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Remote ATtestation procedureS (RATS) Architecture
RFC 9334

Document Type RFC - Informational (January 2023) Errata
Authors Henk Birkholz , Dave Thaler , Michael Richardson , Ned Smith , Wei Pan
Last updated 2023-12-12
RFC stream Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
Additional resources Mailing list discussion
IESG Responsible AD Roman Danyliw
Send notices to (None)
RFC 9334

Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                       H. Birkholz
Request for Comments: 9334                                Fraunhofer SIT
Category: Informational                                        D. Thaler
ISSN: 2070-1721                                                Microsoft
                                                           M. Richardson
                                                Sandelman Software Works
                                                                N. Smith
                                                                  W. Pan
                                                            January 2023

           Remote ATtestation procedureS (RATS) Architecture


   In network protocol exchanges, it is often useful for one end of a
   communication to know whether the other end is in an intended
   operating state.  This document provides an architectural overview of
   the entities involved that make such tests possible through the
   process of generating, conveying, and evaluating evidentiary Claims.
   It provides a model that is neutral toward processor architectures,
   the content of Claims, and protocols.

Status of This Memo

   This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is
   published for informational purposes.

   This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force
   (IETF).  It represents the consensus of the IETF community.  It has
   received public review and has been approved for publication by the
   Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).  Not all documents
   approved by the IESG are 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) 2023 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 Revised BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of the
   Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as described
   in the Revised BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction
   2.  Reference Use Cases
     2.1.  Network Endpoint Assessment
     2.2.  Confidential Machine Learning Model Protection
     2.3.  Confidential Data Protection
     2.4.  Critical Infrastructure Control
     2.5.  Trusted Execution Environment Provisioning
     2.6.  Hardware Watchdog
     2.7.  FIDO Biometric Authentication
   3.  Architectural Overview
     3.1.  Two Types of Environments of an Attester
     3.2.  Layered Attestation Environments
     3.3.  Composite Device
     3.4.  Implementation Considerations
   4.  Terminology
     4.1.  Roles
     4.2.  Artifacts
   5.  Topological Patterns
     5.1.  Passport Model
     5.2.  Background-Check Model
     5.3.  Combinations
   6.  Roles and Entities
   7.  Trust Model
     7.1.  Relying Party
     7.2.  Attester
     7.3.  Relying Party Owner
     7.4.  Verifier
     7.5.  Endorser, Reference Value Provider, and Verifier Owner
   8.  Conceptual Messages
     8.1.  Evidence
     8.2.  Endorsements
     8.3.  Reference Values
     8.4.  Attestation Results
     8.5.  Appraisal Policies
   9.  Claims Encoding Formats
   10. Freshness
     10.1.  Explicit Timekeeping Using Synchronized Clocks
     10.2.  Implicit Timekeeping Using Nonces
     10.3.  Implicit Timekeeping Using Epoch IDs
     10.4.  Discussion
   11. Privacy Considerations
   12. Security Considerations
     12.1.  Attester and Attestation Key Protection
       12.1.1.  On-Device Attester and Key Protection
       12.1.2.  Attestation Key Provisioning Processes
     12.2.  Conceptual Message Protection
     12.3.  Attestation Based on Epoch ID
     12.4.  Trust Anchor Protection
   13. IANA Considerations
   14. References
     14.1.  Normative References
     14.2.  Informative References
   Appendix A.  Time Considerations
     A.1.  Example 1: Timestamp-Based Passport Model
     A.2.  Example 2: Nonce-Based Passport Model
     A.3.  Example 3: Passport Model Based on Epoch ID
     A.4.  Example 4: Timestamp-Based Background-Check Model
     A.5.  Example 5: Nonce-Based Background-Check Model
   Authors' Addresses

1.  Introduction

   The question of how one system can know that another system can be
   trusted has found new interest and relevance in a world where trusted
   computing elements are maturing in processor architectures.

   Systems that have been attested and verified to be in a good state
   (for some value of "good") can improve overall system posture.
   Conversely, systems that cannot be attested and verified to be in a
   good state can be given reduced access or privileges, taken out of
   service, or otherwise flagged for repair.

   For example:

   *  A bank backend system might refuse to transact with another system
      that is not known to be in a good state.

   *  A healthcare system might refuse to transmit electronic healthcare
      records to a system that is not known to be in a good state.

   In Remote ATtestation procedureS (RATS), one peer (the "Attester")
   produces believable information about itself ("Evidence") to enable a
   remote peer (the "Relying Party") to decide whether or not to
   consider that Attester a trustworthy peer.  Remote attestation
   procedures are facilitated by an additional vital party (the

   The Verifier appraises Evidence via appraisal policies and creates
   the Attestation Results to support Relying Parties in their decision
   process.  This document defines a flexible architecture consisting of
   attestation roles and their interactions via conceptual messages.
   Additionally, this document defines a universal set of terms that can
   be mapped to various existing and emerging remote attestation
   procedures.  Common topological patterns and the sequence of data
   flows associated with them, such as the "Passport Model" and the
   "Background-Check Model", are illustrated.  The purpose is to define
   useful terminology for remote attestation and enable readers to map
   their solution architecture to the canonical attestation architecture
   provided here.  Having a common terminology that provides well-
   understood meanings for common themes, such as roles, device
   composition, topological patterns, and appraisal procedures, is vital
   for semantic interoperability across solutions and platforms
   involving multiple vendors and providers.

   Amongst other things, this document is about trust and
   trustworthiness.  Trust is a choice one makes about another system.
   Trustworthiness is a quality about the other system that can be used
   in making one's decision to trust it or not.  This is a subtle
   difference; being familiar with the difference is crucial for using
   this document.  Additionally, the concepts of freshness and trust
   relationships are specified to enable implementers to choose
   appropriate solutions to compose their remote attestation procedures.

2.  Reference Use Cases

   This section covers a number of representative and generic use cases
   for remote attestation, independent of specific solutions.  The
   purpose is to provide motivation for various aspects of the
   architecture presented in this document.  Many other use cases exist;
   this document does not contain a complete list.  It only illustrates
   a set of use cases that collectively cover all the functionality
   required in the architecture.

   Each use case includes a description followed by an additional
   summary of the Attester and Relying Party roles derived from the use

2.1.  Network Endpoint Assessment

   Network operators want trustworthy reports that include identity and
   version information about the hardware and software on the machines
   attached to their network.  Examples of reports include purposes
   (such as inventory summaries), audit results, and anomaly
   notifications (which typically include the maintenance of log records
   or trend reports).  The network operator may also want a policy by
   which full access is only granted to devices that meet some
   definition of hygiene, and so wants to get Claims about such
   information and verify its validity.  Remote attestation is desired
   to prevent vulnerable or compromised devices from getting access to
   the network and potentially harming others.

   Typically, a solution starts with a specific component (sometimes
   referred to as a "root of trust") that often provides a trustworthy
   device identity and performs a series of operations that enables
   trustworthiness appraisals for other components.  Such components
   perform operations that help determine the trustworthiness of yet
   other components by collecting, protecting, or signing measurements.
   Measurements that have been signed by such components are comprised
   of Evidence that either supports or refutes a claim of
   trustworthiness when evaluated.  Measurements can describe a variety
   of attributes of system components, such as hardware, firmware, BIOS,
   software, etc., and how they are hardened.

   Attester:  A device desiring access to a network.

   Relying Party:  Network equipment (such as a router, switch, or
      access point) that is responsible for admission of the device into
      the network.

2.2.  Confidential Machine Learning Model Protection

   A device manufacturer wants to protect its intellectual property.
   The intellectual property's scope primarily encompasses the machine
   learning (ML) model that is deployed in the devices purchased by its
   customers.  The protection goals include preventing attackers,
   potentially the customer themselves, from seeing the details of the

   Typically, this works by having some protected environment in the
   device go through a remote attestation with some manufacturer service
   that can assess its trustworthiness.  If remote attestation succeeds,
   then the manufacturer service releases either the model or a key to
   decrypt a model already deployed on the Attester in encrypted form to
   the requester.

   Attester:  A device desiring to run an ML model.

   Relying Party:  A server or service holding ML models it desires to

2.3.  Confidential Data Protection

   This is a generalization of the ML model use case above where the
   data can be any highly confidential data, such as health data about
   customers, payroll data about employees, future business plans, etc.
   As part of the attestation procedure, an assessment is made against a
   set of policies to evaluate the state of the system that is
   requesting the confidential data.  Attestation is desired to prevent
   leaking data via compromised devices.

   Attester:  An entity desiring to retrieve confidential data.

   Relying Party:  An entity that holds confidential data for release to
      authorized entities.

2.4.  Critical Infrastructure Control

   Potentially harmful physical equipment (e.g., power grid, traffic
   control, hazardous chemical processing, etc.) is connected to a
   network in support of critical infrastructure.  The organization
   managing such infrastructure needs to ensure that only authorized
   code and users can control corresponding critical processes, and that
   these processes are protected from unauthorized manipulation or other
   threats.  When a protocol operation can affect a critical system
   component of the infrastructure, devices attached to that critical
   component require some assurances depending on the security context,
   including assurances that a requesting device or application has not
   been compromised and the requesters and actors act on applicable
   policies.  As such, remote attestation can be used to only accept
   commands from requesters that are within policy.

   Attester:  A device or application wishing to control physical

   Relying Party:  A device or application connected to potentially
      dangerous physical equipment (hazardous chemical processing,
      traffic control, power grid, etc.).

2.5.  Trusted Execution Environment Provisioning

   A Trusted Application Manager (TAM) server is responsible for
   managing the applications running in a Trusted Execution Environment
   (TEE) of a client device, as described in [TEEP-ARCH].  To achieve
   its purpose, the TAM needs to assess the state of a TEE or
   applications in the TEE of a client device.  The TEE conducts remote
   attestation procedures with the TAM, which can then decide whether
   the TEE is already in compliance with the TAM's latest policy.  If
   not, the TAM has to uninstall, update, or install approved
   applications in the TEE to bring it back into compliance with the
   TAM's policy.

   Attester:  A device with a TEE capable of running trusted
      applications that can be updated.

   Relying Party:  A TAM.

2.6.  Hardware Watchdog

   There is a class of malware that holds a device hostage and does not
   allow it to reboot to prevent updates from being applied.  This can
   be a significant problem because it allows a fleet of devices to be
   held hostage for ransom.

   A solution to this problem is a watchdog timer implemented in a
   protected environment, such as a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), as
   described in Section 43.3 of [TCGarch].  If the watchdog does not
   receive regular and fresh Attestation Results regarding the system's
   health, then it forces a reboot.

   Attester:  The device that should be protected from being held
      hostage for a long period of time.

   Relying Party:  A watchdog capable of triggering a procedure that
      resets a device into a known, good operational state.

2.7.  FIDO Biometric Authentication

   In the Fast IDentity Online (FIDO) protocol [WebAuthN] [CTAP], the
   device in the user's hand authenticates the human user, whether by
   biometrics (such as fingerprints) or by PIN and password.  FIDO
   authentication puts a large amount of trust in the device compared to
   typical password authentication because it is the device that
   verifies the biometric, PIN, and password inputs from the user, not
   the server.  For the Relying Party to know that the authentication is
   trustworthy, the Relying Party needs to know that the Authenticator
   part of the device is trustworthy.  The FIDO protocol employs remote
   attestation for this.

