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Versions: 00                                                            
Network Working Group                                         M. Thomson
Internet-Draft                                                  A. Roach
Intended status: Standards Track                                 Mozilla
Expires: April 1, 2016                                September 29, 2015

                        Secure Messaging in XMPP


   The history of secure messaging in XMPP is spotty.  The long-running
   de facto scheme, OTR, enjoys fairly wide implementation and use, but
   OTR suffers from some serious usability and security shortcomings
   that make it unsuitable as a basis for encryption.

   This document describes an architecture that provides end-to-end
   confidentiality and integrity for XMPP messaging.  Solutions for both
   multi-user and one-to-one messaging are provided.

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 http://datatracker.ietf.org/drafts/current/.

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

   This Internet-Draft will expire on April 1, 2016.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2015 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
   (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) 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

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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.  Goals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  Architectural Overview  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     3.1.  The New Pieces  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     3.2.  One-to-One Messaging  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
       3.2.1.  Publishing Key Exchange Data  . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
       3.2.2.  Establishing Pairwise Keying Material . . . . . . . .   5
       3.2.3.  Message Encryption  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     3.3.  Multi-User Chat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
       3.3.1.  Inviting Other Clients  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   4.  Identity Assertions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     4.1.  Acquiring Identity Assertions . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
     4.2.  Validating Identity Assertions  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   5.  Message Encryption Details  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
     5.1.  Encapsulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
     5.2.  Symmetric Encryption  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
       5.2.1.  Nonces  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
       5.2.2.  Symmetric Algorithm Agility . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
       5.2.3.  Message Drop Attacks  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
     5.3.  Signature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
     5.4.  Decryption and Validation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
     5.5.  Presence Encryption . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
     5.6.  Chat State Notifications  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
     5.7.  Layers of Encryption  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
   6.  Key Advertisement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
     6.1.  Asymmetric Key Advertisement  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
     6.2.  Symmetric Key Advertisement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
     6.3.  Key Identifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
     6.4.  Key Lifetime  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18
   7.  User and MUC Rosters  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18
     7.1.  Roster Entries  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
       7.1.1.  Tracking Affiliations and States  . . . . . . . . . .  21
       7.1.2.  MUC Invitation Tickets  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  21
       7.1.3.  User Roster Management  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
       7.1.4.  Roster Update Protocol  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
     7.2.  Roster State  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  23
     7.3.  Roster Security Limitations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  23
     7.4.  Mitigating Attacks  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  24
   8.  Pseudonymity  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  24
   9.  Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  25
   10. Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  25
   11. IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  26

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   12. References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  26
     12.1.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  26
     12.2.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  26
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  27

1.  Introduction

   The history of secure messaging in XMPP is spotty.  The long-running
   de facto scheme, OTR, enjoys fairly wide implementation and use, but
   OTR suffers from some serious usability and security shortcomings
   that make it unsuitable as a basis for encryption.  It also has a
   number of limitations that make it unsuitable for advanced scenarios,
   such as multi-user conferences.

   This document describes an architecture that provides end-to-end
   confidentiality and integrity for XMPP messaging.  Solutions for both
   multi-user and one-to-one messaging are provided.

2.  Goals

   This is a very simple proposition with a somewhat involved solution:

   o  one-to-one messaging is secured end-to-end

   o  multi-user chats are secured end-to-end

   o  messages can be sent to offline users

   o  the set of entities that can decrypt a message can be audited

   o  users are able to control whether their communications can be
      correlated across different venues

3.  Architectural Overview

   This system aims to achieve the above goals by adding encryption to
   chat-related XMPP functions.

   This only aims to protect chat-related messaging.  It provides only
   limited protection for presence information.  The key agreement parts
   of this protocol are intended to be generically applicable, but the
   application to file transfer, jingle, and myriad other XMPP features
   is left for future efforts.

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3.1.  The New Pieces

   Identity assertions (Section 4) allow users to strongly authenticate
   others.  The identity assertion mechanism is also used as the basis
   of public key distribution, which underpins several of the other
   building blocks.

   Encrypting a message (Section 5) is rather straightforward once the
   symmetric encryption key is chosen.  Establishing the key used in
   message encryption is more difficult.  This design uses a scheme
   whereby encryption keys are advertised (Section 6) prior to use.  How
   this is done varies only slightly between one-to-one messaging and

   Ensuring proper key distribution of the message-encrypting keys to a
   potentially large and changing set of users is the most challenging
   and involved piece of infrastructure to design and build.  This
   architecture uses a secure roster (Section 7) that makes and verifies
   strong cryptographic assertions about participation.

