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DKIM                                                     D. Crocker, Ed.
Internet-Draft                               Brandenburg InternetWorking
Updates: RFC4871                                           June 26, 2009
(if approved)
Intended status: Standards Track
Expires: December 28, 2009


    RFC 4871 DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) Signatures -- Update
                   draft-ietf-dkim-rfc4871-errata-07

Status of this Memo

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Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2009 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.



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   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents in effect on the date of
   publication of this document (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info).
   Please review these documents carefully, as they describe your rights
   and restrictions with respect to this document.

Abstract

   This updates RFC 4871, DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) Signatures.
   Specifically the document clarifies the nature, roles and
   relationship of the two DKIM identifier tag values that are
   candidates for payload delivery to a receiving processing module.
   The Update is in the style of an Errata entry, albeit a rather long
   one.


Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3
   2.  RFC 4871 Abstract  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
   3.  RFC4871 Section 1  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
   4.  RFC4871 Section 2.7  Identity  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
   5.  RFC4871 Section 2.8  Identifier  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  5
   6.  RFC4871 Section 2.9  Signing Domain Identifier (SDID)  . . . .  5
   7.  RFC4871 Section 2.10  Agent or User Identifier (AUID)  . . . .  6
   8.  RFC4871 Section 2.11  Identity Assessor  . . . . . . . . . . .  6
   9.  RFC4871 Section 3.5  The DKIM-Signature Header Field . . . . .  7
   10. RFC4871 Section 3.5  The DKIM-Signature Header Field . . . . .  8
   11. RFC4871 Section 3.8  Signing by Parent Domains . . . . . . . . 10
   12. RFC4871 Section 3.9  Relationship Between SDID and AUID  . . . 10
   13. RFC4871 Section 6.3  Interpret Results/Apply Local Policy  . . 11
   14. RFC4871 Section 6.3  Interpret Results/Apply Local Policy  . . 12
   15. RFC4871 Appendix D.  MUA Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . 12
   16. Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
   17. IANA Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
   18. Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
   Appendix A.  Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
   Author's Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13













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1.  Introduction

   About the purpose for DKIM, [RFC4871] states:

      The ultimate goal of this framework is to permit a signing domain
      to assert responsibility for a message, thus protecting message
      signer identity...

   Hence, DKIM has a signer that produces a signed message, a verifier
   that confirms the signature and an assessor that consumes the
   validated signing domain.  So the simple purpose of DKIM is to
   communicate an identifier to a receive-side assessor module.  The
   identifier is in the form of a domain name that refers to a
   responsible identity.  For DKIM to be interoperable and useful,
   signer and assessor must share the same understanding of the details
   about the identifier.

   However the RFC4871 specification defines two, potentially different
   identifiers that are carried in the DKIM-Signature: header field, d=
   and i=.  Either might be delivered to a receiving processing module
   that consumes validated payload.  The DKIM specification fails to
   clearly define which is the "payload" to be delivered to a consuming
   module, versus what is internal and merely in support of achieving
   payload delivery.

   This currently leaves signers and assessors with the potential for
   making different interpretations between the two identifiers and may
   lead to interoperability problems.  A signer could intend one to be
   used for assessment, and have a different intent in setting the value
   in the other.  However the verifier might choose the wrong value to
   deliver to the assessor, thereby producing an unintended (and
   inaccurate) assessment.

   This update resolves that confusion.  It defines additional, semantic
   labels for the two values, clarifies their nature and specifies their
   relationship.  More specifically, it clarifies that the identifier
   intended for delivery to the assessor -- such as one that consults a
   white list -- is the value of the "d=" tag.  However, this does not
   prohibit message filtering engines from using the "i=" tag, or any
   other information in the message's header, for filtering decisions.

   For signers and verifiers that have been using the i= tag as the
   primary value that is delivered to the assessor, a software change to
   using the d= tag is intended.

   So, this Update clarifies the formal interface to DKIM, after
   signature verification has been performed.  It distinguishes DKIM's
   internal signing and verification activity, from its standardized



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   delivery of data to that interface.

