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TLS Authentication Using Intelligent Transport System (ITS) Certificates
RFC 8902

Document Type RFC - Experimental (September 2020)
Was draft-msahli-ise-ieee1609 (individual)
Authors Mounira Msahli , Nancy Cam-Winget , William Whyte , Ahmed Serhrouchni , Houda Labiod
Last updated 2020-09-30
RFC stream Independent Submission
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RFC 8902

Independent Submission                                    M. Msahli, Ed.
Request for Comments: 8902                                 Telecom Paris
Category: Experimental                                N. Cam-Winget, Ed.
ISSN: 2070-1721                                                    Cisco
                                                           W. Whyte, Ed.
                                                          A. Serhrouchni
                                                               H. Labiod
                                                           Telecom Paris
                                                          September 2020

TLS Authentication Using Intelligent Transport System (ITS) Certificates


   The IEEE and ETSI have specified a type of end-entity certificate.
   This document defines an experimental change to TLS to support IEEE/
   ETSI certificate types to authenticate TLS entities.

Status of This Memo

   This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is
   published for examination, experimental implementation, and

   This document defines an Experimental Protocol for the Internet
   community.  This is a contribution to the RFC Series, independently
   of any other RFC stream.  The RFC Editor has chosen to publish this
   document at its discretion and makes no statement about its value for
   implementation or deployment.  Documents approved for publication by
   the RFC Editor are not candidates for any level of Internet Standard;
   see Section 2 of RFC 7841.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
   and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2020 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.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction
     1.1.  Experiment Overview
   2.  Requirements Terminology
   3.  Extension Overview
   4.  TLS Client and Server Handshake
     4.1.  Client Hello
     4.2.  Server Hello
   5.  Certificate Verification
   6.  Examples
     6.1.  TLS Server and TLS Client Use the ITS Certificate
     6.2.  TLS Client Uses the ITS Certificate and TLS Server Uses the
           X.509 Certificate
   7.  Security Considerations
     7.1.  Securely Obtaining Certificates from an Online Repository
     7.2.  Expiry of Certificates
     7.3.  Algorithms and Cryptographic Strength
     7.4.  Interpreting ITS Certificate Permissions
     7.5.  Psid and Pdufunctionaltype in CertificateVerify
   8.  Privacy Considerations
   9.  IANA Considerations
   10. Normative References
   Authors' Addresses

1.  Introduction

   The TLS protocol [RFC8446] allows the use of X.509 certificates and
   raw public keys to authenticate servers and clients.  This document
   describes an experimental extension following the procedures laid out
   by [RFC7250] to support use of the certificate format specified by
   the IEEE in [IEEE1609.2] and profiled by the European
   Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) in [TS103097].  These
   standards specify secure communications in vehicular environments.
   These certificates are referred to in this document as Intelligent
   Transport Systems (ITS) Certificates.

   The certificate types are optimized for bandwidth and processing time
   to support delay-sensitive applications and also to provide both
   authentication and authorization information to enable fast access
   control decisions in ad hoc networks found in Intelligent Transport
   Systems (ITS).  The standards specify different types of certificates
   to support a full Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) specification; the
   certificates to be used in this context are end-entity certificates,
   i.e., certificates that have the IEEE 1609.2 appPermissions field

   Use of ITS certificates is becoming widespread in the ITS setting.
   ITS communications, in practice, make heavy use of 10 MHz channels
   with a typical throughput of 6 Mbps.  (The 802.11OCB modulation that
   gives this throughput is not the one that gives the highest
   throughput, but it provides for a robust signal over a range up to
   300-500 m, which is the "sweet spot" communications range for ITS
   operations like collision avoidance).  The compact nature of ITS
   certificates as opposed to X.509 certificates makes them appropriate
   for this setting.