   The FIDO protocol supports several remote attestation protocols and a
   mechanism by which new ones can be registered and added; thus, remote
   attestation defined by the RATS architecture is a candidate for use
   in the FIDO protocol.

   Attester:  FIDO Authenticator.

   Relying Party:  Any website, mobile application backend, or service
      that relies on authentication data based on biometric information.

3.  Architectural Overview

   Figure 1 depicts the data that flows between different roles,
   independent of protocol or use case.

    .--------.     .---------.       .--------.       .-------------.
   | Endorser |   | Reference |     | Verifier |     | Relying Party |
    '-+------'    | Value     |     | Owner    |     | Owner         |
      |           | Provider  |      '---+----'       '----+--------'
      |            '-----+---'           |                 |
      |                  |               |                 |
      | Endorsements     | Reference     | Appraisal       | Appraisal
      |                  | Values        | Policy for      | Policy for
      |                  |               | Evidence        | Attestation
       '-----------.     |               |                 | Results
                    |    |               |                 |
                    v    v               v                 |
                  .-------------------------.              |
          .------>|         Verifier        +-----.        |
         |        '-------------------------'      |       |
         |                                         |       |
         | Evidence                    Attestation |       |
         |                             Results     |       |
         |                                         |       |
         |                                         v       v
   .-----+----.                                .---------------.
   | Attester |                                | Relying Party |
   '----------'                                '---------------'

                     Figure 1: Conceptual Data Flow

   The text below summarizes the activities conducted by the roles
   illustrated in Figure 1.  Roles are assigned to entities.  Entities
   are often system components [RFC4949], such as devices.  As the term
   "device" is typically more intuitive than the term "entity" or
   "system component", device is often used as an illustrative synonym
   throughout this document.

   The Attester role is assigned to entities that create Evidence that
   is conveyed to a Verifier.

   The Verifier role is assigned to entities that use the Evidence, any
   Reference Values from Reference Value Providers, and any Endorsements
   from Endorsers by applying an Appraisal Policy for Evidence to assess
   the trustworthiness of the Attester.  This procedure is called the
   "appraisal of Evidence".

   Subsequently, the Verifier role generates Attestation Results for use
   by Relying Parties.

   The Appraisal Policy for Evidence might be obtained from the Verifier
   Owner via some protocol mechanism, configured into the Verifier by
   the Verifier Owner, programmed into the Verifier, or obtained via
   some other mechanism.

   The Relying Party role is assigned to an entity that uses Attestation
   Results by applying its own appraisal policy to make application-
   specific decisions, such as authorization decisions.  This procedure
   is called the "appraisal of Attestation Results".

   The Appraisal Policy for Attestation Results might be obtained from
   the Relying Party Owner via some protocol mechanism, configured into
   the Relying Party by the Relying Party Owner, programmed into the
   Relying Party, or obtained via some other mechanism.

   See Section 8 for further discussion of the conceptual messages shown
   in Figure 1.  Section 4 provides a more complete definition of all
   RATS roles.

3.1.  Two Types of Environments of an Attester

   As shown in Figure 2, an Attester consists of at least one Attesting
   Environment and at least one Target Environment co-located in one
   entity.  In some implementations, the Attesting and Target
   Environments might be combined into one environment.  Other
   implementations might have multiple Attesting and Target
   Environments, such as in the examples described in more detail in
   Sections 3.2 and 3.3.  Other examples may exist.  All compositions of
   Attesting and Target Environments discussed in this architecture can
   be combined into more complex implementations.

                    |                                |
                    |            Verifier            |
                    |                                |
                  |                         |          |
                  |    .----------------.   |          |
                  |    | Target         |   |          |
                  |    | Environment    |   |          |
                  |    |                |   | Evidence |
                  |    '--------------+-'   |          |
                  |                   |     |          |
                  |                   |     |          |
                  |           Collect |     |          |
                  |            Claims |     |          |
                  |                   |     |          |
                  |                   v     |          |
                  |                 .-------+-----.    |
                  |                 | Attesting   |    |
                  |                 | Environment |    |
                  |                 |             |    |
                  |                 '-------------'    |
                  |               Attester             |

           Figure 2: Two Types of Environments within an Attester

   Claims are collected from Target Environments.  That is, Attesting
   Environments collect the values and the information to be represented
   in Claims by reading system registers and variables, calling into
   subsystems, and taking measurements on code, memory, or other
   relevant assets of the Target Environment.  Attesting Environments
   then format the Claims appropriately; typically, they use key
   material and cryptographic functions, such as signing or cipher
   algorithms, to generate Evidence.  There is no limit or requirement
   on the types of hardware or software environments that can be used to
   implement an Attesting Environment.  For example, TEEs, embedded
   Secure Elements (eSEs), TPMs [TCGarch], or BIOS firmware.

   An arbitrary execution environment may not, by default, be capable of
   Claims collection for a given Target Environment.  Execution
   environments that are designed specifically to be capable of Claims
   collection are referred to in this document as "Attesting
   Environments".  For example, a TPM doesn't actively collect Claims
   itself.  Instead, it requires another component to feed various
   values to the TPM.  Thus, an Attesting Environment in such a case
   would be the combination of the TPM together with whatever component
   is feeding it the measurements.

3.2.  Layered Attestation Environments

   By definition, the Attester role generates Evidence.  An Attester may
   consist of one or more nested environments (layers).  The bottom
   layer of an Attester has an Attesting Environment that is typically
   designed to be immutable or difficult to modify by malicious code.
   In order to appraise Evidence generated by an Attester, the Verifier
   needs to trust various layers, including the bottom Attesting
   Environment.  Trust in the Attester's layers, including the bottom
   layer, can be established in various ways, as discussed in
   Section 7.4.

   In layered attestation, Claims can be collected from or about each
   layer beginning with an initial layer.  The corresponding Claims can
   be structured in a nested fashion that reflects the nesting of the
   Attester's layers.  Normally, Claims are not self-asserted.  Rather,
   a previous layer acts as the Attesting Environment for the next
   layer.  Claims about an initial layer are typically asserted by an

   The example device illustrated in Figure 3 includes (A) a BIOS stored
   in read-only memory, (B) a bootloader, and (C) an operating system

              .-------------.   Endorsement for ROM
              |  Endorser   +-----------------------.
              '-------------'                       |
              .-------------.   Reference      .----------.
              | Reference   |   Values for     |          |
              | Value       +----------------->| Verifier |
              | Provider(s) | ROM, bootloader, |          |
              '-------------'    and kernel    '----------'
          .------------------------------------.    |
          |                                    |    |
          |   .---------------------------.    |    |
          |   | Kernel(C)                 |    |    |
          |   |                           |    |    | Layered
          |   |   Target                  |    |    | Evidence
          |   | Environment               |    |    |   for
          |   '---------------+-----------'    |    | bootloader
          |           Collect |                |    |   and
          |           Claims  |                |    | kernel
          |   .---------------|-----------.    |    |
          |   | Bootloader(B) v           |    |    |
          |   |             .-----------. |    |    |
          |   |   Target    | Attesting | |    |    |
          |   | Environment |Environment+-----------'
          |   |             |           | |    |
          |   |             '-----------' |    |
          |   |                 ^         |    |
          |   '--------------+--|---------'    |
          |          Collect |  | Evidence for |
          |          Claims  v  | bootloader   |
          |   .-----------------+---------.    |
          |   | ROM(A)                    |    |
          |   |                           |    |
          |   |               Attesting   |    |
          |   |              Environment  |    |
          |   '---------------------------'    |
          |                                    |

                         Figure 3: Layered Attester

   The first Attesting Environment (the ROM in this example) has to
   ensure the integrity of the bootloader (the first Target
   Environment).  There are potentially multiple kernels to boot; the
   decision is up to the bootloader.  Only a bootloader with intact
   integrity will make an appropriate decision.  Therefore, the Claims
   relating to the integrity of the bootloader have to be measured
   securely.  At this stage of the boot cycle of the device, the Claims
   collected typically cannot be composed into Evidence.

   After the boot sequence is started, the BIOS conducts the most
   important and defining feature of layered attestation: the
   successfully measured bootloader now becomes (or contains) an
   Attesting Environment for the next layer.  This procedure in layered
   attestation is sometimes called "staging".  It is important that the
   bootloader not be able to alter any Claims about itself that were
   collected by the BIOS.  This can be ensured having those Claims be
   either signed by the BIOS or stored in a tamper-proof manner by the

   Continuing with this example, the bootloader's Attesting Environment
   is now in charge of collecting Claims about the next Target
   Environment.  In this example, it is the kernel to be booted.  The
   final Evidence thus contains two sets of Claims: one set about the
   bootloader as measured and signed by the BIOS and another set of
   Claims about the kernel as measured and signed by the bootloader.

   This example could be extended further by making the kernel become
   another Attesting Environment for an application as another Target
   Environment.  This would result in a third set of Claims in the
   Evidence pertaining to that application.

   The essence of this example is a cascade of staged environments.
   Each environment has the responsibility of measuring the next
   environment before the next environment is started.  In general, the
   number of layers may vary by device or implementation, and an
   Attesting Environment might even have multiple Target Environments
   that it measures, rather than only one as shown by example in
   Figure 3.

3.3.  Composite Device

   A composite device is an entity composed of multiple sub-entities
   such that its trustworthiness has to be determined by the appraisal
   of all these sub-entities.

   Each sub-entity has at least one Attesting Environment collecting the
   Claims from at least one Target Environment.  Then, this sub-entity
   generates Evidence about its trustworthiness; therefore, each sub-
   entity can be called an "Attester".  Among all the Attesters, there
   may be only some that have the ability to communicate with the
   Verifier while others do not.

   For example, a carrier-grade router consists of a chassis and
   multiple slots.  The trustworthiness of the router depends on all its
   slots' trustworthiness.  Each slot has an Attesting Environment, such
   as a TEE, collecting the Claims of its boot process, after which it
   generates Evidence from the Claims.

   Among these slots, only a "main" slot can communicate with the
   Verifier while other slots cannot.  However, other slots can
   communicate with the main slot by the links between them inside the
   router.  The main slot collects the Evidence of other slots, produces
   the final Evidence of the whole router, and conveys the final
   Evidence to the Verifier.  Therefore, the router is a composite
   device, each slot is an Attester, and the main slot is the lead

   Another example is a multi-chassis router composed of multiple single
   carrier-grade routers.  Multi-chassis router setups create redundancy
   groups that provide higher throughput by interconnecting multiple
   routers in these groups, which can be treated as one logical router
   for simpler management.  A multi-chassis router setup provides a
   management point that connects to the Verifier.  Typically, one
   router in the group is designated as the main router.  Other routers
   in the multi-chassis setup are connected to the main router only via
   physical network links; therefore, they are managed and appraised via
   the main router's help.  Consequently, a multi-chassis router setup
   is a composite device, each router is an Attester, and the main
   router is the lead Attester.