   Finally, pseudonymity functions allow a user to safeguard their
   privacy.  The addition of strong cryptography makes it easier for
   passive observers to correlate activity, but pseudonymity (Section 8)
   allows users to minimize what information about their activity is
   leaked to others.

3.2.  One-to-One Messaging

   Message encryption for one-to-one messaging uses a unilateral key
   declaration for key management.

3.2.1.  Publishing Key Exchange Data

   Clients that wish to participate in encrypted messaging publish
   keying material to their presence.  This includes a signing public
   key that is used to authenticate messages and a Diffie-Hellman (DH)
   share used for exchanging the symmetric keys used in encryption.
   Each client generates new keying material that is bound to the full
   JID that they use (that is, each client has its own keying material;
   there is no key associated with a user's bare JID).

   Keys are published under a randomly generated identifier that is
   consequently used to identify the key when it is used to encipher a

   New clients can only be added if an existing client attests to the
   addition.  This is intended to stop a subverted server from adding

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   clients.  This uses a form of the same roster log (Section 7) that is
   used for multi-party chats.

      ISSUE: does this represent a UX issue?  Five years ago, we might
      have been concerned about users forgetting a password or losing
      their last device.  Today, this is less of a concern, especially
      if we subscribe to the principal device theory (NOTE: The
      principal device here is a smartphone.  That device goes with
      users everywhere and can serve as an anchor for security
      operations, like adding a new client to the set of authorized
      clients for a JID.).

3.2.2.  Establishing Pairwise Keying Material

   Prior to sending a message, a client first retrieves and validates
   the presence of the intended recipient.  A client that supports
   encryption will include a valid DH share in their presence

   The sending client then generates new symmetric keys that it will use
   with this peer.  This key is enciphered toward all the clients in the
   recipient's presence.

   The key is also enciphered toward other authorized clients for the
   sender's JID.  This allows other clients to decipher the messages
   that other clients have sent.  It also allows those clients to reuse
   the key.

   It is also necessary for clients to re-send this information if a
   client is added by sender or recipient.  Otherwise, clients that
   reuse symmetric keys will generate messages that new clients are
   unable to decrypt.

3.2.3.  Message Encryption

   Once keying material has been selected or new keying material has
   been advertised, messages are encrypted and decrypted (Section 5)
   using that symmetric key.

   Recipients of the message recover the advertised keying material by
   retrieving the presence of the sender and decrypting the enciphered

3.3.  Multi-User Chat

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     +--------+    +--------+    +--------+
     |        |    |        |    |        |
     | Server |____| Server |____| Server |
     |   x    |    | muc@z  |    |   y    |
     |        |    |        |    |        |
     +--------+    +--------+    +--------+
         |           Roster          |
         |           Log             |
     +--------+                  +--------+
     |        |                  |        |
     | Client |                  | Client |
     | a@x/1  |                  | b@y/1  |
     |        |                  |        |
     +--------+                  +--------+
      Alias                       Alias
      xxx@x                       yyy@y
      (w/keys)                    (w/keys)

   A user founds a MUC in the usual fashion (see [XEP-0045], section
   10.1).  Two changes are made:

   1.  The client creates a a temporary JID (Section 8) that is unique
       for the room, and matching keying material that it will use
       exclusively with that temporary JID.

   2.  The message that founds the room includes a founding entry for
       the secure roster log (Section 7) for the room.  This is an
       element that establishes the creating user as an owner in a
       manner that can be independently verified.

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    Client             Server x             Server
      a@x                                    muc@z
       |                   |                   |
       |getalias for a@x   |                   |
       |------------------>|                   |
       |presence for xxx@x |                   |
       |<------------------|                   |
       |                   |                   |
       |xxx@x is a single-use JID: no presence?|
       |                   |                   |
       |create muc(xxx@x, first log entry)     |
       |room created       |                   |
       |configure          |                   |
       |room open          |                   |

   All subsequent changes to the roster of the MUC need to be
   accompanied by a message that authorizes the change.  This message is
   signed by the user that proposes the change.  All users verify the
   resulting series of changes that accumulate to build up the room

   Unauthorized changes to the roster are therefore detectable.  Keying
   material is only shared with users that have been legitimately added
   to the roster.

3.3.1.  Inviting Other Clients

   In order to invite a user to a chat, two pieces of identifying
   information for the invited client need to be retrieved: a temporary
   JID and the keying material for that client.

   The inviting client generates a signed invitation and sends this to
   the bare JID of the offline user.  This invitation is a bearer token
   that can be exercised by any client that has it.  The invitation must
   be encrypted using one-to-one message encryption, or servers can
   steal and use it.  A user with the bearer token includes that in a
   signed roster log entry when they join the room.  The room adds the
   entry to the roster log if it can be validated.

