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Evolving the Web Public Key Infrastructure

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This is an older version of an Internet-Draft whose latest revision state is "Expired".
Authors Hannes Tschofenig , Eliot Lear
Last updated 2013-10-21
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Network Working Group                                      H. Tschofenig
Internet-Draft                                                   E. Lear
Intended status: Informational                      IAB Security Program
Expires: April 24, 2014                                 October 21, 2013

               Evolving the Web Public Key Infrastructure


   The problems with the WebPKI have received the attention by the
   Internet security community when DigiNotar, a Dutch certificate
   authority, had a security breach in 2011 and in the same year a
   Comodo affiliate was compromised.  Both cases lead to fraudulent
   issue of certificates and raise questions regarding the strength of
   the WebPKI used by so many applications.

   Almost 2 years have passed since these incidents and various
   standardization activities have happened in the meanwhile offering
   new technical solutions to make the public key infrastructure more

   The important question, however, is which of the technical solutions
   will get widespread deployment?  In this document we compare the
   different technical solutions in an attempt to engage the impacted
   stakeholders to trigger deployment actions to improve the status quo.
   This document does not include any recommendations what techniques to

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
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   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
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   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 April 24, 2014.

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Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2013 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
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   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   2.  Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   3.  Technical Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     3.1.  Public Key Pinning for HTTP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     3.2.  Trust Assertions for Certificate Keys (TACK)  . . . . . .   6
     3.3.  Perspectives  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     3.4.  Convergence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     3.5.  Sovereign Keys  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     3.6.  Mutually Endorsing CA Infrastructure (MECAI)  . . . . . .   9
     3.7.  DNS-Based Authentication of Named Entities (DANE) . . . .  10
     3.8.  Certificate Transparency  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
     3.9.  DetecTor  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
   4.  Analysis  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
     4.1.  Public Key Pinning for HTTP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
     4.2.  Trust Assertions for Certificate Keys (TACK)  . . . . . .  12
     4.3.  Perspectives  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
     4.4.  Convergence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
     4.5.  Sovereign Keys  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
     4.6.  Mutually Endorsing CA Infrastructure (MECAI)  . . . . . .  13
     4.7.  DNS-Based Authentication of Named Entities (DANE) . . . .  14
     4.8.  Certificate Transparency  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
     4.9.  DetecTor  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
     4.10. Limitations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
   5.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
   6.  Privacy Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
   7.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
   8.  Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
   9.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
     9.1.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
     9.2.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17

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1.  Introduction

   High-profile data breaches and security incidents on the Web are
   gaining increasing attention from the public, the press, and
   governments.  A few examples may illustrate the problems: DigiNotar,
   a Dutch certificate authority, had a security breach [DigiNotar] and
   in the same year a Comodo affiliate was compromised [Comodo].  Both
   cases lead to fraudulent issue of certificates.

   Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) makes use of a trusted third party,
   the certificate authority (CA), to bind the subject name to a public
   key.  A CA may, however, get compromised despite the best security
   practices and operational procedures.  The main problem, however, is
   that any CA can issue a certificate for any domain name.  One
   compromised CA is therefore able to impact the security of the entire
   public key infrastructure.  In the case of DigiNotar the attacker was
   able to issue certificates for Google services even though Google
   never made use of services from DigiNotar and might not have ever
   heard of that CA before.

   Furthermore, over time browsers and applications increased the number
   of trust anchors that are shipped pre-installed.  Depending on
   software the number of trust anchors may exceed 600, as reported by
   the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in their SSL Observatory
   study [SSL-Observatory].  While the larger number provides choice for
   relying parties regarding the CA they can select for obtaining a
   certificate there is also a downside: with today's WebPKI set-up it
   is sufficient to compromise a single CA to impact the security for
   all relying parties.  Many users and researchers were surprised about
   the large number of trust anchors installed in normal operating
   systems and browsers without having an easy way to adjust that list
   to their preferences.

   To re-state the problem statement: Every CA can issue certificates
   for any relying party even though that relying party may have never
   been in a relationship with the issuing CA.  (Note that the trust
   anchor of that CA needs to be provisioned into the trust anchor

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   These developments have led to a number of protocol design activities
   for improving the public key infrastructure.  In this document we
   briefly summarize the available technical solutions and include an
   assessment about who needs to make changes, what type of benefits are
   provided, and what dependencies exist.  The investigated solutions
   include DANE [RFC6698], Certificate Transparency [RFC6962], Public
   Key Pinning [I-D.ietf-websec-key-pinning], TACK
   [I-D.perrin-tls-tack], Perspectives [Perspectives], Sovereign Keys
   [SovereignKeys], MECAI [MECAI], Convergence [Convergence], and
   DetecTor [DetecTor].

