Transport Layer Security

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Transport Layer Security (TLS) and its predecessor, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), are cryptographic protocols which are designed to provide communication security over the Internet.[1] They use X.509 certificates and hence asymmetric cryptography to assure the counterparty whom they are talking with, and to exchange a symmetric key. This session key is then used to encrypt data flowing between the parties. This allows for data/message confidentiality, and message authentication codes for message integrity and as a by-product message authentication. Several versions of the protocols are in widespread use in applications such as web browsing, electronic mail, Internet faxing, instant messaging and voice-over-IP (VoIP). An important property in this context is forward secrecy, so the short term session key cannot be derived from the long term asymmetric secret key.[2]

As a consequence of choosing X.509 certificates, certificate authorities and a public key infrastructure are necessary to verify the relation between a certificate and its owner, as well as to generate, sign, and administer the validity of certificates. While this can be more beneficial than verifying the identities via a web of trust, the 2013 mass surveillance disclosures made it more widely known that certificate authorities are a weak point from a security standpoint, allowing man-in-the-middle attacks.[3][4]

In the TCP/IP model view, TLS and SSL encrypt the data of network connections at a lower sublayer of its application layer. In OSI model equivalences, TLS/SSL is initialized at layer 5 (the session layer) then works at layer 6 (the presentation layer): first the session layer has a handshake using an asymmetric cipher in order to establish cipher settings and a shared key for that session; then the presentation layer encrypts the rest of the communication using a symmetric cipher and that session key. In both models, TLS and SSL work on behalf of the underlying transport layer, whose segments carry encrypted data.

TLS is an IETF standards track protocol, first defined in 1999 and last updated in RFC 5246 (August 2008) and RFC 6176 (March 2011). It is based on the earlier SSL specifications (1994, 1995, 1996) developed by Netscape Communications[5] for adding the HTTPS protocol to their Navigator web browser.

Description[edit]

The TLS protocol allows client-server applications to communicate across a network in a way designed to prevent eavesdropping and tampering.

Since protocols can operate either with or without TLS (or SSL), it is necessary for the client to indicate to the server whether it wants to set up a TLS connection or not. There are two main ways of achieving this; one option is to use a different port number for TLS connections (for example port 443 for HTTPS). The other is to use the regular port number and have the client request that the server switch the connection to TLS using a protocol-specific mechanism (for example STARTTLS for mail and news protocols).

Once the client and server have decided to use TLS, they negotiate a stateful connection by using a handshaking procedure.[6] During this handshake, the client and server agree on various parameters used to establish the connection's security:

  1. The client sends the server the client's SSL version number, cipher settings, session-specific data, and other information that the server needs to communicate with the client using SSL.
  2. The server sends the client the server's SSL version number, cipher settings, session-specific data, and other information that the client needs to communicate with the server over SSL. The server also sends its own certificate, and if the client is requesting a server resource that requires client authentication, the server requests the client's certificate.
  3. The client uses the information sent by the server to authenticate the server. If the server cannot be authenticated, the user is warned of the problem and informed that an encrypted and authenticated connection cannot be established. If the server can be successfully authenticated, the client proceeds to the next step.
  4. Using all data generated in the handshake thus far, the client (with the cooperation of the server, depending on the cipher in use) creates the pre-master secret for the session, encrypts it with the server's public key (obtained from the server's certificate, sent in step 2), and then sends the encrypted pre-master secret to the server.
  5. If the server has requested client authentication (an optional step in the handshake), the client also signs another piece of data that is unique to this handshake and known by both the client and server. In this case, the client sends both the signed data and the client's own certificate to the server along with the encrypted pre-master secret.
  6. If the server has requested client authentication, the server attempts to authenticate the client. If the client cannot be authenticated, the session ends. If the client can be successfully authenticated, the server uses its private key to decrypt the pre-master secret, and then performs a series of steps (which the client also performs, starting from the same pre-master secret) to generate the master secret.
  7. Both the client and the server use the master secret to generate the session keys, which are symmetric keys used to encrypt and decrypt information exchanged during the SSL session and to verify its integrity (that is, to detect any changes in the data between the time it was sent and the time it is received over the SSL connection).
  8. The client sends a message to the server informing it that future messages from the client will be encrypted with the session key. It then sends a separate (encrypted) message indicating that the client portion of the handshake is finished.
  9. The server sends a message to the client informing it that future messages from the server will be encrypted with the session key. It then sends a separate (encrypted) message indicating that the server portion of the handshake is finished.

The SSL handshake is now complete and the session begins. The client and the server use the session keys to encrypt and decrypt the data they send to each other and to validate its integrity.

This is the normal operation condition of the secure channel. At any time, due to internal or external stimulus (either automation or user intervention), either side may renegotiate the connection, in which case, the process repeats itself.[7]

This concludes the handshake and begins the secured connection, which is encrypted and decrypted with the key material until the connection closes.

If any one of the above steps fails, the TLS handshake fails and the connection is not created.

In step 3, the client must check a chain of "signatures" from a "root of trust" built into, or added to, the client. The client must also check that none of these have been revoked; this is not often implemented correctly[citation needed], but is a requirement of any public-key authentication system. If the particular signer beginning this server's chain is trusted, and all signatures in the chain remain trusted, then the Certificate (thus the server) is trusted.

History and development[edit]

Secure Network Programming API[edit]

Early research efforts toward transport layer security included the Secure Network Programming (SNP) application programming interface (API), which in 1993 explored the approach of having a secure transport layer API closely resembling Berkeley sockets, to facilitate retrofitting preexisting network applications with security measures.[8]

SSL 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0[edit]

The SSL protocol was originally developed by Netscape.[9] Version 1.0 was never publicly released; version 2.0 was released in February 1995 but "contained a number of security flaws which ultimately led to the design of SSL version 3.0."[10] SSL version 3.0, released in 1996, was a complete redesign of the protocol produced by Paul Kocher working with Netscape engineers Phil Karlton and Alan Freier. Newer versions of SSL/TLS are based on SSL 3.0. The 1996 draft of SSL 3.0 was published by IETF as a historical document in RFC 6101.

TLS 1.0[edit]

TLS 1.0 was first defined in RFC 2246 in January 1999 as an upgrade of SSL Version 3.0. As stated in the RFC, "the differences between this protocol and SSL 3.0 are not dramatic, but they are significant to preclude interoperability between TLS 1.0 and SSL 3.0. " TLS 1.0 does include a means by which a TLS implementation can downgrade the connection to SSL 3.0, thus weakening security.

TLS 1.1[edit]

TLS 1.1 was defined in RFC 4346 in April 2006.[11] It is an update from TLS version 1.0. Significant differences in this version include:

TLS 1.2[edit]

TLS 1.2 was defined in RFC 5246 in August 2008. It is based on the earlier TLS 1.1 specification. Major differences include:

  • The MD5-SHA-1 combination in the pseudorandom function (PRF) was replaced with SHA-256, with an option to use cipher suite specified PRFs.
  • The MD5-SHA-1 combination in the Finished message hash was replaced with SHA-256, with an option to use cipher suite specific hash algorithms. However the size of the hash in the finished message is still truncated to 96-bits.
  • The MD5-SHA-1 combination in the digitally signed element was replaced with a single hash negotiated during handshake, defaults to SHA-1.
  • Enhancement in the client's and server's ability to specify which hash and signature algorithms they will accept.
  • Expansion of support for authenticated encryption ciphers, used mainly for Galois/Counter Mode (GCM) and CCM mode of Advanced Encryption Standard encryption.
  • TLS Extensions definition and Advanced Encryption Standard cipher suites were added.