   The ITS certificates are also suited to the machine-to-machine (M2M)
   ad hoc network setting because their direct encoding of permissions
   (see Section 7.4) allows a receiver to make an immediate accept/deny
   decision about an incoming message without having to refer to a
   remote identity and access management server.  The EU has committed
   to the use of ITS certificates in Cooperative Intelligent Transport
   Systems deployments.  A multi-year project developed a certificate
   policy for the use of ITS certificates, including a specification of
   how different root certificates can be trusted across the system
   (hosted at <>,
   direct link at <

   The EU has committed funding for the first five years of operation of
   the top-level Trust List Manager entity, enabling organizations such
   as motor vehicle original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and national
   road authorities to create root certificate authorities (CAs) and
   have them trusted.  In the US, the US Department of Transportation
   (USDOT) published a proposed regulation, active as of late 2019
   though not rapidly progressing, requiring all light vehicles in the
   US to implement vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications, including
   the use of ITS certificates (available at
   federal-motor-vehicle-safety-standards-v2v-communications>).  As of
   2019, ITS deployments across the US, Europe, and Australia were using
   ITS certificates.  Volkswagen has committed to deploying V2X using
   ITS certificates.  New York, Tampa, and Wyoming are deploying traffic
   management systems using ITS certificates.  GM deployed V2X in the
   Cadillac CTS, using ITS certificates.

   ITS certificates are also used in a number of standards that build on
   top of the foundational IEEE and ETSI standards, particularly the
   Society of Automobile Engineers (SAE) J2945/x series of standards for
   applications and ISO 21177 [ISO21177], which builds a framework for
   exchanging multiple authentication tokens on top of the TLS variant
   specified in this document.

1.1.  Experiment Overview

   This document describes an experimental extension to the TLS security
   model.  It uses a form of certificate that has not previously been
   used in the Internet.  Systems using this Experimental approach are
   segregated from systems using standard TLS by the use of a new
   certificate type value, reserved through IANA (see Section 9).  An
   implementation of TLS that is not involved in the Experiment will not
   recognize this new certificate type and will not participate in the
   experiment; TLS sessions will either negotiate the use of existing
   X.509 certificates or fail to be established.

   This extension has been encouraged by stakeholders in the Cooperative
   ITS community in order to support ITS use-case deployment, and it is
   anticipated that its use will be widespread.

2.  Requirements Terminology

   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.

3.  Extension Overview

   The TLS extensions "client_certificate_type" and
   "server_certificate_type" [RFC7250] are used to negotiate the type of
   Certificate messages used in TLS to authenticate the server and,
   optionally, the client.  Using separate extensions allows for mixed
   deployments where the client and server can use certificates of
   different types.  It is expected that ITS deployments will see both
   peers using ITS certificates due to the homogeneity of the ecosystem,
   but there is no barrier at a technical level that prevents mixed
   certificate usage.  This document defines a new certificate type,
   1609Dot2, for usage with TLS 1.3.  The updated CertificateType
   enumeration and corresponding addition to the CertificateEntry
   structure are shown below.  CertificateType values are sent in the
   "server_certificate_type" and "client_certificate_type" extensions,
   and the CertificateEntry structures are included in the certificate
   chain sent in the Certificate message.  In the case of TLS 1.3, the
   "client_certificate_type" SHALL contain a list of supported
   certificate types proposed by the client as provided in the figure

     /* Managed by IANA */
      enum {
      } CertificateType;

      struct {
          select (certificate_type) {

              /* certificate type defined in this document.*/
               case 1609Dot2:
               opaque cert_data<1..2^24-1>;

               /* RawPublicKey defined in RFC 7250*/
              case RawPublicKey:
              opaque ASN.1_subjectPublicKeyInfo<1..2^24-1>;

              /* X.509 certificate defined in RFC 8446*/
              case X.509:
              opaque cert_data<1..2^24-1>;


             Extension extensions<0..2^16-1>;
         } CertificateEntry;

   As per [RFC7250], the server processes the received
   [endpoint]_certificate_type extension(s) and selects one of the
   offered certificate types, returning the negotiated value in its
   EncryptedExtensions (TLS 1.3) message.  Note that there is no
   requirement for the negotiated value to be the same in
   client_certificate_type and server_certificate_type extensions sent
   in the same message.

4.  TLS Client and Server Handshake

   Figure 1 shows the handshake message flow for a full TLS 1.3
   handshake negotiating both certificate types.

     Client                                           Server

   Key  ^ ClientHello
   Exch | + server_certificate_type*
        | + client_certificate_type*
        | + key_share*
        v + signature_algorithms*       -------->
                                                   ServerHello  ^ Key
                                                  + key_share*  v Exch
                                         {EncryptedExtensions}  ^ Server
                                    {+ server_certificate_type*}| Params
                                    {+ client_certificate_type*}|
                                         {CertificateRequest*}  v
                                                {Certificate*}  ^
                                          {CertificateVerify*}  | Auth
                                                    {Finished}  v
                                 <-------  [Application Data*]
        ^ {Certificate*}
   Auth | {CertificateVerify*}
        v {Finished}             -------->
          [Application Data]     <------->  [Application Data]
                 +  Indicates noteworthy extensions sent in the
                    previously noted message.