   While there are other challenges with security on the Web, such as
   user interface problems with certificate warnings, insecure use of
   cookies, cross-site scripting attacks, injection attacks, etc., this
   document focuses on improving the public key infrastructure only.  It
   is also worth reminding ourselves that the Web public key
   infrastructure is not only used for Web applications but also for a
   range of other applications, including smart phone apps.
   Furthermore, other public key infrastructures that operate under a
   different regime with different policies may suffer from similar
   problems.  Consequently, the solution techniques discussed in this
   document are also useful for these other PKI deployments.

   The main purpose of this document is to provide an overview of the
   technical solutions.  This description will help us to develop a
   roadmap for the deployment of the best solutions to improve the
   overall security of the public key infrastructure.

   Final note: There are also process solutions, such as stricter audits
   of CAs with the aim to improve operational practices, and these are
   not described in this document.  These measures will be useful in
   addition to technical solutions but alone they will, however, not
   address the underlying problem.

2.  Terminology

   This document uses the following terms from from RFC 3280 [RFC3280]:

   end entity:  user of PKI certificates and/or end user system that is
      the subject of a certificate.

   CA:  certification authority

   This document also re-uses the term "Leap of faith" from RFC 5386

      "Leap of faith is the term generally used when a user accepts the
      assertion that a given key identifies a peer on the first

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      communication (despite a lack of strong evidence for that
      assertion), and then remembers this association for future

      This security property has become fairly popular with use of
      Secure Shell [RFC4251], which made use of the leap of faith

   RFC 6973 [RFC6973] provides a definition of the term 'relying party':

      "The relying party is an entity that relies on assertions of
      individuals' identities from identity providers in order to
      provide services to individuals.  In effect, the relying party
      delegates aspects of identity management to the identity
      provider(s).  Such delegation requires protocol exchanges, trust,
      and a common understanding of semantics of information exchanged
      between the relying party and the identity provider."

      In the context of this document the relying party is a TLS server,
      for example, used to protect the communication of a Web server.
      Although a lot of focus is on the Web there are other non-HTTP-
      based services that are included in the definition and may
      benefits from improvements discussed in this document.

   The terms 'trust anchor' and 'trust anchor store' are defined in

      "A trust anchor represents an authoritative entity via a public
      key and associated data.  The public key is used to verify digital
      signatures, and the associated data is used to constrain the types
      of information for which the trust anchor is authoritative."

      "A trust anchor store is a set of one or more trust anchors stored
      in a device.  A device may have more than one trust anchor store,
      each of which may be used by one or more applications."

3.  Technical Solutions

3.1.  Public Key Pinning for HTTP

   [I-D.ietf-websec-key-pinning] describes a solution for instructing
   user agents (UAs) to remember ("pin") certificates (end entity
   certificates or CA certs) for a given period of time.  During that
   time, UAs will require that the TLS server presents a certificate
   chain including at least one Subject Public Key Info structure whose
   fingerprint matches one of the pinned fingerprints for that host.

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   While the specification provides a number of instructions for the
   Website operator to indicate towards the UA the basic operation is
   rather simple and assumes a leap-of-faith policy.  To deal with the
   change of certificates or other failure scenarios the concept of a
   backup pin is utilized.  A Backup Pin is a fingerprint for the public
   key of a secondary, not-yet-deployed key pair.  The operator keeps
   the backup key pair offline, and sets a pin for it in the Public-Key-
   Pins header.  Then, in case the operator loses control of their
   primary private key, they can deploy the backup key pair.  An
   interesting feature of the specification is to report pin validation

   When a pin validation failure occurs the expectation is that the user
   is notified about the inconsistency (with optionally reporting taking
   place in the background).

   This document is the product of the IETF Web Security working group.

3.2.  Trust Assertions for Certificate Keys (TACK)

   Similarly to the key pinning solution described in Section 3.1 TACK
   [I-D.perrin-tls-tack] also aims to enables a TLS server to support
   "pinning" to a self-chosen signing key.  There are, however, a number
   of substantial differences in the design despite the similarity of
   the name.

