Network Working Group                                        D. Schinazi
Internet-Draft                                                Google LLC
Intended status: Experimental                              July 08, 2019
Expires: January 9, 2020

                          The MASQUE Protocol


   This document describes MASQUE (Multiplexed Application Substrate
   over QUIC Encryption).  MASQUE is a mechanism that allows co-locating
   and obfuscating networking applications behind an HTTPS web server.
   The currently prevalent use-case is to allow running a proxy or VPN
   server that is indistinguishable from an HTTPS server to any
   unauthenticated observer.  We do not expect major providers and CDNs
   to deploy this behind their main TLS certificate, as they are not
   willing to take the risk of getting blocked, as shown when domain
   fronting was blocked.  An expected use would be for individuals to
   enable this behind their personal websites via easy to configure
   open-source software.

   This document is a straw-man proposal.  It does not contain enough
   details to implement the protocol, and is currently intended to spark
   discussions on the approach it is taking.  Discussion of this work is
   encouraged to happen on the MASQUE IETF mailing list
   [1] or on the GitHub repository which contains the draft: [2].

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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   Drafts is at

   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 January 9, 2020.

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Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2019 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
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     1.1.  Conventions and Definitions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   2.  Usage Scenarios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     2.1.  Protection from Network Providers . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     2.2.  Protection from Web Servers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     2.3.  Making a Home Server Available  . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     2.4.  Onion Routing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   3.  Requirements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     3.1.  Invisibility of Usage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     3.2.  Invisibility of the Server  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     3.3.  Fallback to HTTP/2 over TLS over TCP  . . . . . . . . . .   5
   4.  Overview of the Mechanism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   5.  Mechanisms the Server Can Advertise to Authenticated Clients    6
     5.1.  HTTP Proxy  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     5.2.  DNS over HTTPS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     5.3.  UDP Proxying  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     5.4.  QUIC Proxying . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     5.5.  IP Proxying . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     5.6.  Path MTU Discovery  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     5.7.  Service Registration  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   6.  Operation over HTTP/2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   7.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     7.1.  Traffic Analysis  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     7.2.  Untrusted Servers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   8.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   9.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     9.1.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     9.2.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
     9.3.  URIs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
   Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
   Design Justifications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11

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   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13

1.  Introduction

   This document describes MASQUE (Multiplexed Application Substrate
   over QUIC Encryption).  MASQUE is a mechanism that allows co-locating
   and obfuscating networking applications behind an HTTPS web server.
   The currently prevalent use-case is to allow running a proxy or VPN
   server that is indistinguishable from an HTTPS server to any
   unauthenticated observer.  We do not expect major providers and CDNs
   to deploy this behind their main TLS certificate, as they are not
   willing to take the risk of getting blocked, as shown when domain
   fronting was blocked.  An expected use would be for individuals to
   enable this behind their personal websites via easy to configure
   open-source software.

   This document is a straw-man proposal.  It does not contain enough
   details to implement the protocol, and is currently intended to spark
   discussions on the approach it is taking.  Discussion of this work is
   encouraged to happen on the MASQUE IETF mailing list
   [3] or on the GitHub repository which contains the draft: [4].

   MASQUE leverages the efficient head-of-line blocking prevention
   features of the QUIC transport protocol [I-D.ietf-quic-transport]
   when MASQUE is used in an HTTP/3 [I-D.ietf-quic-http] server.  MASQUE
   can also run in an HTTP/2 server [RFC7540] but at a performance cost.

1.1.  Conventions and Definitions

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in BCP
   14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all
   capitals, as shown here.

2.  Usage Scenarios

   There are currently multiple usage scenarios that can benefit from

2.1.  Protection from Network Providers

   Some users may wish to obfuscate the destination of their network
   traffic from their network provider.  This prevents network providers
   from using data harvested from this network traffic in ways the user
   did not intend.

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2.2.  Protection from Web Servers

   There are many clients who would rather not establish a direct
   connection to web servers, for example to avoid location tracking.
   The clients can do that by running their traffic through a MASQUE
   server.  The web server will only see the IP address of the MASQUE
   server, not that of the client.