   Figure 4 depicts the conceptual data flow for a composite device.

                      |           Verifier          |
                                      | Evidence of
                                      | Composite Device
   | .--------------------------------|-----.      .------------.     |
   | |  Collect             .---------+--.  |      |            |     |
   | |  Claims   .--------->|  Attesting |<--------+ Attester B +-.   |
   | |           |          |Environment |  |      '-+----------' |   |
   | |  .--------+-------.  |            |<----------+ Attester C +-. |
   | |  |     Target     |  |            |  |        '-+----------' | |
   | |  | Environment(s) |  |            |<------------+ ...        | |
   | |  |                |  '------------'  | Evidence '------------' |
   | |  '----------------'                  |    of                   |
   | |                                      | Attesters               |
   | | lead Attester A                      | (via Internal Links or  |
   | '--------------------------------------' Network Connections)    |
   |                                                                  |
   |                       Composite Device                           |

                         Figure 4: Composite Device

   In a composite device, each Attester generates its own Evidence by
   its Attesting Environment(s) collecting the Claims from its Target
   Environment(s).  The lead Attester collects Evidence from other
   Attesters and conveys it to a Verifier.  Collection of Evidence from
   sub-entities may itself be a form of Claims collection that results
   in Evidence asserted by the lead Attester.  The lead Attester
   generates Evidence about the layout of the whole composite device,
   while sub-Attesters generate Evidence about their respective

   In this scenario, the trust model described in Section 7 can also be
   applied to an inside Verifier.

3.4.  Implementation Considerations

   An entity can take on multiple RATS roles (e.g., Attester, Verifier,
   Relying Party, etc.) at the same time.  Multiple entities can
   cooperate to implement a single RATS role as well.  In essence, the
   combination of roles and entities can be arbitrary.  For example, in
   the composite device scenario, the entity inside the lead Attester
   can also take on the role of a Verifier and the outer entity of
   Verifier can take on the role of a Relying Party.  After collecting
   the Evidence of other Attesters, this inside Verifier uses
   Endorsements and appraisal policies (obtained the same way as by any
   other Verifier) as part of the appraisal procedures that generate
   Attestation Results.  The inside Verifier then conveys the
   Attestation Results of other Attesters to the outside Verifier,
   whether in the same conveyance protocol as part of the Evidence or

   As explained in Section 4, there are a variety of roles in the RATS
   architecture; they are defined by a unique combination of artifacts
   they produce and consume.  Conversely, artifacts are also defined by
   the roles that produce or consume them.  To produce an artifact means
   that a given role introduces it into the RATS architecture.  To
   consume an artifact means that a given role has responsibility for
   processing it in the RATS architecture.  Roles also have the ability
   to perform additional actions, such as caching or forwarding
   artifacts as opaque data.  As depicted in Section 5, these additional
   actions can be performed by several roles.

4.  Terminology

   [RFC4949] has defined a number of terms that are also used in this
   document.  Some of the terms are close to, but not exactly the same.
   Where the terms are similar, they are noted below with references.
   As explained in Section 2.6 of [RFC4949], when this document says
   "Compare:", the terminology used in this document differs
   significantly from the definition in the reference.

   This document uses the terms in the subsections that follow.

4.1.  Roles

   Attester:  A role performed by an entity (typically a device) whose
      Evidence must be appraised in order to infer the extent to which
      the Attester is considered trustworthy, such as when deciding
      whether it is authorized to perform some operation.

      Produces:  Evidence

   Relying Party:  A role performed by an entity that depends on the
      validity of information about an Attester for purposes of reliably
      applying application-specific actions.  Compare: relying party

      Consumes:  Attestation Results, Appraisal Policy for Attestation

   Verifier:  A role performed by an entity that appraises the validity
      of Evidence about an Attester and produces Attestation Results to
      be used by a Relying Party.

      Consumes:  Evidence, Reference Values, Endorsements, Appraisal
         Policy for Evidence

      Produces:  Attestation Results

   Relying Party Owner:  A role performed by an entity (typically an
      administrator) that is authorized to configure an Appraisal Policy
      for Attestation Results in a Relying Party.

      Produces:  Appraisal Policy for Attestation Results

   Verifier Owner:  A role performed by an entity (typically an
      administrator) that is authorized to configure an Appraisal Policy
      for Evidence in a Verifier.

      Produces:  Appraisal Policy for Evidence

   Endorser:  A role performed by an entity (typically a manufacturer)
      whose Endorsements may help Verifiers appraise the authenticity of
      Evidence and infer further capabilities of the Attester.

      Produces:  Endorsements

   Reference Value Provider:  A role performed by an entity (typically a
      manufacturer) whose Reference Values help Verifiers appraise
      Evidence to determine if acceptable known Claims have been
      recorded by the Attester.

      Produces:  Reference Values

4.2.  Artifacts

   Claim:  A piece of asserted information, often in the form of a name/
      value pair.  Claims make up the usual structure of Evidence and
      other RATS conceptual messages.  Compare: claim [RFC7519].

   Endorsement:  A secure statement that an Endorser vouches for the
      integrity of an Attester's various capabilities, such as Claims
      collection and Evidence signing.

      Consumed By:  Verifier

      Produced By:  Endorser

   Evidence:  A set of Claims generated by an Attester to be appraised
      by a Verifier.  Evidence may include configuration data,
      measurements, telemetry, or inferences.

      Consumed By:  Verifier

      Produced By:  Attester

   Attestation Result:  The output generated by a Verifier, typically
      including information about an Attester, where the Verifier
      vouches for the validity of the results.

      Consumed By:  Relying Party

      Produced By:  Verifier

   Appraisal Policy for Evidence:  A set of rules that a Verifier uses
      to evaluate the validity of information about an Attester.
      Compare: security policy [RFC4949].

      Consumed By:  Verifier

      Produced By:  Verifier Owner

   Appraisal Policy for Attestation Results:  A set of rules that direct
      how a Relying Party uses the Attestation Results regarding an
      Attester generated by the Verifiers.  Compare: security policy

      Consumed by:  Relying Party

      Produced by:  Relying Party Owner

   Reference Values:  A set of values against which values of Claims can
      be compared as part of applying an Appraisal Policy for Evidence.
      Reference Values are sometimes referred to in other documents as
      "known-good values", "golden measurements", or "nominal values".
      These terms typically assume comparison for equality, whereas
      here, Reference Values might be more general and be used in any
      sort of comparison.

      Consumed By:  Verifier

      Produced By:  Reference Value Provider

5.  Topological Patterns

   Figure 1 shows a data flow diagram for communication between an
   Attester, a Verifier, and a Relying Party.  The Attester conveys its
   Evidence to the Verifier for appraisal and the Relying Party receives
   the Attestation Result from the Verifier.  This section refines the
   data-flow diagram by describing two reference models, as well as one
   example composition thereof.  The discussion that follows is for
   illustrative purposes only and does not constrain the interactions
   between RATS roles to the presented models.

5.1.  Passport Model

   The Passport Model is so named because of its resemblance to how
   nations issue passports to their citizens.  The nature of the
   Evidence that an individual needs to provide to its local authority
   is specific to the country involved.  The citizen retains control of
   the resulting passport document and presents it to other entities
   when it needs to assert a citizenship or identity Claim, such as at
   an airport immigration desk.  The passport is considered sufficient
   because it vouches for the citizenship and identity Claims and it is
   issued by a trusted authority.

   Thus, in this immigration desk analogy, the citizen is the Attester,
   the passport-issuing agency is a Verifier, and the passport
   application and identifying information (e.g., birth certificate) is
   the Evidence.  The passport is an Attestation Result and the
   immigration desk is a Relying Party.

   In this model, an Attester conveys Evidence to a Verifier that
   compares the Evidence against its appraisal policy.  The Verifier
   then gives back an Attestation Result that the Attester treats as
   opaque data.

   The Attester does not consume the Attestation Result, but it might
   cache it.  The Attester can then present the Attestation Result (and
   possibly additional Claims) to a Relying Party, which then compares
   this information against its own appraisal policy.  The Attester may
   also present the same Attestation Result to other Relying Parties.

   There are three ways in which the process may fail:

   *  First, the Verifier may not issue a positive Attestation Result
      due to the Evidence not passing the Appraisal Policy for Evidence.

   *  The second way in which the process may fail is when the
      Attestation Result is examined by the Relying Party, and based
      upon the Appraisal Policy for Attestation Results, the result does
      not comply with the policy.

   *  The third way is when the Verifier is unreachable or unavailable.

   As with any other information needed by the Relying Party to make an
   authorization decision, an Attestation Result can be carried in a
   resource access protocol between the Attester and Relying Party.  In
   this model, the details of the resource access protocol constrain the
   serialization format of the Attestation Result.  On the other hand,
   the format of the Evidence is only constrained by the Attester-
   Verifier remote attestation protocol.  This implies that
   interoperability and standardization is more relevant for Attestation
   Results than it is for Evidence.

         |            | Compare Evidence
         |  Verifier  | against appraisal policy
         |            |
             ^    |
    Evidence |    | Attestation
             |    | Result
             |    v
         .---+--------.              .-------------.
         |            +------------->|             | Compare Attestation
         |  Attester  | Attestation  |   Relying   | Result against
         |            | Result       |    Party    | appraisal policy
         '------------'              '-------------'

                         Figure 5: Passport Model

5.2.  Background-Check Model

   The Background-Check Model is so named because of the resemblance of
   how employers and volunteer organizations perform background checks.
   When a prospective employee provides Claims about education or
   previous experience, the employer will contact the respective
   institutions or former employers to validate the Claim.  Volunteer
   organizations often perform police background checks on volunteers in
   order to determine the volunteer's trustworthiness.  Thus, in this
   analogy, a prospective volunteer is an Attester, the organization is
   the Relying Party, and the organization that issues a report is a

   In this model, an Attester conveys Evidence to a Relying Party, which
   treats it as opaque and simply forwards it on to a Verifier.  The
   Verifier compares the Evidence against its appraisal policy and
   returns an Attestation Result to the Relying Party.  The Relying
   Party then compares the Attestation Result against its own appraisal

   The resource access protocol between the Attester and Relying Party
   includes Evidence rather than an Attestation Result, but that
   Evidence is not processed by the Relying Party.

   Since the Evidence is merely forwarded on to a trusted Verifier, any
   serialization format can be used for Evidence because the Relying
   Party does not need a parser for it.  The only requirement is that
   the Evidence can be _encapsulated_ in the format required by the
   resource access protocol between the Attester and Relying Party.

   However, as seen in the Passport Model, an Attestation Result is
   still consumed by the Relying Party.  Code footprint and attack
   surface area can be minimized by using a serialization format for
   which the Relying Party already needs a parser to support the
   protocol between the Attester and Relying Party, which may be an
   existing standard or widely deployed resource access protocol.  Such
   minimization is especially important if the Relying Party is a
   constrained node.

                                    |             | Compare Evidence
                                    |   Verifier  | against appraisal
                                    |             | policy
                                         ^   |
                                Evidence |   | Attestation
                                         |   | Result
                                         |   v
       .------------.               .----|--------.
       |            +-------------->|---'         | Compare Attestation
       |  Attester  |   Evidence    |     Relying | Result against
       |            |               |      Party  | appraisal policy
       '------------'               '-------------'

                      Figure 6: Background-Check Model

5.3.  Combinations

   One variation of the Background-Check Model is where the Relying
   Party and the Verifier are on the same machine, performing both
   functions together.  In this case, there is no need for a protocol
   between the two.

   It is also worth pointing out that the choice of model depends on the
   use case and that different Relying Parties may use different
   topological patterns.

   The same device may need to create Evidence for different Relying
   Parties and/or different use cases.  For instance, it would use one
   model to provide Evidence to a network infrastructure device to gain
   access to the network and the other model to provide Evidence to a
   server holding confidential data to gain access to that data.  As
   such, both models may simultaneously be in use by the same device.