   The focus of the Update is on the portion of DKIM that is much like
   an API definition.  If DKIM is implemented as a software library for
   use by others, it needs to define what outputs are provided, that is,
   what data that an application developer who uses the library can
   expect to obtain as a result of invoking DKIM on a message.

   This Update draft defines the output of that library to include the
   yes/no result of the verification and the "d=" value.  In other
   words, it says what (one) identifier was formally specified for use
   by the signer and whether the use of that identifier has been
   validated.  For a particular library, other information can be
   provided at the discretion of the library developer, since developers
   of assessors -- these are the consumers of the DKIM library -- well
   might want more information than the standardized two pieces of
   information.  However that standardized set is the minimum that is
   required to be provided to a consuming module, in order to be able to
   claim that the library is DKIM compliant.

   This does not state what the implicit value of "i=" is, relative to
   "d=".  In this context, that fact is irrelevant.

   Another example is the difference between the socket interface to TCP
   versus the TCP protocol itself.  There is the activity within the
   protocol stack, and then there is the activity within in the software
   libraries that are actually used.

   NOTE:   The text provided here updates [RFC4871].  All references and
      all appearances of RFC-2119 keywords are replacing text in RFC
      4871.  Hence those references are in that document and are not
      needed here.

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this
   document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119]


2.  RFC 4871 Abstract

   Original Text:

      The ultimate goal of this framework is to permit a signing domain
      to assert responsibility for a message,







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   Corrected Text:

      The ultimate goal of this framework is to permit a person, role or
      organization that owns the signing domain to assert responsibility
      for a message,


3.  RFC4871 Section 1  Introduction

   Original Text:

      ...permitting a signing domain to claim responsibility

   Corrected Text:

      permitting a person, role or organization that owns the signing
      domain to claim responsibility


4.  RFC4871 Section 2.7  Identity

   Original Text:

      (None.  New section.  Additional text.)

   Corrected Text:

      A person, role or organization.  In the context of DKIM, examples
      include author, author's organization, an ISP along the handling
      path, an independent trust assessment service, and a mailing list
      operator.


5.  RFC4871 Section 2.8  Identifier

   Original Text:

      (None.  New section.  Additional text.)

   Corrected Text:

      A label that refers to an identity.


6.  RFC4871 Section 2.9  Signing Domain Identifier (SDID)






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   Original Text:

      (None.  New section.  Additional text.)

   Corrected Text:

      A single domain name that is the mandatory payload output of DKIM
      and that refers to the identity claiming responsibility for
      introduction of a message into the mail stream.  For DKIM
      processing, the name has only basic domain name semantics; any
      possible owner-specific semantics are outside the scope of DKIM.
      It is specified in section 3.5.


7.  RFC4871 Section 2.10  Agent or User Identifier (AUID)

   Original Text:

      (None.  New section.  Additional text.)

   Corrected Text:

      A single identifier that refers to the agent or user on behalf of
      whom the SDID has taken responsibility.  The AUID comprises a
      domain name and an optional <Local-part>.  The domain name is the
      same as that used for the SDID or is a sub-domain of it.  For DKIM
      processing, the domain name portion of the AUID has only basic
      domain name semantics; any possible owner-specific semantics are
      outside the scope of DKIM.  It is specified in section 3.5.


8.  RFC4871 Section 2.11  Identity Assessor

   Original Text:

      (None.  New section.  Additional text.)

   Corrected Text:

      A module that consumes DKIM's mandatory payload, which is the
      responsible Signing Domain Identifier (SDID).  The module is
      dedicated to the assessment of the delivered identifier.  Other
      DKIM (and non-DKIM) values can also be delivered to this module as
      well as to a more general message evaluation filtering engine.
      However, this additional activity is outside the scope of the DKIM
      signature specification.