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    Client              Server             Server y             Client
      a@x                muc@z                                    b@y
       |                   |                   |                   |
       |getalias for b@y   |                   |                   |
       |-------------------------------------->|                   |
       |presence for yyy@y |                   |                   |
       |<--------------------------------------|                   |
       |invite yyy@y to muc@z (token)          |                   |
       |-------------------------------------->|                   |
       |                   |                   |connect            |
       |                   |                   |<------------------|
       |                   |                   |invitation         |
       |                   |                   |------------------>|
       |                   |                   |get alias for b@y  |
       |                   |                   |<------------------|
       |                   |                   |presence for yyy@y |
       |                   |                   |------------------>|
       |                   |join (presence, token)                 |
       |                   |<--------------------------------------|
       |                   |ok                 |                   |
       |                   |-------------------------------------->|

4.  Identity Assertions

   The identity of users is one of the most important pieces of
   confidential information in the context of a chat.  Identity
   information need to be confidentiality protected if they transit more
   than one server hop.

    Client             Server x             Client
      a@x                                     b@y
       |                   |                   |
       |get assertion      |                   |
       |------------------>|                   |
       |assertion          |                   |
       |<------------------|                   |
       |assertion          |                   |
       |                   |get identity       |
       |                   |<------------------|
       |                   |identity           |
       |                   |------------------>|

   A new <message> payload is defined to carry identity assertions.
   That assertion binds a bare JID to the signing public key used by a
   client to send messages.

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   The identity assertion contains only a single piece of public
   information: the domain name of the asserting entity.  The remainder
   is an opaque blob of data that is consumed by the identity provider.

   <message from="..." to="..." id="..." type="chat">
     <x xmlns="...identity#assertion">

4.1.  Acquiring Identity Assertions

   An identity assertion is acquired from the domain that is responsible
   for the JID (that is usually the client's own server) by sending a
   query to that server.  The server uses the client's authentication
   credentials, which are usually bound to a connection, to determine if
   the client owns the identifier.

   <iq from="user@example.com/resource"
       to="example.com" id="..." type="get">
     <x xmlns="...identity">

   The information that is signed is the signing key that the client
   intends to bind to their identity.

   The assertion that the server generates will ultimately be consumed
   by the server that generated it, so it can be completely opaque.
   However, it should contain enough information for the server to
   identify the JID of the client that it relates to, as well as verify
   its authenticity.

   <iq from="example.com"
       to="user@example.com/resource" id="..." type="result">
     <x xmlns="...identity#assertion">

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   The assertion might also include limits on validity, such as an
   expiration time, as dictated by server policy.

4.2.  Validating Identity Assertions

      ISSUE: This validation mechanism relies on transitive trust in the
      server of the client making the query.  Confidentiality protection
      seems like the right thing here.  Which is a second case for
      server-to-client confidentiality.

   Clients that receive the identity assertion can then query the server
   that issued it and request the identity that it contains.  The server
   validates the assertion, and either generates an error, or a message
   containing the identity.

   The query includes the assertion:

   <iq from="other@example.net/check"
       to="example.com" id="..." type="get">
     <x xmlns="...identity#assertion">

   A successful response includes the identity of the client, and the
   public key that was asserted.

   <iq from="example.com"
       id="..." type="get">
     <x xmlns="...identity#identity">

   A client receiving this response checks that the domain part of the
   identifier matches the server identity.  Once this check is complete,
   the identity can be associated with the public key.  All messages
   sent with that public key can thereafter be attributed to the
   identifier.  Clients might also provide indicators that the sender of
   authenticated messages has been verified.

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5.  Message Encryption Details

   A simple combination of symmetric encryption and asymmetric signing
   are used to protect messages.

   This wrapping scheme takes an unencrypted, serialized XMPP stanza.
   The process adds a signature over this data.  Then the signed content
   is encrypted.

   content = cleartext || sender.sign(cleartext)
   ciphertext = encrypt(keys[keyid].key, nonce, content)

   The routing and message handling information from the cleartext
   (element basename plus to, from, and type attributes) is added to a
   new stanza of the same basename as the original.  That is, <iq>
   stanzas produce encrypted <iq> stanzas; <message> stanzas result in
   encrypted <message> stanzas.  Unfortunately, these attributes govern
   message delivery in ways that could cause compatibility issues if
   they were encrypted.

      ISSUE: The potential variations in these values leaks information;
      a future study might identify mappings that allow for reductions
      in this leakage.  This might include identifying cases where
      removing the resource identifier from routing attributes is safe;
      or finding ways to map the range of stanza elements and type
      attributes to a reduced set.  If there was a consistent set of
      policies with respect to handling the different stanzas and types,
      this would be easier.