All TLS versions were further refined in RFC 6176 in March 2011 removing their backward compatibility with SSL such that TLS sessions will never negotiate the use of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) version 2.0.

Applications and adoption[edit]

In applications design, TLS is usually implemented on top of any of the Transport Layer protocols, encapsulating the application-specific protocols such as HTTP, FTP, SMTP, NNTP and XMPP. Historically it has been used primarily with reliable transport protocols such as the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). However, it has also been implemented with datagram-oriented transport protocols, such as the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and the Datagram Congestion Control Protocol (DCCP), usage which has been standardized independently using the term Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS).

Websites[edit]

A prominent use of TLS is for securing World Wide Web traffic between the website and the browser carried by HTTP to form HTTPS. Notable applications are electronic commerce and asset management.

Website protocol support
Protocol
version
Website
support[12]
Security[12][13]
SSL 2.0 25.7% (-0.5%) Insecure
SSL 3.0[n 1] 99.6% (-0.1%) Depends on cipher and client BEAST mitigation[n 2][n 3][n 4][n 1]
TLS 1.0 99.3% (±0%) Depends on cipher and client BEAST mitigation[n 2][n 3][n 4][n 5]
TLS 1.1 18.2% (+1.0%) Depends on cipher[n 2][n 3][n 4][n 5]
TLS 1.2 20.7% (+1.0%) Depends on cipher[n 2][n 3][n 4][n 5]
Notes
  1. ^ a b The insecure renegotiation flaw breaks this protocol. If libraries implement fixes listed in RFC 5746, this will violate the SSL 3.0 specification, which the IETF cannot change unlike TLS. Fortunately, most current libraries implement the fix and disregard the violation that this causes.
  2. ^ a b c d see Website cipher security table below
  3. ^ a b c d various RC4 attacks weaken or break RC4 used in SSL/TLS
  4. ^ a b c d the CRIME attack means that TLS compression is not secure, and the BREACH attack that requires HTTP compression can be used to defeat the security of both TLS and SSL 3.0 that is patched with RFC 5746 when HTTP compression is enabled
  5. ^ a b c RFC 5746 must be implemented in order to fix a renegotiation flaw that would otherwise break this protocol.

Key exchange or key agreement[edit]

Before a client and server can begin to exchange information protected by TLS, they must securely exchange or agree upon an encryption key and a cipher to use when encrypting data (see Cipher). Among the methods used for key exchange/agreement are: public and private keys generated with RSA (denoted TLS_RSA in the TLS handshake protocol), Diffie-Hellman (denoted TLS_DH in the TLS handshake protocol), ephemeral Diffie-Hellman (denoted TLS_DHE in the handshake protocol), ECDH (denoted TLS_ECDH), ephemeral Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman (TLS_ECDHE), anonymous Diffie-Hellman (TLS_DH_anon),[14] and PSK (TLS_PSK).[15]

The TLS_DH_anon key agreement method does not authenticate the server or the user and hence is rarely used. Only TLS_DHE and TLS_ECDHE provide forward secrecy.

Public key certificates used during exchange/agreement also vary in the size of the public/private encryption keys used during the exchange and hence the robustness of the security provided. In July 2013, Google announced that it would no longer use 1024 bit public keys and would switch instead to 2048 bit keys to increase the security of the TLS encryption it provides to its users.[16]

Cipher[edit]

Website cipher security against publicly known feasible attacks
Protocol
version
Security[12][13]
3DES CBC AES CBC AES CCM AES GCM Camellia CBC Camellia GCM SEED CBC DES CBC IDEA CBC RC2 CBC RC4
SSL 2.0 Insecure N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Insecure Insecure Insecure Insecure
SSL 3.0
[note 1]
Depends
[note 2][note 3][note 4]
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Insecure Depends
[note 2][note 3][note 4]
Insecure Insecure
[note 5][note 3][note 1]
TLS 1.0 Depends
[note 2][note 3][note 4]
Depends
[note 2][note 3][note 4]
N/A N/A Depends
[note 2][note 3][note 4]
N/A Depends
[note 2][note 3][note 4]
Insecure Depends
[note 2][note 3][note 4]
Insecure Insecure
[note 5][note 3][note 6]
TLS 1.1 Secure
[note 3][note 4][note 6]
Secure
[note 3][note 4][note 6]
N/A N/A Secure
[note 3][note 4][note 6]
N/A Secure
[note 3][note 4][note 6]
Insecure Secure
[note 3][note 4][note 6]
Insecure Insecure
[note 5][note 3][note 6]
TLS 1.2 Secure
[note 3][note 4][note 6]
Secure
[note 3][note 4][note 6]
Secure
[note 3][note 6]
Secure
[note 3][note 7][13][note 6]
Secure
[note 3][note 4][note 6]
Secure
[note 3][note 6]
Secure
[note 3][note 4][note 6]
N/A N/A N/A Insecure
[note 5][note 3][note 6]
Notes
  1. ^ a b The insecure renegotiation flaw breaks this protocol. If libraries implement fixes listed in RFC 5746, this will violate the SSL 3.0 specification, which the IETF cannot change unlike TLS. Fortunately, most current libraries implement the fix and disregard the violation that this causes.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g the BEAST attack breaks all block ciphers used in SSL 3.0 and TLS 1.0 unless mitigated by the client. As of September 2013, Apple has not turned on this mitigation by default resulting in Safari still being theoretically vulnerable to the BEAST attack on those platforms - see #Web browsers
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w the CRIME attack means that TLS compression is not secure, and the BREACH attack that requires HTTP compression can be used to defeat the security of both TLS and SSL 3.0 that is patched with RFC 5746 when HTTP compression is enabled
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p This can be attacked with the Lucky 13 attack if the library is not written carefully to eliminate timing side channels.
  5. ^ a b c d the RC4 attacks weaken or break RC4 used in SSL/TLS
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o RFC 5746 must be implemented in order to fix a renegotiation flaw that would otherwise break this protocol.
  7. ^ The AES GCM cipher suites which were defined for TLS 1.2 are secure

Web browsers[edit]

As of November 2013, all major web browsers support TLS:

Browser support for TLS
Browser Version Platforms TLS 1.0 TLS 1.1 TLS 1.2 Vulnerabilities
Fixed
[notes 1]
Chrome
[notes 2]
[notes 3]
0–21 Android,
iOS,
Linux,
Mac OS X,
Windows (XP, Vista, 7, 8)
Yes No No -
22–29 Yes [24] Yes No [24][25][26][27] -
30– Yes [24] Yes [24] Yes [25][26][27] Depends
Firefox
[notes 3]
[notes 4]
1–18 Android,
Linux,
Mac OS X,
Windows (XP, Vista, 7, 8)
Yes [28] No [20] No [22] -
19–23 Yes [28] Yes, disabled by default [20][29] No[22] -
24–25 Yes [28] Yes, disabled by default [20][29] Yes, disabled by default [22][30] Depends
26–27 Yes [28] Yes, disabled by default [20][29] Yes, disabled by default [22][30] Depends
28– Yes [28] Yes [20][29] Yes [22][30] Depends
Internet
Explorer

