W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webcrypto@w3.org > July 2012

RE: Strawman proposal for the low-level API

From: Lu HongQian Karen <karen.lu@gemalto.com>
Date: Mon, 2 Jul 2012 21:01:39 +0200
To: Ryan Sleevi <sleevi@google.com>, "public-webcrypto@w3.org" <public-webcrypto@w3.org>
Message-ID: <1126F161F6F1B24FABD92B850CAFBD6E0171D1E2519C@CROEXCFWP04.gemalto.com>
Hi Ryan,

Sorry for the late response. Thanks for putting things together. Here are my few cents.

1.  The low level API needs to include key handling functions, e.g. create keypair, create symm key, derive key, etc.

2.  The functions on the crypto object creates operators for respective crypto operations, called cryptostream's. The concept is fine, but naming convention is confusing.

a.  For example, I would expect encrypt() to encrypt something instead of creating an encryptor; May be simply change it to createEncryptor()

b.  CryptoStream is also confusing because commonly used ciphers, such as AES, are block ciphers instead of stream ciphers. May be change it to CryptoOperator?

3.  For signing, should have the option to separate hash from private key encryption.

a.  Optionally have continue hashing giving previous result

4.  For algorithms, may be add start() to initiate the algorithm? The start initialized the algorithm. It also allows the caller to cancel the processData and restart again with the same context.


From: Ryan Sleevi [mailto:sleevi@google.com]
Sent: Monday, June 18, 2012 12:53 PM
To: public-webcrypto@w3.org
Subject: Strawman proposal for the low-level API

Hi all,

   While I'm still in the process of learning WebIDL [1] and the W3C Manual of Style [2], I wanted to take a quick shot at drafting a strawman low-level API for discussion. We've discussed quite a bit about key management [3] and key discovery [4], not to mention early discussions about algorithm discovery [5], but I think it might be good to move to the point where we can talk a bit about how these might be all put together.

First, a bit of the IDL definition, to set the stage. This is also using using ArrayBuffer from TypedArray [6], which I'm not sure if it's altogether appropriate, but it's been incorporated by reference into FileAPI [7], so it seems alright to use here.

interface CryptoStream : EventTarget {
  void processData(ArrayBuffer buffer);
  void processData(DOMString data);
  void complete();

  readonly attribute (DOMString or ArrayBuffer)? result;

  attribute [TreatNonCallableAsNull] Function? onerror;
  attribute [TreatNonCallableAsNull] Function? onprogress;
  attribute [TreatNonCallableAsNull] Function? oncomplete;

dictionary AlgorithmParams {

dictionary Algorithm {
  DOMString name;
  AlgorithmParams? params;

interface Crypto {
  CryptoStream encrypt(Algorithm algorithm, Key key);
  CryptoStream decrypt(Algorithm algorithm, Key key);

  // Also handles MACs
  CryptoStream sign(Algorithm algorithm, Key key);
  CryptoStream verify(Algorithm algorithm, Key key, ArrayBuffer signature);

  CryptoStream digest(Algorithm algorithm);

  // This interface TBD. See discussion below.
  bool supports(Algorithm algorithm, optional Key key);

  // Interfaces for key derivation/generation TBD.

As you can see, CryptoStream is used for all of the actual crypto operations. That's because, in looking at the operations, I think all of them will work on a series of calls to provide input, and the result of which is either: error, some data output, or operation complete.

The real challenge, I think, lies in the AlgorithmParams structure, which is where all of the algorithm-specific magic happens. My belief is that we can/should be able to define this API independent of any specific AlgorithmParams - that is, we can define the generic state machine, error handling, discovery. Then, as a supplemental work (still within the scope of the primary goal), we define and enumerate how exactly specific algorithms are implemented within this state machine.

To show how different AlgorithmParams might be implemented, here's some varies definitions:

// For the 'RSA-PSS' algorithm.
dictionary RsaPssParams : AlgorithmParams {
  // The hashing function to apply to the message (eg: SHA1).
  AlgorithmParams hash;
  // The mask generation function (eg: MGF1-SHA1)
   AlgorithmParams mgf;
  // The desired length of the random salt.
  unsigned long saltLength;

// For the 'RSA-OAEP' algorithm.
dictionary RsaOaepParams : AlgorithmParams {
  // The hash function to apply to the message (eg: SHA1).
   AlgorithmParams hash;
  // The mask generation function (eg: MGF1-SHA1).
   AlgorithmParams mgf;
  // The optional label/application data to associate with the signature.
  DOMString? label = null;