   A new <e> element is added to the encrypted element.  The content of
   this element is a base64 encoded string that contains the encrypted

   This element includes attributes for a key identifier (Section 6.3)
   and sequence number.  The key identifier provides the information a
   recipient needs to decrypt the message.  The sequence number
   increases by one for every message sent, allowing a receiver to
   detect when messages are dropped or lost.

5.1.  Encapsulation

   Encrypted messages always use either the <message> stanza or the <iq>
   stanza based solely on the nature of the exchange.  Messages that
   require a response from a specific client use the <iq> stanza; all
   other messages use <message>.

   Presence information can be encrypted, but this is necessarily mixed
   with unencrypted data.  An extension to the <presence> element

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   includes confidential presence information.  Note that presence
   information is effectively broadcast; but any encrypted information
   will need a limited audience, and all that audience will need to
   receive the same encryption key.

   For example, the following message from [RFC6121] section 5.2.1:

     <body>Art thou not Romeo, and a Montague?</body>

   Might be encrypted into a message of the form:

     <e xmlns='...tbd...' key='MSPw9g5tlj9BZGF6' seqno='1'>

   This removes the language indicator from the unencrypted stanza.

      ISSUE: What do existing clients do when they see an encrypted
      message?  The addition of one client that supports encryption
      causes encrypted messages to be sent to that user.  Other clients
      that haven't yet been upgraded will have to deal with the
      encrypted messages somehow.  It might be possible to add a <body>
      element with a generic message, but that would need to be
      internationalized and repeating that block in every message seems
      wasteful.  Ideally, encrypted messages would just be discarded.
      To do: check with someone who might know.

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5.2.  Symmetric Encryption

   Authenticated Encryption with Additional Data (AEAD) [RFC5116] is
   used to provide confidentiality of messages, as well as integrity
   against unauthorized recipients.

   The AEAD key is either advertised (Section 6) or reused from a prior
   advertisement.  The advertisement of the key establishes the scheme
   that is used.

5.2.1.  Nonces

   The sequence number on each message determines the nonce that is used
   with the AEAD.  For a given combination of sender and key identifier,
   sequence numbers cannot repeat without risking compromise of the
   confidentiality and integrity provided by authenticated encryption.
   The following nonce derivation method is used (using HKDF as defined
   in [RFC5869]):

   nonce = HKDF(0, sender.fullJID, 'nonce', N_MAX) XOR seqno

   This nonce selection ensures a negligible probability of nonce reuse
   as long as each sender correctly increments the sequence number.
   Recipients can verify that sequence numbers are not reused.

5.2.2.  Symmetric Algorithm Agility

   Key identifiers also identify the AEAD algorithm that is used to
   encipher a message.  That information is carried in the key

   Messages may be enciphered multiple times with different keys.  This
   allows new encryption schemes to be deployed, at the cost of sending
   some messages multiple times.  This is only necessary if some
   potential recipients only support old AEAD algorithms.

   This presents a downgrade attack vector if an attacker can convince a
   sender that a legitimate client supports a weaker cipher suite.
   However, key advertisements are authenticated, so the only point for
   a potential downgrade is a break in the signing key that a recipient
   uses, which is much more serious a problem than a mere downgrade.

5.2.3.  Message Drop Attacks

   Selectively dropping messages can be used by an attacker to disrupt
   communications.  Even without visibility into the contents of
   messages, side channels might be used to learn of the timing of
   important messages.

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   For this reason, the sequence number of messages is integral to the
   encryption of messages.  Sequence numbers increase at a constant
   interval for messages sent by the same client, allowing dropped
   messages to be detected.  Since there is an expectation of
   reliability and in-order message delivery, clients should highlight
   where message are missing.

5.3.  Signature

   A signature on messages is necessary to prevent impersonation of
   other MUC participants.  This means that repudiation of the form that
   OTR claims to provide is not offered, because that requirement is
   incompatible.  Note however that a temporary MUC using a temporary
   JID (Section 8) and no identity assertion (Section 4) provides only
   circumstantial means of attributing activity to a user.

5.4.  Decryption and Validation

   The reverse of this process is used to decrypt messages.  Encrypted
   information is authenticated and the signature validated.  The
   decrypted and verified stanza is then parsed as though it were in
   place of the current stanza.

   A client only needs to decrypt one <e> element, since each is
   required to include the same content.  All unencrypted content in the
   stanza is removed and consequently ignored.

   It is important that the receiver check that the stanza is whole and
   valid before allowing it to be processed further.  A server that is
   unable to decrypt a message cannot be relied upon to ensure that
   messages are valid.