[notes 5]
6 Windows (98, 2000, ME, XP) Yes, disabled by default No No -
78 Windows XP Yes No No Depends
79 Windows Vista Yes No No Depends
810 Windows 7 Yes Yes, disabled by default Yes, disabled by default Depends
10 Windows 8 Yes Yes, disabled by default Yes, disabled by default Depends
11 Windows 7, 8.1 Yes Yes [33] Yes [33] Depends[34]
Opera
[notes 6]
[notes 7]
5–7 Android,[citation needed]
iOS,[citation needed]
Linux,
Mac OS X,
Windows
Yes [37] No No -
8–9 Yes Yes, disabled by default [38] No -
10–12 Yes Yes, disabled by default Yes, disabled by default -
14–16 Yes Yes [39] No [39] -
17– Yes Yes [40] Yes [40] Depends
Safari
[notes 8]
4 iOS 4.0,[notes 9][notes 10]
Mac OS X,[notes 10]
Windows (XP, Vista, 7)
Yes [45] No No -
5 Windows (XP, Vista, 7, 8) Yes No No -
5–6 Mac OS X[notes 10] Yes No No No[notes 10]
5– iOS 5.0[notes 9][notes 10] Yes Yes Yes No[notes 10]
7 Mac OS X 10.9 [notes 11] Yes Yes Yes Depends[50]
Notes
  1. ^ Does the current browser have mitigations or is not vulnerable for all the known protocol and cipher attacks listed in this page (BEAST, CRIME, BREACH, Lucky Thirteen). Note actual security depends on other factors such as negotiated cipher (such as RC4), encryption strength etc. Non-current browsers will have unfixed security issues so are not considered.
  2. ^ Google Chrome (and Chromium) supports TLS 1.0, and TLS 1.1 from version 22 (it was added, then dropped from version 21). TLS 1.2 support has been added, then dropped from Chrome 29.[17][18][19]
  3. ^ a b Uses the TLS implementation provided by NSS. NSS 3.14 supports TLS 1.0 and 1.1 but not 1.2.[20][21] As of 2 July 2013 (2013-07-02), TLS 1.2 has been implemented in NSS 3.15.1.[22][23]
  4. ^ As of Firefox 19, Firefox supports only TLS 1.0 despite the bundled NSS supporting TLS 1.1. Since Firefox 19, TLS 1.1 has been implemented and can be enabled, but was not enabled by default due to issues, and was subsequently backed out. Firefox 24 has TLS 1.2 support. In Firefox 28, TLS 1.1 and 1.2 has been enabled by default.
  5. ^ IE uses the TLS implementation of the Microsoft Windows operating system provided by the SChannel security support provider. TLS 1.1 and 1.2 are disabled by default until IE11.[31][32]
  6. ^ Opera 10 added support for TLS 1.2 as of Presto 2.2. Previous support was for TLS 1.0 and 1.1.[35] TLS 1.1 and 1.2 are disabled by default (except for version 9[36] that enabled TLS 1.1 by default).
  7. ^ TLS support of Opera 14 and above is same as that of Chrome, because Opera has migrated to Chromium backend.
  8. ^ Safari uses the operating system implementation on Mac OS X, Windows (XP, Vista, 7)[41] with unknown version,[42] Safari 5 is the last version available for Windows. OS X 10.8 on have SecureTransport support for TLS 1.1 and 1.2[43] Qualys SSL report simulates Safari 5.1.9 connecting with TLS 1.0 not 1.1 or 1.2[44]
  9. ^ a b Mobile Safari and third-party software utilizing the system UIWebView library use the iOS operating system implementation, which supports TLS 1.2 as of iOS 5.0.[46][47][48]
  10. ^ a b c d e f As of September 2013, Apple has implemented BEAST mitigation in OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) and possibly iOS, but it is not turned on by default resulting in Safari still being theoretically vulnerable to the BEAST attack on those platforms[45]
  11. ^ Simulated connection by Qualys.[49]

Libraries[edit]

Several free and open source software projects have implemented SSL and TLS. Programmers may use the PolarSSL, CyaSSL, OpenSSL, MatrixSSL, NSS, or GnuTLS libraries for SSL/TLS functionality.

  • Microsoft Windows includes an implementation of SSL and TLS as part of its Secure Channel package.
  • OS X includes an implementation of SSL and TLS as part of its Secure Transport package.
  • Delphi programmers may use a library called Indy.
  • OpenSSL: a free implementation (BSD license with some extensions)
  • GnuTLS: a free implementation (LGPL licensed)
  • cryptlib: a portable open source cryptography library (includes TLS/SSL implementation)
  • JSSE: a Java implementation included in the Java Runtime Environment supports TLS 1.1 and 1.2 from Java 7, although is disabled by default for client, and enabled by default for server[51]
  • MatrixSSL: a dual licensed implementation
  • Network Security Services (NSS): FIPS 140 validated open source library
  • PolarSSL: A tiny SSL library implementation for embedded devices that is designed for ease of use
  • CyaSSL: Embedded SSL/TLS Library with a strong focus on speed and size.

A paper presented at the 2012 ACM conference on computer and communications security[52] showed that few applications used some of these SSL libraries incorrectly, leading to vulnerabilities. According to the authors

"the root cause of most of these vulnerabilities is the terrible design of the APIs to the underlying SSL libraries. Instead of expressing high-level security properties of network tunnels such as confidentiality and authentication, these APIs expose low-level details of the SSL protocol to application developers. As a consequence, developers often use SSL APIs incorrectly, misinterpreting and misunderstanding their manifold parameters, options, side effects, and return values."

Other uses[edit]

The Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) can also be protected by TLS. These applications use public key certificates to verify the identity of endpoints.

TLS can also be used to tunnel an entire network stack to create a VPN, as is the case with OpenVPN and OpenConnect. Many vendors now marry TLS's encryption and authentication capabilities with authorization. There has also been substantial development since the late 1990s in creating client technology outside of the browser to enable support for client/server applications. When compared against traditional IPsec VPN technologies, TLS has some inherent advantages in firewall and NAT traversal that make it easier to administer for large remote-access populations.

TLS is also a standard method to protect Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) application signaling. TLS can be used to provide authentication and encryption of the SIP signaling associated with VoIP and other SIP-based applications.

Security[edit]

SSL 2.0[edit]

SSL 2.0 is flawed in a variety of ways:[53]

  • Identical cryptographic keys are used for message authentication and encryption.
  • SSL 2.0 has a weak MAC construction that uses the MD5 hash function with a secret prefix, making it vulnerable to length extension attacks.
  • SSL 2.0 does not have any protection for the handshake, meaning a man-in-the-middle downgrade attack can go undetected.
  • SSL 2.0 uses the TCP connection close to indicate the end of data. This means that truncation attacks are possible: the attacker simply forges a TCP FIN, leaving the recipient unaware of an illegitimate end of data message (SSL 3.0 fixes this problem by having an explicit closure alert).
  • SSL 2.0 assumes a single service and a fixed domain certificate, which clashes with the standard feature of virtual hosting in Web servers. This means that most websites are practically impaired from using SSL.

SSL 2.0 is disabled by default, beginning with Internet Explorer 7,[54] Mozilla Firefox 2,[55] Opera 9.5,[56] and Safari. After it sends a TLS ClientHello, if Mozilla Firefox finds that the server is unable to complete the handshake, it will attempt to fall back to using SSL 3.0 with an SSL 3.0 ClientHello in SSL 2.0 format to maximize the likelihood of successfully handshaking with older servers.[57] Support for SSL 2.0 (and weak 40-bit and 56-bit ciphers) has been removed completely from Opera as of version 10.[58][59]

SSL 3.0[edit]

SSL 3.0 improved upon SSL 2.0 by adding SHA-1 based ciphers and support for certificate authentication.