   TLS server operators create a so-called "TACK signing key" (TSK) and
   sign their own keys used by TLS servers.  A TACK pin then associates
   a hostname, a TSK, and various parameters (including pin creating
   time, and lifetime of the pin).  A TLS server operator may change a
   key for a server at any point in time since the TSK will be
   unchanged.  The existing public key infrastructure is replaced by a
   form of self-signed certificates.  Clients store the TACK pins in
   their pin stores, which they may have obtained from different
   sources.  Although the focus of the specification is to obtain the
   TACK pins via a TLS extension from the server directly a mechanism to
   obtain these TACK pins from a third party infrastructure is
   envisioned, although outside the scope of the specification.  When
   TACK pins are obtained from the TLS server directly they follow a
   leap-of-faith approach; a third party distribution mechanism may have
   additional security properties.

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   For incremental deployment the TLS client uses the extension
   mechanism of TLS to indicate support for the TACK extension by
   including a new TLS extension type in the ClientHello message.  A TLS
   server that does not support TACK will reply with an ordinary
   certificate.  In case the TLS server supports the extension it
   replies with the newly defined tack structure, which contains the
   TACK pin for that server.

   This specification is an individual submission to the IETF.

   [Editor's Note: The document claims that the proposal also works with
   certificates.  However, details are missing to describe how the TLS
   server key is signed with the TSK and then used by a regular TLS

3.3.  Perspectives

   Perspectives [Perspectives] aims to utilize notaries (i.e., public
   servers) that monitor and record the history of public keys used by
   sites.  While the description focuses on the use of raw public keys
   (in the style of SSH) the same concept also works with certificates.

   The basic approach is simple: When a TLS client starts to interact
   with a TLS server it is presented with a key/certificate that it had
   not seen before.  To verify that the key/certificate is the same as
   observed by other vantage points in the network it contacts one or
   multiple notary servers.  These notary servers provide key/
   certificate information they have obtained about the specific website

   To improve the leap of faith security by clients the notary services
   adds security value since they may have obtained the key/certificate
   from the website in the past already and from a different vantage
   points in terms of the path used to talk to the server.  This helps
   when attacks are either temporary and or when the man-in-the-middle
   attacker is located somewhere along the path between the client and
   the server but closer to the client.  The use of multiple notaries
   also helps to detect malicious notaries.

   With clients caching information about the keys/certificates of sites
   visited earlier and the information obtained from notaries there is
   no additional protocol overhead.  In this respect the solution works
   similar to key pinning.  The additional communication overhead for
   the client only occurs at the time when the client talks to a server
   for the first time or when the cached information expires.

   Similar to other notary services there is the question about how they
   obtain information about the available TLS servers.  For popular

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   services obtaining the keys/certificates a list of sites is assumed
   to pre-configured and queried periodically but for the long tail of
   small websites the suggested approach query these sites the first
   time the client wants to connect to them.

   The proposal is documented in form of an academic research paper, see
   [Perspectives], but no technical specification is available.

3.4.  Convergence

   Convergence [Convergence] is a proposal by Moxie Marlinspike that
   makes two improvements to Perspectives, namely

   Reducing Notary Lag:  Perspective required TLS clients to interact
      with notaries to check whether the certificate obtained through
      TLS matches the information seen by one or many notaries.
      Notaries then had to initiate an interaction with the TLS servers
      to obtain information about what certificates they see.
      Convergence reduces this interaction by utilizing caching of
      certificates at the notaries.  By doing this, however, they also
      introduce a delay between the time a new certificate is put in
      operation at a TLS server and when the notaries get to learn about

   Increased Privacy Protection:  First, clients cache certificates so
      that they do not need to contact notaries every time they contact
      a Web site.  Second, clients use a concept called 'notary
      bouncing' whereby they pick a notary randomly out of their pool of
      trusted notaries and use it as a proxy to talk to other notaries.
      Thereby, the notary that receives the query will only see the IP
      address of another notary who forwarded the query rather than the
      IP address of the client.

   The client can decide how many notaries are consulted to obtain
   certificate from a given TLS servers.  As a main advantage the author
   claims that there is no impact on TLS servers deployments, except in
   rare situations where multiple certificates are used by a single site
   in combination with a load balancer.

