of the BRSKI-EST
   mechanism.  One intermediate CA key suffices as there is only one NOC
   location with a Registrar.  Incidental certificates for internal
   operations (such as internal web servers, email servers, etc.), and
   for the BRSKI-EST server certificate can be done with this single
   intermediate CA.

   The BRSKI-MASA TLS Client Certificate key for an enterprise may not
   be needed; it depends upon the policies of the manufacturers which
   are involved.  It may be simpler to use a certificate produced by a
   public CA (such as LetsEncrypt), as this makes it easier for
   manufacturers to validate the provided certificate.

   The document [I-D.moskowitz-ecdsa-pki] provides some practical
   instructions on setting up this kind of system.  This document
   recommends the use of ECDSA keys for the root and intermediate CAs.
   In an Enterprise, there are likely many more legacy devices that
   might need to become involved in the secure domain.  It is
   recommended that an RSA root and intermediate CA be more strongly

3.3.  Home Network

   Home networks and small offices that use residential class equipment
   are the most challenging situation.  The three-tier PKI architecture
   is not justified because the ability to keep the root CA offline has
   no operational value.

   The home network registrar should be initialized with a single key
   pair used as the certification authority.

   Secret splitting is useful in order to save the generated key with a
   few neighbours.  It is recommended that the entire PKI system
   database (including CA private key) be encrypted with a symmetric key
   and the results made available regularly for download to a variety of
   devices.  The symmetric key is split among the neighbours.

   The most difficult part of the Home Network PKI and Registrar is
   where to locate it.  Generally it should be located on a device that
   is fully owned by the home user.  This is sometimes the Home Router,
   but in a lot of situations the Home Router is the ISP's CPE router.
   If the home has a Network Attached Storage (NAS) system, then running
   it there is probably better.

   A compromise for CPE devices owned by the ISP that can run containers
   is for the Registrar to be located on detachable storage that is
   inserted into the CPE.  The detachable storage is owned by the home

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   owner, and can be removed from the CPE device if it is replaced.
   More experience will be necessary in order to determine if this is a
   workable solution.

4.  Architecture Considerations for the Registrar

   There are a number of ways to scale the Registrar.  Web framework
   three-tier mechanisms are the most obvious.  See [threetier] for an
   overview.  This architecture is very familiar and can work well for a
   Registrar.  There are a few small issues that need to be addressed
   relating to the TLS connections.

   The BRSKI-EST connection uses TLS Client Certificate information, so
   it is necessary for the presentation tier to pass the entire
   certificate through to the application layer.  The presentation tier
   MUST accept all Client Certificates, many of which might it might not
   have anchors for.  Many n-tier systems provide for non-standard ways
   to transmit the client certificate from presentation layer to
   application layer, but [I-D.bdc-something-something-certificate] also
   intends to provide a standards track mechanism.

   In addition, the Registrar Voucher-Request MUST be signed using the
   same key pair that is used to terminate the TLS connection, so the
   application layer will need access to the same keypair that the
   presentation tier uses.  This can be operationally challenging if the
   presentation tier is provided by a hardware-based TLS load balancer.

   For this reason, an alternate architecture where the front-end load
   balancer provides TCP level load balancing, leaving the TLS
   operations to software TLS implementations in the application layer
   may be simpler to build.  Given that the Registrar is an inward
   facing system, and is not subject to the Internet-scale loads typical
   of "Black Friday" web system, the same kind of extreme scaling is not

   The BRSKI-EST flow includes a back-end call to the BRSKI-MASA flow.
   That is, during the BRSKI-EST /voucherrequest call, a voucher will
   need to be fetched from the MASA using a BRSKI-MASA connection.
   There are three ways to do this.

4.1.  Completely Synchronous Registrar

   In this simplest version the Registrar operates as a single thread,
   processing the voucher-request from the Pledge, and then starting a
   BRSKI-MASA client session, while the connection from the Pledge

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   This flow is very simple to implement, but requires an entire
   processing thread to block while the BRSKI-MASA protocol executes.
   The Pledge may timeout on this request, disconnect and retry.
   Experience so far is that typical default timeouts work fine.

   It is recommended that the voucher-request be recorded in a database,
   and if a corresponding fresh voucher is also found in the database,
   that it be returned rather than fetching a new voucher from the MASA.
   This accomodates the situation where the Pledge did timeout, but the
   BRSKI-MASA protocol did complete.  This results in the Pledge
   receiving the voucher upon retrying without having to go through the
   process of getting a new voucher.  This only works if the Pledge
   retries with the same Nonce each time.

