S/MIME Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) Requirement for the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)
RFC 3853

Document Type RFC - Proposed Standard (July 2004; No errata)
Updates RFC 3261
Author Jon Peterson 
Last updated 2015-10-14
Stream Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
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IESG IESG state RFC 3853 (Proposed Standard)
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Send notices to rohan@cisco.com
Network Working Group                                        J. Peterson
Request for Comments: 3853                                       Neustar
Updates: 3261                                                  July 2004
Category: Standards Track

               S/MIME Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)
         Requirement for the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)

Status of this Memo

   This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
   Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
   Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
   and status of this protocol.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2004).


   RFC 3261 currently specifies 3DES as the mandatory-to-implement
   ciphersuite for implementations of S/MIME in the Session Initiation
   Protocol (SIP).  This document updates the normative guidance of RFC
   3261 to require the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) for S/MIME.

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
   2. Terminology  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
   3. S/MIME Ciphersuite Requirements for SIP  . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
   4. Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
   5. References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
      5.1.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
      5.2.  Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
   6. Acknowledgments  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
   7. Author's Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
   8. Full Copyright Statement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

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RFC 3853             S/MIME AES Requirement for SIP            July 2004

1.  Introduction

   The Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) specification (RFC 3261 [1])
   currently details optional support (a normative MAY) for the use of
   secure MIME, or S/MIME (RFC 2633 [8]).  Since RFC 3261 was published,
   the S/MIME specification and the underlying Cryptographic Message
   Syntax (CMS, RFC 3369 [3]) have undergone some revision.  Ongoing
   work has identified AES as a algorithm that might be used for content
   encryption in S/MIME.

   The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES [6]) is widely believed to be
   faster than Triple-DES (3DES, which has previously been mandated for
   usage with S/MIME) and to be comparably secure.  AES is also believed
   to have comparatively low memory requirements, which makes it
   suitable for use in mobile or embedded devices, an important use-case
   for SIP.

   As an additional consideration, the SIP specification has a
   recommendation (normative SHOULD) for support of Transport Layer
   Security (TLS, RFC 2246 [7]).  TLS support in SIP requires the usage
   of AES.  That means that currently, implementations that support both
   TLS and S/MIME must support both 3DES and AES.  A similar duplication
   of effort exists with DSS in S/MIME as a digital signature algorithm
   (the mandatory TLS ciphersuite used by SIP requires RSA).  Unifying
   the ciphersuite and signature algorithm requirements for TLS and
   S/MIME would simplify security implementations.

   It is therefore desirable to bring the S/MIME requirement for SIP
   into parity with ongoing work on the S/MIME standard, as well as to
   unify the algorithm requirements for TLS and S/MIME.  To date, S/MIME
   has not yet seen widespread deployment in SIP user agents, and
   therefore the minimum ciphersuite for S/MIME could be updated without
   obsoleting any substantial deployments of S/MIME for SIP (in fact,
   these changes will probably make support for S/MIME easier).  This
   document therefore updates the normative requirements for S/MIME in
   RFC 3261.

   Note that work on these revisions in the S/MIME working group is
   still in progress.  This document will continue to track that work as
   it evolves.  By initiating this process in the SIP WG now, we provide
   an early opportunity for input into the proposed changes and give
   implementers some warning that the S/MIME requirements for SIP are
   potentially changing.

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RFC 3853             S/MIME AES Requirement for SIP            July 2004

2.  Terminology

   In this document, the key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED",
   RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" are to be interpreted as
   described in BCP 14, RFC 2119 [2] and indicate requirement levels for
   compliant SIP implementations.

3.  S/MIME Ciphersuite Requirements for SIP

   The following updates the text of RFC 3261 Section 23.3, specifically
   the fifth bullet point.  The text currently reads:

   o  S/MIME implementations MUST at a minimum support SHA1 as a digital
      signature algorithm, and 3DES as an encryption algorithm.  All
      other signature and encryption algorithms MAY be supported.
      Implementations can negotiate support for these algorithms with
      the "SMIMECapabilities" attribute.

   This text is updated with the following:

   S/MIME implementations MUST at a minimum support RSA as a digital
   signature algorithm and SHA1 as a digest algorithm [5], and AES as an
   encryption algorithm (as specified in [4].  For key transport, S/MIME
   implementations MUST support RSA key transport as specified in
   section 4.2.1. of [5].  S/MIME implementations of AES MUST support
   128-bit AES keys, and SHOULD support 192 and 256-bit keys.  Note that
   the S/MIME specification [8] mandates support for 3DES as an
   encryption algorithm, DH for key encryption and DSS as a signature
   algorithm.  In the SIP profile of S/MIME, support for 3DES, DH and
   DSS is RECOMMENDED but not required.  All other signature and
   encryption algorithms MAY be supported.  Implementations can
   negotiate support for algorithms with the "SMIMECapabilities"

   Since SIP is 8-bit clean, all implementations MUST use 8-bit binary
   Content-Transfer-Encoding for S/MIME in SIP.  Implementations MAY
   also be able to receive base-64 Content-Transfer-Encoding.

4.  Security Considerations

   The migration of the S/MIME requirement from Triple-DES to AES is not
   known to introduce any new security considerations.

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RFC 3853             S/MIME AES Requirement for SIP            July 2004

5.  References

5.1.  Normative References

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

   [2]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to indicate requirement
        levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [3]  Housley, R., "Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS)", RFC 3369,
        August 2002.

   [4]  Schaad, J., "Use of the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)
        Encryption Algorithm in Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS)", RFC
        3565, July 2003.

   [5]  Housley, R., "Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) Algorithms",
        RFC 3394, August 2002.

5.2.  Informative References

   [6]  National Institute of Standards & Technology, "Advanced
        Encryption Standard (AES).", FIPS 197, November 2001.

   [7]  Dierks, T. and C. Allen, "The TLS Protocol Version 1.0", RFC
        2246, January 1999.

   [8]  Ramsdell, B., Ed., "S/MIME Version 3.1 Message Specification",
        RFC 3851, July 2004.

6.  Acknowledgments

   Thanks to Rohan Mahy, Gonzalo Camarillo, and Eric Rescorla for review
   of this document.

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RFC 3853             S/MIME AES Requirement for SIP            July 2004

7.  Author's Address

   Jon Peterson
   NeuStar, Inc.
   1800 Sutter St
   Suite 570
   Concord, CA  94520

   Phone: +1 925/363-8720
   EMail: jon.peterson@neustar.biz
   URI:   http://www.neustar.biz/

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RFC 3853             S/MIME AES Requirement for SIP            July 2004

8.  Full Copyright Statement

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2004).  This document is subject
   to the rights, licenses and restrictions contained in BCP 78, and
   except as set forth therein, the authors retain all their rights.

   This document and the information contained herein are provided on an

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