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For this RFC, original HTML is available from the RFC-Editor: RFC8933



Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                        R. Housley
Request for Comments: 8933                                Vigil Security
Updates: 5652                                               October 2020
Category: Standards Track
ISSN: 2070-1721


     Update to the Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) for Algorithm
                         Identifier Protection

Abstract

   This document updates the Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS)
   specified in RFC 5652 to ensure that algorithm identifiers in signed-
   data and authenticated-data content types are adequately protected.

Status of This Memo

   This is an Internet Standards Track document.

   This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force
   (IETF).  It represents the consensus of the IETF community.  It has
   received public review and has been approved for publication by the
   Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).  Further information on
   Internet Standards is available in Section 2 of RFC 7841.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
   and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at
   https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8933.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2020 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
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   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
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   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction
   2.  Terminology
   3.  Required Use of the Same Hash Algorithm
     3.1.  RFC 5652, Section 5.3
     3.2.  RFC 5652, Section 5.4
     3.3.  RFC 5652, Section 5.6
     3.4.  Backward Compatibility Considerations
     3.5.  Timestamp Compatibility Considerations
   4.  Recommended Inclusion of the CMSAlgorithmProtection Attribute
     4.1.  RFC 5652, Section 14
   5.  IANA Considerations
   6.  Security Considerations
   7.  References
     7.1.  Normative References
     7.2.  Informative References
   Acknowledgements
   Author's Address

1.  Introduction

   This document updates the Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS)
   [RFC5652] to ensure that algorithm identifiers in signed-data and
   authenticated-data content types are adequately protected.

   The CMS signed-data content type [RFC5652], unlike X.509 certificates
   [RFC5280], can be vulnerable to algorithm substitution attacks.  In
   an algorithm substitution attack, the attacker changes either the
   algorithm identifier or the parameters associated with the algorithm
   identifier to change the verification process used by the recipient.
   The X.509 certificate structure protects the algorithm identifier and
   the associated parameters by signing them.

   In an algorithm substitution attack, the attacker looks for a
   different algorithm that produces the same result as the algorithm
   used by the originator.  As an example, if the signer of a message
   used SHA-256 [SHS] as the digest algorithm to hash the message
   content, then the attacker looks for a weaker hash algorithm that
   produces a result that is of the same length.  The attacker's goal is
   to find a different message that results in the same hash value,
   which is called a cross-algorithm collision.  Today, there are many
   hash functions that produce 256-bit results.  One of them may be
   found to be weak in the future.

   Further, when a digest algorithm produces a larger result than is
   needed by a digital signature algorithm, the digest value is reduced
   to the size needed by the signature algorithm.  This can be done both
   by truncation and modulo operations, with the simplest being
   straightforward truncation.  In this situation, the attacker needs to
   find a collision with the reduced digest value.  As an example, if
   the message signer uses SHA-512 [SHS] as the digest algorithm and the
   Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) with the P-256
   curve [DSS] as the signature algorithm, then the attacker needs to
   find a collision with the first half of the digest.

   Similar attacks can be mounted against parameterized algorithm
   identifiers.  When randomized hash functions are employed, such as
   the example in [RFC6210], the algorithm identifier parameter includes
   a random value that can be manipulated by an attacker looking for
   collisions.  Some other algorithm identifiers include complex
   parameter structures, and each value provides another opportunity for
   manipulation by an attacker.

   This document makes two updates to CMS to provide protection for the
   algorithm identifier.  First, it mandates a convention followed by
   many implementations by requiring the originator to use the same hash
   algorithm to compute the digest of the message content and the digest
   of signed attributes.  Second, it recommends that the originator
   include the CMSAlgorithmProtection attribute [RFC6211].

2.  Terminology

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "NOT RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and
   "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in
   BCP 14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all
   capitals, as shown here.

3.  Required Use of the Same Hash Algorithm

   This section updates [RFC5652] to require the originator to use the
   same hash algorithm to compute the digest of the message content and
   the digest of signed attributes.

3.1.  RFC 5652, Section 5.3

   Change the paragraph describing the digestAlgorithm as follows:

   OLD:

   |  digestAlgorithm identifies the message digest algorithm, and any
   |  associated parameters, used by the signer.  The message digest is
   |  computed on either the content being signed or the content
   |  together with the signed attributes using the process described in
   |  Section 5.4.  The message digest algorithm SHOULD be among those
   |  listed in the digestAlgorithms field of the associated SignerData.
   |  Implementations MAY fail to validate signatures that use a digest
   |  algorithm that is not included in the SignedData digestAlgorithms
   |  set.