   Notaries are designed to be extensible by supporting different
   mechanisms how they obtain certificates.  Currently, Convergence uses
   the technique proposed by Perspectives to probe a TLS server.

   The documentation of Convergence only exists in form of a
   presentation by Moxie Marlinspike given at the BlackHat USA 2011
   conference [ConvergenceTalk].

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3.5.  Sovereign Keys

   Sovereign Keys [SovereignKeys] is a proposal by the Electronic
   Frontier Foundation (EFF) suggesting to introduce two new concepts to
   deal with attacks against the public key infrastructure.

   Sovereign key:  Domain owners create a new key pair, the sovereign
      key, and use it to sign their operational certificates / the
      public keys.

   Timeline servers:  Append-only timeline servers, as new entities, are
      introduced that stores mappings between domain names to sovereign
      keys.  To claim a key for a domain name requires evidence of
      control in the DNS either via a CA-signed certificate or via a key
      published in the DNS (as provided by DANE).

   Each timeline server possesses a unique private/public key pair and
   these keys are assumed to be shipped with client software or TLS
   libraries to ensure that clients can verify the authenticity of
   timeline entries.  The timeline servers record the history of claims
   to sovereign keys.

   TLS clients query timeline servers for entries that belong to a
   certain domain and verify that the end-entity certificate has been
   cross-signed by the sovereign key.  If the verification fails then
   the connection attempt is refused.

   A high-level description can be found at [SovereignKeys] and a more
   detailed technical specification is available at

3.6.  Mutually Endorsing CA Infrastructure (MECAI)

   MECAI [MECAI] builds conceptually on top of the Perspective proposal.
   Perspectives introduces notaries, as new entities in the public key
   infrastructure, and MECAI takes the position that this function can
   be taken by existing CAs.  With this new role they would turn into
   Voucher Authorities (VAs), who issue vouchers that confirm what they
   observe.  A voucher is a signature computed over a number of fields
   including the hash of the server certificate, the certificate chain,
   the IP address of the server, revocation status information, etc.  Of
   course, a voucher would be created by a CA other than the one that
   created the original certificate.

   A client would therefore perform the following steps: it connects to
   a server via TLS and the server provides the certificate.  Then, the
   client needs to obtain one or multiple vouchers for the server
   certificate.  This can happen either inband within the TLS handshake

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   when talking to the server, similarly to how OCSP stapling works, or
   via a separate protocol exchange.  The former approach is less
   expensive in terms of communication costs for the client.  In any
   case, a voucher request protocol is needed to let entities (like TLS
   servers) talk to VAs to obtain a voucher.

   A client or a server can detect misissuance by matching the
   information in the vouchers with the certificate.

   Only a high-level description is available via [MECAI] but no
   detailed technical specification.

3.7.  DNS-Based Authentication of Named Entities (DANE)

   DANE [RFC6698] offers the option to use the DNS infrastructure to
   store certificates.  DANE is envisioned as a preferable basis for
   binding public keys to DNS names, because the entities that vouch for
   the binding of public key data to DNS names are the same entities
   responsible for managing the DNS names in question.

   Distributing certificates via the DNS does, however, require DNSSEC.
   With the help of DNSSEC [RFC4033][RFC4034][RFC4035] this offers an
   opportunity to eliminate off-line processes for validation of the
   subject name, which today often requires sending a mail to the
   administrator of that domain.  This relationship can be easily
   demonstrated by having the zone administrator for the subject domain
   post the public key in the DNS and digitally sign the resulting zone.

   A high-level description about the different options offered by DANE
   can be found in [IETF-Journal-DANE] and the authoritative version can
   be found in RFC 6698 [RFC6698].

3.8.  Certificate Transparency

   RFC 6962 [RFC6962] specifies Certificate Transparency, a protocol for
   publicly logging the existence of certificates as they are issued or
   observed, in a manner that allows anyone to audit certificate
   authority (CA) activity and notice the issuance of suspect
   certificates as well as to audit the certificate logs themselves.
   The intent is that eventually clients would refuse to honor
   certificates that do not appear in a log, effectively forcing CAs to
   add all issued certificates to the logs.

   The publicly auditable, append-only logs of all issued certificates
   does not prevent misissue but allows interested parties to detect

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   While various projects, including the EFF with their SSL Observatory
   [SSL-Observatory] and Crossbear [Crossbear], have scanned the
   Internet to collect all certificates of publically accessible TLS
   servers the cooperation from all CAs or from certificate owners is
   required to make Certificate Transparency proposal successful.  The
   reasons are two-fold: IPv6 makes scanning the address range of the
   entire Internet much more difficult and the increasing deployment of
   the TLS Server Name Indication [RFC6066] prevents it from obtaining
   all available difficult.