   In the cleartext protocol, framing issues do not propagate easily,
   since they directly affect stanza processing.  Encrypted stanzas
   allow a malicious peer to generate invalid - especially unterminated
   - XML.  Extraneous bogus frames resulting from unchecked XML might be
   exploited to impersonate a server toward a receiving client.
   Matching the enciphered *from* attribute against the included
   signature is also necessary to prevent other forms of impersonation.

   Additional checks might be necessary for specific stanzas, types, or
   content.  In general, any checks that might have been possible on a
   server need to be carried out by clients that received encrypted

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5.5.  Presence Encryption

   Some presence information might be confidential.  For instance, many
   users include a status message that is shared with their friends.
   Encrypting status is highly desirable.

   Direct children of the presence stanza may be encrypted in an <e>
   element.  These necessarily use a different key than those used for
   other types of messaging to avoid problems with controlling key

      ISSUE: we need to expand on the definition of presence.  This
      could require new messaging arrangements to support retrieval of
      encrypted presence information.  It definitely needs more
      expansion on key management.  At its core, this might reuse the
      same systems used for one-to-one messaging, but the broadcast
      nature of presence means that there is a larger audience for any
      given message, which increases the potential for keys to be
      unavailable to valid recipients.

5.6.  Chat State Notifications

   Clients are required to encrypt chat state notifications [XEP-0085].
   However, these messages are useless to an offline client.  A server
   that can see these messages is required to drop them (see [XEP-0160],
   section 3), but encrypted messages can't be distinguished from other
   more important messages.

   Thus, clients are required to suppress chat state notifications when
   a peer is offline.  This allows a server to fake presence for a user
   in order to filter out chat state notifications, or suppress the
   feature, but the value of this information isn't great and this
   causes an attacker to actively modify or suppress messages to mount
   the attack.

5.7.  Layers of Encryption

   A group chat might use one-to-one message encryption to send messages
   to a user.  There's a question about what advantage that provides.
   Removing the nick from messages might be of some advantage, but that
   advantage is better managed with Section 8.

6.  Key Advertisement

   Users publish the encryption keys that they use for one-to-one
   messaging to their presence.  In an MUC, they instead use the
   presence that they advertise to the room.

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6.1.  Asymmetric Key Advertisement

   Two forms of asymmetric keys are used by clients: a signing key that
   is used to authenticate all forms of messages sent by that client,
   and a Diffie-Hellman (likely elliptic curve) share that is used in
   symmetric key advertisements.

   Asymmetric signing keys are added to and form the basis of the roster
   log (Section 7) maintained for each user or MUC.  Diffie-Hellman
   shares are added to presence information.

   Diffie-Hellman shares are added to a presence document as JWS-signed
   [RFC7515] JWK Set [RFC7517].  Each JWK in the set includes a key
   identifier that other clients use to identify the key.

   <presence from="jid@example.com/resource">
     <x xmlns="....:shares">
           "header": {"jwk": { \xe2\x80\xa6 } },

   Each key that is encrypted toward this client uses the "kid"
   parameter on the JWK to identify the key that they are encrypting

   Diffie-Hellman advertisements are signed to ensure that they are only
   provided by authorized clients.  This allows these advertisements to
   be generated prior to a client becoming authorized.

6.2.  Symmetric Key Advertisement

   A key advertisement contains the following information:

   o  A key identifier

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   o  An encryption scheme identifier

   o  The full JID of the advertising client (a temporary JID for MUC)

   o  The full JID of the key recipient (a temporary JID for MUC)

   o  A key identifier for the DH share for the advertising client

   o  A key identifier for the DH share for the key recipient

   o  A symmetric key, encrypted using a key derived from the DH

   o  An expiration date and time, after which the key must not be used
      for enciphering new messages, though it may be used to decipher
      old messages

   o  A key identifier for the signing key

   o  A signature over this entire structure, generated using the
      private signing key

      Open Issue: Rather than use key identifiers for DH shares it might
      be easier to exchange the share itself, since that is unambiguous
      and likely not significantly different in size.  That makes the
      advertisement self-contained.  Note that this would not absolve
      the key recipient of the need to check that the DH share (or
      signature key) is from a valid and authorized entity.  The use of
      a key identifier makes that check implicit and avoids some types
      of mistake.

   The signature is required to ensure that a key is not replayed and
   consequently reused.  A message with a signing key that is either not
   known or from an entity that is not permitted to participate in a
   conversation must be discarded.

   A complete key advertisement includes the same information repeated
   for each recipient.  Common information, and the signature, don't
   need to be repeated.  A single signature has implications for key

6.3.  Key Identifiers

   Key identifiers are used to select the key that is used for
   encryption and decryption.  Each key advertisement has an associated
   key identifier.