From a security standpoint, SSL 3.0 should be considered less desirable than TLS 1.0. The SSL 3.0 cipher suites have a weaker key derivation process; half of the master key that is established is fully dependent on the MD5 hash function, which is not resistant to collisions and is, therefore, not considered secure. Under TLS 1.0, the master key that is established depends on both MD5 and SHA-1 so its derivation process is not currently considered weak. It is for this reason that SSL 3.0 implementations cannot be validated under FIPS 140-2.[60]

There are some attacks against the implementation rather than the protocol itself:[61] In the earlier implementations, some CAs[62] did not explicitly set basicConstraints CA=FALSE for leaf nodes. As a result, these leaf nodes could sign rogue certificates. In addition, some early software (including IE6 and Konqueror) did not check this field altogether. This can be exploited for man-in-the-middle attack on all potential SSL connections. Some implementations (including older versions of Microsoft Cryptographic API, Network Security Services and GnuTLS) stop reading any characters that follow the null character in the name field of the certificate, which can be exploited to fool the client into reading the certificate as if it were one that came from the authentic site. (e.g., PayPal.com\0.badguy.com would be mistaken as the site of PayPal.com rather than badguy.com.) Browsers implemented SSL/TLS protocol version fallback mechanisms for compatibility reasons. The protection offered by the SSL/TLS protocols against a downgrade to a previous version by an active man-in-the-middle attack can be rendered useless by such mechanisms.[63]

TLS[edit]

TLS has a variety of security measures:

  • Protection against a downgrade of the protocol to a previous (less secure) version or a weaker cipher suite.
  • Numbering subsequent Application records with a sequence number and using this sequence number in the message authentication codes (MACs).
  • Using a message digest enhanced with a key (so only a key-holder can check the MAC). The HMAC construction used by most TLS cipher suites is specified in RFC 2104 (SSL 3.0 used a different hash-based MAC).
  • The message that ends the handshake ("Finished") sends a hash of all the exchanged handshake messages seen by both parties.
  • The pseudorandom function splits the input data in half and processes each one with a different hashing algorithm (MD5 and SHA-1), then XORs them together to create the MAC. This provides protection even if one of these algorithms is found to be vulnerable.

Attacks against TLS/SSL[edit]

Significant attacks against TLS/SSL are listed below:

Renegotiation attack[edit]

A vulnerability of the renegotiation procedure was discovered in August 2009 that can lead to plaintext injection attacks against SSL 3.0 and all current versions of TLS. For example, it allows an attacker who can hijack an https connection to splice their own requests into the beginning of the conversation the client has with the web server. The attacker can't actually decrypt the client-server communication, so it is different from a typical man-in-the-middle attack. A short-term fix is for web servers to stop allowing renegotiation, which typically will not require other changes unless client certificate authentication is used. To fix the vulnerability, a renegotiation indication extension was proposed for TLS. It will require the client and server to include and verify information about previous handshakes in any renegotiation handshakes.[64] This extension has become a proposed standard and has been assigned the number RFC 5746. The RFC has been implemented by several libraries.[65][66][67]

Version rollback attacks[edit]

Modifications to the original protocols, like False Start[68] (adopted and enabled by Google Chrome[69]) or Snap Start, have been reported to introduce limited TLS protocol version rollback attacks[70] or to allow modifications to the cipher suite list sent by the client to the server (an attacker may be able to influence the cipher suite selection in an attempt to downgrade the cipher suite strength, to use either a weaker symmetric encryption algorithm or a weaker key exchange[71]). It has been shown in the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) conference on computer and communications security that the False Start extension is at risk as in certain circumstances it could allow an attacker to recover the encryption keys offline and access the encrypted data.[72]

BEAST attack[edit]

On September 23, 2011 researchers Thai Duong and Juliano Rizzo demonstrated a proof of concept called BEAST (Browser Exploit Against SSL/TLS) using a Java applet to violate same origin policy constraints, for a long-known cipher block chaining (CBC) vulnerability in TLS 1.0.[61][62] Practical exploits had not been previously demonstrated for this vulnerability, which was originally discovered by Phillip Rogaway[73] in 2002. The vulnerability of the attack had been fixed with TLS 1.1 in 2006, but TLS 1.1 had not seen wide adoption prior to this attack demonstration.

Mozilla updated the development versions of their NSS libraries to mitigate BEAST-like attacks. NSS is used by Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome to implement SSL. Some web servers that have a broken implementation of the SSL specification may stop working as a result.[74]

Microsoft released Security Bulletin MS12-006 on January 10, 2012, which fixed the BEAST vulnerability by changing the way that the Windows Secure Channel (SChannel) component transmits encrypted network packets.[75]

Users of Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2008 R2 can enable use of TLS 1.1 and 1.2, but this workaround will fail if it is not supported by the other end of the connection and will result in a fall-back to TLS 1.0.

CRIME and BREACH attacks[edit]

The authors of the BEAST attack are also the creators of the later CRIME attack, which can allow an attacker to recover the content of web cookies when data compression is used along with TLS.[76][77] When used to recover the content of secret authentication cookies, it allows an attacker to perform session hijacking on an authenticated web session.

CRIME was further developed in 2013 into a hacking technique, dubbed BREACH, that also exploits the use of data compression algorithms. A BREACH attack can extract login tokens, email addresses or other sensitive information from TLS encrypted web traffic in as little as 30 seconds (depending on the number of bytes to be extracted), provided the attacker tricks the victim into visiting a malicious web link or is able to inject content into valid pages the user is visiting (ex: a wireless network under the control of the attacker).[78] All versions of TLS and SSL are at risk from BREACH regardless of the encryption algorithm or cipher used.[79] Unlike CRIME, which can be successfully defended against by turning off TLS compression, BREACH exploits HTTP compression which cannot realistically be turned off, as virtually all web servers rely upon it to improve data transmission speeds for users.[78] This is a known limitation of TLS as it is susceptible to chosen-plaintext attack against the application-layer data it was meant to protect.

Padding attacks[edit]

Earlier TLS versions were vulnerable against the padding oracle attack discovered in 2002. A novel variant, called the Lucky Thirteen attack, was published in 2013. As of February 2013, TLS implementors were still working on developing fixes to protect against this form of attack.

RC4 attacks[edit]

In spite of existing attacks on RC4 that break it, the cipher suites based on RC4 in SSL and TLS were considered secure because of how the cipher was used in these protocols. In 2011 RC4 suite was actually recommended as a work around for the BEAST attack.[80] In 2013 however there was an attack scenario proposed by AlFardan, Bernstein, Paterson, Poettering and Schuldt that uses newly discovered statistical biases in RC4 key table[81] to recover parts of plaintext with large number of TLS encryptions.[82][83] A double-byte bias attack on RC4 in TLS and SSL that requires 13 × 220 encryptions to break RC4 was unveiled on 8 July 2013, and it was described as "feasible" in the accompanying presentation at the 22nd USENIX Security Symposium on August 15, 2013.[84][85]

Truncation attack[edit]

A TLS truncation attack blocks a victim's account logout requests so that the user unknowingly remains logged into a web service. When the request to sign out is sent, the attacker injects an unencrypted TCP FIN message (no more data from sender) to close the connection. The server therefore doesn't receive the logout request and is unaware of the abnormal termination.[86]