2.3.  Making a Home Server Available

   It is often difficult to connect to a home server.  The IP address
   might change over time.  Firewalls in the home router or in the
   network may block incoming connections.  Using a MASQUE server as a
   rendez-vous point helps resolve these issues.

2.4.  Onion Routing

   Routing traffic through a MASQUE server only provides partial
   protection against tracking, because the MASQUE server knows the
   address of the client.  Onion routing as it exists today mitigates
   this issue for TCP/TLS.  A MASQUE server could allow onion routing
   over QUIC.

   In this scenario, the client establishes a connection to the MASQUE
   server, then through that to another MASQUE server, etc.  This
   creates a tree of MASQUE servers rooted at the client.  QUIC
   connections are mapped to a specific branch of the tree.  The first
   MASQUE server knows the actual address of the client, but the other
   MASQUE servers only know the address of the previous server.  To
   assure reasonable privacy, the path should include at least 3 MASQUE

3.  Requirements

   This section describes the goals and requirements chosen for the
   MASQUE protocol.

3.1.  Invisibility of Usage

   An authenticated client using MASQUE features appears to observers as
   a regular HTTPS client.  Observers only see that HTTP/3 or HTTP/2 is
   being used over an encrypted channel.  No part of the exchanges
   between client and server may stick out.  Note that traffic analysis
   is discussed in Section 7.1.

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3.2.  Invisibility of the Server

   To anyone without private keys, the server is indistinguishable from
   a regular web server.  It is impossible to send an unauthenticated
   probe that the server would reply to differently than if it were a
   normal web server.

3.3.  Fallback to HTTP/2 over TLS over TCP

   When QUIC is blocked, MASQUE can run over TCP and still satisfy
   previous requirements.  Note that in this scenario performance may be
   negatively impacted.

4.  Overview of the Mechanism

   The server runs an HTTPS server on port 443, and has a valid TLS
   certificate for its domain.  The client has a public/private key
   pair, and the server maintains a list of authorized MASQUE clients,
   and their public key.  (Alternatively, clients can also be
   authenticated using a shared secret.)  The client starts by
   establishing a regular HTTPS connection to the server (HTTP/3 over
   QUIC or HTTP/2 over TLS 1.3 [RFC8446] over TCP), and validates the
   server's TLS certificate as it normally would for HTTPS.  If
   validation fails, the connection is aborted.  At this point the
   client can send regular unauthenticated HTTP requests to the server.
   When it wishes to start MASQUE, the client uses HTTP Transport
   Authentication (draft-schinazi-httpbis-transport-auth) to prove its
   possession of its associated key.  The client sends the Transport-
   Authentication header alongside an HTTP CONNECT request for "/.well-
   known/masque/initial" with the :protocol pseudo-header field set to

   When the server receives this CONNECT request, it authenticates the
   client and if that fails responds with code "405 Method Not Allowed",
   making sure its response is the same as what it would return for any
   unexpected CONNECT request.  If authentication succeeds, the server
   responds with code "101 Switching Protocols", and from then on this
   HTTP stream is now dedicated to the MASQUE protocol.  That protocol
   provides a reliable bidirectional message exchange mechanism, which
   is used by the client and server to negotiate what protocol options
   are supported and enabled by policy, and client VPN configuration
   such as IP addresses.  When using QUIC, this protocol also allows
   endpoints to negotiate the use of QUIC extensions, such as support
   for the DATAGRAM extension [I-D.pauly-quic-datagram].

   Clients MUST NOT attempt to "resume" MASQUE state similarly to how
   TLS sessions can be resumed.  Every new QUIC or TLS connection
   requires fully authenticating the client and server.  QUIC 0-RTT and

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   TLS early data MUST NOT be used with MASQUE as they are not forward

5.  Mechanisms the Server Can Advertise to Authenticated Clients

   Once a server has authenticated the client's MASQUE CONNECT request,
   it advertises services that the client may use.