   NEW:

   |  digestAlgorithm identifies the message digest algorithm, and any
   |  associated parameters, used by the signer.  The message digest is
   |  computed on either the content being signed or the content
   |  together with the signedAttrs using the process described in
   |  Section 5.4.  The message digest algorithm SHOULD be among those
   |  listed in the digestAlgorithms field of the associated SignerData.
   |  If the signedAttrs field is present in the SignerInfo, then the
   |  same digest algorithm MUST be used to compute both the digest of
   |  the SignedData encapContentInfo eContent, which is carried in the
   |  message-digest attribute, and the digest of the DER-encoded
   |  signedAttrs, which is passed to the signature algorithm.
   |  Implementations MAY fail to validate signatures that use a digest
   |  algorithm that is not included in the SignedData digestAlgorithms
   |  set.

3.2.  RFC 5652, Section 5.4

   Add the following paragraph as the second paragraph in Section 5.4.

   ADD:

   |  When the signedAttrs field is present, the same digest algorithm
   |  MUST be used to compute the digest of the encapContentInfo
   |  eContent OCTET STRING, which is carried in the message-digest
   |  attribute and the digest of the collection of attributes that are
   |  signed.

3.3.  RFC 5652, Section 5.6

   Change the paragraph discussing the signed attributes as follows:

   OLD:

   |  The recipient MUST NOT rely on any message digest values computed
   |  by the originator.  If the SignedData signerInfo includes
   |  signedAttributes, then the content message digest MUST be
   |  calculated as described in Section 5.4.  For the signature to be
   |  valid, the message digest value calculated by the recipient MUST
   |  be the same as the value of the messageDigest attribute included
   |  in the signedAttributes of the SignedData signerInfo.

   NEW:

   |  The recipient MUST NOT rely on any message digest values computed
   |  by the originator.  If the SignedData signerInfo includes the
   |  signedAttrs field, then the content message digest MUST be
   |  calculated as described in Section 5.4 using the same digest
   |  algorithm to compute the digest of the encapContentInfo eContent
   |  OCTET STRING and the message-digest attribute.  For the signature
   |  to be valid, the message digest value calculated by the recipient
   |  MUST be the same as the value of the messageDigest attribute
   |  included in the signedAttrs field of the SignedData signerInfo.

3.4.  Backward Compatibility Considerations

   The new requirement introduced above might lead to incompatibility
   with an implementation that allowed different digest algorithms to be
   used to compute the digest of the message content and the digest of
   signed attributes.  The signatures produced by such an implementation
   when two different digest algorithms are used will be considered
   invalid by an implementation that follows this specification.
   However, most, if not all, implementations already require the
   originator to use the same digest algorithm for both operations.

3.5.  Timestamp Compatibility Considerations

   The new requirement introduced above might lead to compatibility
   issues for timestamping systems when the originator does not wish to
   share the message content with the Time Stamping Authority (TSA)
   [RFC3161].  In this situation, the originator sends a TimeStampReq to
   the TSA that includes a MessageImprint, which consists of a digest
   algorithm identifier and a digest value.  The TSA then uses the
   originator-provided digest in the MessageImprint.

   When producing the TimeStampToken, the TSA MUST use the same digest
   algorithm to compute the digest of the encapContentInfo eContent,
   which is an OCTET STRING that contains the TSTInfo, and the message-
   digest attribute within the SignerInfo.

   To ensure that TimeStampToken values that were generated before this
   update remain valid, no requirement is placed on a TSA to ensure that
   the digest algorithm for the TimeStampToken matches the digest
   algorithm for the MessageImprint embedded within the TSTInfo.

4.  Recommended Inclusion of the CMSAlgorithmProtection Attribute

   This section updates [RFC5652] to recommend that the originator
   include the CMSAlgorithmProtection attribute [RFC6211] whenever
   signed attributes or authenticated attributes are present.

4.1.  RFC 5652, Section 14

   Add the following paragraph as the eighth paragraph in Section 14:

   ADD:

   |  While there are no known algorithm substitution attacks today, the
   |  inclusion of the algorithm identifiers used by the originator as a
   |  signed attribute or an authenticated attribute makes such an
   |  attack significantly more difficult.  Therefore, the originator of
   |  a signed-data content type that includes signed attributes SHOULD
   |  include the CMSAlgorithmProtection attribute [RFC6211] as one of
   |  the signed attributes.  Likewise, the originator of an
   |  authenticated-data content type that includes authenticated
   |  attributes SHOULD include the CMSAlgorithmProtection attribute
   |  [RFC6211] as one of the authenticated attributes.

5.  IANA Considerations

   This document has no IANA actions.

6.  Security Considerations

   The security properties of the CMS [RFC5652] signed-data and
   authenticated-data content types are updated to offer protection for
   algorithm identifiers, which makes algorithm substitution attacks
   significantly more difficult.