Published in July 2013,[87] the attack causes web services such as Gmail and Hotmail to display a page that informs the user that they have successfully signed-out, while ensuring that the user's browser maintains authorization with the service, allowing an attacker with subsequent access to the browser to access and take over control of the user's logged-in account. The attack does not rely on installing malware on the victim's computer; attackers need only place themselves between the victim and the web server (e.g., by setting up a rogue wireless hotspot).[86]

Survey of websites[edit]

As of November 2013, Trustworthy Internet Movement estimate the ratio of websites that are vulnerable to TLS attacks.[12]

Survey of the TLS vulnerabilities of the most popular websites
Attacks Security
Insecure Depends Secure Other
Renegotiation attack 6.8% (-0.1%)
support insecure renegotiation
1.4% (+0.1%)
support both
83.4% (+0.4%)
support secure renegotiation
8.4% (-0.1%)
not support
RC4 attacks 36.5% (±0.0%)
support RC4 suites used with modern browsers
56.2% (-0.1%)
support some RC4 suites
7.3% (+0.1%)
not support
N/A
BEAST attack 69.4% (-0.1%)
speak other than RC4 when using TLS 1.0 or SSL 3.0
N/A N/A N/A
CRIME attack 16.7% (-0.8%)
support TLS compression
N/A N/A N/A

Forward secrecy[edit]

Forward secrecy is a property of cryptographic systems which ensures that a session key derived from a set of public and private keys will not be compromised if one of the private keys is compromised in the future.[88] An implementation of TLS can provide forward secrecy by requiring the use of ephemeral Diffie-Hellman key exchange to establish session keys, and some notable TLS implementations do so exclusively: e.g., Gmail and other Google HTTPS services that use OpenSSL.[89] However, many web servers providing TLS are not configured to implement such restrictions.[90][91] Without forward secrecy, if the server's private key is compromised, not only will all future TLS-encrypted sessions using that server certificate be compromised, but also any past sessions that used it as well (provided of course that these past sessions were intercepted and stored at the time of transmission).[92] In practice, unless a web service uses Diffie-Hellman key exchange to implement forward secrecy, all of the encrypted web traffic to and from that service can be decrypted by a third party if it obtains the server's master (private) key; e.g., by means of a court order.[93]

Even where Diffie-Hellman key exchange is implemented, server-side session management mechanisms can impact forward secrecy. The use of TLS session tickets (a TLS extension) causes the session to be protected by AES128-CBC-SHA256 regardless of any other negotiated TLS parameters, including forward secrecy ciphersuites, and the long-lived TLS session ticket keys defeat the attempt to implement forward secrecy.[94][95][96]

Dealing with RC4 and BEAST[edit]

Because of the BEAST attack, administrators were advised to use RC4 on their web servers.[97] The discovered vulnerability in RC4 makes this complicated.[98] Choosing RC4 is still the best choice for TLS 1.0, but not for TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.2. Choosing AES, 3DES, Camellia, or IDEA (using CBC or preferably GCM mode in TLS 1.2) is secure for TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.2, but not for TLS 1.0 due to the BEAST attack.[13] As of November 2013, the best choice is to only allow TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.2 using other than RC4, however, there are several problems on both web browser side and web server side.

  1. Not all of latest major browsers support TLS 1.1 and 1.2 enabled by default. Chrome 30 and Opera 17 support TLS 1.1 and 1.2 enabled by default. Firefox 25 and 24 ESR, and Internet Explorer 6-10 have support for TLS 1.1 and 1.2 but disabled by default (Firefox 28 Nightly and IE 11 supports TLS 1.1 and 1.2 enabled by default). Safari 6 for Mac OS X 10.8 and 10.7, and Safari 5 for Windows and support only TLS 1.0 (Safari for iOS, and Safari 7 for Mac OS X 10.9 support TLS 1.1 and 1.2 enabled by default).
  2. Only one cipher can be assigned as the preferred cipher in most web servers. PolarSSL since version 1.2.7,[99] allows an application to select a ciphersuite based on the used protocol. The Hiawatha webserver version 9.1 has implemented this: for SSL 3.0 or TLS 1.0, the RC4 cipher will be used; for TLS 1.1 or TLS 1.2, AES or Camellia will be used.[100][101]

Protocol details[edit]

The TLS protocol exchanges records - which encapsulate the data to be exchanged in a specific format (see below). Each record can be compressed, padded, appended with a message authentication code (MAC), or encrypted, all depending on the state of the connection. Each record has a content type field that designates the type of data encapsulated, a length field and a TLS version field. The data encapsulated may be control or procedural messages of the TLS itself, or simply the application data needed to be transferred by TLS. The specifications (cipher suite, keys etc.) required to exchange application data by TLS, are agreed upon in the "TLS handshake" between the client requesting the data and the server responding to requests. The protocol therefore defines both the structure of payloads transferred in TLS and the procedure to establish and monitor the transfer.

TLS handshake[edit]

When the connection starts, the record encapsulates a "control" protocol — the handshake messaging protocol  (content type 22). This protocol is used to exchange all the information required by both sides for the exchange of the actual application data by TLS. It defines the messages formatting or containing this information and the order of their exchange. These may vary according to the demands of the client and server i.e. there are several possible procedures to setup the connection. This initial exchange results in a successful TLS connection (both parties ready to transfer application data with TLS) or an alert message (as specified below).

Basic TLS handshake[edit]

A simple connection example follows, illustrating a handshake where the server (but not the client) is authenticated by its certificate:

  1. Negotiation phase:
    • A client sends a ClientHello message specifying the highest TLS protocol version it supports, a random number, a list of suggested CipherSuites and suggested compression methods. If the client is attempting to perform a resumed handshake, it may send a session ID.
    • The server responds with a ServerHello message, containing the chosen protocol version, a random number, CipherSuite and compression method from the choices offered by the client. To confirm or allow resumed handshakes the server may send a session ID. The chosen protocol version should be the highest that both the client and server support. For example, if the client supports TLS1.1 and the server supports TLS1.2, TLS1.1 should be selected; SSL 3.0 should not be selected.
    • The server sends its Certificate message (depending on the selected cipher suite, this may be omitted by the server).[102]
    • The server sends a ServerHelloDone message, indicating it is done with handshake negotiation.
    • The client responds with a ClientKeyExchange message, which may contain a PreMasterSecret, public key, or nothing. (Again, this depends on the selected cipher.) This PreMasterSecret is encrypted using the public key of the server certificate.
    • The client and server then use the random numbers and PreMasterSecret to compute a common secret, called the "master secret". All other key data for this connection is derived from this master secret (and the client- and server-generated random values), which is passed through a carefully designed pseudorandom function.
  2. The client now sends a ChangeCipherSpec record, essentially telling the server, "Everything I tell you from now on will be authenticated (and encrypted if encryption parameters were present in the server certificate)." The ChangeCipherSpec is itself a record-level protocol with content type of 20.
    • Finally, the client sends an authenticated and encrypted Finished message, containing a hash and MAC over the previous handshake messages.
    • The server will attempt to decrypt the client's Finished message and verify the hash and MAC. If the decryption or verification fails, the handshake is considered to have failed and the connection should be torn down.
  3. Finally, the server sends a ChangeCipherSpec, telling the client, "Everything I tell you from now on will be authenticated (and encrypted, if encryption was negotiated)."
    • The server sends its authenticated and encrypted Finished message.
    • The client performs the same decryption and verification.
  4. Application phase: at this point, the "handshake" is complete and the application protocol is enabled, with content type of 23. Application messages exchanged between client and server will also be authenticated and optionally encrypted exactly like in their Finished message. Otherwise, the content type will return 25 and the client will not authenticate.