                 *  Indicates optional or situation-dependent
                    messages/extensions that are not always sent.

                 {} Indicates messages protected using keys
                    derived from a [sender]_handshake_traffic_secret.

                 [] Indicates messages protected using keys
                    derived from [sender]_application_traffic_secret_N.

      Figure 1: Message Flow with Certificate Type Extension for Full
                             TLS 1.3 Handshake

   In the case of TLS 1.3, in order to negotiate the support of ITS
   certificate-based authentication, clients and servers include the
   extension of type "client_certificate_type" and
   "server_certificate_type" in the extended Client Hello and

4.1.  Client Hello

   In order to indicate the support of ITS certificates, a client MUST
   include an extension of type "client_certificate_type" or
   "server_certificate_type" in the extended Client Hello message as
   described in Section 4.1.2 of [RFC8446] (TLS 1.3).

   For TLS 1.3, the rules for when the Client Certificate and
   CertificateVerify messages appear are as follows:

   *  The client's Certificate message is present if and only if the
      server sent a CertificateRequest message.

   *  The client's CertificateVerify message is present if and only if
      the client's Certificate message is present and contains a non-
      empty certificate_list.

   For maximum compatibility, all implementations SHOULD be prepared to
   handle "potentially" extraneous certificates and arbitrary orderings
   from any TLS version, with the exception of the end-entity
   certificate, which MUST be first.

4.2.  Server Hello

   When the server receives the Client Hello containing the
   client_certificate_type extension and/or the server_certificate_type
   extension, the following scenarios are possible:

   *  If both the client and server indicate support for the ITS
      certificate type, the server MAY select the first (most preferred)
      certificate type from the client's list that is supported by both

   *  The server does not support any of the proposed certificate types
      and terminates the session with a fatal alert of type

   *  The server supports the certificate types specified in this
      document.  In this case, it MAY respond with a certificate of this
      type.  It MAY also include the client_certificate_type extension
      in Encrypted Extension.  Then, the server requests a certificate
      from the client (via the CertificateRequest message).

   The certificates in the TLS client or server certificate chain MAY be
   sent as part of the handshake, MAY be obtained from an online
   repository, or might already be known to and cached at the endpoint.
   If the handshake does not contain all the certificates in the chain,
   and the endpoint cannot access the repository and does not already
   know the certificates from the chain, then it SHALL reject the other
   endpoint's certificate and close the connection.  Protocols to
   support retrieving certificates from a repository are specified in
   ETSI [TS102941].

5.  Certificate Verification

   Verification of an ITS certificate or certificate chain is described
   in section 5.1 of [IEEE1609.2].  In the case of TLS 1.3, and when the
   certificate_type is 1609.2, the CertificateVerify contents and
   processing are different than for the CertificateVerify message
   specified for other values of certificate_type in [RFC8446].  In this
   case, the CertificateVerify message contains an Ieee1609Dot2Data
   encoded with Canonical Octet Encoding Rules (OER) [ITU-TX.696] of
   type signed as specified in [IEEE1609.2] and [IEEE1609.2b], where:

   *  payload contains an extDataHash containing the SHA-256 hash of the
      data that the signature is calculated over.  This is identical to
      the data that the signature is calculated over in standard TLS,
      which is reproduced below for clarity.

   *  headerInfo.psid indicates the application activity that the
      certificate is authorizing.

   *  headerInfo.generationTime is the time at which the data structure
      was generated.

   *  headerInfo.pduFunctionalType (as specified in [IEEE1609.2b]) is
      present and is set equal to tlsHandshake (1).

   All other fields in the headerInfo are omitted.  The certificate
   appPermissions field SHALL be present and SHALL permit (as defined in
   [IEEE1609.2]) signing of PDUs with the PSID indicated in the
   HeaderInfo of the SignedData.  If the application specification for
   that PSID requires Service Specific Permissions (SSP) for signing a
   pduFunctionalType of tlsHandshake, this SSP SHALL also be present.
   For more details on the use of PSID and SSP, see [IEEE1609.2],
   clauses 5.1.1 and  All other fields in the headerInfo are

   The certificate appPermissions field SHALL be present and SHALL
   permit (as defined in [IEEE1609.2]) signing of PDUs with the PSID
   indicated in the HeaderInfo of the SignedData.  If the application
   specification for that PSID requires Service Specific Permissions
   (SSP) for signing a pduFunctionalType of tlsHandshake, this SSP SHALL
   also be present.