   Figure 7 shows another example of a combination where Relying Party 1
   uses the Passport Model, whereas Relying Party 2 uses an extension of
   the Background-Check Model.  Specifically, in addition to the basic
   functionality shown in Figure 6, Relying Party 2 actually provides
   the Attestation Result back to the Attester, allowing the Attester to
   use it with other Relying Parties.  This is the model that the TAM
   plans to support in the TEEP architecture [TEEP-ARCH].

       |             | Compare Evidence
       |   Verifier  | against appraisal policy
       |             |
            ^   |
   Evidence |   | Attestation
            |   | Result
            |   v
       |             | Compare
       |   Relying   | Attestation Result
       |   Party 2   | against appraisal policy
            ^   |
   Evidence |   | Attestation
            |   | Result
            |   v
       .----+--------.               .-------------.
       |             +-------------->|             | Compare Attestation
       |   Attester  |  Attestation  |   Relying   | Result against
       |             |     Result    |   Party 1   | appraisal policy
       '-------------'               '-------------'

                     Figure 7: Example Combination

6.  Roles and Entities

   An entity in the RATS architecture includes at least one of the roles
   defined in this document.

   An entity can aggregate more than one role into itself, such as being
   both a Verifier and a Relying Party or being both a Reference Value
   Provider and an Endorser.  As such, any conceptual messages (see
   Section 8 for more discussion) originating from such roles might also
   be combined.  For example, Reference Values might be conveyed as part
   of an appraisal policy if the Verifier Owner and Reference Value
   Provider roles are combined.  Similarly, Reference Values might be
   conveyed as part of an Endorsement if the Endorser and Reference
   Value Provider roles are combined.

   Interactions between roles aggregated into the same entity do not
   necessarily use the Internet Protocol.  Such interactions might use a
   loopback device or other IP-based communication between separate
   environments, but they do not have to.  Alternative channels to
   convey conceptual messages include function calls, sockets, General-
   Purpose Input/Output (GPIO) interfaces, local buses, or hypervisor
   calls.  This type of conveyance is typically found in composite
   devices.  Most importantly, these conveyance methods are out of scope
   of the RATS architecture, but they are presumed to exist in order to
   convey conceptual messages appropriately between roles.

   In essence, an entity that combines more than one role creates and
   consumes the corresponding conceptual messages as defined in this

7.  Trust Model

7.1.  Relying Party

   This document covers scenarios for which a Relying Party trusts a
   Verifier that can appraise the trustworthiness of information about
   an Attester.  Such trust is expressed by storing one or more "trust
   anchors" in a secure location known as a "trust anchor store".

   As defined in [RFC6024]:

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

   The trust anchor may be a certificate or it may be a raw public key
   along with additional data if necessary, such as its public key
   algorithm and parameters.  In the context of this document, a trust
   anchor may also be a symmetric key, as in [TCG-DICE-SIBDA], or the
   symmetric mode described in [RATS-PSA-TOKEN].

   Thus, trusting a Verifier might be expressed by having the Relying
   Party store the Verifier's key or certificate in its trust anchor
   store.  It might also be expressed by storing the public key or
   certificate of an entity (e.g., a Certificate Authority) that is in
   the Verifier's certificate path.  For example, the Relying Party can
   verify that the Verifier is an expected one by out-of-band
   establishment of key material combined with a protocol like TLS to
   communicate.  There is an assumption that the Verifier has not been
   compromised between the establishment of the trusted key material and
   the creation of the Evidence.

   For a stronger level of security, the Relying Party might require
   that the Verifier first provide information about itself that the
   Relying Party can use to assess the trustworthiness of the Verifier
   before accepting its Attestation Results.  Such a process would
   provide a stronger level of confidence in the correctness of the
   information provided, such as a belief that the authentic Verifier
   has not been compromised by malware.

   For example, one explicit way for a Relying Party "A" to establish
   such confidence in the correctness of a Verifier "B" would be for B
   to first act as an Attester where A acts as a combined Verifier/
   Relying Party.  If A then accepts B as trustworthy, it can choose to
   accept B as a Verifier for other Attesters.

   Similarly, the Relying Party also needs to trust the Relying Party
   Owner for providing its Appraisal Policy for Attestation Results,
   and, in some scenarios, the Relying Party might even require that the
   Relying Party Owner go through a remote attestation procedure with it
   before the Relying Party will accept an updated policy.  This can be
   done in a manner similar to how a Relying Party could establish trust
   in a Verifier as discussed above, i.e., verifying credentials against
   a trust anchor store and optionally requiring Attestation Results
   from the Relying Party Owner.

7.2.  Attester

   In some scenarios, Evidence might contain sensitive information, such
   as Personally Identifiable Information (PII) or system identifiable
   information.  Thus, an Attester must trust the entities to which it
   conveys Evidence to not reveal sensitive data to unauthorized
   parties.  The Verifier might share this information with other
   authorized parties according to a governing policy that addresses the
   handling of sensitive information (potentially included in Appraisal
   Policies for Evidence).  In the Background-Check Model, this Evidence
   may also be revealed to Relying Parties.

   When Evidence contains sensitive information, an Attester typically
   requires that a Verifier authenticates itself (e.g., at TLS session
   establishment) and might even request a remote attestation before the
   Attester sends the sensitive Evidence.  This can be done by having
   the Attester first act as a Verifier/Relying Party and the Verifier
   act as its own Attester, as discussed above.

7.3.  Relying Party Owner

   The Relying Party Owner might also require that the Relying Party
   first act as an Attester by providing Evidence that the Owner can
   appraise before the Owner would give the Relying Party an updated
   policy that might contain sensitive information.  In such a case,
   authentication or attestation in both directions might be needed.
   Typically, one side's Evidence must be considered safe to share with
   an untrusted entity in order to bootstrap the sequence.  See
   Section 11 for more discussion.

7.4.  Verifier

   The Verifier trusts (or more specifically, the Verifier's security
   policy is written in a way that configures the Verifier to trust) a
   manufacturer or the manufacturer's hardware so as to be able to
   appraise the trustworthiness of that manufacturer's devices.  Such
   trust is expressed by storing one or more trust anchors in the
   Verifier's trust anchor store.

   In a typical solution, a Verifier comes to trust an Attester
   indirectly by having an Endorser (such as a manufacturer) vouch for
   the Attester's ability to securely generate Evidence through
   Endorsements (see Section 8.2).  Endorsements might describe the ways
   in which the Attester resists attacks, protects secrets, and measures
   Target Environments.  Consequently, the Endorser's key material is
   stored in the Verifier's trust anchor store so that Endorsements can
   be authenticated and used in the Verifier's appraisal process.

   In some solutions, a Verifier might be configured to directly trust
   an Attester by having the Verifier possess the Attester's key
   material (rather than the Endorser's) in its trust anchor store.

   Such direct trust must first be established at the time of trust
   anchor store configuration either by checking with an Endorser at
   that time or by conducting a security analysis of the specific
   device.  Having the Attester directly in the trust anchor store
   narrows the Verifier's trust to only specific devices rather than all
   devices the Endorser might vouch for, such as all devices
   manufactured by the same manufacturer in the case that the Endorser
   is a manufacturer.

   Such narrowing is often important since physical possession of a
   device can also be used to conduct a number of attacks, and so a
   device in a physically secure environment (such as one's own
   premises) may be considered trusted, whereas devices owned by others
   would not be.  This often results in a desire either to have the
   owner run their own Endorser that would only endorse devices one owns
   or to use Attesters directly in the trust anchor store.  When there
   are many Attesters owned, the use of an Endorser enables better

   That is, a Verifier might appraise the trustworthiness of an
   application component, operating system component, or service under
   the assumption that information provided about it by the lower-layer
   firmware or software is true.  A stronger level of assurance of
   security comes when information can be vouched for by hardware or by
   ROM code, especially if such hardware is physically resistant to
   hardware tampering.  In most cases, components that have to be
   vouched for via Endorsements (because no Evidence is generated about
   them) are referred to as "roots of trust".

   The manufacturer having arranged for an Attesting Environment to be
   provisioned with key material with which to sign Evidence, the
   Verifier is then provided with some way of verifying the signature on
   the Evidence.  This may be in the form of an appropriate trust anchor
   or the Verifier may be provided with a database of public keys
   (rather than certificates) or even carefully curated and secured
   lists of symmetric keys.

   The nature of how the Verifier manages to validate the signatures
   produced by the Attester is critical to the secure operation of a
   remote attestation system but is not the subject of standardization
   within this architecture.

   A conveyance protocol that provides authentication and integrity
   protection can be used to convey Evidence that is otherwise
   unprotected (e.g., not signed).  Appropriate conveyance of
   unprotected Evidence (e.g., [RATS-UCCS]) relies on the following
   conveyance protocol's protection capabilities:

   1.  The key material used to authenticate and integrity protect the
       conveyance channel is trusted by the Verifier to speak for the
       Attesting Environment(s) that collected Claims about the Target

   2.  All unprotected Evidence that is conveyed is supplied exclusively
       by the Attesting Environment that has the key material that
       protects the conveyance channel.

   3.  A trusted environment protects the conveyance channel's key
       material, which may depend on other Attesting Environments with
       equivalent strength protections.

   As illustrated in [RATS-UCCS], an entity that receives unprotected
   Evidence via a trusted conveyance channel always takes on the
   responsibility of vouching for the Evidence's authenticity and
   freshness.  If protected Evidence is generated, the Attester's
   Attesting Environments take on that responsibility.  In cases where
   unprotected Evidence is processed by a Verifier, Relying Parties have
   to trust that the Verifier is capable of handling Evidence in a
   manner that preserves the Evidence's authenticity and freshness.
   Generating and conveying unprotected Evidence always creates
   significant risk and the benefits of that approach have to be
   carefully weighed against potential drawbacks.

   See Section 12 for discussion on security strength.

7.5.  Endorser, Reference Value Provider, and Verifier Owner

   In some scenarios, the Endorser, Reference Value Provider, and
   Verifier Owner may need to trust the Verifier before giving the
   Endorsement, Reference Values, or appraisal policy to it.  This can
   be done in a similar manner to how a Relying Party might establish
   trust in a Verifier.

   As discussed in Section 7.3, authentication or attestation in both
   directions might be needed.  Typically, one side's identity or
   Evidence in this case must be considered safe to share with an
   untrusted entity in order to bootstrap the sequence.  See Section 11
   for more discussion.

8.  Conceptual Messages

   Figure 1 illustrates the flow of conceptual messages between various
   roles.  This section provides additional elaboration and
   implementation considerations.  It is the responsibility of protocol
   specifications to define the actual data format and semantics of any
   relevant conceptual messages.

8.1.  Evidence

   Evidence is a set of Claims about the Target Environment that reveal
   operational status, health, configuration, or construction that have
   security relevance.  Evidence is appraised by a Verifier to establish
   its relevance, compliance, and timeliness.  Claims need to be
   collected in a manner that is reliable such that a Target Environment
   cannot lie to the Attesting Environment about its trustworthiness
   properties.  Evidence needs to be securely associated with the Target
   Environment so that the Verifier cannot be tricked into accepting
   Claims originating from a different environment (that may be more
   trustworthy).  Evidence also must be protected from an active on-path
   attacker who may observe, change, or misdirect Evidence as it travels
   from the Attester to the Verifier.  The timeliness of Evidence can be
   captured using Claims that pinpoint the time or interval when changes
   in operational status, health, and so forth occur.