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9.  RFC4871 Section 3.5  The DKIM-Signature Header Field

   Original Text:


   d=  The domain of the signing entity (plain-text; REQUIRED).  This is
       the domain that will be queried for the public key.  This domain
       MUST be the same as or a parent domain of the "i=" tag (the
       signing identity, as described below), or it MUST meet the
       requirements for parent domain signing described in Section 3.8.
       When presented with a signature that does not meet these
       requirement, verifiers MUST consider the signature invalid.

       Internationalized domain names MUST be encoded as described in
       [RFC3490].

       ABNF:

          sig-d-tag       = %x64 [FWS] "=" [FWS] domain-name
          domain-name     = sub-domain 1*("." sub-domain)
                   ; from RFC 2821 Domain,
                     but excluding address-literal

   Corrected Text:

      d=

         Specifies the SDID claiming responsibility for an introduction
         of a message into the mail stream (plain-text; REQUIRED).
         Hence the SDID value is used to form the query for the public
         key.  The SDID MUST correspond to a valid DNS name under which
         the DKIM key record is published.  The conventions and
         semantics used by a signer to create and use a specific SDID
         are outside the scope of the DKIM Signing specification, as is
         any use of those conventions and semantics.  When presented
         with a signature that does not meet these requirements,
         verifiers MUST consider the signature invalid.

         Internationalized domain names MUST be encoded as described in
         [RFC3490].

         ABNF:

            sig-d-tag   = %x64 [FWS] "=" [FWS] domain-name
            domain-name = sub-domain 1*("." sub-domain)
                          ; from RFC 5321 Domain,
                            but excluding address-literal




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10.  RFC4871 Section 3.5  The DKIM-Signature Header Field

   Original Text:


   i=  Identity of the user or agent (e.g., a mailing list manager) on
       behalf of which this message is signed (dkim-quoted-printable;
       OPTIONAL, default is an empty Local-part followed by an "@"
       followed by the domain from the "d=" tag).  The syntax is a
       standard email address where the Local-part MAY be omitted.  The
       domain part of the address MUST be the same as or a subdomain of
       the value of the "d=" tag.

       Internationalized domain names MUST be converted using the steps
       listed in Section 4 of [RFC3490] using the "ToASCII" function.

       ABNF:

          sig-i-tag =  %x69 [FWS] "=" [FWS]
                       [ Local-part ] "@" domain-name

       INFORMATIVE NOTE: The Local-part of the "i=" tag is optional
       because in some cases a signer may not be able to establish a
       verified individual identity.  In such cases, the signer may
       wish to assert that although it is willing to go as far as
       signing for the domain, it is unable or unwilling to commit
       to an individual user name within their domain.  It can do so
       by including the domain part but not the Local-part of the
       identity.

       INFORMATIVE DISCUSSION: This document does not require the value
       of the "i=" tag to match the identity in any message header
       fields.  This is considered to be a verifier policy issue.
       Constraints between the value of the "i=" tag and other
       identities in other header fields seek to apply basic
       authentication into the semantics of trust associated with a
       role such as content author.  Trust is a broad and complex
       topic and trust mechanisms are subject to highly creative
       attacks.  The real-world efficacy of
       bindings between the "i=" value and other identities is not
       well established, nor is its vulnerability to subversion by
       an attacker.  Hence reliance on the use of these options
       should be strictly limited.  In particular, it is not at all
       clear to what extent a typical end-user recipient can rely on
       any assurances that might be made by successful use of the
       "i=" options.

   Corrected Text:



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      i=

         The Agent or User Identifier (AUID) on behalf of which the SDID
         is taking responsibility (dkim-quoted-printable; OPTIONAL,
         default is an empty Local-part followed by an "@" followed by
         the domain from the "d=" tag).

         The syntax is a standard email address where the Local-part MAY
         be omitted.  The domain part of the address MUST be the same
         as, or a subdomain of the value of, the "d=" tag.

         Internationalized domain names MUST be converted using the
         steps listed in Section 4 of [RFC3490] using the "ToASCII"
         function.

