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Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) P. Gutmann Request for Comments: 7366 University of Auckland Category: Standards Track September 2014 ISSN: 2070-1721

      Encrypt-then-MAC for Transport Layer Security (TLS) and
              Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS)


 This document describes a means of negotiating the use of the
 encrypt-then-MAC security mechanism in place of the existing MAC-
 then-encrypt mechanism in Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Datagram
 Transport Layer Security (DTLS).  The MAC-then-encrypt mechanism has
 been the subject of a number of security vulnerabilities over a
 period of many years.

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 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) 2014 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.

Gutmann Standards Track [Page 1] RFC 7366 Encrypt-then-MAC for TLS and DTLS September 2014

Table of Contents

 1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   1.1.  Conventions Used in This Document . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
 2.  Negotiating Encrypt-then-MAC  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.1.  Rationale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
 3.  Applying Encrypt-then-MAC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.1.  Rehandshake Issues  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
 4.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
 5.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
 6.  Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
 7.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   7.1.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   7.2.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7

1. Introduction

 TLS [2] and DTLS [4] use a MAC-then-encrypt construction that was
 regarded as secure at the time the original Secure Socket Layer (SSL)
 protocol was specified in the mid-1990s, but that is no longer
 regarded as secure [5] [6].  This construction, as used in TLS and
 later DTLS, has been the subject of numerous security vulnerabilities
 and attacks stretching over a period of many years.  This document
 specifies a means of switching to the more secure encrypt-then-MAC
 construction as part of the TLS/DTLS handshake, replacing the current
 MAC-then-encrypt construction.  (In this document, "MAC" refers to
 "Message Authentication Code".)

1.1. Conventions Used in This Document

 The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
 document are to be interpreted as described in [1].

2. Negotiating Encrypt-then-MAC

 The use of encrypt-then-MAC is negotiated via TLS/DTLS extensions as
 defined in TLS [2].  On connecting, the client includes the
 encrypt_then_mac extension in its client_hello if it wishes to use
 encrypt-then-MAC rather than the default MAC-then-encrypt.  If the
 server is capable of meeting this requirement, it responds with an
 encrypt_then_mac in its server_hello.  The "extension_type" value for
 this extension SHALL be 22 (0x16), and the "extension_data" field of
 this extension SHALL be empty.  The client and server MUST NOT use
 encrypt-then-MAC unless both sides have successfully exchanged
 encrypt_then_mac extensions.

Gutmann Standards Track [Page 2] RFC 7366 Encrypt-then-MAC for TLS and DTLS September 2014

2.1. Rationale

 The use of TLS/DTLS extensions to negotiate an overall switch is
 preferable to defining new ciphersuites because the latter would
 result in a Cartesian explosion of suites, potentially requiring
 duplicating every single existing suite with a new one that uses
 encrypt-then-MAC.  In contrast, the approach presented here requires
 just a single new extension type with a corresponding minimal-length
 extension sent by client and server.
 Another possibility for introducing encrypt-then-MAC would be to make
 it part of TLS 1.3; however, this would require the implementation
 and deployment of all of TLS 1.2 just to support a trivial code
 change in the order of encryption and MAC'ing.  In contrast,
 deploying encrypt-then-MAC via the TLS/DTLS extension mechanism
 required changing less than a dozen lines of code in one
 implementation (not including the handling for the new extension
 type, which was a further 50 or so lines of code).
 The use of extensions precludes use with SSL 3.0, but then it's
 likely that anything still using that protocol, which is nearly two
 decades old, will be vulnerable to any number of other attacks
 anyway, so there seems little point in bending over backwards to
 accommodate SSL 3.0.

3. Applying Encrypt-then-MAC

 Once the use of encrypt-then-MAC has been negotiated, processing of
 TLS/DTLS packets switches from the standard:
 encrypt( data || MAC || pad )
 to the new:
 encrypt( data || pad ) || MAC
 with the MAC covering the entire packet up to the start of the MAC
 value.  In TLS [2] notation, the MAC calculation for TLS 1.0 without
 the explicit Initialization Vector (IV) is:
 MAC(MAC_write_key, seq_num +
     TLSCipherText.type +
     TLSCipherText.version +
     TLSCipherText.length +
     ENC(content + padding + padding_length));

Gutmann Standards Track [Page 3] RFC 7366 Encrypt-then-MAC for TLS and DTLS September 2014

 and for TLS 1.1 and greater with an explicit IV is:
 MAC(MAC_write_key, seq_num +
     TLSCipherText.type +
     TLSCipherText.version +
     TLSCipherText.length +
     IV +
     ENC(content + padding + padding_length));
 (For DTLS, the sequence number is replaced by the combined epoch and
 sequence number as per DTLS [4].)  The final MAC value is then
 appended to the encrypted data and padding.  This calculation is
 identical to the existing one, with the exception that the MAC
 calculation is run over the payload ciphertext (the TLSCipherText
 PDU) rather than the plaintext (the TLSCompressed PDU).
 The overall TLS packet [2] is then:
 struct {
        ContentType type;
        ProtocolVersion version;
        uint16 length;
        GenericBlockCipher fragment;
        opaque MAC;
        } TLSCiphertext;
 The equivalent DTLS packet [4] is then:
 struct {
        ContentType type;
        ProtocolVersion version;
        uint16 epoch;
        uint48 sequence_number;
        uint16 length;
        GenericBlockCipher fragment;
        opaque MAC;
        } TLSCiphertext;
 This is identical to the existing TLS/DTLS layout, with the only
 difference being that the MAC value is moved outside the encrypted
 Note from the GenericBlockCipher annotation that this only applies to
 standard block ciphers that have distinct encrypt and MAC operations.
 It does not apply to GenericStreamCiphers or to GenericAEADCiphers
 that already include integrity protection with the cipher.  If a
 server receives an encrypt-then-MAC request extension from a client
 and then selects a stream or Authenticated Encryption with Associated