4.2.  Partially Synchronous Registrar

   A slightly more complicated version is for the Registrar to look in a
   database for a matching voucher-request, and if none is found, to
   return a 202 code upon the voucher-request, asking the Pledge to

   In the meantime the BRSKI-MASA connection can be performed, and the
   resulting voucher stored in a database.  The connection can be done
   in the same thread that just deferred the connection, or in another
   thread kicked off for this purpose.

4.3.  Asynchronous Registrar

   In the completely asynchronous architecture, things work as with the
   Partially Synchronous version.  The voucher request is placed into a
   database as before.

   A completely separate system, probably with different network
   connectivity, but connected to the same database, performs the BRSKI-
   MASA processing, then fills the database with the answer.

   This version may have a noticeably higher latency as it requires a
   database operation and a database trigger to invoke the process.
   This architecture has the advantage, however, that the internal
   facing Registrar never connects to the Internet.  Furthermore, the
   number of internal facing Registrar instances can be tuned
   independently from the number of outward facing clients.  This may be
   an advantage for networks that need to deal with a high number of
   malicious or lost internal clients.

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5.  Certificates needed for the Registrar

   In addition to hosting a PKI root, the Registrar needs several other
   key pairs.  They are:

5.1.  TLS Server Certificate for BRSKI-EST

   A certificate to be used to answer TLS connections from new devices
   (pledges).  This must be of a type that expected pledges can
   understand.  Returning an RSA key to a client that can validate only
   ECDSA chains is a problem.  The constrained IoT ecosystem prefers
   ECDSA, and often does not have code that can verify RSA.  Meanwhile,
   older FIPS-140 validated libraries present in many router operating
   systems support only RSA!

   The recommendation is to use ECDSA keys, with a sensitiviity to when
   a majority of systems might support EdDSA.  There are well
   established mechanisms in most TLS server libraries to permit
   multiple certificates to be loaded and to return an appropriate key
   based upon the client capabilities.  This should be used.

   The certificate used for the BRSKI-EST end point is not validated by
   the BRSKI pledge using public trust anchors, but rather it is pinned
   by the [RFC8366] voucher.  As such it can come from the private CA,
   as recommended above: either signed by a specific intermediate CA or
   via a root CA as appropriate for the environment.

5.2.  TLS Client Certificate for BRSKI-MASA

   A certificate may optionally be used for authentication of the
   Registrar to the MASA.  It is recommended to always include one.

   It can be the same certificate used by TLS Server Certificate above,
   and this is most appropriate in small Registrars which are not
   distributed, such as ones aimed as Residential/Home networks.

   In larger, distributed Registrars, cryptographic hygiene dictates
   that the private key not be distributed, so a unique certificate per
   Registrar client is appropriate.  They should all be signed by the
   same intermediate CA, with the intermediate and root CA certificates
   being supplied in the TLS connection.

5.2.1.  Use of Publically Anchored TLS Client Certificate with BRSKI-
        MASA connection

   The use TLS Client Certificate which has a public anchor (such as
   from LetsEncrypt) has an advantage that is makes it easier for the
   MASA to reject malicious clients.

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   If the Registrar is not using a supply chain integration that
   includes the MASA being aware of the cryptographic identity of the
   Registrar, then the use of a publically anchored certificate is

5.3.  Certificate for signing of Voucher-Requests

   As part of the BRSKI voucher-request process the Pledge's Voucher-
   Request is wrapped by the Registrar in another voucher-request and
   signed.  It is this certificate which pinned by MASA to validate the

   The certificate used to sign the (parboiled) voucher-request MUST be
   the same as the one that is used for the TLS Server Connection.  This
   implies that the signed voucher-request MUST be constructed on the
   same machine that terminates the BRSKI-EST connection.

6.  Autonomic Control Plane Addressing

   In the Enterprise and ISP use cases, the creation of an [RFC8994]
   Autonomic Control Plane is assumed.  (The use of an ACP for the Home
   Network of IoT devices is considered unnecessary due to HNCP)

   In these context the certificates which are returned by the Registrar
   MUST contain a unique IPv6 ULA address.  [RFC8994] section 6.10
   outlines several addressing schemes for the ULA addresses.  The use
   of the ACP Vlong Addressing Sub-Scheme (6.10.5) is recommended as it
   provides the most flexibility for devices.