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   Care needs to be taken to ensure that key identifiers are unique
   within the context that they are created.  Since keys are proposed
   and used by multiple actors without synchronization, identifying keys
   with a large identifier (such as a GUID) is advised.

6.4.  Key Lifetime

   Keys are advertised with an expiration time that limits the time when
   they can be used for encryption.  However, offline clients need to be
   able to read messages that are generated while they are offline.
   Clients that are offline for extended periods need to be able to
   recover the keys that were used to encrypt those messages.

   Keys advertised to user presence are therefore persisted until their
   intended recipients have retrieved and acknowledged keys.  Since each
   key is encrypted toward a specific client, once that client retrieves
   the key it can be removed, though explicit acknowledgment might be
   desirable.  Note that the set of recipients includes all client
   instances of the intended recipient, plus all client instances of the

   Once the complete set of potential recipients have acknowledged a
   key, then it can be removed.  This might use implicit acknowledgment
   for client instances of the sender, since the server can track
   message delivery to those clients.  Explicit acknowledgment is
   necessary for remote clients of the recipient.

   Keys advertised within an MUC enter the chat transcript.  New
   messages to the chat are expected to use the latest key, so old keys
   only need to be maintained to account for race conditions where
   messages might be sent without knowledge of the most recent key.
   Keys that are superseded by a newer key can therefore be disposed of
   after a short duration.

   Here, the ordering of messages to the MUC is used to determine which
   key is used.  That ordering allows clients to remove and discard
   older keys.

7.  User and MUC Rosters

   All efforts to encipher messages are largely pointless if the
   architecture permits servers to add themselves to the set of clients
   and thereby acquire keying material.  The roster of clients that are
   authorized to represent a user, or which are part of an MUC, is a
   resource that needs strong integrity protection to prevent a
   malicious server from becoming part of conversations.

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   The canonical form of each roster takes the form of a log.  A roster
   log is a verifiable chain of changes to the roster.  The log can be
   validated by any entity and the set of participants validated.

   Each entry in the log identifies the entry that immediately precedes
   it by including a cryptographic hash of that entry.  This ensures
   that a valid log cannot include divergent or conflicting changes
   (this does not prevent certain forms of manipulation (Section 7.3) by
   servers).  Each entry is signed by the entity that generated the
   entry, allowing changes to be attributed and validated.

   A successfully validated roster log can be used by a client to
   determine the set of clients that a key advertisement (Section 6)
   needs to be enciphered toward.  In ensuring that a validated roster
   log is used prior to advertising new keys, clients can ensure that
   only authorized clients receive those keys.

7.1.  Roster Entries

   There are several types of entry that can be recorded into the roster
   log.  The following table summarizes the different types of log

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   | Entry Type  | Parameters  | Who can    | Notes                    |
   |             |             | add        |                          |
   | Set Room    | Room Owner, | Room Owner | This entry must be the   |
   | Type        | Room Type   |            | first entry in a MUC     |
   |             |             |            | roster log. This also    |
   |             |             |            | establishes the signer   |
   |             |             |            | as a room owner. (MUC    |
   |             |             |            | only)                    |
   |             |             |            |                          |
   | Set Room    | Permissions | Room Owner | The set of permissions   |
   | Permissions |             |            | are taken from           |
   |             |             |            | [XEP-0045], limited to   |
   |             |             |            | those that can change.   |
   |             |             |            | (MUC only)               |
   |             |             |            |                          |
   | Set         | Subject,    | Authorized | The maximum role that    |
   | Affiliation | Affiliation | Client     | the subject can assume   |
   |             |             |            | might be included, or it |
   |             |             |            | might be determined      |
   |             |             |            | based on [XEP-0045]      |
   |             |             |            | affiliation. (MUC only)  |
   |             |             |            |                          |
   | Set Client  | Subject,    | Authorized | This determines whether  |
   | State       | State       | Client     | the identified client is |
   |             |             |            | authorized or not. (One- |
   |             |             |            | to-one only)             |
   |             |             |            |                          |
   | Redeem      | Subject,    | Subject    | This in effect allows    |
   | Ticket      | Invitation  |            | for a Set Affiliation    |
   |             | Ticket      |            | entry to be generated in |
   |             |             |            | two parts.               |
   |             |             |            |                          |
   | Rekey       | Old Key,    | Subject    | Used by a client to      |
   |             | New Key     |            | replace the keying       |
   |             |             |            | material it uses without |
   |             |             |            | changing the affiliation |
   |             |             |            | of the client. This      |
   |             |             |            | entry is signed with the |
   |             |             |            | old key. This            |
   |             |             |            | invalidates the old key  |
   |             |             |            | for future use.          |

   Subjects are identified in the roster log by their signing public

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   Each log entry includes a hash of the message that precedes it.  This
   ensures that a log entry cannot be replayed on top of a different
   roster state.