8.2.  Endorsements

   An Endorsement is a secure statement that some entity (e.g., a
   manufacturer) vouches for the integrity of the device's various
   capabilities, such as Claims collection, signing, launching code,
   transitioning to other environments, storing secrets, and more.  For
   example, if the device's signing capability is in hardware, then an
   Endorsement might be a manufacturer certificate that signs a public
   key whose corresponding private key is only known inside the device's
   hardware.  Thus, when Evidence and such an Endorsement are used
   together, an appraisal procedure can be conducted based on appraisal
   policies that may not be specific to the device instance but are
   merely specific to the manufacturer providing the Endorsement.  For
   example, an appraisal policy might simply check that devices from a
   given manufacturer have information matching a set of Reference
   Values.  An appraisal policy might also have a set of more complex
   logic on how to appraise the validity of information.

   However, while an appraisal policy that treats all devices from a
   given manufacturer the same may be appropriate for some use cases, it
   would be inappropriate to use such an appraisal policy as the sole
   means of authorization for use cases that wish to constrain _which_
   compliant devices are considered authorized for some purpose.  For
   example, an enterprise using remote attestation for Network Endpoint
   Assessment (NEA) [RFC5209] may not wish to let every healthy laptop
   from the same manufacturer onto the network.  Instead, it may only
   want to let devices that it legally owns onto the network.  Thus, an
   Endorsement may be helpful information in authenticating information
   about a device, but is not necessarily sufficient to authorize access
   to resources that may need device-specific information, such as a
   public key for the device or component or user on the device.

8.3.  Reference Values

   Reference Values used in appraisal procedures come from a Reference
   Value Provider and are then used by the Verifier to compare to
   Evidence.  Reference Values with matching Evidence produce acceptable
   Claims.  Additionally, an appraisal policy may play a role in
   determining the acceptance of Claims.

8.4.  Attestation Results

   Attestation Results are the input used by the Relying Party to decide
   the extent to which it will trust a particular Attester and allow it
   to access some data or perform some operation.

   Attestation Results may carry a boolean value indicating compliance
   or non-compliance with a Verifier's appraisal policy or may carry a
   richer set of Claims about the Attester, against which the Relying
   Party applies its Appraisal Policy for Attestation Results.

   The quality of the Attestation Results depends upon the ability of
   the Verifier to evaluate the Attester.  Different Attesters have a
   different _Strength of Function_ [strengthoffunction], which results
   in the Attestation Results being qualitatively different in strength.

   An Attestation Result that indicates non-compliance can be used by an
   Attester (in the Passport Model) or a Relying Party (in the
   Background-Check Model) to indicate that the Attester should not be
   treated as authorized and may be in need of remediation.  In some
   cases, it may even indicate that the Evidence itself cannot be
   authenticated as being correct.

   By default, the Relying Party does not believe the Attester to be
   compliant.  Upon receipt of an authentic Attestation Result and given
   the Appraisal Policy for Attestation Results is satisfied, the
   Attester is allowed to perform the prescribed actions or access.  The
   simplest such appraisal policy might authorize granting the Attester
   full access or control over the resources guarded by the Relying
   Party.  A more complex appraisal policy might involve using the
   information provided in the Attestation Result to compare against
   expected values or to apply complex analysis of other information
   contained in the Attestation Result.

   Thus, Attestation Results can contain detailed information about an
   Attester, which can include privacy sensitive information as
   discussed in Section 11.  Unlike Evidence, which is often very
   device- and vendor-specific, Attestation Results can be vendor-
   neutral, if the Verifier has a way to generate vendor-agnostic
   information based on the appraisal of vendor-specific information in
   Evidence.  This allows a Relying Party's appraisal policy to be
   simpler, potentially based on standard ways of expressing the
   information, while still allowing interoperability with heterogeneous

   Finally, whereas Evidence is signed by the device (or indirectly by a
   manufacturer if Endorsements are used), Attestation Results are
   signed by a Verifier, allowing a Relying Party to only need a trust
   relationship with one entity rather than a larger set of entities for
   purposes of its appraisal policy.

8.5.  Appraisal Policies

   The Verifier (when appraising Evidence) or the Relying Party (when
   appraising Attestation Results) checks the values of matched Claims
   against constraints specified in its appraisal policy.  Examples of
   such constraints checking include the following:

   *  Comparison for equality against a Reference Value.

   *  A check for being in a range bounded by Reference Values.

   *  Membership in a set of Reference Values.

   *  A check against values in other Claims.

   Upon completing all appraisal policy constraints, the remaining
   Claims are accepted as input toward determining Attestation Results
   (when appraising Evidence) or as input to a Relying Party (when
   appraising Attestation Results).

9.  Claims Encoding Formats

   Figure 8 illustrates a relationship to which remote attestation is
   desired to be added:

      .-------------.               .------------. Evaluate
      |             +-------------->|            | request
      |  Attester   |  Access some  |   Relying  | against
      |             |    resource   |    Party   | security
      '-------------'               '------------' policy

                     Figure 8: Typical Resource Access

   In this diagram, the protocol between the Attester and a Relying
   Party can be any new or existing protocol (e.g., HTTP(S), CoAP(S),
   Resource-Oriented Lightweight Information Exchange (ROLIE) [RFC8322],
   802.1x, OPC UA [OPCUA], etc.) depending on the use case.

   Typically, such protocols already have mechanisms for passing
   security information for authentication and authorization purposes.
   Common formats include JSON Web Tokens (JWTs) [RFC7519], CWTs
   [RFC8392], and X.509 certificates.

   Retrofitting already-deployed protocols with remote attestation
   requires adding RATS conceptual messages to the existing data flows.
   This must be done in a way that does not degrade the security
   properties of the systems involved and should use extension
   mechanisms provided by the underlying protocol.  For example, if a
   TLS handshake is to be extended with remote attestation capabilities,
   attestation Evidence may be embedded in an ad hoc X.509 certificate
   extension (e.g., [TCG-DICE]) or into a new TLS Certificate Type
   (e.g., [TLS-CWT]).

   Especially for constrained nodes, there is a desire to minimize the
   amount of parsing code needed in a Relying Party in order to both
   minimize footprint and the attack surface.  While it would be
   possible to embed a CWT inside a JWT, or a JWT inside an X.509
   extension, etc., there is a desire to encode the information in a
   format that is already supported by the Relying Party.

   This motivates having a common "information model" that describes the
   set of remote attestation related information in an encoding-agnostic
   way and allows multiple encoding formats (CWT, JWT, X.509, etc.) that
   encode the same information into the Claims format needed by the
   Relying Party.

   Figure 9 illustrates that Evidence and Attestation Results might be
   expressed via multiple potential encoding formats so that they can be
   conveyed by various existing protocols.  It also motivates why the
   Verifier might also be responsible for accepting Evidence that
   encodes Claims in one format while issuing Attestation Results that
   encode Claims in a different format.

                   Evidence           Attestation Results
   .--------------.   CWT                    CWT   .-------------------.
   |  Attester-A  +-----------.        .---------->|  Relying Party V  |
   '--------------'            |      |            `-------------------'
                               v      |
   .--------------.   JWT   .---------+--.   JWT   .-------------------.
   |  Attester-B  +-------->|            +-------->|  Relying Party W  |
   '--------------'         |            |         `-------------------'
                            |            |
   .--------------.  X.509  |            |  X.509  .-------------------.
   |  Attester-C  +-------->|  Verifier  +-------->|  Relying Party X  |
   '--------------'         |            |         `-------------------'
                            |            |
   .--------------.   TPM   |            |   TPM   .-------------------.
   |  Attester-D  +-------->|            +-------->|  Relying Party Y  |
   '--------------'         '---------+--'         `-------------------'
                               ^      |
   .--------------.  other     |      |     other  .-------------------.
   |  Attester-E  +-----------'        '---------->|  Relying Party Z  |
   '--------------'                                `-------------------'

      Figure 9: Multiple Attesters and Relying Parties with Different

10.  Freshness

   A Verifier or Relying Party might need to learn the point in time
   (i.e., the "epoch") an Evidence or Attestation Result has been
   produced.  This is essential in deciding whether the included Claims
   can be considered fresh, meaning they still reflect the latest state
   of the Attester, and that any Attestation Result was generated using
   the latest Appraisal Policy for Evidence, Endorsements, and Reference

   This section provides a number of details.  However, it does not
   define any protocol formats and the interactions shown are abstract.
   This section is intended for those creating protocols and solutions
   to understand the options available to ensure freshness.  The way in
   which freshness is provisioned in a protocol is an architectural
   decision.  Provisioning of freshness has an impact on the number of
   needed round trips in a protocol; therefore, it must be made very
   early in the design.  Different decisions will have significant
   impacts on resulting interoperability, which is why this section goes
   into sufficient detail such that choices in freshness will be
   compatible across interacting protocols, such as depicted in
   Figure 9.

   Freshness is assessed based on the Appraisal Policy for Evidence or
   Attestation Results that compares the estimated epoch against an
   "expiry" threshold defined locally to that policy.  There is,
   however, always a race condition possible in that the state of the
   Attester and the appraisal policies might change immediately after
   the Evidence or Attestation Result was generated.  The goal is merely
   to narrow their recentness to something the Verifier (for Evidence)
   or Relying Party (for Attestation Result) is willing to accept.  Some
   flexibility on the freshness requirement is a key component for
   enabling caching and reuse of both Evidence and Attestation Results,
   which is especially valuable in cases where their computation uses a
   substantial part of the resource budget (e.g., energy in constrained

   There are three common approaches for determining the epoch of
   Evidence or an Attestation Result.

10.1.  Explicit Timekeeping Using Synchronized Clocks

   The first approach is to rely on synchronized and trustworthy clocks
   and include a signed timestamp (see [RATS-TUDA]) along with the
   Claims in the Evidence or Attestation Result.  Timestamps can also be
   added on a per-Claim basis to distinguish the time of generation of
   Evidence or Attestation Result from the time that a specific Claim
   was generated.  The clock's trustworthiness can generally be
   established via Endorsements and typically requires additional Claims
   about the signer's time synchronization mechanism.

   However, a trustworthy clock might not be available in some use
   cases.  For example, in many TEEs today, a clock is only available
   outside the TEE; thus, it cannot be trusted by the TEE.

10.2.  Implicit Timekeeping Using Nonces

   A second approach places the onus of timekeeping solely on the
   Verifier (for Evidence) or the Relying Party (for Attestation
   Results).  For example, this approach might be suitable in case the
   Attester does not have a trustworthy clock or time synchronization is
   otherwise impaired.  In this approach, an unpredictable nonce is sent
   by the appraising entity and the nonce is then signed and included
   along with the Claims in the Evidence or Attestation Result.  After
   checking that the sent and received nonces are the same, the
   appraising entity knows that the Claims were signed after the nonce
   was generated.  This allows associating a "rough" epoch to the
   Evidence or Attestation Result.  In this case, the epoch is said to
   be rough because:

   *  The epoch applies to the entire Claim set instead of a more
      granular association, and

   *  The time between the creation of Claims and the collection of
      Claims is indistinguishable.