   The use of this mode limits the number of nodes in the network to
   between 32768 and 8 Million. 32K routers in an ISP network seems like
   quite a lot already, but use of F=0 addresses provides for up to 8
   Million devices, each with 256 management end points.

   It should be noted that a mix of F=0 and F=1 addresses may be used,
   but the BRSKI protocol does not directly provide a way to negotiated
   this.  This could be done as part of the Certificate Signing Request:
   the device could decide which kind of address to ask for by changing
   the address that it asks for, but this is non-standardized and may
   not work.

   A network manager that saw that a device was running out of F=0
   space, that is if 256 addresses was not enough for a device, could
   allocate an F=1 address in a management interface.  At the next
   certificate renewal (which could be forced by a management action),
   then a new certificate would be issues with the larger address space.

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   256 addresses for a single device may seem like a lot, but it is
   increasing the case that routers may have a large number of
   virtualized functions within and each may reasonably need to be
   separately connected to it's SDN controller.

7.  Privacy Considerations

   Section 10.2 of [RFC8995] details a number of things that are
   revealed by the BRSKI-EST protocol.  A multi-location Registrar with
   different TLS Server Certificates will have a different privacy
   profile than a Registrar that uses only a single certificate.

   Section 10.3 of [RFC8995] details what is revealed by the BRSKI-MASA
   protocol.  The operational recommendations of this document do not
   affect or mitigate things at all.

8.  Security Considerations

   Section 11 of [RFC8995] does not deal with any attacks against the
   Registrar, as the Registrar is considered to be an internally facing

   In the context of the Autonomic Control Plane ([RFC8995] section 9,
   and [RFC8994]) it is expected that the majority of equipment attached
   to a network are connected by wired ethernet.  The opportunity for a
   massive attack against the Registrar is considered low in an ISP, or
   multi-side Enterprise backbone network.

8.1.  Denial of Service Attacks against the Registrar

   However, there are some exposures which need to be taken into
   account, particular in the Enterprise or Institutional Campus
   network: typically these networks have large number of access ports,
   one for each desktop system.  Those systems can be infected with
   Malware, or may be located in student computer labs physically
   accessible with minimal authorization.  While an attack on the
   Registrar might be part of some kind of student protest, an attack by
   malware seems more likely.

   The different architectures proposed in Section 4 of this document
   provides some recommendations on differing scales.  The use of a
   fully asynchronous design is recommended for Enterprise uses of BRSKI
   where there may be a large number of IoT devices that are expected to
   onboard.  The ability to scale the BRSKI-EST Pledge Interface without
   having the scale the rest of the system provides for resiliency of
   the Registrary.

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   It bears repeating that the use of of a stateless technology in the
   Join Proxy moves the load due to attacking systems from the Join
   Proxy into the Registrar.  This increases the network bandwidth
   required from the Join Proxy to the Registrar with the benefit of
   simplifying the Join Proxy.

   This is an intentional design decision to centralize the impact into
   the purpose built Registrar system(s).

8.2.  Loss of Keys/Corruption of Infrastructure

   In Home/Residential Network ("homenet") uses of [RFC8995] the biggest
   risk is likely that of loss of the Registrar's key pairs.  That is,
   accidental loss of the private key is more likely than loss to a
   malicious entity that steals them with intent to cause damage.

   This can be due to failure to backup the database followed by a CPE
   device failure, but the case where a CPE device is simply thrown away
   to be replaced by an uninformed technician or household member is
   probably the most likely situation.

   This situation results in loss of control for all devices in the
   home, and much frustration from the home owner who has to go through
   an onboarding process for all the devices.  The use of a standardized
   onboarding protocol significantly mitigates the hassle; the current
   "state of the art" proccess involves a series of appliance-specific
   smartphone applications, which may or not not actually work on more
   recent devices.

   This is why the focus on saving of the database along with a secret
   splitting process to secure it.  At present there is no cross-vendor
   format for this database, so the saved data is only useable with a
   Registrar from the same vendor.  So this protects against device
   failure, where it is replaced by an identical device or an upward
   compatible device from the same manufacturer, but not against changes
   of vendor.

9.  IANA Considerations

   This document makes no IANA allocations.

10.  Acknowledgements

   Your name here.