   The owner (see [XEP-0045], section 5.2) affiliation is required to
   perform important tasks, like setting the room type or altering
   configuration options.  For setting the affiliation or state of other
   clients, a combination of factors determine whether an operation is
   valid: the affiliation of the user performing the change, the room
   type, and the room permissions.

7.1.1.  Tracking Affiliations and States

   The roster log becomes the source of truth for affiliations (or for
   client state).  This has a range of consequences, some of which
   result in divergence from unprotected chat or MUC.

   The roster log is public information.  This means that affiliations
   and states can be seen by any client.  This information is advertised
   to room participants in the presence advertisements, but rooms can be
   configured to suppress presence.  Access to affiliation information
   for offline users (member, admin, and owner lists) is controlled.

   The design to this point assumes that there is some functional
   distinction between an affiliation of Member and an affiliation of
   None.  This is not the case in an Open or Unmoderated room.  For
   those room types, the roster log does not need to track affiliation
   transitions between Member and None, though it may if the room type
   could change.

      ISSUE: Is there any sense in encrypting communications when a room
      is open or unmoderated?  Since anyone can join, the main value is
      in having some knowledge about the set of clients that might have
      received a message.  Given the high level of pseudonymity used, is
      even that much achievable?

   The Outcast affiliation cannot be tracked, which makes it impossible
   to ban a user from an MUC.  That is not a consequence of the roster
   log design, but a result of requiring the use of pseudonyms
   (Section 8) in MUC.

7.1.2.  MUC Invitation Tickets

   An offline client or user is invited to an MUC by sending them an
   invitation ticket.

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   An invitation ticket contains all the information that a Set
   Affiliation roster log entry might have, without a subject.  That
   subject is provided when the ticket is redeemed.

   o  Affiliation (and role)

   o  GUID (or equivalent randomness)

   o  A signature from a client that is authorized to make the change

   Invitation tickets are bearer tokens.  That means that distribution
   of these messages needs to use confidentiality protection, such as
   that provided by secure one-to-one messaging.

   A client can revoke any unused tickets that they have sent by
   rekeying.  Consequently, new invitations have to be issued if a
   client updates their keys.

7.1.3.  User Roster Management

   It might seem obvious that an equivalent ticket mechanism could be
   used for managing user rosters.  A user that has a new device, could
   send that device an invitation to join their list of clients.

   However, offline invitations for alternative clients don't have a
   confidentiality protection mechanism available: MUC invitations can
   be one-to-one encrypted because the user roster exists and provides
   for that confidentiality protection.  The same capability is not
   available for the client roster, which introduces a bootstrapping

   The safest option here is to leave this unspecified and require that
   clients add other clients to the user roster directly.  That means
   that new clients need to come online and advertise keys before they
   can be invited to represent a client.

7.1.4.  Roster Update Protocol

   A simple IQ protocol is defined for updating the roster.  A client
   sends a new roster element (a JWS signed JSON structure) to the
   server that maintains the roster as follows:

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   <iq from="user@example.com/resource"
     <x xmlns="...:roster">
       ... a JWS-signed blob ...

   The server can validate this and add it or not based on that
   validation.  Note that this exposes clients to various forms of
   denial of service mounted by the browser, primarily a refusal to take
   valid updates.

7.2.  Roster State

   Clients process a roster log to produce their own view of the state
   of the roster.  This ultimately results in a set of clients that are
   authorized to receive key advertisements.

   Each client maintains their own view of the state of the roster for
   other clients and each MUC that they participate in.  This state can
   be recovered at any time by re-processing the roster log.  Clients
   use this state to select the clients that keying material can be
   shared with.  Clients also use roster state in determining whether a
   new roster log entry is valid.

   A roster log can enter a broken state if an invalid entry is added.
   Servers are expected to validate new entries and ensure that this
   doesn't happen, but it is possible that errors or malice could cause
   invalid entries to be recorded and distributed.  Clients are required
   to freeze the state of a roster at the point where the last valid
   entry is found.

7.3.  Roster Security Limitations

   We have to assume that an attacker (in particular, the server that
   maintains and distributes a roster log) can affect how a roster log
   makes progress.

   This can be used to an attacker's advantage.  An attacker can
   withhold new changes from clients, or from a subset of clients.  By
   preventing some subset of clients from learning about changes, an
   attacker can freeze the state of a roster from the perspective of
   those clients.

   This could potentially be used to stimulate the creation of multiple
   different changes from the same starting state.  The attacker might
   then choose to allow changes only that are favorable to it.