   The signature and verification are carried out as specified in

   The input to the hash process is identical to the message input for
   TLS 1.3, as specified in Section 4.4.3 of [RFC8446], consisting of
   pad, context string, separator, and content, where content is
   Transcript-Hash(Handshake Context, Certificate).

6.  Examples

   Some of the message-exchange examples are illustrated in Figures 2
   and 3.

6.1.  TLS Server and TLS Client Use the ITS Certificate

   This section shows an example where the TLS client as well as the TLS
   server use ITS certificates.  In consequence, both the server and the
   client populate the client_certificate_type and
   server_certificate_type extension with the IEEE 1609 Dot 2 type as
   mentioned in Figure 2.

      Client                                           Server

   server_certificate_type=1609Dot2,  -------->    ServerHello,
     {Certificate}          <-------         [Application Data]
     {Finished}             -------->
     [Application Data]     <------->        [Application Data]

        Figure 2: TLS Client and TLS Server Use the ITS Certificate

6.2.  TLS Client Uses the ITS Certificate and TLS Server Uses the X.509

   This example shows the TLS authentication, where the TLS client
   populates the server_certificate_type extension with the X.509
   certificate and raw public key type as presented in Figure 3.  The
   client indicates its ability to receive and validate an X.509
   certificate from the server.  The server chooses the X.509
   certificate to make its authentication with the client.  This is
   applicable in the case of a raw public key supported by the server.

   Client                                           Server
   X509,RawPublicKey),         ----------->         ServerHello,
                               <---------     [Application Data]
   {Finished}                  --------->
   [Application Data]          <-------->     [Application Data]

     Figure 3: TLS Client Uses the ITS Certificate and TLS Server Uses
                           the X.509 Certificate

7.  Security Considerations

   This section provides an overview of the basic security
   considerations that need to be taken into account before implementing
   the necessary security mechanisms.  The security considerations
   described throughout [RFC8446] apply here as well.

7.1.  Securely Obtaining Certificates from an Online Repository

   In particular, the certificates used to establish a secure connection
   MAY be obtained from an online repository.  An online repository may
   be used to obtain the CA certificates in the chain of either
   participant in the secure session.  ETSI TS 102 941 [TS102941]
   provides a mechanism that can be used to securely obtain ITS

7.2.  Expiry of Certificates

   Conventions around certificate lifetime differ between ITS
   certificates and X.509 certificates, and in particular, ITS
   certificates may be relatively short lived compared with typical
   X.509 certificates.  A party to a TLS session that accepts ITS
   certificates MUST check the expiry time in the received ITS
   certificate and SHOULD terminate a session when the certificate
   received in the handshake expires.

7.3.  Algorithms and Cryptographic Strength

   All ITS certificates use public-key cryptographic algorithms with an
   estimated strength on the order of 128 bits or more, specifically,
   Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) based on curves with keys of length
   256 bits or longer.  An implementation of the techniques specified in
   this document SHOULD require that if X.509 certificates are used by
   one of the parties to the session, those certificates are associated
   with cryptographic algorithms with (pre-quantum-computer) strength of
   at least 128 bits.

7.4.  Interpreting ITS Certificate Permissions

   ITS certificates in TLS express the certificate holders permissions
   using two fields: a PSID, also known as an ITS Application Identifier
   (ITS-AID), which identifies a broad set of application activities
   that provide a context for the certificate holder's permissions, and
   a Service Specific Permissions (SSP) field associated with that PSID,
   which identifies which specific application activities the
   certificate holder is entitled to carry out within the broad set of
   activities identified by that PSID.  For example, SAE [SAEJ29453]
   uses PSID 0204099 to indicate activities around reporting weather and
   managing weather response activities, and an SSP that states whether
   the certificate holder is a Weather Data Management System (WDMS,
   i.e., a central road manager), an ordinary vehicle, or a vehicle
   belonging to a managed road maintenance fleet.  For more information
   about PSIDs, see [IEEE1609.12], and for more information about the
   development of SSPs, see [SAEJ29455].