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11.  Changelog

12.  References

12.1.  Normative References

              Richardson, M., Van der Stok, P., Kampanakis, P., and E.
              Dijk, "Constrained Bootstrapping Remote Secure Key
              Infrastructure (cBRSKI)", Work in Progress, Internet-
              Draft, draft-ietf-anima-constrained-voucher-23, 10 January
              2024, <

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

   [RFC8174]  Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC
              2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174,
              May 2017, <>.

   [RFC8366]  Watsen, K., Richardson, M., Pritikin, M., and T. Eckert,
              "A Voucher Artifact for Bootstrapping Protocols",
              RFC 8366, DOI 10.17487/RFC8366, May 2018,

   [RFC8994]  Eckert, T., Ed., Behringer, M., Ed., and S. Bjarnason, "An
              Autonomic Control Plane (ACP)", RFC 8994,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC8994, May 2021,

   [RFC8995]  Pritikin, M., Richardson, M., Eckert, T., Behringer, M.,
              and K. Watsen, "Bootstrapping Remote Secure Key
              Infrastructure (BRSKI)", RFC 8995, DOI 10.17487/RFC8995,
              May 2021, <>.

12.2.  Informative References

              Campbell, B., "Client-Cert HTTP Header: Conveying Client
              Certificate Information from TLS Terminating Reverse
              Proxies to Origin Server Applications", Work in Progress,
              Internet-Draft, draft-bdc-something-something-certificate-
              05, 23 March 2021, <

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              Friel, O., Barnes, R., and R. Shekh-Yusef, "ACME
              Integrations", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-
              friel-acme-integrations-02, 24 October 2019,

              Hallam-Baker, P., "Mathematical Mesh 3.0 Part II: Uniform
              Data Fingerprint.", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft,
              draft-hallambaker-mesh-udf-18, 28 June 2023,

              Friel, O., Barnes, R., Shekh-Yusef, R., and M. Richardson,
              "ACME Integrations for Device Certificate Enrollment",
              Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-ietf-acme-
              integrations-17, 13 July 2023,

              Friel, O., Shekh-Yusef, R., and M. Richardson, "BRSKI
              Cloud Registrar", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-
              ietf-anima-brski-cloud-08, 24 August 2023,

              Richardson, M., Van der Stok, P., and P. Kampanakis, "Join
              Proxy for Bootstrapping of Constrained Network Elements",
              Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-ietf-anima-
              constrained-join-proxy-15, 6 November 2023,

              Moskowitz, R., Birkholz, H., Xia, L., and M. Richardson,
              "Guide for building an ECC pki", Work in Progress,
              Internet-Draft, draft-moskowitz-ecdsa-pki-10, 31 January
              2021, <

              Richardson, M., "Considerations for stateful vs stateless
              join router in ANIMA bootstrap", Work in Progress,
              Internet-Draft, draft-richardson-anima-state-for-

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              joinrouter-03, 22 September 2020,

              Selander, G., Mattsson, J. P., Vučinić, M., Richardson,
              M., and A. Schellenbaum, "Lightweight Authorization using
              Ephemeral Diffie-Hellman Over COSE", Work in Progress,
              Internet-Draft, draft-selander-lake-authz-03, 7 July 2023,

              IEEE Standard, "IEEE 802.1AR Secure Device Identifier",
              2009, <

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

   [RFC8555]  Barnes, R., Hoffman-Andrews, J., McCarney, D., and J.
              Kasten, "Automatic Certificate Management Environment
              (ACME)", RFC 8555, DOI 10.17487/RFC8555, March 2019,

   [RFC8739]  Sheffer, Y., Lopez, D., Gonzalez de Dios, O., Pastor
              Perales, A., and T. Fossati, "Support for Short-Term,
              Automatically Renewed (STAR) Certificates in the Automated
              Certificate Management Environment (ACME)", RFC 8739,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC8739, March 2020,

   [RFC9031]  Vučinić, M., Ed., Simon, J., Pister, K., and M.
              Richardson, "Constrained Join Protocol (CoJP) for 6TiSCH",
              RFC 9031, DOI 10.17487/RFC9031, May 2021,

              Wikipedia, "Multitier architecture", December 2019,

   [WebPKI]   CA/Browser Forum, "CA/Browser Forum Baseline Requirements
              for the Issuance and Management of Publicly-Trusted
              Certificates, v.1.2.2", October 2014,

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Authors' Addresses

   Michael Richardson
   Sandelman Software Works

   Wei Pan
   Huawei Technologies

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