5.1.  HTTP Proxy

   The client can make proxied HTTP requests through the server to other
   servers.  In practice this will mean using the CONNECT method to
   establish a stream over which to run TLS to a different remote
   destination.  The proxy applies back-pressure to streams in both

5.2.  DNS over HTTPS

   The client can send DNS queries using DNS over HTTPS (DoH) [RFC8484]
   to the MASQUE server.

5.3.  UDP Proxying

   In order to support WebRTC or QUIC to further servers, clients need a
   way to relay UDP onwards to a remote server.  In practice for most
   widely deployed protocols other than DNS, this involves many
   datagrams over the same ports.  Therefore this mechanism implements
   that efficiently: clients can use the MASQUE protocol stream to
   request an UDP association to an IP address and UDP port pair.  In
   QUIC, the server would reply with a DATAGRAM_ID that the client can
   then use to have UDP datagrams sent to this remote server.  Datagrams
   are then simply transferred between the DATAGRAMs with this ID and
   the outer server.  There will also be a message on the MASQUE
   protocol stream to request shutdown of a UDP association to save
   resources when it is no longer needed.  When running over TCP, the
   client opens a new stream with a CONNECT request to the "masque-udp-
   proxy" protocol and then sends datagrams encapsulated inside the
   stream with a two-byte length prefix in network byte order.  The
   target IP and port are sent as part of the URL query.  Resetting that
   stream instructs the server to release any associates resources.

5.4.  QUIC Proxying

   By leveraging QUIC client connection IDs, a MASQUE server can act as
   a QUIC proxy while only using one UDP port.  The server informs the
   client of a scheme for client connection IDs (for example, random of
   a minimum length or vended by the MASQUE server) and then the server
   can forward those packets to further web servers.

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   This mechanism can elide the connection IDs on the link between the
   client and MASQUE server by negotiating a mapping between
   DATAGRAM_IDs and the tuple (client connection ID, server connection
   ID, server IP address, server port).

   Compared to UDP proxying, this mode has the advantage of only
   requiring one UDP port to be open on the MASQUE server, and can lower
   the overhead on the link between client and MASQUE server by
   compressing connection IDs.

5.5.  IP Proxying

   For the rare cases where the previous mechanisms are not sufficient,
   proxying can be performed at the IP layer.  This would use a
   different DATAGRAM_ID and IP datagrams would be encoded inside it
   without framing.  Over TCP, a dedicated stream with two byte length
   prefix would be used.  The server can inspect the IP datagram to look
   for the destination address in the IP header.

5.6.  Path MTU Discovery

   In the main deployment of this mechanism, QUIC will be used between
   client and server, and that will most likely be the smallest MTU link
   in the path due to QUIC header and authentication tag overhead.  The
   client is responsible for not sending overly large UDP packets and
   notifying the server of the low MTU.  Therefore PMTUD is currently
   seen as out of scope of this document.

5.7.  Service Registration

   MASQUE can be used to make a home server accessible on the wide area.
   The home server authenticates to the MASQUE server and registers a
   domain name it wishes to serve.  The MASQUE server can then forward
   any traffic it receives for that domain name (by inspecting the TLS
   Server Name Indication (SNI) extension) to the home server.  This
   received traffic is not authenticated and it allows non-modified
   clients to communicate with the home server without knowing it is not
   colocated with the MASQUE server.

   To help obfuscate the home server, deployments can use Encrypted
   Server Name Indication (ESNI) [I-D.ietf-tls-esni].  That will require
   the MASQUE server sending the cleartext SNI to the home server.

6.  Operation over HTTP/2

   MASQUE implementations using HTTP/3 MUST support the fallback to
   HTTP/2 to avoid incentivizing censors to block HTTP/3 or QUIC.  When
   running over HTTP/2, MASQUE uses the Extended CONNECT method to

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   negotiate the use of datagrams over an HTTP/2 stream

   MASQUE implementations SHOULD discover that HTTP/3 is available (as
   opposed to only HTTP/2) using the same mechanism as regular HTTP
   traffic.  This current standardized mechanism for this is HTTP
   Alternative Services [RFC7838], but future mechanisms such as
   [I-D.schwartz-httpbis-dns-alt-svc] can be used if they become

7.  Security Considerations

   Here be dragons.  TODO: slay the dragons.