10.3.  Implicit Timekeeping Using Epoch IDs

   A third approach relies on having epoch identifiers (IDs)
   periodically sent to both the sender and receiver of Evidence or
   Attestation Results by some "epoch ID distributor".

   Epoch IDs are different from nonces as they can be used more than
   once and can even be used by more than one entity at the same time.
   Epoch IDs are different from timestamps as they do not have to convey
   information about a point in time, i.e., they are not necessarily
   monotonically increasing integers.

   Like the nonce approach, this allows associating a "rough" epoch
   without requiring a trustworthy clock or time synchronization in
   order to generate or appraise the freshness of Evidence or
   Attestation Results.  Only the epoch ID distributor requires access
   to a clock so it can periodically send new epoch IDs.

   The most recent epoch ID is included in the produced Evidence or
   Attestation Results, and the appraising entity can compare the epoch
   ID in received Evidence or Attestation Results against the latest
   epoch ID it received from the epoch ID distributor to determine if it
   is within the current epoch.  An actual solution also needs to take
   into account race conditions when transitioning to a new epoch, such
   as by using a counter signed by the epoch ID distributor as the epoch
   ID, by including both the current and previous epoch IDs in messages
   and/or checks by requiring retries in case of mismatching epoch IDs,
   or by buffering incoming messages that might be associated with an
   epoch ID that the receiver has not yet obtained.

   More generally, in order to prevent an appraising entity from
   generating false negatives (e.g., discarding Evidence that is deemed
   stale even if it is not), the appraising entity should keep an "epoch
   window" consisting of the most recently received epoch IDs.  The
   depth of such epoch window is directly proportional to the maximum
   network propagation delay between the first to receive the epoch ID
   and the last to receive the epoch ID and it is inversely proportional
   to the epoch duration.  The appraising entity shall compare the epoch
   ID carried in the received Evidence or Attestation Result with the
   epoch IDs in its epoch window to find a suitable match.

   Whereas the nonce approach typically requires the appraising entity
   to keep state for each nonce generated, the epoch ID approach
   minimizes the state kept to be independent of the number of Attesters
   or Verifiers from which it expects to receive Evidence or Attestation
   Results as long as all use the same epoch ID distributor.

10.4.  Discussion

   Implicit and explicit timekeeping can be combined into hybrid
   mechanisms.  For example, if clocks exist within the Attesting
   Environment and are considered trustworthy (tamper-proof) but are not
   synchronized, a nonce-based exchange may be used to determine the
   (relative) time offset between the involved peers followed by any
   number of timestamp based exchanges.

   It is important to note that the actual values in Claims might have
   been generated long before the Claims are signed.  If so, it is the
   signer's responsibility to ensure that the values are still fresh
   when they are signed.  For example, values generated at boot time
   might have been saved to secure storage until network connectivity is
   established to the remote Verifier and a nonce is obtained.

   A more detailed discussion with examples appears in Appendix A.

   For a discussion on the security of epoch IDs see Section 12.3.

11.  Privacy Considerations

   The conveyance of Evidence and the resulting Attestation Results
   reveal a great deal of information about the internal state of a
   device as well as potentially any users of the device.

   In many cases, the whole point of attestation procedures is to
   provide reliable information about the type of the device and the
   firmware/software that the device is running.

   This information might be particularly interesting to many attackers.
   For example, knowing that a device is running a weak version of
   firmware provides a way to aim attacks better.

   In some circumstances, if an attacker can become aware of
   Endorsements, Reference Values, or appraisal policies, it could
   potentially provide an attacker with insight into defensive
   mitigations.  It is recommended that attention be paid to
   confidentiality of such information.

   Additionally, many Evidence, Attestation Results, and appraisal
   policies potentially contain Personally Identifying Information (PII)
   depending on the end-to-end use case of the remote attestation
   procedure.  Remote attestation that includes containers and
   applications, e.g., a blood pressure monitor, may further reveal
   details about specific systems or users.

   In some cases, an attacker may be able to make inferences about the
   contents of Evidence from the resulting effects or timing of the
   processing.  For example, an attacker might be able to infer the
   value of specific Claims if it knew that only certain values were
   accepted by the Relying Party.

   Conceptual messages (see Section 8) carrying sensitive or
   confidential information are expected to be integrity protected
   (i.e., either via signing or a secure channel) and optionally might
   be confidentiality protected via encryption.  If there isn't
   confidentiality protection of conceptual messages themselves, the
   underlying conveyance protocol should provide these protections.

   As Evidence might contain sensitive or confidential information,
   Attesters are responsible for only sending such Evidence to trusted
   Verifiers.  Some Attesters might want a stronger level of assurance
   of the trustworthiness of a Verifier before sending Evidence to it.
   In such cases, an Attester can first act as a Relying Party and ask
   for the Verifier's own Attestation Result.  Appraising it just as a
   Relying Party would appraise an Attestation Result for any other

   Another approach to deal with Evidence is to remove PII from the
   Evidence while still being able to verify that the Attester is one of
   a large set.  This approach is often called "Direct Anonymous
   Attestation".  See Section 6.2 of [CCC-DeepDive] and [RATS-DAA] for
   more discussion.

12.  Security Considerations

   This document provides an architecture for doing remote attestation.
   No specific wire protocol is documented here.  Without a specific
   proposal to compare against, it is impossible to know if the security
   threats listed below have been mitigated well.

   The security considerations below should be read as being,
   essentially, requirements against realizations of the RATS
   architecture.  Some threats apply to protocols and some are against
   implementations (code) and physical infrastructure (such as

   The fundamental purpose of the RATS architecture is to allow a
   Relying Party to establish a basis for trusting the Attester.

12.1.  Attester and Attestation Key Protection

   Implementers need to pay close attention to the protection of the
   Attester and the manufacturing processes for provisioning attestation
   key material.  If either of these are compromised, intended levels of
   assurance for remote attestation procedures are compromised because
   attackers can forge Evidence or manipulate the Attesting Environment.
   For example, a Target Environment should not be able to tamper with
   the Attesting Environment that measures it by isolating the two
   environments from each other in some way.

   Remote attestation applies to use cases with a range of security
   requirements.  The protections discussed here range from low to high
   security: low security may be limited to application or process
   isolation by the device's operating system and high security may
   involve specialized hardware to defend against physical attacks on a

12.1.1.  On-Device Attester and Key Protection

   It is assumed that an Attesting Environment is sufficiently isolated
   from the Target Environment it collects Claims about and that it
   signs the resulting Claims set with an attestation key so that the
   Target Environment cannot forge Evidence about itself.  Such an
   isolated environment might be provided by a process, a dedicated
   chip, a TEE, a virtual machine, or another secure mode of operation.
   The Attesting Environment must be protected from unauthorized
   modification to ensure it behaves correctly.  Confidentiality
   protection of the Attesting Environment's signing key is vital so it
   cannot be misused to forge Evidence.

   In many cases, the user or owner of a device that includes the role
   of Attester must not be able to modify or extract keys from the
   Attesting Environments to prevent creating forged Evidence.  Some
   common examples include the user of a mobile phone or FIDO

   Measures for a minimally protected system might include process or
   application isolation provided by a high-level operating system and
   restricted access to root or system privileges.  In contrast, for
   really simple single-use devices that don't use a protected mode
   operating system (like a Bluetooth speaker), the only factual
   isolation might be the sturdy housing of the device.

   Measures for a moderately protected system could include a special
   restricted operating environment, such as a TEE.  In this case, only
   security-oriented software has access to the Attester and key

   Measures for a highly protected system could include specialized
   hardware that is used to provide protection against chip decapping
   attacks, power supply and clock glitching, faulting injection and RF,
   and power side channel attacks.

12.1.2.  Attestation Key Provisioning Processes

   Attestation key provisioning is the process that occurs in the
   factory or elsewhere to establish signing key material on the device
   and the validation key material off the device.  Sometimes, this
   procedure is referred to as "personalization" or "customization".

   When generating keys off-device in the factory or in the device, the
   use of a cryptographically strong sequence ([RFC4086], Section 6.2)
   needs consideration.  Off-Device Key Generation

   One way to provision key material is to first generate it external to
   the device and then copy the key onto the device.  In this case,
   confidentiality protection of the generator and the path over which
   the key is provisioned is necessary.  The manufacturer needs to take
   care to protect corresponding key material with measures appropriate
   for its value.

   The degree of protection afforded to this key material can vary by
   the intended function of the device and the specific practices of the
   device manufacturer or integrator.  The confidentiality protection is
   fundamentally based upon some amount of physical protection.  While
   encryption is often used to provide confidentiality when a key is
   conveyed across a factory where the attestation key is created or
   applied, it must be available in an unencrypted form.  The physical
   protection can therefore vary from situations where the key is
   unencrypted only within carefully controlled secure enclaves within
   silicon to situations where an entire facility is considered secure
   by the simple means of locked doors and limited access.

   The cryptography that is used to enable confidentiality protection of
   the attestation key comes with its own requirements to be secured.
   This results in recursive problems, as the key material used to
   provision attestation keys must again somehow have been provisioned
   securely beforehand (requiring an additional level of protection and
   so on).

   Commonly, a combination of some physical security measures and some
   cryptographic measures are used to establish confidentiality
   protection.  On-Device Key Generation

   When key material is generated within a device and the secret part of
   it never leaves the device, the problem may lessen.  For public-key
   cryptography, it is not necessary to maintain confidentiality of the
   public key.  However, integrity of the chain of custody of the public
   key is necessary in order to avoid attacks where an attacker is able
   to get a key endorsed that the attacker controls.

   To summarize, attestation key provisioning must ensure that only
   valid attestation key material is established in Attesters.

12.2.  Conceptual Message Protection

   Any solution that conveys information in any conceptual message (see
   Section 8) must support end-to-end integrity protection and replay
   attack prevention.  It often also needs to support additional
   security properties, including:

   *  end-to-end encryption,

   *  denial-of-service protection,

   *  authentication,

   *  auditing,

   *  fine-grained access controls, and

   *  logging.

   Section 10 discusses ways in which freshness can be used in this
   architecture to protect against replay attacks.

   To assess the security provided by a particular appraisal policy, it
   is important to understand the strength of the root of trust, e.g.,
   whether it is mutable software or firmware that is read-only after
   boot or immutable hardware/ROM.

   It is also important that the appraisal policy was obtained securely
   itself.  If an attacker can configure or modify appraisal policies
   and Endorsements or Reference Values for a Relying Party or a
   Verifier, then integrity of the process is compromised.

   Security protections in the RATS architecture may be applied at
   different layers, whether by a conveyance protocol or an information
   encoding format.  This architecture expects conceptual messages to be
   end-to-end protected based on the role interaction context.  For
   example, if an Attester produces Evidence that is relayed through
   some other entity that doesn't implement the Attester or the intended
   Verifier roles, then the relaying entity should not expect to have
   access to the Evidence.

   The RATS architecture allows for an entity to function in multiple
   roles (Section 6) and for composite devices (Section 3.3).
   Implementers need to evaluate their designs to ensure that the
   assumed security properties of the individual components and roles
   still hold despite the lack of separation and that emergent risk is
   not introduced.  The specifics of this evaluation will depend on the
   implementation and the use case; hence, they are out of scope for
   this document.  Isolation mechanisms in software or hardware that
   separate Attesting Environments and Target Environments (Section 3.1)
   can support an implementer's evaluation and resulting design

12.3.  Attestation Based on Epoch ID

   Epoch IDs, described in Section 10.3, can be tampered with, replayed,
   dropped, delayed, and reordered by an attacker.

