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Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) R. Housley Request for Comments: 5877 Vigil Security Category: Informational May 2010 ISSN: 2070-1721

The application/pkix-attr-cert Media Type for Attribute Certificates


 This document specifies a MIME media type used to carry a single
 attribute certificate as defined in RFC 5755.

Status of This Memo

 This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is
 published for informational purposes.
 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).  Not all documents
 approved by the IESG are a candidate for any level of Internet
 Standard; see Section 2 of RFC 5741.
 Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
 and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at

Copyright Notice

 Copyright (c) 2010 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
 Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
 ( in effect on the date of
 publication of this document.  Please review these documents
 carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
 to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
 include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
 the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
 described in the Simplified BSD License.

Housley Informational [Page 1] RFC 5877 application/pkix-attr-cert Media Type May 2010

1. Introduction

 RFC 2585 [RFC2585] defines the MIME media types for public key
 certificates and certificate revocation lists (CRLs).  This document
 specifies a MIME media type for use with attribute certificates as
 defined in RFC 5755 [RFC5755].
 Attribute certificates are ASN.1 encoded [X.680].  RFC 5755 [RFC5755]
 tells which portions of the attribute certificate must use the
 distinguished encoding rules (DER) [X.690] and which portions are
 permitted to use the basic encoding rules (BER) [X.690].  Since DER
 is a proper subset of BER, BER decoding all parts of a properly
 constructed attribute certificate will be successful.

2. IANA Considerations

 This document registers with IANA the "application/pkix-attr-cert"
 Internet Media Type for use with an attribute certificate as defined
 in [RFC5755].  This registration follows the procedures defined in
 BCP 13 [RFC4288].
    Type name: application
    Subtype name: pkix-attr-cert
    Required parameters: None
    Optional parameters: None
    Encoding considerations: binary
    Security considerations:
      An attribute certificate provides authorization information.  An
      attribute certificate is most often used in conjunction with a
      public key certificate [RFC5280], and the two certificates
      should use the same encoding of the distinguished name as
      described in the Security Considerations of this document.
    Interoperability considerations:
      The media type will be used with HTTP to fetch attribute
      certificates.  Other uses may emerge in the future.
    Published specification: RFC 5755

Housley Informational [Page 2] RFC 5877 application/pkix-attr-cert Media Type May 2010

    Applications that use this media type:
      The media type is used with a MIME-compliant transport to
      transfer an attribute certificate.  Attribute certificates
      convey authorization information, and they are most often used
      in conjunction with public key certificates as defined in
    Additional information:
      Magic number(s): None
      File extension(s): .ac
      Macintosh File Type Code(s): none
    Person & email address to contact for further information:
      Russ Housley
    Intended usage: COMMON
    Restrictions on usage: none
      Russ Housley <>
    Intended usage: COMMON
    Change controller:
      The IESG <>

3. Security Considerations

 Attribute certificate issuers must encode the holder entity name in
 exactly the same way as the public key certificate distinguished
 name.  If they are encoded differently, implementations may fail to
 recognize that the attribute certificate and public key certificate
 belong to the same entity.

4. References

4.1. Normative References

 [RFC5755]   Farrell, S., Housley, R., and S. Turner, "An Internet
             Attribute Certificate Profile for Authorization",
             RFC 5755, January 2010.

Housley Informational [Page 3] RFC 5877 application/pkix-attr-cert Media Type May 2010

4.2. Informative References

 [RFC2585]   Housley, R. and P. Hoffman, "Internet X.509 Public Key
             Infrastructure Operational Protocols: FTP and HTTP",
             RFC 2585, May 1999.
 [RFC4288]   Freed, N. and J. Klensin, "Media Type Specifications and
             Registration Procedures", BCP 13, RFC 4288,
             December 2005.
 [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, May 2008.
 [X.680]     ITU-T Recommendation X.680 (2002) | ISO/IEC 8824-1:2002,
             Information technology - Abstract Syntax Notation One
             (ASN.1):  Specification of basic notation.
 [X.690]     ITU-T Recommendation X.690 (2002) | ISO/IEC 8825-1:2002,
             Information technology - ASN.1 encoding rules:
             Specification of Basic Encoding Rules (BER), Canonical
             Encoding Rules (CER) and Distinguished Encoding
             Rules (DER).

Author's Address

 Russell Housley
 Vigil Security, LLC
 918 Spring Knoll Drive
 Herndon, VA 20170

Housley Informational [Page 4]

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