7.1.  Traffic Analysis

   While MASQUE ensures that proxied traffic appears similar to regular
   HTTP traffic, it doesn't inherently defeat traffic analysis.
   However, the fact that MASQUE leverages QUIC allows it to segment
   STREAM frames over multiple packets and add PADDING frames to change
   the observable characteristics of its encrypted traffic.  The exact
   details of how to change traffic patterns to defeat traffic analysis
   is considered an open research question and is out of scope for this

   When multiple MASQUE servers are available, a client can leverage
   QUIC connection migration to seamlessly transition its end-to-end
   QUIC connections by treating separate MASQUE servers as different
   paths.  This could afford an additional level of obfuscation in hopes
   of rendering traffic analysis less effective.

7.2.  Untrusted Servers

   As with any proxy or VPN technology, MASQUE hides some of the
   client's private information (such as who they are communicating
   with) from their network provider by transferring that information to
   the MASQUE server.  It is paramount that clients only use MASQUE
   servers that they trust, as a malicious actor could easily setup a
   MASQUE server and advertise it as a privacy solution in hopes of
   attracting users to send it their traffic.

8.  IANA Considerations

   We will need to register:

   o  the "/.well-known/masque/" URI (expert review)

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   uris.xhtml [5]

   o  The "masque" and "masque-udp-proxy" extended HTTP CONNECT

   We will also need to define the MASQUE control protocol and that will
   be likely to define new registries of its own.

9.  References

9.1.  Normative References

              Bishop, M., "Hypertext Transfer Protocol Version 3
              (HTTP/3)", draft-ietf-quic-http-20 (work in progress),
              April 2019.

              Iyengar, J. and M. Thomson, "QUIC: A UDP-Based Multiplexed
              and Secure Transport", draft-ietf-quic-transport-20 (work
              in progress), April 2019.

              Kinnear, E. and T. Pauly, "Using HTTP/2 as a Transport for
              Arbitrary Bytestreams", draft-kinnear-httpbis-
              http2-transport-01 (work in progress), March 2019.

              Pauly, T., Kinnear, E., and D. Schinazi, "An Unreliable
              Datagram Extension to QUIC", draft-pauly-quic-datagram-03
              (work in progress), July 2019.

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

   [RFC7540]  Belshe, M., Peon, R., and M. Thomson, Ed., "Hypertext
              Transfer Protocol Version 2 (HTTP/2)", RFC 7540,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC7540, May 2015,

   [RFC7838]  Nottingham, M., McManus, P., and J. Reschke, "HTTP
              Alternative Services", RFC 7838, DOI 10.17487/RFC7838,
              April 2016, <>.

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

   [RFC8446]  Rescorla, E., "The Transport Layer Security (TLS) Protocol
              Version 1.3", RFC 8446, DOI 10.17487/RFC8446, August 2018,

   [RFC8484]  Hoffman, P. and P. McManus, "DNS Queries over HTTPS
              (DoH)", RFC 8484, DOI 10.17487/RFC8484, October 2018,

9.2.  Informative References

              Bishop, M., Sullivan, N., and M. Thomson, "Secondary
              Certificate Authentication in HTTP/2", draft-ietf-httpbis-
              http2-secondary-certs-04 (work in progress), April 2019.

              Rescorla, E., Oku, K., Sullivan, N., and C. Wood,
              "Encrypted Server Name Indication for TLS 1.3", draft-
              ietf-tls-esni-03 (work in progress), March 2019.

              Pardue, L., "HTTP-initiated Network Tunnelling (HiNT)",
              draft-pardue-httpbis-http-network-tunnelling-01 (work in
              progress), October 2018.

              Schwartz, B. and M. Bishop, "Finding HTTP Alternative
              Services via the Domain Name Service", draft-schwartz-
              httpbis-dns-alt-svc-02 (work in progress), April 2018.

              Schwartz, B., "Hybrid Encapsulation Layer for IP and UDP
              Messages (HELIUM)", draft-schwartz-httpbis-helium-00 (work
              in progress), June 2018.