   An attacker could either be external or belong to the distribution
   group (for example, if one of the Attester entities have been

   An attacker who is able to tamper with epoch IDs can potentially lock
   all the participants in a certain epoch of choice forever,
   effectively freezing time.  This is problematic since it destroys the
   ability to ascertain freshness of Evidence and Attestation Results.

   To mitigate this threat, the transport should be at least integrity
   protected and provide origin authentication.

   Selective dropping of epoch IDs is equivalent to pinning the victim
   node to a past epoch.  An attacker could drop epoch IDs to only some
   entities and not others, which will typically result in a denial of
   service due to the permanent staleness of the Attestation Result or

   Delaying or reordering epoch IDs is equivalent to manipulating the
   victim's timeline at will.  This ability could be used by a malicious
   actor (e.g., a compromised router) to mount a confusion attack.  For
   example, a Verifier can be tricked into accepting Evidence coming
   from a past epoch as fresh, while, in the meantime, the Attester has
   been compromised.

   Reordering and dropping attacks are mitigated if the transport
   provides the ability to detect reordering and drop.  However, the
   delay attack described above can't be thwarted in this manner.

12.4.  Trust Anchor Protection

   As noted in Section 7, Verifiers and Relying Parties have trust
   anchor stores that must be secured.  [RFC6024] contains more
   discussion of trust anchor store requirements for protecting public
   keys.  Section 6 of [NIST-800-57-p1] contains a comprehensive
   treatment of the topic, including the protection of symmetric key
   material.  Specifically, a trust anchor store must resist
   modification against unauthorized insertion, deletion, and
   modification.  Additionally, if the trust anchor is a symmetric key,
   the trust anchor store must not allow unauthorized read.

   If certificates are used as trust anchors, Verifiers and Relying
   Parties are also responsible for validating the entire certificate
   path up to the trust anchor, which includes checking for certificate
   revocation.  For an example of such a procedure, see Section 6 of

13.  IANA Considerations

   This document has no IANA actions.

14.  References

14.1.  Normative References

   [RFC5280]  Cooper, D., Santesson, S., Farrell, S., Boeyen, S.,
              Housley, R., and W. Polk, "Internet X.509 Public Key
              Infrastructure Certificate and Certificate Revocation List
              (CRL) Profile", RFC 5280, DOI 10.17487/RFC5280, May 2008,

   [RFC7519]  Jones, M., Bradley, J., and N. Sakimura, "JSON Web Token
              (JWT)", RFC 7519, DOI 10.17487/RFC7519, May 2015,

   [RFC8392]  Jones, M., Wahlstroem, E., Erdtman, S., and H. Tschofenig,
              "CBOR Web Token (CWT)", RFC 8392, DOI 10.17487/RFC8392,
              May 2018, <>.

14.2.  Informative References

              Confidential Computing Consortium, "A Technical Analysis
              of Confidential Computing", Version 1.3, November 2022,

   [CTAP]     FIDO Alliance, "Client to Authenticator Protocol (CTAP)",
              February 2018, <

              Barker, E., "Recommendation for Key Management: Part 1 -
              General", DOI 10.6028/NIST.SP.800-57pt1r5, May 2020,

   [OPCUA]    OPC Foundation, "OPC Unified Architecture Specification,
              Part 2: Security Model, Release 1.03", OPC 10000-2 ,
              November 2015, <

   [RATS-DAA] Birkholz, H., Newton, C., Chen, L., and D. Thaler, "Direct
              Anonymous Attestation for the Remote Attestation
              Procedures Architecture", Work in Progress, Internet-
              Draft, draft-ietf-rats-daa-02, 7 September 2022,

              Tschofenig, H., Frost, S., Brossard, M., Shaw, A., and T.
              Fossati, "Arm's Platform Security Architecture (PSA)
              Attestation Token", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft,
              draft-tschofenig-rats-psa-token-10, 6 September 2022,

              Fuchs, A., Birkholz, H., McDonald, I., and C. Bormann,
              "Time-Based Uni-Directional Attestation", Work in
              Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-birkholz-rats-tuda-07, 10
              July 2022, <

              Birkholz, H., O'Donoghue, J., Cam-Winget, N., and C.
              Bormann, "A CBOR Tag for Unprotected CWT Claims Sets",
              Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-ietf-rats-uccs-04,
              11 January 2023, <

   [RFC4086]  Eastlake 3rd, D., Schiller, J., and S. Crocker,
              "Randomness Requirements for Security", BCP 106, RFC 4086,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC4086, June 2005,

   [RFC4949]  Shirey, R., "Internet Security Glossary, Version 2",
              FYI 36, RFC 4949, DOI 10.17487/RFC4949, August 2007,

   [RFC5209]  Sangster, P., Khosravi, H., Mani, M., Narayan, K., and J.
              Tardo, "Network Endpoint Assessment (NEA): Overview and
              Requirements", RFC 5209, DOI 10.17487/RFC5209, June 2008,

   [RFC6024]  Reddy, R. and C. Wallace, "Trust Anchor Management
              Requirements", RFC 6024, DOI 10.17487/RFC6024, October
              2010, <>.

   [RFC8322]  Field, J., Banghart, S., and D. Waltermire, "Resource-
              Oriented Lightweight Information Exchange (ROLIE)",
              RFC 8322, DOI 10.17487/RFC8322, February 2018,

              NIST, "Strength of Function",

   [TCG-DICE] Trusted Computing Group, "DICE Attestation Architecture",
              Version 1.00, Revision 0.23, March 2021,

              Trusted Computing Group, "Symmetric Identity Based Device
              Attestation", Version 1.0, Revision 0.95, January 2020,

   [TCGarch]  Trusted Computing Group, "Trusted Platform Module Library,
              Part 1: Architecture", November 2019,

              Pei, M., Tschofenig, H., Thaler, D., and D. Wheeler,
              "Trusted Execution Environment Provisioning (TEEP)
              Architecture", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft, draft-
              ietf-teep-architecture-19, 24 October 2022,

   [TLS-CWT]  Tschofenig, H. and M. Brossard, "Using CBOR Web Tokens
              (CWTs) in Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Datagram
              Transport Layer Security (DTLS)", Work in Progress,
              Internet-Draft, draft-tschofenig-tls-cwt-02, 13 July 2020,

   [WebAuthN] W3C, "Web Authentication: An API for accessing Public Key
              Credentials Level 1", March 2019,

Appendix A.  Time Considerations

   Section 10 discussed various issues and requirements around freshness
   of Evidence and summarized three approaches that might be used by
   different solutions to address them.  This appendix provides more
   details with examples to help illustrate potential approaches and
   inform those creating specific solutions.

   The table below defines a number of relevant events with an ID that
   is used in subsequent diagrams.  The times of said events might be
   defined in terms of an absolute clock time, such as the Coordinated
   Universal Time timescale, or might be defined relative to some other
   timestamp or timeticks counter, such as a clock resetting its epoch
   each time it is powered on.

   | ID | Event      | Explanation of event                            |
   | VG | Value      | A value to appear in a Claim was created.       |
   |    | generated  | In some cases, a value may have technically     |
   |    |            | existed before an Attester became aware of      |
   |    |            | it, but the Attester might have no idea how     |
   |    |            | long it has had that value.  In such a          |
   |    |            | case, the value created time is the time at     |
   |    |            | which the Claim containing the copy of the      |
   |    |            | value was created.                              |
   | NS | Nonce sent | A nonce not predictable to an Attester          |
   |    |            | (recentness & uniqueness) is sent to an         |
   |    |            | Attester.                                       |
   | NR | Nonce      | A nonce is relayed to an Attester by            |
   |    | relayed    | another entity.                                 |
   | IR | Epoch ID   | An epoch ID is successfully received and        |
   |    | received   | processed by an entity.                         |
   | EG | Evidence   | An Attester creates Evidence from collected     |
   |    | generation | Claims.                                         |
   | ER | Evidence   | A Relying Party relays Evidence to a            |
   |    | relayed    | Verifier.                                       |
   | RG | Result     | A Verifier appraises Evidence and generates     |
   |    | generation | an Attestation Result.                          |
   | RR | Result     | A Relying Party relays an Attestation           |
   |    | relayed    | Result to a Relying Party.                      |
   | RA | Result     | The Relying Party appraises Attestation         |
   |    | appraised  | Results.                                        |
   | OP | Operation  | The Relying Party performs some operation       |
   |    | performed  | requested by the Attester via a resource        |
   |    |            | access protocol as depicted in Figure 8,        |
   |    |            | e.g., across a session created earlier at       |
   |    |            | time(RA).                                       |
   | RX | Result     | An Attestation Result should no longer be       |
   |    | expiry     | accepted, according to the Verifier that        |
   |    |            | generated it.                                   |

                     Table 1: Relevant Events over Time

   Using the table above, a number of hypothetical examples of how a
   solution might be built are illustrated below.  This list is not
   intended to be complete; it is just representative enough to
   highlight various timing considerations.

   All times are relative to the local clocks, indicated by an "_a"
   (Attester), "_v" (Verifier), or "_r" (Relying Party) suffix.

   Times with an appended Prime (') indicate a second instance of the
   same event.

   How and if clocks are synchronized depends upon the model.

   In the figures below, curly braces indicate containment.  For
   example, the notation Evidence{foo} indicates that 'foo' is contained
   in the Evidence; thus, it is covered by its signature.

A.1.  Example 1: Timestamp-Based Passport Model

   Figure 10 illustrates a hypothetical Passport Model solution that
   uses timestamps and requires roughly synchronized clocks between the
   Attester, Verifier, and Relying Party, which depends on using a
   secure clock synchronization mechanism.  As a result, the receiver of
   a conceptual message containing a timestamp can directly compare it
   to its own clock and timestamps.

      .----------.                     .----------.  .---------------.
      | Attester |                     | Verifier |  | Relying Party |
      '----+-----'                     '-----+----'  '-------+-------'
           |                                 |               |
        time(VG_a)                           |               |
           |                                 |               |
           ~                                 ~               ~
           |                                 |               |
        time(EG_a)                           |               |
           |                                 |               |
           +------Evidence{time(EG_a)}------>|               |
           |                                 |               |
           |                              time(RG_v)         |
           |                                 |               |
           |<-----Attestation Result---------+               |
           |      {time(RG_v),time(RX_v)}    |               |
           ~                                                 ~
           |                                                 |
           +--Attestation Result{time(RG_v),time(RX_v)}--> time(RA_r)
           |                                                 |
           ~                                                 ~
           |                                                 |
           |                                              time(OP_r)

                 Figure 10: Timestamp-Based Passport Model

   The Verifier can check whether the Evidence is fresh when appraising
   it at time(RG_v) by checking time(RG_v) - time(EG_a) < Threshold,
   where the Verifier's threshold is large enough to account for the
   maximum permitted clock skew between the Verifier and the Attester.

   If time(VG_a) is included in the Evidence along with the Claim value
   generated at that time, and the Verifier decides that it can trust
   the time(VG_a) value, the Verifier can also determine whether the
   Claim value is recent by checking time(RG_v) - time(VG_a) <
   Threshold.  The threshold is decided by the Appraisal Policy for
   Evidence and, again, needs to take into account the maximum permitted
   clock skew between the Verifier and the Attester.