Client-authenticated TLS handshake[edit]

The following full example shows a client being authenticated (in addition to the server like above) via TLS using certificates exchanged between both peers.

  1. Negotiation Phase:
    • A client sends a ClientHello message specifying the highest TLS protocol version it supports, a random number, a list of suggested cipher suites and compression methods.
    • The server responds with a ServerHello message, containing the chosen protocol version, a random number, cipher suite and compression method from the choices offered by the client. The server may also send a session id as part of the message to perform a resumed handshake.
    • The server sends its Certificate message (depending on the selected cipher suite, this may be omitted by the server).[102]
    • The server requests a certificate from the client, so that the connection can be mutually authenticated, using a CertificateRequest message.
    • The server sends a ServerHelloDone message, indicating it is done with handshake negotiation.
    • The client responds with a Certificate message, which contains the client's certificate.
    • The client sends a ClientKeyExchange message, which may contain a PreMasterSecret, public key, or nothing. (Again, this depends on the selected cipher.) This PreMasterSecret is encrypted using the public key of the server certificate.
    • The client sends a CertificateVerify message, which is a signature over the previous handshake messages using the client's certificate's private key. This signature can be verified by using the client's certificate's public key. This lets the server know that the client has access to the private key of the certificate and thus owns the certificate.
    • The client and server then use the random numbers and PreMasterSecret to compute a common secret, called the "master secret". All other key data for this connection is derived from this master secret (and the client- and server-generated random values), which is passed through a carefully designed pseudorandom function.
  2. The client now sends a ChangeCipherSpec record, essentially telling the server, "Everything I tell you from now on will be authenticated (and encrypted if encryption was negotiated). " The ChangeCipherSpec is itself a record-level protocol and has type 20 and not 22.
    • Finally, the client sends an encrypted Finished message, containing a hash and MAC over the previous handshake messages.
    • The server will attempt to decrypt the client's Finished message and verify the hash and MAC. If the decryption or verification fails, the handshake is considered to have failed and the connection should be torn down.
  3. Finally, the server sends a ChangeCipherSpec, telling the client, "Everything I tell you from now on will be authenticated (and encrypted if encryption was negotiated). "
    • The server sends its own encrypted Finished message.
    • The client performs the same decryption and verification.
  4. Application phase: at this point, the "handshake" is complete and the application protocol is enabled, with content type of 23. Application messages exchanged between client and server will also be encrypted exactly like in their Finished message.

Resumed TLS handshake[edit]

Public key operations (e.g., RSA) are relatively expensive in terms of computational power. TLS provides a secure shortcut in the handshake mechanism to avoid these operations: resumed sessions. Resumed sessions are implemented using session IDs or session tickets.

Apart from the performance benefit, resumed sessions can also be used for single sign-on as it is guaranteed that both the original session as well as any resumed session originate from the same client. This is of particular importance for the FTP over TLS/SSL protocol which would otherwise suffer from a man in the middle attack in which an attacker could intercept the contents of the secondary data connections.[103]

Session IDs[edit]

In an ordinary full handshake, the server sends a session id as part of the ServerHello message. The client associates this session id with the server's IP address and TCP port, so that when the client connects again to that server, it can use the session id to shortcut the handshake. In the server, the session id maps to the cryptographic parameters previously negotiated, specifically the "master secret". Both sides must have the same "master secret" or the resumed handshake will fail (this prevents an eavesdropper from using a session id). The random data in the ClientHello and ServerHello messages virtually guarantee that the generated connection keys will be different than in the previous connection. In the RFCs, this type of handshake is called an abbreviated handshake. It is also described in the literature as a restart handshake.

  1. Negotiation phase:
    • A client sends a ClientHello message specifying the highest TLS protocol version it supports, a random number, a list of suggested cipher suites and compression methods. Included in the message is the session id from the previous TLS connection.
    • The server responds with a ServerHello message, containing the chosen protocol version, a random number, cipher suite and compression method from the choices offered by the client. If the server recognizes the session id sent by the client, it responds with the same session id. The client uses this to recognize that a resumed handshake is being performed. If the server does not recognize the session id sent by the client, it sends a different value for its session id. This tells the client that a resumed handshake will not be performed. At this point, both the client and server have the "master secret" and random data to generate the key data to be used for this connection.
  2. The server now sends a ChangeCipherSpec record, essentially telling the client, "Everything I tell you from now on will be encrypted. " The ChangeCipherSpec is itself a record-level protocol and has type 20 and not 22.
    • Finally, the server sends an encrypted Finished message, containing a hash and MAC over the previous handshake messages.
    • The client will attempt to decrypt the server's Finished message and verify the hash and MAC. If the decryption or verification fails, the handshake is considered to have failed and the connection should be torn down.
  3. Finally, the client sends a ChangeCipherSpec, telling the server, "Everything I tell you from now on will be encrypted. "
    • The client sends its own encrypted Finished message.
    • The server performs the same decryption and verification.
  4. Application phase: at this point, the "handshake" is complete and the application protocol is enabled, with content type of 23. Application messages exchanged between client and server will also be encrypted exactly like in their Finished message.
Session tickets[edit]

RFC 5077 extends TLS via use of session tickets, instead of session IDs. It defines a way to resume a TLS session without requiring session-specific state at the TLS server.

One particular weakness of this method is that it always limits encryption and authentication security of the TLS connection to AES128-CBC-SHA256, no matter what other TLS parameters were negotiated.[94] Of particular concern is OpenSSL's storage of the keys in an application-wide context (SSL_CTX), i.e. for the life of the application, and not allowing for re-keying of the AES128-CBC-SHA256 TLS session tickets without resetting the application-wide OpenSSL context (which is uncommon, error-prone and often requires manual administrative intervention).[95][96]

TLS record[edit]

This is the general format of all TLS records.

+ Byte +0 Byte +1 Byte +2 Byte +3
Byte
0
Content type  
Bytes
1..4
Version Length
(Major) (Minor) (bits 15..8) (bits 7..0)
Bytes
5..(m-1)
Protocol message(s)
Bytes
m..(p-1)
MAC (optional)
Bytes
p..(q-1)
Padding (block ciphers only)
Content type
This field identifies the Record Layer Protocol Type contained in this Record.
Content types
Hex Dec Type
0x14 20 ChangeCipherSpec
0x15 21 Alert
0x16 22 Handshake
0x17 23 Application
Version
This field identifies the major and minor version of TLS for the contained message. For a ClientHello message, this need not be the highest version supported by the client.
Versions
Major
Version
Minor
Version
Version Type
3 0 SSL 3.0
3 1 TLS 1.0
3 2 TLS 1.1
3 3 TLS 1.2
Length
The length of Protocol message(s), not to exceed 214 bytes (16 KiB).
Protocol message(s)
One or more messages identified by the Protocol field. Note that this field may be encrypted depending on the state of the connection.
MAC and Padding
A message authentication code computed over the Protocol message, with additional key material included. Note that this field may be encrypted, or not included entirely, depending on the state of the connection.
No MAC or Padding can be present at end of TLS records before all cipher algorithms and parameters have been negotiated and handshaked and then confirmed by sending a CipherStateChange record (see below) for signalling that these parameters will take effect in all further records sent by the same peer.