// For the 'AES-GCM' algorithm.
dictionary AesGcmParams : AlgorithmParams {
  ArrayBufferView? iv;
  ArrayBufferView? additional;
  unsigned long tagLength;

// For the 'AES-CCM' algorithm.
dictionary AesCcmParams : AlgorithmParams {
  ArrayBufferView? nonce;
  ArrayBufferView? additional;
  unsigned long macLength;

// For the 'HMAC' algorithm.
dictionary HmacParams : AlgorithmParams {
  // The hash function to use (eg: SHA1).
  AlgorithmParams hash;

The API behaviour is this:
- If encrypt/decrypt/sign/verify/digest is called with an unsupported algorithm, throw InvalidAlgorithmError.
- If " is called with an invalid key, throw InvalidKeyError.
- If " is called with an invalid key/algorithm combination, throw UnsupportedAlgorithmError.
- Otherwise, return a CryptoStream.

For encrypt/decrypt
- The caller calls processData() as data is available.
- If the data can be en/decrypted, it will raise an onprogress event (event type TBD).
  - If new (plaintext, ciphertext) data is available, .result will be updated. [This is similar to the FileStream API behaviour]
- If the data cannot be en/decrypted, raise the onerror with an appropriate error
- The caller calls .complete() once all data has been processed.
  - If the final block validates (eg: no padding errors), call onprocess then oncomplete.
  - If the final block does not validate, call onerror with an appropriate error.

For authenticated encryption modes, for example, the .result may not contain any data until .complete has been called (with the result data).

For sign/verify, it behaves similarly.
- The caller calls processData() as data is available.
- [No onprogress is called/needs to be called?]
- The caller calls .complete() once all data has been processed
- For sign, once .complete() is called, the signature is generated, and either onprogress+oncomplete or onerror is called. If successful, the resultant signature is in .result.
- For verify, once .complete() is called, the signature is compared, and either onprogress+oncomplete or onerror is called. If the signatures successfully matched, .result will contain the input signature (eg: the constant-time comparison happens within the library). If the signatures don't match, .result will be null and the error handler will have been called.

Finally, for digesting, it behaves like .sign/.verify in that no data is available until .complete() is called, and once .compete() is called, the resultant digest is in .result.

What I haven't fully worked out is how key derivation/agreement will work - particularly if the result of some result of key agreement results in multiple keys (eg: how SSL/TLS key derivation works in PKCS#11). This is somewhat dependent on how we treat keys.

Note that I left the Key type unspecified. It's not clear if this will be something like (Key or DOMString), indicating some either/or of handle / id, if it might be a dictionary type (with different naming specifiers, such as 'id' or 'uuid'), or if it will be a concrete type obtained via some other call (eg: .queryKeys()). I think that will be borne out over the next week or two as we continue to discuss key management/lifecycle.

For a pseudo-code example:

var stream = window.crypto.sign({ name: 'RSA-PSS', params: { hash: { name: 'sha1' }, mgf: { name: 'mgf-sha1' }, saltLength: 32 }}, key);
stream.oncomplete = function(evt) { window.alert('The signature is ' + e.target.result); };
stream.onerror = function(evt) { window.alert('Signing caused an error: ' + e.error); };

var filereader = FileReader();
reader.onload = function(evt) { stream.processData(evt.target.result); stream.complete(); }

The FileAPI is probably not the best example of why the iterative API (.processData() + .complete()) is used, since FileReader has the FileReader.result containing all of the processed data, but it's similar than demonstrating a streaming operation that may be using WebSockets [8] or PeerConnection [9].

Note that I think during the process of algorithm specification, we can probably get away with also defining well-known shorthand. eg: 'RSA-PSS-SHA256' would mean that the hash is SHA-256, the mgf is MGF1-SHA256, and only the saltLength needs to be specified (or should it be implied?)

Anyways, hopefully this straw-man is able to spark some discussion, and hopefully if it's not fatally flawed, I'll be able to finish adopting it to the W3C template for proper and ongoing discussions.


[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/WebIDL
[2] http://www.w3.org/2001/06/manual/
[3] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-webcrypto/2012Jun/0050.html
[4] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-webcrypto/2012Jun/0007.html
[5] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-webcrypto/2012May/0070.html
[6] http://www.khronos.org/registry/typedarray/specs/latest/
[7] http://www.w3.org/TR/FileAPI/
[8] http://www.w3.org/TR/2009/WD-websockets-20091222/
[9] http://dev.w3.org/2011/webrtc/editor/webrtc.html
Received on Monday, 2 July 2012 19:02:10 UTC

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