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Using TLS in Applications (uta)

WG Name Using TLS in Applications
Acronym uta
Area Security Area (sec)
State Active
Charter charter-ietf-uta-01 Approved
Document dependencies
Additional resources Issue tracker
Issue tracker for MTA-STS drafts
Zulip Stream
Personnel Chairs Alan DeKok, Valery Smyslov
Area Director Paul Wouters
Mailing list Address
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Chat Room address

Charter for Working Group

There is a renewed and urgent interest in the IETF to increase the security of transmissions over the Internet. Many application protocols have defined methods for using TLS to authenticate the server (and sometimes the client), and to encrypt the connection between the client and server. However, there is a diversity of definitions and requirements, and that diversity has caused confusion for application developers and also has led to lack of interoperability or lack of deployment. Implementers and deployers are faced with multiple security issues in real-world usage of TLS, which currently does not preclude insecure ciphers and modes of operation.

This WG has the following tasks:

  • Update the definitions for using TLS over a set of representative application protocols. This includes communication with proxies, between servers, and between peers, where appropriate, in addition to client/server communication.

  • Specify a set of best practices for TLS clients and servers, including but not limited to recommended versions of TLS, using forward secrecy, and one or more ciphersuites and extensions that are mandatory to implement.

  • Consider, and possibly define, a standard way for an application client and server to use unauthenticated encryption through TLS when server and/or client authentication cannot be achieved.

  • Create a document that helps application protocol developers use TLS in future application definitions.

The initial set of representative application protocols is SMTP, POP, IMAP, XMPP, and HTTP 1.1. It is expected that other protocols that use TLS might later be updated using the guidelines from this WG, and that those updates will happen through other WGs or through individual submissions.

The WG will make the fewest changes needed to achieve good interoperable security for the applications using TLS. No changes to TLS itself will be made in this WG, and the WG will ensure that changes to current versions of popular TLS libaries will not be required to conform to the WG's specifications.

This WG will collaborate with other IETF WGs, in particular with the TLS and DANE WGs.


Date Milestone Associated documents
Mar 2024 TLS/DTLS 1.3 Profiles for IoT to IETF LC draft-ietf-uta-tls13-iot-profile

Done milestones

Date Milestone Associated documents
Done Updates to the Cipher Suites in Secure Syslog to IETF LC draft-ietf-uta-ciphersuites-in-sec-syslog
Done Representation and Verification of Domain-Based Application Service Identity within Internet PKI Using X.509 Certificates in the Context of TLS (rfc6125-bis) to IETF LC draft-ietf-uta-rfc6125bis
Done Recommendations for Secure Use of TLS and DTLS (rfc7525-bis) to IETF LC draft-ietf-uta-rfc7525bis
Done Use of TLS for Email Submission and Access to IETF LC