7.5.  Psid and Pdufunctionaltype in CertificateVerify

   The CertificateVerify message for TLS 1.3 is an Ieee1609Dot2Data of
   type signed, where the signature contained in this Ieee1609Dot2Data
   was generated using an ITS certificate.  This certificate may include
   multiple PSIDs.  When a CertificateVerify message of this form is
   used, the HeaderInfo within the Ieee1609Dot2Data MUST have the
   pduFunctionalType field present and set to tlsHandshake.  The
   background to this requirement is as follows: an ITS certificate may
   (depending on the definition of the application associated with its
   PSID(s)) be used to directly sign messages or to sign TLS
   CertificateVerify messages, or both.  To prevent the possibility that
   a signature generated in one context could be replayed in a different
   context, i.e., that a message signature could be replayed as a
   CertificateVerify, or vice versa, the pduFunctionalType field
   provides a statement of intent by the signer as to the intended use
   of the signed message.  If the pduFunctionalType field is absent, the
   message is a directly signed message for the application and MUST NOT
   be interpreted as a CertificateVerify.

   Note that each PSID is owned by an owning organization that has sole
   rights to define activities associated with that PSID.  If an
   application specifier wishes to expand activities associated with an
   existing PSID (for example, to include activities over a secure
   session such as specified in this document), that application
   specifier must negotiate with the PSID owner to have that
   functionality added to the official specification of activities
   associated with that PSID.

8.  Privacy Considerations

   For privacy considerations in a vehicular environment, the ITS
   certificate is used for many reasons:

   *  In order to address the risk of a personal data leakage, messages
      exchanged for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications are signed
      using ITS pseudonym certificates.

   *  The purpose of these certificates is to provide privacy and
      minimize the exchange of private data.

9.  IANA Considerations

   IANA maintains the "Transport Layer Security (TLS) Extensions"
   registry with a subregistry called "TLS Certificate Types".

   Value 3 was previously assigned for "1609Dot2" and included a
   reference to draft-tls-certieee1609.  IANA has updated this entry to
   reference this RFC.

10.  Normative References

              IEEE, "IEEE Standard for Wireless Access in Vehicular
              Environments (WAVE) - Identifier Allocations", IEEE
              1609.12-2016, December 2016.

              IEEE, "IEEE Standard for Wireless Access in Vehicular
              Environments -- Security Services for Applications and
              Management Messages", IEEE Standard 1609.2-2016,
              DOI 10.1109/IEEESTD.2016.7426684, March 2016,

              IEEE, "IEEE Standard for Wireless Access in Vehicular
              Environments--Security Services for Applications and
              Management Messages - Amendment 2--PDU Functional Types
              and Encryption Key Management", IEEE 1609.2b-2019, June

   [ISO21177] ISO, "Intelligent transport systems - ITS station security
              services for secure session establishment and
              authentication between trusted devices", ISO/TS
              21177:2019, August 2019.

              ITU-T, "Information technology - ASN.1 encoding rules:
              Specification of Octet Encoding Rules (OER)",
              Recommendation ITU-T X.696, August 2015.

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

   [RFC7250]  Wouters, P., Ed., Tschofenig, H., Ed., Gilmore, J.,
              Weiler, S., and T. Kivinen, "Using Raw Public Keys in
              Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Datagram Transport
              Layer Security (DTLS)", RFC 7250, DOI 10.17487/RFC7250,
              June 2014, <>.

   [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,

              SAE, "Requirements for V2I Weather Applications", J2945/3,
              June 2017.

              SAE, "Service Specific Permissions and Security Guidelines
              for Connected Vehicle Applications", J2945/5_202002,
              February 2020.

   [TS102941] ETSI, "Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS); Security;
              Trust and Privacy Management", ETSI TS 102 941, 2018.

   [TS103097] ETSI, "Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS); Security;
              Security header and certificate formats", ETSI TS 103 097,


   The authors wish to thank Adrian Farrel, Eric Rescola, Russ Housley,
   Ilari Liusvaara, and Benjamin Kaduk for their feedback and
   suggestions on improving this document.  Thanks are due to Sean
   Turner for his valuable and detailed comments.  Special thanks to
   Panos Kampanakis, Jasja Tijink, and Bill Lattin for their guidance
   and support of the document.

Authors' Addresses

   Mounira Msahli (editor)
   Telecom Paris


   Nancy Cam-Winget (editor)
   United States of America


   William Whyte (editor)
   United States of America


   Ahmed Serhrouchni
   Telecom Paris


   Houda Labiod
   Telecom Paris