W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webcrypto@w3.org > October 2013

the reason why we need Web Certificate API

From: Mountie Lee <mountie@paygate.net>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2013 21:14:42 +0900
Message-ID: <CAE-+aYJrhE6k0JxkSAbAicn2rfeok1E_8yy=03LdaUJcYYwzqQ@mail.gmail.com>
To: Web Cryptography Working Group <public-webcrypto@w3.org>
Hi. Folks.

I have discussed with sangrae for problem statement.
before updating Wiki page, I want to share the reason via email first.

let me inform that why we need Web Certificate API.

at the charter, certificate related requirements are described.
to approach certificate relates issues, we need certificate itself.

at least, we have two technical standards for certificate management.

PKCS#10 and CMP

keygen is based on PKCS#10.
we have no API with CMP

followings are the details why we need CMP based certificate management API.

1. CMP has full key lifecycle control
PKCS#10 is just for certificate issuance.
CMP protocol has certificate issue/renew/revocation/suspend these are the
full lifecycle of certificate.

2. ASN.1
ASN.1 is widely used format specially required for CMP.
current browser does not expose ASN.1 functions to api level

3. different security control

3.1 CMP has POP(Proof of Possession) support.

CMP use reference and authentication code which is generated from CA(or RA)
reference and authentication code can be generated by strong face-to-face
identity verification.
but PKCS#10 has none.
CSR from PKCS#10 is signed by private key of user browser.
but self-signed signature does not provide POP(Proof of Possession) for
certificate issuance.
the CSR need additional protection mechanism to prevent MITM attack.

3.2 CMP provide application level protection.

Certificate Issuing request of CMP is encrypted with CA's public key and
transmitted over normal HTTP or TLS session.
TLS itself is just protecting transport layer of OSI 7 layers.
if the data is transmitted over multiple nodes, TLS is not enough.
the public key encryption used in CMP is applicable on the application
layer (the top level of osi 7 layers between browser sandbox and server
memory of application server)

4. backward compatibility
because of above technical/security reasons, many countries (at least,
Korea) adopted CMP as their default certificate management system.
and those public key infrastructure is escalated to regulational level.
if browser support CMP, it will give backward compatibility with existing

5. Plugin Replacement
because of above reasons,
plugins (activeX, java applet and so on) are widely used for certificate
management in many countries.
the native support for CMP will help kicking off plugins.

6. Certificate is useful.
the certificate and it's related infrastructures are used for
non-repudiation service, verifying identity or many other usages.
it is also mentioned at charter of our working group.
the API for certificate issuance will be the base for discussion of some
part of high level api.
it will also touch keyStorage security issue.


we have too much reasons why certificate is necessary.
PKCS#10 based keygen itself is useful.
but it has some missing parts.

that is the reason why we need Web Certificate API.


Mountie Lee

Tel : +82 2 2140 2700
E-Mail : mountie@paygate.net

PayGate Inc.
for Korea, Japan, China, and the World
Received on Thursday, 31 October 2013 12:15:25 UTC

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