         ABNF:

            sig-i-tag =  %x69 [FWS] "=" [FWS]
                         [ Local-part ] "@" domain-name

         The AUID is specified as having the same syntax as an email
         address, but is not required to have the same semantics.
         Notably, the domain name is not required to be registered in
         the DNS -- so it might not resolve in a query -- and the Local-
         part MAY be drawn from a namespace that does not contain the
         user's mailbox.  The details of the structure and semantics for
         the namespace are determined by the Signer.  Any knowledge or
         use of those details by verifiers or assessors is outside the
         scope of the DKIM Signing specification.  The Signer MAY choose
         to use the same namespace for its AUIDs as its users' email
         addresses, or MAY choose other means of representing its users.
         However, the signer SHOULD use the same AUID for each message
         intended to be evaluated as being within the same sphere of
         responsibility, if it wishes to offer receivers the option of
         using the AUID as a stable identifier that is finer grained
         than the SDID.

         INFORMATIVE NOTE: The Local-part of the "i=" tag is optional
         because in some cases a signer may not be able to establish a
         verified individual identity.  In such cases, the signer might
         wish to assert that although it is willing to go as far as
         signing for the domain, it is unable or unwilling to commit to
         an individual user name within their domain.  It can do so by
         including the domain part but not the Local-part of the
         identity.






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11.  RFC4871 Section 3.8  Signing by Parent Domains

   Original Text:


     e.g., a key record for the domain example.com can be used to verify
   messages where the signing identity ("i=" tag of the signature) is
   sub.example.com, or even sub1.sub2.example.com.  In order to limit
   the capability of such keys when this is not intended, the "s" flag
   may be set in the "t=" tag of the key record to constrain the
   validity of the record to exactly the domain of the signing identity.
   If the referenced key record contains the "s" flag as part of the
   "t=" tag, the domain of the signing identity ("i=" flag) MUST be the
   same as that of the d= domain.  If this flag is absent, the domain of
   the signing identity MUST be the same as, or a subdomain of, the d=
   domain.

   Corrected Text:

      ...for example, a key record for the domain example.com can be
      used to verify messages where the AUID ("i=" tag of the signature)
      is sub.example.com, or even sub1.sub2.example.com.  In order to
      limit the capability of such keys when this is not intended, the
      "s" flag MAY be set in the "t=" tag of the key record, to
      constrain the validity of the domain of the AUID.  If the
      referenced key record contains the "s" flag as part of the "t="
      tag, the domain of the AUID ("i=" flag) MUST be the same as that
      of the SDID (d=) domain.  If this flag is absent, the domain of
      the AUID MUST be the same as, or a subdomain of, the SDID.


12.  RFC4871 Section 3.9  Relationship Between SDID and AUID

   Original Text:   (None.  New section.  Additional text.)

   Corrected Text:

      DKIM's primary task is to communicate from the Signer to a
      recipient-side Identity Assessor a single Signing Domain
      Identifier (SDID) that refers to a responsible identity.  DKIM MAY
      optionally provide a single responsible Agent or User Identifier
      (AUID).

      Hence, DKIM's mandatory output to a receive-side Identity Assessor
      is a single domain name.  Within the scope of its use as DKIM
      output, the name has only basic domain name semantics; any
      possible owner-specific semantics are outside the scope of DKIM.
      That is, within its role as a DKIM identifier, additional



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      semantics cannot be assumed by an Identity Assessor.

      A receive-side DKIM verifier MUST communicate the Signing Domain
      Identifier (d=) to a consuming Identity Assessor module and MAY
      communicate the Agent or User Identifier (i=) if present.

      To the extent that a receiver attempts to intuit any structured
      semantics for either of the identifiers, this is a heuristic
      function that is outside the scope of DKIM's specification and
      semantics.  Hence it is relegated to a higher-level service, such
      as a delivery handling filter that integrates a variety of inputs
      and performs heuristic analysis of them.