   The expected operation is as follows: CAs or certificate owners
   contact logs and upload certificates, as they issue them.  In
   response, they receive a Signed Certificate Timestamp (SCT).  The SCT
   is the log's promise to incorporate the certificate in the Merkle
   Tree, which is the data structure used by the log, within a fixed
   amount of time.  Everyone can check the log for consistency.
   Particularly website operators will have an interest to regularly
   check the logs for misissuance of certificates.  TLS clients on the
   other hand are not expected to directly communicate with logs to
   avoid the communication overhead.  Instead, the TLS servers provides
   the SCT along with the certificate within the TLS handshake.  TLS
   clients reject certificates that do not have a valid SCT for the end
   entity certificate.  Since there is ideally more than one log TLS
   servers need to provide SCTs from multiple logs to the client.

   This document has gone through a public review process, and has been
   approved by the Internet Engineering Steering Group and published an
   experimental RFC.

3.9.  DetecTor

   DetecTor [DetecTor] extends the idea of MECAI and Perspectives by
   utilizing the Tor onion routing infrastructure [Tor] in order to see
   connect to sites via different paths through the network.  The Tor
   infrastructure thereby replaces the need to have dedicated notary
   servers, who connect to sites to obtain certificates from a different
   vantage point.  The server certificate obtained via one or multiple
   Tor connections is then compared with the certificate that was
   obtained via the direct TLS connection between the client and the
   site (i.e., without using Tor).  This offers capabilities for the
   client to detect whether there was an adversary along the path but
   close to the client.

   Unlike other proposals, the suggestion is made to provide no
   information to the user once a failure has been detected.  Instead,
   the connection attempt will be rejected and no recourse is possible.
   Like other proposals information about the observed certificates may
   be cached by the client to lower the initial set-up delay.

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   A high-level description can be found at [DetecTor] but no detailed
   technical specification is available.

4.  Analysis

   This version of the document re-uses the analysis criteria proposed
   by Eric Rescorla [Rescorla].

4.1.  Public Key Pinning for HTTP

   Changes Needed:  Browsers, Servers

   Benefits:  Prevention and Detection (when reporting is used)

   Dependencies:  None

   Incremental Deployment:  Newly added server can make use of the
      technology when browsers have been updated.  Works with existing
      PKI infrastructure.

   Risks:  Provides a leap of faith concept.  Self-DoS if pins are
      configured incorrectly.

4.2.  Trust Assertions for Certificate Keys (TACK)

   Changes Needed:  Browsers, Servers

   Benefits:  Prevention

   Dependencies:  Requires server operators to create and manage new
      public / private key pair (TSK)

   Incremental Deployment:  Newly added server can make use of the
      technology when browsers have been updated.  Does not seem to work
      with existing PKI infrastructure.

   Risks:  Provides a leap of faith concept.

4.3.  Perspectives

   Changes Needed:  Third party infrastructure (notaries), Clients

   Benefits:  Prevention

   Dependencies:  Requires notaries to be deployed.

   Incremental Deployment:  Once notaries are available and client
      software the solution works with every server.

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   Risks:  Increased communication overhead for contacting notaries and
      for letting notaries check servers.  Potential problems when load
      balancers are deployed at the server infrastructure.

4.4.  Convergence

   Changes Needed:  Third party infrastructure (notaries), Clients

   Benefits:  Prevention

   Dependencies:  Requires notaries to be deployed.

   Incremental Deployment:  Once notaries are available and client
      software the solution works with every server.

   Risks:  Increased communication overhead for contacting notaries and
      for letting notaries check servers (although more extensive
      caching is utilized than with Perspectives).  The notary bounding
      concept may introduce additional latency.  Potential problems when
      load balancers are deployed at the server infrastructure.  With
      caching a certain lag may be introduced between the time when a
      new server certificate is configured and the time when the
      notaries notice about its existence.

4.5.  Sovereign Keys

   Changes Needed:  Third party infrastructure (timeline), Clients,

   Benefits:  Prevention

   Dependencies:  Requires server operators to create and manage new
      public / private key pair (sovereign key).  Requires third party
      infrastructure (timeline servers).

