[Security] TLS Certificates Verification

Eric Rescorla ekr at rtfm.com
Tue Aug 19 07:13:10 CDT 2008

On Tue, Aug 19, 2008 at 1:13 AM, Jonathan Schleifer
<js-xmpp-security at webkeks.org> wrote:
> Am 18.08.2008 um 23:34 schrieb Eric Rescorla:
>> (2) What protocol it's embodied in.
> Well, what I don't understand: We already have ESessions

Yes, I've noticed we're all using that.

>. Why do we need
> another protocol now?

I'm not saying that one does. I'm saying that it's traditional in systems
design to actually do requirements before one jumps to a solution.

> ESessions offers nearly everything you can think of.
> It offers public keys, but you can also use secrets instead of
> public/private keys.

Hmm... Is this the most recent version?

I've just skimmed it, but the list of things it appears to be missing that
are already in TLS includes:

- Support for ECC
- Support for RSA
- Any form of session resumption
- An extensions framework
- Support for AEAD ciphers
- A PAKE mode.

Oh, yeah, is there some writeup of how the stanzas are actually protected once
you've established the keys? I see how you negotiate the *encryption* algorithm
but not the integrity algorithm and I don't see how you use either to protect
the actual traffic. Maybe I'm just reading the wrong document.

> IMO, it offers all we need. All that's missing is a cryptanalysis for it.

That's not exactly trivial. 13 years after SSLv3 was designed
we're *still* tuning TLS. Now, if you want, you can say that ESessions is
perfect out of the box, but given that no COMSEC protocol I've ever
seen has had that property, I find that extraordinarily implausible.

Look, I'm not trying to sell TLS to XMPP; it doesn't matter to me much
what XMPP does. But if you want to provide a solution that users will
actually find tolerable, it seems to me that it would be good to actually
assess what functionality you want the system to provide and *then*
ask how it can best be provided, rather than starting with a given
protocol and say "prove to me it's not good enough".


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