Handshake protocol[edit]

Most messages exchanged during the setup of the TLS session are based on this record, unless an error or warning occurs and needs to be signaled by an Alert protocol record (see below), or the encryption mode of the session is modified by another record (see ChangeCipherSpec protocol below).

+ Byte +0 Byte +1 Byte +2 Byte +3
Byte
0
22  
Bytes
1..4
Version Length
(Major) (Minor) (bits 15..8) (bits 7..0)
Bytes
5..8
Message type Handshake message data length
(bits 23..16) (bits 15..8) (bits 7..0)
Bytes
9..(n-1)
Handshake message data
Bytes
n..(n+3)
Message type Handshake message data length
(bits 23..16) (bits 15..8) (bits 7..0)
Bytes
(n+4)..
Handshake message data
Message type
This field identifies the Handshake message type.
Message Types
Code Description
0 HelloRequest
1 ClientHello
2 ServerHello
11 Certificate
12 ServerKeyExchange
13 CertificateRequest
14 ServerHelloDone
15 CertificateVerify
16 ClientKeyExchange
20 Finished
Handshake message data length
This is a 3-byte field indicating the length of the handshake data, not including the header.

Note that multiple Handshake messages may be combined within one record.

Alert protocol[edit]

This record should normally not be sent during normal handshaking or application exchanges. However, this message can be sent at any time during the handshake and up to the closure of the session. If this is used to signal a fatal error, the session will be closed immediately after sending this record, so this record is used to give a reason for this closure. If the alert level is flagged as a warning, the remote can decide to close the session if it decides that the session is not reliable enough for its needs (before doing so, the remote may also send its own signal).

+ Byte +0 Byte +1 Byte +2 Byte +3
Byte
0
21  
Bytes
1..4
Version Length
(Major) (Minor) 0 2
Bytes
5..6
Level Description  
Bytes
7..(p-1)
MAC (optional)
Bytes
p..(q-1)
Padding (block ciphers only)
Level
This field identifies the level of alert. If the level is fatal, the sender should close the session immediately. Otherwise, the recipient may decide to terminate the session itself, by sending its own fatal alert and closing the session itself immediately after sending it. The use of Alert records is optional, however if it is missing before the session closure, the session may be resumed automatically (with its handshakes).
Normal closure of a session after termination of the transported application should preferably be alerted with at least the Close notify Alert type (with a simple warning level) to prevent such automatic resume of a new session. Signalling explicitly the normal closure of a secure session before effectively closing its transport layer is useful to prevent or detect attacks (like attempts to truncate the securely transported data, if it intrinsically does not have a predetermined length or duration that the recipient of the secured data may expect).
Alert level types
Code Level type Connection state
1 warning connection or security may be unstable.
2 fatal connection or security may be compromised, or an unrecoverable error has occurred.
Description
This field identifies which type of alert is being sent.
Alert description types
Code Description Level types Note
0 Close notify warning/fatal
10 Unexpected message fatal
20 Bad record MAC fatal Possibly a bad SSL implementation, or payload has been tampered with e. g. FTP firewall rule on FTPS server.
21 Decryption failed fatal TLS only, reserved
22 Record overflow fatal TLS only
30 Decompression failure fatal
40 Handshake failure fatal
41 No certificate warning/fatal SSL 3.0 only, reserved
42 Bad certificate warning/fatal
43 Unsupported certificate warning/fatal E. g. certificate has only Server authentication usage enabled and is presented as a client certificate
44 Certificate revoked warning/fatal
45 Certificate expired warning/fatal Check server certificate expire also check no certificate in the chain presented has expired
46 Certificate unknown warning/fatal
47 Illegal parameter fatal
48 Unknown CA (Certificate authority) fatal TLS only
49 Access denied fatal TLS only - E. g. no client certificate has been presented (TLS: Blank certificate message or SSLv3: No Certificate alert), but server is configured to require one.
50 Decode error fatal TLS only
51 Decrypt error warning/fatal TLS only
60 Export restriction fatal TLS only, reserved
70 Protocol version fatal TLS only
71 Insufficient security fatal TLS only
80 Internal error fatal TLS only
90 User canceled fatal TLS only
100 No renegotiation warning TLS only
110 Unsupported extension warning TLS only
111 Certificate unobtainable warning TLS only
112 Unrecognized name warning TLS only; client's Server Name Indicator specified a hostname not supported by the server
113 Bad certificate status response fatal TLS only
114 Bad certificate hash value fatal TLS only
115 Unknown PSK identity (used in TLS-PSK and TLS-SRP) fatal TLS only

ChangeCipherSpec protocol[edit]

+ Byte +0 Byte +1 Byte +2 Byte +3
Byte
0
20  
Bytes
1..4
Version Length
(Major) (Minor) 0 1
Byte
5
CCS protocol type  
CCS protocol type
Currently only 1.

Application protocol[edit]

+ Byte +0 Byte +1 Byte +2 Byte +3
Byte
0
23  
Bytes
1..4
Version Length
(Major) (Minor) (bits 15..8) (bits 7..0)
Bytes
5..(m-1)
Application data
Bytes
m..(p-1)
MAC (optional)
Bytes
p..(q-1)
Padding (block ciphers only)
Length
Length of Application data (excluding the protocol header and including the MAC and padding trailers)
MAC
20 bytes for the SHA-1-based HMAC, 16 bytes for the MD5-based HMAC.
Padding
Variable length; last byte contains the padding length.

Support for name-based virtual servers[edit]

From the application protocol point of view, TLS belongs to a lower layer, although the TCP/IP model is too coarse to show it. This means that the TLS handshake is usually (except in the STARTTLS case) performed before the application protocol can start. The name-based virtual server feature being provided by the application layer, all co-hosted virtual servers share the same certificate because the server has to select and send a certificate immediately after the ClientHello message. This is a big problem in hosting environments because it means either sharing the same certificate among all customers or using a different IP address for each of them.

There are two known workarounds provided by X.509:

  • If all virtual servers belong to the same domain, a wildcard certificate can be used. Besides the loose host name selection that might be a problem or not, there is no common agreement about how to match wildcard certificates. Different rules are applied depending on the application protocol or software used.[104]
  • Add every virtual host name in the subjectAltName extension. The major problem being that the certificate needs to be reissued whenever a new virtual server is added.

In order to provide the server name, RFC 4366 Transport Layer Security (TLS) Extensions allow clients to include a Server Name Indication extension (SNI) in the extended ClientHello message. This extension hints the server immediately which name the client wishes to connect to, so the server can select the appropriate certificate to send to the client.

Standards[edit]

The current approved version of TLS is version 1.2, which is specified in:

  • RFC 5246: “The Transport Layer Security (TLS) Protocol Version 1.2”.

The current standard replaces these former versions, which are now considered obsolete:

  • RFC 2246: “The TLS Protocol Version 1.0”.
  • RFC 4346: “The Transport Layer Security (TLS) Protocol Version 1.1”.

as well as the never standardized SSL 2.0 and 3.0:

  • Hickman, Kipp E.B. (April 1995). "The SSL Protocol". Retrieved July 31, 2013.  This Internet Draft defines the now completely broken SSL 2.0.
  • RFC 6101: “The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Protocol Version 3.0”.

Other RFCs subsequently extended TLS.