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   In general, this means that the progress of a roster state has to be
   viewed as a directed graph, not a linear sequence.  The nodes of the
   graph correspond to states of the roster.  The outbound edges from
   any node are the valid set of changes that might be made from that
   state by any agent that is currently present.

   Given sufficient time, a server can direct progress along any edge
   that is presented to it.  Also, the server can freeze the node that
   an individual client sees by refusing to forward entries to that

   More opportunities are available to the server if clients rely on the
   server to maintain the entirety of the log state.  A client that
   maintains no state about a roster opens itself to the possibility
   that the server could set the state of the roster to any node in the
   directed graph, including old states.

7.4.  Mitigating Attacks

   The obvious protection clients can use to limit the potential for
   unconstrained state manipulation is remembering the state of a log.
   This can be limited to the last entry (or the hash of that entry),
   even if clients need to discard other state.  This prevents roster
   progress from being rewound, but it cannot do anything about a server
   withholding entries that a client hasn't seen.

   The potential for attacks based on withholding log entries is a
   potentially serious concern.  The design of XMPP naturally provides a
   single central controller: the server.  That central controller can
   provide excellent consistency, if we assume that the server chooses
   to present the same view of the roster log to all clients.  However,
   if the server is malicious, then it represents a single point of

      ISSUE: It might be that this is an acceptable condition, given the
      limited opportunity that the server has to affect change.  An
      alternative design would decouple the roster management function
      from the message delivery function, which would allow this to be
      independent of the XMPP server.  That opens other options, like
      distributed or redundant roster stores, though a decoupled design
      adds new error conditions for every problem it aims to address.

8.  Pseudonymity

   Providing end-to-end confidentiality and integrity greatly improves
   the privacy profile of XMPP.  However, exposure of a user's JID to a
   group chat server allows for a greater degree of traffic analysis.

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   This proposes the use of a pseudonym to minimize the information that
   is made available to a group chat server.

   A new service is added whereby a client can request the creation of
   an unlinked pseudonym.  That pseudonym is a temporary JID.  A
   temporary JID is a bare JID that is aliased to another bare JID.
   Resource identifiers can then be selected by the client so that
   messages routed to pseudonym can't be linked to their primary

   A pseudonym allows a client to join a group chat without exposing
   their identity to the group chat.

   A pseudonym request is simple:

   <iq from="user@example.com/resource"
       id="..." type="get">
     <x xmlns="...pseudonym"/>

   The response is equally simple:

   <iq from="user@example.com/resource"
       id="..." type="result">
     <x xmlns="...pseudonym">7ee6df7a831198624131@example.com</x>

   Clients are able to include the new pseudonym in any interaction that
   they initiate and other servers and users will be unable to
   distinguish that user from any other user at the same server.

   Messages for a pseudonym will be routed to the bare JID of the user,
   subject to the normal rules for routing of messages to a bare JID,
   even if the message contains a resource identifier.

9.  Acknowledgements


10.  Security Considerations

   The entire contents of this document deal with matters of security.

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11.  IANA Considerations

   This document makes no requests of IANA

12.  References

12.1.  Normative References

   [RFC5116]  McGrew, D., "An Interface and Algorithms for Authenticated
              Encryption", RFC 5116, DOI 10.17487/RFC5116, January 2008,

   [RFC6121]  Saint-Andre, P., "Extensible Messaging and Presence
              Protocol (XMPP): Instant Messaging and Presence", RFC
              6121, DOI 10.17487/RFC6121, March 2011,

              Saint-Andre, P., "Multi-User Chat", XSF XEP 0045, February

              Saint-Andre, P. and D. Smith, "Chat State Notifications",
              XSF XEP 0085, September 2009.

12.2.  Informative References

   [RFC5869]  Krawczyk, H. and P. Eronen, "HMAC-based Extract-and-Expand
              Key Derivation Function (HKDF)", RFC 5869, DOI 10.17487/
              RFC5869, May 2010,

   [RFC7515]  Jones, M., Bradley, J., and N. Sakimura, "JSON Web
              Signature (JWS)", RFC 7515, DOI 10.17487/RFC7515, May
              2015, <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7515>.

   [RFC7517]  Jones, M., "JSON Web Key (JWK)", RFC 7517, DOI 10.17487/
              RFC7517, May 2015,

              Saint-Andre, P., "Best Practices for Handling Offline
              Messages", XSF XEP 0160, January 2006.

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Authors' Addresses

   Martin Thomson
   Mountain View, CA

   Phone: +1 650 903 0800
   Email: martin.thomson@gmail.com

   Adam Roach

   Phone: +1 650 903 0800 x863
   Email: adam@nostrum.com

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