      INFORMATIVE DISCUSSION: This document does not require the value
      of the SDID or AUID to match the identifier in any other message
      header field.  This requirement is, instead, an assessor policy
      issue.  The purpose of such a linkage would be to authenticate the
      value in that other header field.  This, in turn, is the basis for
      applying a trust assessment based on the identifier value.  Trust
      is a broad and complex topic and trust mechanisms are subject to
      highly creative attacks.  The real-world efficacy of any but the
      most basic bindings between the SDID or AUID and other identities
      is not well established, nor is its vulnerability to subversion by
      an attacker.  Hence reliance on the use of such bindings should be
      strictly limited.  In particular, it is not at all clear to what
      extent a typical end-user recipient can rely on any assurances
      that might be made by successful use of the SDID or AUID.


13.  RFC4871 Section 6.3  Interpret Results/Apply Local Policy

   Original Text:


   It is beyond the scope of this specification to describe what actions
   a verifier system should make, but an authenticated email presents an
   opportunity to a receiving system that unauthenticated email cannot.
   Specifically, an authenticated email creates a predictable identifier
   by which other decisions can reliably be managed, such as trust and
   reputation.  Conversely, unauthenticated email lacks a reliable
   identifier that can be used to assign trust and reputation.

   Corrected Text:

      It is beyond the scope of this specification to describe what
      actions an Identity Assessor can make, but mail carrying a
      validated SDID presents an opportunity to an Identity Assessor
      that unauthenticated email does not.  Specifically, an



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      authenticated email creates a predictable identifier by which
      other decisions can reliably be managed, such as trust and
      reputation.


14.  RFC4871 Section 6.3  Interpret Results/Apply Local Policy

   Original Text:


   Once the signature has been verified, that information MUST be
   conveyed to higher-level systems (such as explicit allow/whitelists
   and reputation systems) and/or to the end user.  If the message is
   signed on behalf of any address other than that in the From: header
   field, the mail system SHOULD take pains to ensure that the actual
   signing identity is clear to the reader.

   Corrected Text:

      Once the signature has been verified, that information MUST be
      conveyed to the Identity Assessor (such as an explicit allow/
      whitelist and reputation system) and/or to the end user.  If the
      SDID is not the same as the address in the From: header field, the
      mail system SHOULD take pains to ensure that the actual SDID is
      clear to the reader.


15.  RFC4871 Appendix D.  MUA Considerations

   Original Text:   The tendency is to have the MUA highlight the
      address associated with this signing identity in some way, in an
      attempt to show the user the address from which the mail was sent.

   Corrected Text:   The tendency is to have the MUA highlight the SDID,
      in an attempt to show the user the identity that is claiming
      responsibility for the message.


16.  Security Considerations

   This Update clarifies core details about DKIM's payload.  As such it
   affects interoperability, semantic characterization, and the
   expectations for the identifiers carried with a DKIM signature.
   Clarification of these details is likely to limit misinterpretation
   of DKIM's semantics.  Since DKIM is fundamentally a security
   protocol, this should improve its security characteristics.





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17.  IANA Considerations

   This document has no actions for IANA.


18.  Normative References

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [RFC3490]  Faltstrom, P., Hoffman, P., and A. Costello,
              "Internationalizing Domain Names in Applications (IDNA)",
              RFC 3490, March 2003.

   [RFC4871]  Allman, E., Callas, J., Delany, M., Libbey, M., Fenton,
              J., and M. Thomas, "DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)
              Signatures", RFC 4871, May 2007.


Appendix A.  Acknowledgements

   This document was initially formulated by an ad hoc design team,
   comprising: Jon Callas, D. Crocker, J. D. Falk, Michael Hammer, Tony
   Hansen, Murray Kucherawy, John Levine, Jeff Macdonald, Ellen Siegel
   and Wietse Venema.  The final version of the document was developed
   through vigorous discussion in the IETF DKIM working group.


Author's Address

   D. Crocker (editor)
   Brandenburg InternetWorking

   Phone: +1.408.246.8253
   Email: dcrocker@bbiw.net
















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