Extensions to TLS 1.0 include:

  • RFC 2595: “Using TLS with IMAP, POP3 and ACAP”. Specifies an extension to the IMAP, POP3 and ACAP services that allow the server and client to use transport-layer security to provide private, authenticated communication over the Internet.
  • RFC 2712: “Addition of Kerberos Cipher Suites to Transport Layer Security (TLS)”. The 40-bit cipher suites defined in this memo appear only for the purpose of documenting the fact that those cipher suite codes have already been assigned.
  • RFC 2817: “Upgrading to TLS Within HTTP/1.1”, explains how to use the Upgrade mechanism in HTTP/1.1 to initiate Transport Layer Security (TLS) over an existing TCP connection. This allows unsecured and secured HTTP traffic to share the same well known port (in this case, http: at 80 rather than https: at 443).
  • RFC 2818: “HTTP Over TLS”, distinguishes secured traffic from insecure traffic by the use of a different 'server port'.
  • RFC 3207: “SMTP Service Extension for Secure SMTP over Transport Layer Security”. Specifies an extension to the SMTP service that allows an SMTP server and client to use transport-layer security to provide private, authenticated communication over the Internet.
  • RFC 3268: “AES Ciphersuites for TLS”. Adds Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) cipher suites to the previously existing symmetric ciphers.
  • RFC 3546: “Transport Layer Security (TLS) Extensions”, adds a mechanism for negotiating protocol extensions during session initialisation and defines some extensions. Made obsolete by RFC 4366.
  • RFC 3749: “Transport Layer Security Protocol Compression Methods”, specifies the framework for compression methods and the DEFLATE compression method.
  • RFC 3943: “Transport Layer Security (TLS) Protocol Compression Using Lempel-Ziv-Stac (LZS)”.
  • RFC 4132: “Addition of Camellia Cipher Suites to Transport Layer Security (TLS)”.
  • RFC 4162: “Addition of SEED Cipher Suites to Transport Layer Security (TLS)”.
  • RFC 4217: “Securing FTP with TLS”.
  • RFC 4279: “Pre-Shared Key Ciphersuites for Transport Layer Security (TLS)”, adds three sets of new cipher suites for the TLS protocol to support authentication based on pre-shared keys.

Extensions to TLS 1.1 include:

  • RFC 4347: “Datagram Transport Layer Security” specifies a TLS variant that works over datagram protocols (such as UDP).
  • RFC 4366: “Transport Layer Security (TLS) Extensions” describes both a set of specific extensions and a generic extension mechanism.
  • RFC 4492: “Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) Cipher Suites for Transport Layer Security (TLS)”.
  • RFC 4680: “TLS Handshake Message for Supplemental Data”.
  • RFC 4681: “TLS User Mapping Extension”.
  • RFC 4785: “Pre-Shared Key (PSK) Ciphersuites with NULL Encryption for Transport Layer Security (TLS)”.
  • RFC 5054: “Using the Secure Remote Password (SRP) Protocol for TLS Authentication”. Defines the TLS-SRP ciphersuites.
  • RFC 5077: “Transport Layer Security (TLS) Session Resumption without Server-Side State”.
  • RFC 5081: “Using OpenPGP Keys for Transport Layer Security (TLS) Authentication”, obsoleted by RFC 6091.

Extensions to TLS 1.2 include:

  • RFC 5288: “AES Galois Counter Mode (GCM) Cipher Suites for TLS”.
  • RFC 5289: “TLS Elliptic Curve Cipher Suites with SHA-256/384 and AES Galois Counter Mode (GCM)”.
  • RFC 5746: “Transport Layer Security (TLS) Renegotiation Indication Extension”.
  • RFC 5878: “Transport Layer Security (TLS) Authorization Extensions”.
  • RFC 6066: “Transport Layer Security (TLS) Extensions: Extension Definitions”, includes Server Name Indication and OCSP stapling.
  • RFC 6091: “Using OpenPGP Keys for Transport Layer Security (TLS) Authentication“.
  • RFC 6176: “Prohibiting Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Version 2.0”.
  • RFC 6209: “Addition of the ARIA Cipher Suites to Transport Layer Security (TLS)”.
  • RFC 6460: “Suite B Profile for Transport Layer Security (TLS)”.

Encapsulations of TLS include:

See also[edit]

Portal icon Cryptography portal

References[edit]

  1. ^ T. Dierks, E. Rescorla (August 2008). "The Transport Layer Security (TLS) Protocol, Version 1.2". 
  2. ^ SSL: Intercepted today, decrypted tomorrow, Netcraft, 2013-06-25.
  3. ^ Law Enforcement Appliance Subverts SSL, Wired, 2010-04-03.
  4. ^ New Research Suggests That Governments May Fake SSL Certificates, EFF, 2010-03-24.
  5. ^ A. Freier, P. Karlton, P. Kocher (August 2011). "The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Protocol Version 3.0". 
  6. ^ "SSL/TLS in Detail". Microsoft TechNet. Updated July 31, 2003.
  7. ^ "Description of the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Handshake". Support. microsoft.com. 2008-07-07. Retrieved 2012-05-17. 
  8. ^ Thomas Y. C. Woo, Raghuram Bindignavle, Shaowen Su and Simon S. Lam, SNP: An interface for secure network programming Proceedings USENIX Summer Technical Conference, June 1994
  9. ^ "THE SSL PROTOCOL". Netscape Corporation. 2007. Archived from the original on 14 June 1997. 
  10. ^ Rescorla 2001
  11. ^ Dierks, T. and E. Rescorla (April 2006). "The Transport Layer Security (TLS) Protocol Version 1.1, RFC 4346". 
  12. ^ a b c d As of November 03, 2013. "SSL Pulse: Survey of the SSL Implementation of the Most Popular Web Sites". Retrieved 2013-11-05. 
  13. ^ a b c d ivanr. "RC4 in TLS is Broken: Now What?". Qualsys Security Labs. Retrieved 2013-07-30. 
  14. ^ "RFC 5246: The Transport Layer Security (TLS) Protocol Version 1.2". Internet Engineering Task Force. Retrieved 9 September 2013. 
  15. ^ P. Eronen, Ed. "RFC 4279: Pre-Shared Key Ciphersuites for Transport Layer Security (TLS)". Internet Engineering Task Force. Retrieved 9 September 2013. 
  16. ^ Gothard, Peter. "Google updates SSL certificates to 2048-bit encryption". Computing. Incisive Media. Retrieved 9 September 2013. 
  17. ^ Google (2012-05-29). "Dev Channel Update". Retrieved 2011-06-01. 
  18. ^ Google (2012-08-21). "Stable Channel Update". Retrieved 2012-08-22. 
  19. ^ Chromium Project (2013-05-30). "Chromium TLS 1.2 Implementation". 
  20. ^ a b c d e f "Bug 565047 - (RFC4346) Implement TLS 1.1 (RFC 4346)". Retrieved 2013-10-29. 
  21. ^ "NSS 3.14 release notes". Retrieved 29 October 2013. 
  22. ^ a b c d e f "Bug 480514 - Implement support for TLS 1.2 (RFC 5246)". Retrieved 2013-10-29. 
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Further reading[edit]

  • Wagner, David; Schneier, Bruce (November 1996). "Analysis of the SSL 3.0 Protocol". The Second USENIX Workshop on Electronic Commerce Proceedings. USENIX Press. pp. 29–40. 
  • Eric Rescorla (2001). SSL and TLS: Designing and Building Secure Systems. United States: Addison-Wesley Pub Co. ISBN 0-201-61598-3. 

External links[edit]

This article is based on material taken from the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing prior to 1 November 2008 and incorporated under the "relicensing" terms of the GFDL, version 1.3 or later.