   Incremental Deployment:  New server operators will receive benefits
      once timeline servers are deployed, and updates to the client
      software has been made.

   Risks:  Increased communication overhead for contacting timeline

4.6.  Mutually Endorsing CA Infrastructure (MECAI)

   Changes Needed:  CAs (who operate the Voucher Authorities (VAs)),
      Servers, Clients

   Benefits:  Prevention

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   Dependencies:  Requires CAs to operate VAs

   Incremental Deployment:  Requires at least two CAs to support MECAI
      before TLS servers can start to offer vouchers in the TLS
      handshake to clients for verification.

   Risks:  A VA has to obtain a certificate and verify it before it can
      issue a voucher.  A client may request vouchers from a number of
      VAs to have enough confidence.

4.7.  DNS-Based Authentication of Named Entities (DANE)

   Changes Needed:  Clients, Server's DNS

   Benefits:  Prevention

   Dependencies:  DNSSEC deployment at clients, and intermediaries.

   Incremental Deployment:  A new server can add support for DANE only
      it the DNS allows TLSA records to be added and secured via DNSSEC.
      Then, clients need to have software support in the browsers for
      verifying the DNSSEC protected TLSA record.

   Risks:  Self-DoS with incorrect TLSA records, false positives with
      broken intermediaries, lack of DNSSEC deployment or failure with
      DNSSEC validation.

4.8.  Certificate Transparency

   Changes Needed:  Third party infrastructure (notaries), CA, Clients,

   Benefits:  Detection

   Dependencies:  Requires notaries and all CAs to participate

   Incremental Deployment:  CAs and servers who want to deploy the
      infrastructure can start deployment (after notaries have become

   Risks:  Non-participating CAs are not monitored and attacks against
      those cannot be detected.

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4.9.  DetecTor

   Changes Needed:  Clients

   Benefits:  Prevention

   Dependencies:  Depends on Tor infrastructure

   Incremental Deployment:  With client-side only changes all servers
      can be verified.

   Risks:  Setup delay and sites that utilize load balancers.  Relies on
      leap-of-faith security.  Certificate changes on the server-side
      might cause mismatches with cached information.

4.10.  Limitations

   A common problem of all proposals that aim to prevent attacks lies in
   the user interface design when a failure occurs and end users are
   informed about the problem.  In many cases, the failure may not
   necessarily be caused by real attacks but rather by the use of
   captive portals or server-side configuration problems (like warnings
   caused by expired certificates today).  User interface studies, such
   as [SE09], [SR07], and [BO09], have shown that end users are
   typically not in the best position to make judgements about these
   security warning dialogs.  Furthermore, proposals that make use of
   out-of-band communication interactions may face problems with
   firewalled networks and the additional incurred delay.  Claims have
   been made that this is a problem with the use of OCSP today
   [OCSP-Performance], which has been the motivation for developing and
   standardizing OCSP stapling and multiple OCSP stapling.

5.  Security Considerations

   This entire document is about security.

6.  Privacy Considerations

   The main privacy threat is correlation.  Correlation is the
   combination of various pieces of information related to an individual
   or that obtain that characteristic when combined.  In this specific
   case there is the risk that newly introduced entities obtain
   information about the history of service usage.  For example, a
   notary that is contacted each time a user visits a new website can
   easily be seen as problematic from a privacy point of view.

7.  IANA Considerations

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   This document does not require actions by IANA.

8.  Acknowledgements

   We would like to thank all participants of the NIST workshop on
   "Improving Trust in the Online Marketplace", April 10-11 2013, for
   sharing their views with the community.  We would also like to thank
   the authors of various solution proposals for their work.

9.  References

9.1.  Normative References

              Marlinspike, M., "BlackHat USA 2011: SSL And The Future Of
              Authenticity", URL:
    , 2013.

              Marlinspike, M., "Convergence", URL:
    , 2013.

              Engert, K., "DetecTor", URL:, Sep 2013.

              Evans, C., Palmer, C., and R. Sleevi, "Public Key Pinning
              Extension for HTTP", draft-ietf-websec-key-pinning-08
              (work in progress), July 2013.

              Marlinspike, M., "Trust Assertions for Certificate Keys",
              draft-perrin-tls-tack-02 (work in progress), January 2013.