   For the signed-data content type, the improvements specified in this
   document force an attacker to mount a hash algorithm substitution
   attack on the overall signature, not just on the message digest of
   the encapContentInfo eContent.

   Some digital signature algorithms have prevented hash function
   substitutions by including a digest algorithm identifier as an input
   to the signature algorithm.  As discussed in [HASHID], such a
   "firewall" may not be effective or even possible with newer signature
   algorithms.  For example, RSASSA-PKCS1-v1_5 [RFC8017] protects the
   digest algorithm identifier, but RSASSA-PSS [RFC8017] does not.
   Therefore, it remains important that a signer have a way to signal to
   a recipient which digest algorithms are allowed to be used in
   conjunction with the verification of an overall signature.  This
   signaling can be done as part of the specification of the signature
   algorithm in an X.509v3 certificate extension [RFC5280] or some other
   means.  The Digital Signature Standard (DSS) [DSS] takes the first
   approach by requiring the use of an "approved" one-way hash
   algorithm.

   For the authenticated-data content type, the improvements specified
   in this document force an attacker to mount a MAC algorithm
   substitution attack, which is difficult because the attacker does not
   know the authentication key.

   The CMSAlgorithmProtection attribute [RFC6211] offers protection for
   the algorithm identifiers used in the signed-data and authenticated-
   data content types.  However, no protection is provided for the
   algorithm identifiers in the enveloped-data, digested-data, or
   encrypted-data content types.  Likewise, the CMSAlgorithmProtection
   attribute provides no protection for the algorithm identifiers used
   in the authenticated-enveloped-data content type defined in
   [RFC5083].  A mechanism for algorithm identifier protection for these
   content types is work for the future.

7.  References

7.1.  Normative References

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc2119>.

   [RFC3161]  Adams, C., Cain, P., Pinkas, D., and R. Zuccherato,
              "Internet X.509 Public Key Infrastructure Time-Stamp
              Protocol (TSP)", RFC 3161, DOI 10.17487/RFC3161, August
              2001, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc3161>.

   [RFC5652]  Housley, R., "Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS)", STD 70,
              RFC 5652, DOI 10.17487/RFC5652, September 2009,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc5652>.

   [RFC6211]  Schaad, J., "Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) Algorithm
              Identifier Protection Attribute", RFC 6211,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6211, April 2011,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc6211>.

   [RFC8174]  Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC
              2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174,
              May 2017, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8174>.

7.2.  Informative References

   [DSS]      National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST),
              "Digital Signature Standard (DSS)", FIPS 186-4,
              DOI 10.6028/NIST.FIPS.186-4, July 2013,
              <https://doi.org/10.6028/NIST.FIPS.186-4>.

   [HASHID]   Kaliski, B., "On Hash Function Firewalls in Signature
              Schemes", DOI 10.1007/3-540-45760-7_1, Lecture Notes in
              Computer Science, Volume 2271, February 2002,
              <https://doi.org/10.1007/3-540-45760-7_1>.

   [RFC5083]  Housley, R., "Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS)
              Authenticated-Enveloped-Data Content Type", RFC 5083,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC5083, November 2007,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc5083>.

   [RFC5280]  Cooper, D., Santesson, S., Farrell, S., Boeyen, S.,
              Housley, R., and W. Polk, "Internet X.509 Public Key
              Infrastructure Certificate and Certificate Revocation List
              (CRL) Profile", RFC 5280, DOI 10.17487/RFC5280, May 2008,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc5280>.

   [RFC6210]  Schaad, J., "Experiment: Hash Functions with Parameters in
              the Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and S/MIME",
              RFC 6210, DOI 10.17487/RFC6210, April 2011,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc6210>.

   [RFC8017]  Moriarty, K., Ed., Kaliski, B., Jonsson, J., and A. Rusch,
              "PKCS #1: RSA Cryptography Specifications Version 2.2",
              RFC 8017, DOI 10.17487/RFC8017, November 2016,
              <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8017>.

   [SHS]      National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST),
              "Secure Hash Standard (SHS)", FIPS 180-4,
              DOI 10.6028/NIST.FIPS.180-4, August 2015,
              <https://doi.org/10.6028/NIST.FIPS.180-4>.

Acknowledgements

   Many thanks to Jim Schaad and Peter Gutmann; without knowing it, they
   motivated me to write this document.  Thanks to Roman Danyliw, Ben
   Kaduk, and Peter Yee for their careful review and editorial
   suggestions.

Author's Address

   Russ Housley
   Vigil Security, LLC
   516 Dranesville Road
   Herndon, VA 20170
   United States of America

   Email: housley@vigilsec.com


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