   The Attester does not consume the Attestation Result but might cache

   The Relying Party can check whether the Attestation Result is fresh
   when appraising it at time(RA_r) by checking the time(RA_r) -
   time(RG_v) < Threshold, where the Relying Party's threshold is large
   enough to account for the maximum permitted clock skew between the
   Relying Party and the Verifier.  The result might then be used for
   some time (e.g., throughout the lifetime of a connection established
   at time(RA_r)).  However, the Relying Party must be careful not to
   allow continued use beyond the period for which it deems the
   Attestation Result to remain fresh enough.  Thus, it might allow use
   (at time(OP_r)) as long as time(OP_r) - time(RG_v) < Threshold.
   However, if the Attestation Result contains an expiry time
   time(RX_v), then it could explicitly check time(OP_r) < time(RX_v).

A.2.  Example 2: Nonce-Based Passport Model

   Figure 11 illustrates a hypothetical Passport Model solution that
   uses nonces instead of timestamps.  Compared to the timestamp-based
   example, it requires an extra round trip to retrieve a nonce and
   requires that the Verifier and Relying Party track state to remember
   the nonce for some period of time.

   The advantage is that it does not require that any clocks are
   synchronized.  As a result, the receiver of a conceptual message
   containing a timestamp cannot directly compare it to its own clock or
   timestamps.  Thus, we use a suffix ("a" for Attester, "v" for
   Verifier, and "r" for Relying Party) on the IDs below indicating
   which clock generated them since times from different clocks cannot
   be compared.  Only the delta between two events from the sender can
   be used by the receiver.

      .----------.                     .----------.  .---------------.
      | Attester |                     | Verifier |  | Relying Party |
      '----+-----'                     '-----+----'  '-------+-------'
           |                                 |               |
        time(VG_a)                           |               |
           |                                 |               |
           ~                                 ~               ~
           |                                 |               |
           |<--Nonce1---------------------time(NS_v)         |
           |                                 |               |
        time(EG_a)                           |               |
           |                                 |               |
           +---Evidence--------------------->|               |
           | {Nonce1, time(EG_a)-time(VG_a)} |               |
           |                                 |               |
           |                              time(RG_v)         |
           |                                 |               |
           |<--Attestation Result------------+               |
           |   {time(RX_v)-time(RG_v)}       |               |
           ~                                                 ~
           |                                                 |
           |                                                 |
        time(RR_a)                                           |
           |                                                 |
           +--[Attestation Result{time(RX_v)-time(RG_v)}, -->|time(RA_r)
           |        Nonce2, time(RR_a)-time(EG_a)]           |
           |                                                 |
           ~                                                 ~
           |                                                 |
           |                                              time(OP_r)

                   Figure 11: Nonce-Based Passport Model

   In this example solution, the Verifier can check whether the Evidence
   is fresh at time(RG_v) by verifying that time(RG_v)-time(NS_v) <

   However, the Verifier cannot simply rely on a Nonce to determine
   whether the value of a Claim is recent since the Claim value might
   have been generated long before the nonce was sent by the Verifier.
   Nevertheless, if the Verifier decides that the Attester can be
   trusted to correctly provide the delta time(EG_a)-time(VG_a), then it
   can determine recency by checking time(RG_v)-time(NS_v) + time(EG_a)-
   time(VG_a) < Threshold.

   Similarly if, based on an Attestation Result from a Verifier it
   trusts, the Relying Party decides that the Attester can be trusted to
   correctly provide time deltas, then it can determine whether the
   Attestation Result is fresh by checking time(OP_r)-time(NS_r) +
   time(RR_a)-time(EG_a) < Threshold.  Although the Nonce2 and
   time(RR_a)-time(EG_a) values cannot be inside the Attestation Result,
   they might be signed by the Attester such that the Attestation Result
   vouches for the Attester's signing capability.

   However, the Relying Party must still be careful not to allow
   continued use beyond the period for which it deems the Attestation
   Result to remain valid.  Thus, if the Attestation Result sends a
   validity lifetime in terms of time(RX_v)-time(RG_v), then the Relying
   Party can check time(OP_r)-time(NS_r) < time(RX_v)-time(RG_v).

A.3.  Example 3: Passport Model Based on Epoch ID

   The example in Figure 12 illustrates a hypothetical Passport Model
   solution that uses epoch IDs instead of nonces or timestamps.

   The epoch ID distributor broadcasts epoch ID I, which starts a new
   epoch E for a protocol participant upon reception at time(IR).

   The Attester generates Evidence incorporating epoch ID I and conveys
   it to the Verifier.

   The Verifier appraises that the received epoch ID I is "fresh"
   according to the definition provided in Section 10.3 whereby retries
   are required in the case of mismatching epoch IDs; then the Verifier
   generates an Attestation Result.  The Attestation Result is conveyed
   to the Attester.

   After the transmission of epoch ID I' a new epoch E' is established
   when I' is received by each protocol participant.  The Attester
   relays the Attestation Result obtained during epoch E (associated
   with epoch ID I) to the Relying Party using the epoch ID for the
   current epoch I'.  If the Relying Party had not yet received I', then
   the Attestation Result would be rejected.  The Attestation Result is
   received in this example.

   In Figure 12, the epoch ID for relaying an Attestation Result to the
   Relying Party is current while a previous epoch ID was used to
   generate Verifier evaluated Evidence.  This indicates that at least
   one epoch transition has occurred and the Attestation Results may
   only be as fresh as the previous epoch.  If the Relying Party
   remembers the previous epoch ID I during an epoch window as discussed
   in Section 10.3, and the message is received during that window, the
   Attestation Result is accepted as fresh; otherwise, it is rejected as

      .----------.   | Epoch ID    |   .----------.  .---------------.
      | Attester |   | Distributor |   | Verifier |  | Relying Party |
      '----+-----'   '------+------'   '-----+----'  '-------+-------'
           |                |                |               |
        time(VG_a)          |                |               |
           |                |                |               |
           ~                |                ~               ~
           |                |                |               |
        time(IR_a) <-----I--o--I------> time(IR_v) ---> time(IR_r)
           |                |                |               |
        time(EG_a)          |                |               |
           |                |                |               |
           +---Evidence--------------------->|               |
           |   {I,time(EG_a)-time(VG_a)}     |               |
           |                |                |               |
           |                |           time(RG_v)           |
           |                |                |               |
           |<--Attestation Result------------+               |
           |   {I,time(RX_v)-time(RG_v)}     |               |
           |                |                |               |
        time(IR'_a) <----I'-o--I' ----> time(IR'_v) --> time(IR'_r)
           |                                 |               |
           +---[Attestation Result--------------------> time(RA_r)
           |   {I,time(RX_v)-time(RG_v)},I'] |               |
           |                                 |               |
           ~                                 ~               ~
           |                                 |               |
           |                                 |          time(OP_r)

                  Figure 12: Epoch ID-Based Passport Model

A.4.  Example 4: Timestamp-Based Background-Check Model

   Figure 13 illustrates a hypothetical Background-Check Model solution
   that uses timestamps and requires roughly synchronized clocks between
   the Attester, Verifier, and Relying Party.  The Attester conveys
   Evidence to the Relying Party, which treats it as opaque and simply
   forwards it on to the Verifier.

  .----------.         .---------------.                    .----------.
  | Attester |         | Relying Party |                    | Verifier |
  '-------+--'         '-------+-------'                    '----+-----'
          |                    |                                 |
    time(VG_a)                 |                                 |
          |                    |                                 |
          ~                    ~                                 ~
          |                    |                                 |
    time(EG_a)                 |                                 |
          |                    |                                 |
          +----Evidence------->|                                 |
          |   {time(EG_a)}     |                                 |
          |               time(ER_r) ---Evidence{time(EG_a)}---->|
          |                    |                                 |
          |                    |                            time(RG_v)
          |                    |                                 |
          |               time(RA_r) <---Attestation Result------+
          |                    |           {time(RX_v)}          |
          ~                    ~                                 ~
          |                    |                                 |
          |                 time(OP_r)                           |

            Figure 13: Timestamp-Based Background-Check Model

   The time considerations in this example are equivalent to those
   discussed under Example 1.

A.5.  Example 5: Nonce-Based Background-Check Model

   Figure 14 illustrates a hypothetical Background-Check Model solution
   that uses nonces; thus, it does not require that any clocks be
   synchronized.  In this example solution, a nonce is generated by a
   Verifier at the request of a Relying Party when the Relying Party
   needs to send one to an Attester.

   .----------.         .---------------.                .----------.
   | Attester |         | Relying Party |                | Verifier |
   '----+-----'         '-------+-------'                '----+-----'
        |                       |                             |
     time(VG_a)                 |                             |
        |                       |                             |
        ~                       ~                             ~
        |                       |                             |
        |                       |<-------Nonce-----------time(NS_v)
        |                       |                             |
        |<---Nonce-----------time(NR_r)                       |
        |                       |                             |
     time(EG_a)                 |                             |
        |                       |                             |
        +----Evidence{Nonce}--->|                             |
        |                       |                             |
        |                    time(ER_r) ---Evidence{Nonce}--->|
        |                       |                             |
        |                       |                          time(RG_v)
        |                       |                             |
        |                  time(RA_r) <---Attestation Result--+
        |                       |    {time(RX_v)-time(RG_v)}  |
        ~                       ~                             ~
        |                       |                             |
        |                    time(OP_r)                       |

               Figure 14: Nonce-Based Background-Check Model

   The Verifier can check whether the Evidence is fresh and a Claim
   value is recent, which is the same as Example 2.

   However, unlike in Example 2, the Relying Party can use the Nonce to
   determine whether the Attestation Result is fresh by verifying that
   time(OP_r)-time(NR_r) < Threshold.

   However, the Relying Party must still be careful not to allow
   continued use beyond the period for which it deems the Attestation
   Result to remain valid.  Thus, if the Attestation Result sends a
   validity lifetime in terms of time(RX_v)-time(RG_v), then the Relying
   Party can check time(OP_r)-time(ER_r) < time(RX_v)-time(RG_v).


   The authors would like to thank the following people for their input:

   Joerg Borchert, Carsten Bormann, Nancy Cam-Winget, Guy Fedorkow,
   Jessica Fitzgerald-McKay, Thomas Fossati, Simon Frost, Andrew Guinn,
   Thomas Hardjano, Eliot Lear, Diego Lopez, Peter Loscocco, Laurence
   Lundblade, Giri Mandyam, Daniel Migault, Kathleen Moriarty, Paul
   Rowe, Hannes Tschofenig, Eric Voit, Monty Wiseman, David Wooten, and
   Liang Xia.


   Thomas Hardjono created initial versions of the terminology section
   in collaboration with Ned Smith.  Eric Voit provided the conceptual
   separation between Attestation Provision Flows and Attestation
   Evidence Flows.  Monty Wisemen was a key author of a document that
   was merged to create this document.  Carsten Bormann provided many of
   the motivational building blocks with respect to the Internet Threat

   Peter Loscocco contributed critical review feedback as part of the
   weekly design team meetings that added precision and depth to several

Authors' Addresses

   Henk Birkholz
   Fraunhofer SIT
   Rheinstrasse 75
   64295 Darmstadt

   Dave Thaler
   United States of America

   Michael Richardson
   Sandelman Software Works

   Ned Smith
   Intel Corporation
   United States of America

   Wei Pan
   Huawei Technologies