   [MECAI]    Engert, K., "MECAI - Mutually Endorsing CA
              Infrastructure", URL:, Feb 2012.

              Wendlandt, D., Andersen, D., and A. Perrig, "Perspectives:
              Improving SSH-style Host Authentication with Multi-Path
              Probing", URL:
              perspectives-usenix2008/, 2008.

   [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.

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   [RFC4033]  Arends, R., Austein, R., Larson, M., Massey, D., and S.
              Rose, "DNS Security Introduction and Requirements", RFC
              4033, March 2005.

   [RFC4034]  Arends, R., Austein, R., Larson, M., Massey, D., and S.
              Rose, "Resource Records for the DNS Security Extensions",
              RFC 4034, March 2005.

   [RFC4035]  Arends, R., Austein, R., Larson, M., Massey, D., and S.
              Rose, "Protocol Modifications for the DNS Security
              Extensions", RFC 4035, March 2005.

   [RFC6066]  Eastlake, D., "Transport Layer Security (TLS) Extensions:
              Extension Definitions", RFC 6066, January 2011.

   [RFC6698]  Hoffman, P. and J. Schlyter, "The DNS-Based Authentication
              of Named Entities (DANE) Transport Layer Security (TLS)
              Protocol: TLSA", RFC 6698, August 2012.

   [RFC6962]  Laurie, B., Langley, A., and E. Kasper, "Certificate
              Transparency", RFC 6962, June 2013.

              Eckersley, P., "Sovereign Key Cryptography for Internet
              Domains", URL:
              keys.git;a=blob;f=sovereign-key-design.txt;hb=master, Oct

              EFF, "The Sovereign Keys Project", URL: https://
    , Oct 2013.

9.2.  Informative References

   [BO09]     Biddle, R., van Oorschot, P., Patrick, A., Sobey, J., and
              T. Whalen, "Browser Interfaces and Extended Validation SSL
              Certificates: An Empirical Study, Proceedings of the 2009
              ACM workshop on Cloud computing security", URL:
    , 2009.

   [Comodo]   Hallam-Baker, P., "The Recent RA Compromise", URL: http://
              compromise/, Mar 2011.

              Technical University Munich, "Crossbear", URL: https://
    , Oct 2013.

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              Arthur, C., "DigiNotar SSL certificate hack amounts to
              cyberwar, says expert", URL:
              cyberwar, Sep 2011.

              Barnes, R., "DANE: Taking TLS Authentication to the Next
              Level Using DNSSEC, IETF Journal", URL: http://
              authentication-next-level-using-dnssec, Oct 2011.

              Netcraft, "Certificate revocation and the performance of
              OCSP", URL:
              Apr 2013.

   [RFC4251]  Ylonen, T. and C. Lonvick, "The Secure Shell (SSH)
              Protocol Architecture", RFC 4251, January 2006.

   [RFC5386]  Williams, N. and M. Richardson, "Better-Than-Nothing
              Security: An Unauthenticated Mode of IPsec", RFC 5386,
              November 2008.

   [RFC6024]  Reddy, R. and C. Wallace, "Trust Anchor Management
              Requirements", RFC 6024, October 2010.

   [RFC6973]  Cooper, A., Tschofenig, H., Aboba, B., Peterson, J.,
              Morris, J., Hansen, M., and R. Smith, "Privacy
              Considerations for Internet Protocols", RFC 6973, July

              Rescorla, E., "Deployment Models for Backup Certificate
              Systems, NIST Workshop on Improving Trust in the Online
              Marketplace", URL:
              Apr 2013.

   [SE09]     Sunshine, J., Egelman, S., Almuhimedi, H., Atri, N., and
              L. Cranor, "Crying Wolf: An Empirical Study of SSL Warning
              Effectiveness, 18th USENIX Security Symposium", URL:
    , Aug 2009.

   [SR07]     Schechter, S., Dhamija, R., Ozment, A., and I. Fischer,
              "The Emperor's New Security Indicators: An evaluation of
              website authentication and the effect of role playing on

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              usability studies, The 2007 IEEE Symposium on Security and
              Privacy", URL:, May

              EFF, "The EFF SSL Observatory", URL:
              observatory, Oct 2013.

   [Tor]      The Tor Project, "Tor - Anonymity Online", URL: https://
    , Oct 2013.

Authors' Addresses

   Hannes Tschofenig
   IAB Security Program


   Eliot Lear
   IAB Security Program


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