W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > ietf-tls@w3.org > April to June 1996

Re: Missing requirements

From: Bennet Yee <bsy@cs.ucsd.edu>
Date: Fri, 24 May 1996 10:30:48 -0700
Message-Id: <199605241730.KAA21157@work.ucsd.edu>
To: dpkemp@missi.ncsc.mil (David P. Kemp)
Cc: ietf-tls@w3.org

Hi David,

In message <199605241607.MAA07892@argon.ncsc.mil>, David P. Kemp writes:
> 
> I believe that one of the requirements of the TLS working group should
> be to specify a Record-Layer protocol that defines the on-the-wire data,
> along with an (extremely simple) API to allow session keys to be fed
> into the implementation of the protocol, whether the implementation
> resides in user space (the browser) or kernel space (the network stack).

This would be a very good goal.  We do have to be careful about
providing mechanisms for not just specifying the bulk encryption /
hash functions and injecting the corresponding encryption and MAC
keys, but also have a mechanism for the record layer to call-back or
otherwise notify the key-exchange/management layer.

One of the problems in SSLv2 was that sequence numbers wrapped around,
providing the attacker (for long-lived, high volume connections) the
opportunity to replay messages and have them MAC okay.  To avoid this,
there needs to be a mechanism for the record layer to tell the key
management layer that the keys need to be refreshened.  And while
there's no public cryptanalysis of RC4 (the only cipher used in
practice for https:) that tells us the maximum stream length that we
should use prior to changing keys yet (unicity distance, etc), a
mechanism should exist to allow the record layer -- which has the
information about how long has the cipher been used as well as the
number of records sent -- to likewise signal to the key management
layer that a new key should be used.

This necessarily implies that a synchronization record must exist to
separate the data records that were encrypted using an old key and
those encrypted using the new, or that a key-ID be incorporated in the
header.  Unless, of course, we want to incorporate extra redundency in
the encrypted portion so trial decryptions can tell which key was
used, which would not be good practice.

> A completely independent requirement should be to define the handshake
> protocol by which the session keys are established.  That is where all
> the session/connection state is maintained, where the debate over
> CipherSuite bundling will occur, where implementations will have to
> do certificate passing, parsing, validation, and caching, etc.
> These are the hard problems, and it makes sense to divorce them from
> the easy problem of defining a record layer.

Agreed.  And if we simply include a few fields in the records such as
a variable sized cipher-specific data (new stream keys [encrypted] /
key ID and new IV), then we can make it UDP-capable and make Charles
and other folks happy.  Datagram support was, I believe, one of the
goals of PCTv2 and STLP (see STLPCiphertext's key_info member).  We do
have to think hard about what to do w/ datagrams that are delayed --
with stream ciphers and a new stream key per message, every datagram
implicitly incorporates a change-key operation; with block ciphers (in
CBC mode), all that needs to change on a per-datagram basis is the IV,
so a refresh-key operation makes sense.  For block ciphers, then, the
datagram header should have either a new key and IV, or a key ID (use
existing key) and new IV -- and we have to worry about datagrams that
are delayed so they arrive after the encryption keys have been
updated.  Do we discard them, or do we decrypt them and pass them on
to the application?  Since UDP allows datagram duplication, loss, and
reorderings anyway, I'd say to drop 'em.

-bsy

--------
Bennet S. Yee		Phone: +1 619 534 4614	    Email: bsy@cs.ucsd.edu

Web:	http://www-cse.ucsd.edu/users/bsy/
USPS:	Dept of Comp Sci and Eng, 0114, UC San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0114
Received on Friday, 24 May 1996 13:31:00 EDT

This archive was generated by hypermail pre-2.1.9 : Wednesday, 24 September 2003 06:34:49 EDT