              Sullivan, N., Thomson, M., and M. Bishop, "Post-Handshake
              Authentication in TLS", draft-sullivan-tls-post-handshake-
              auth-00 (work in progress), August 2016.

   [RFC8441]  McManus, P., "Bootstrapping WebSockets with HTTP/2",
              RFC 8441, DOI 10.17487/RFC8441, September 2018,

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   [RFC8471]  Popov, A., Ed., Nystroem, M., Balfanz, D., and J. Hodges,
              "The Token Binding Protocol Version 1.0", RFC 8471,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC8471, October 2018,

9.3.  URIs







   This proposal was inspired directly or indirectly by prior work from
   many people.  In particular, this work is related to
   [I-D.schwartz-httpbis-helium] and
   [I-D.pardue-httpbis-http-network-tunnelling].  The mechanism used to
   run the MASQUE protocol over HTTP/2 streams was inspired by
   [RFC8441].  Brendan Moran is to thank for the idea of leveraging
   connection migration across MASQUE servers.

   The author would like to thank Christophe A., an inspiration and true
   leader of VPNs.

Design Justifications

   Using an exported key as a nonce allows us to prevent replay attacks
   (since it depends on randomness from both endpoints of the TLS
   connection) without requiring the server to send an explicit nonce
   before it has authenticated the client.  Adding an explicit nonce
   mechanism would expose the server as it would need to send these
   nonces to clients that have not been authenticated yet.

   The rationale for a separate MASQUE protocol stream is to allow
   server-initiated messages.  If we were to use HTTP semantics, we
   would only be able to support the client-initiated request-response
   model.  We could have used WebSocket for this purpose but that would
   have added wire overhead and dependencies without providing useful

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   There are many other ways to authenticate HTTP, however the
   authentication used here needs to work in a single client-initiated
   message to meet the requirement of not exposing the server.

   The current proposal would also work with TLS 1.2, but in that case
   TLS false start and renegotiation must be disabled, and the extended
   master secret and renegotiation indication TLS extensions must be

   If the server or client want to hide that HTTP/2 is used, the client
   can set its ALPN to an older version of HTTP and then use the Upgrade
   header to upgrade to HTTP/2 inside the TLS encryption.

   The client authentication used here is similar to how Token Binding
   [RFC8471] operates, but it has very different goals.  MASQUE does not
   use token binding directly because using token binding requires
   sending the token_binding TLS extension in the TLS ClientHello, and
   that would stick out compared to a regular TLS connection.

   TLS post-handshake authentication
   [I-D.sullivan-tls-post-handshake-auth] is not used by this proposal
   because that requires sending the "post_handshake_auth" extension in
   the TLS ClientHello, and that would stick out from a regular HTTPS

   Client authentication could have benefited from Secondary Certificate
   Authentication in HTTP/2 [I-D.ietf-httpbis-http2-secondary-certs],
   however that has two downsides: it requires the server advertising
   that it supports it in its SETTINGS, and it cannot be sent unprompted
   by the client, so the server would have to request authentication.
   Both of these would make the server stick out from regular HTTP/2

   MASQUE proposes a new client authentication method (as opposed to
   reusing something like HTTP basic authentication) because HTTP
   authentication methods are conceptually per-request (they need to be
   repeated on each request) whereas the new method is bound to the
   underlying connection (be it QUIC or TLS).  In particular, this
   allows sending QUIC DATAGRAM frames without authenticating every
   frame individually.  Additionally, HMAC and asymmetric keying are
   preferred to sending a password for client authentication since they
   have a tighter security bound.  Going into the design rationale,
   HMACs (and signatures) need some data to sign, and to avoid replay
   attacks that should be a fresh nonce provided by the remote peer.
   Having the server provide an explicit nonce would leak the existence
   of the server so we use TLS keying material exporters as they provide
   us with a nonce that contains entropy from the server without
   requiring explicit communication.

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Author's Address

   David Schinazi
   Google LLC
   1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
   Mountain View, California 94043
   United States of America


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