Gutmann Standards Track [Page 4] RFC 7366 Encrypt-then-MAC for TLS and DTLS September 2014

 Data (AEAD) ciphersuite, it MUST NOT send an encrypt-then-MAC
 response extension back to the client.
 Decryption reverses this processing.  The MAC SHALL be evaluated
 before any further processing such as decryption is performed, and if
 the MAC verification fails, then processing SHALL terminate
 immediately.  For TLS, a fatal bad_record_mac MUST be generated [2].
 For DTLS, the record MUST be discarded, and a fatal bad_record_mac
 MAY be generated [4].  This immediate response to a bad MAC
 eliminates any timing channels that may be available through the use
 of manipulated packet data.
 Some implementations may prefer to use a truncated MAC rather than a
 full-length one.  In this case, they MAY negotiate the use of a
 truncated MAC through the TLS truncated_hmac extension as defined in
 TLS-Ext [3].

3.1. Rehandshake Issues

 The status of encrypt-then-MAC vs. MAC-then-encrypt can potentially
 change during one or more rehandshakes.  Implementations SHOULD
 retain the current session state across all rehandshakes for that
 session.  (In other words, if the mechanism for the current session
 is X, then the renegotiated session should also use X.)  Although
 implementations SHOULD NOT change the state during a rehandshake, if
 they wish to be more flexible, then the following rules apply:
 | Current Session  |     Renegotiated    |      Action to take      |
 |                  |       Session       |                          |
 | MAC-then-encrypt |   MAC-then-encrypt  |        No change         |
 |                  |                     |                          |
 | MAC-then-encrypt |   Encrypt-then-MAC  |        Upgrade to        |
 |                  |                     |     Encrypt-then-MAC     |
 |                  |                     |                          |
 | Encrypt-then-MAC |   MAC-then-encrypt  |          Error           |
 |                  |                     |                          |
 | Encrypt-then-MAC |   Encrypt-then-MAC  |        No change         |
             Table 1: Encrypt-then-MAC with Renegotiation
 As the above table points out, implementations MUST NOT renegotiate a
 downgrade from encrypt-then-MAC to MAC-then-encrypt.  Note that a
 client or server that doesn't wish to implement the mechanism-change-
 during-rehandshake ability can (as a client) not request a mechanism
 change and (as a server) deny the mechanism change.

Gutmann Standards Track [Page 5] RFC 7366 Encrypt-then-MAC for TLS and DTLS September 2014

 Note that these rules apply across potentially many rehandshakes.
 For example, if a session were in the encrypt-then-MAC state and a
 rehandshake selected a GenericAEADCiphers ciphersuite and a
 subsequent rehandshake then selected a MAC-then-encrypt ciphersuite,
 this would be an error since the renegotiation process has resulted
 in a downgrade from encrypt-then-MAC to MAC-then-encrypt (via the
 AEAD ciphersuite).
 (As the text above has already pointed out, implementations SHOULD
 avoid having to deal with these ciphersuite calisthenics by retaining
 the initially negotiated mechanism across all rehandshakes.)
 If an upgrade from MAC-then-encrypt to encrypt-then-MAC is negotiated
 as per the second line in the table above, then the change will take
 place in the first message that follows the Change Cipher Spec (CCS)
 message.  In other words, all messages up to and including the CCS
 will use MAC-then-encrypt, and then the message that follows will
 continue with encrypt-then-MAC.

4. Security Considerations

 This document defines encrypt-then-MAC, an improved security
 mechanism to replace the current MAC-then-encrypt one.  Encrypt-then-
 MAC is regarded as more secure than the current mechanism [5] [6] and
 should mitigate or eliminate a number of attacks on the current
 mechanism, provided that the instructions on MAC processing given in
 Section 3 are applied.
 An active attacker who can emulate a client or server with extension
 intolerance may cause some implementations to fall back to older
 protocol versions that don't support extensions, which will in turn
 force a fallback to non-encrypt-then-MAC behaviour.  A
 straightforward solution to this problem is to avoid fallback to
 older, less secure protocol versions.  If fallback behaviour is
 unavoidable, then mechanisms to address this issue, which affects all
 capabilities that are negotiated via TLS extensions, are being
 developed by the TLS working group [7].  Anyone concerned about this
 type of attack should consult the TLS working group documents for
 guidance on appropriate defence mechanisms.

5. IANA Considerations

 IANA has added the extension code point 22 (0x16) for the
 encrypt_then_mac extension to the TLS "ExtensionType Values" registry
 as specified in TLS [2].

Gutmann Standards Track [Page 6] RFC 7366 Encrypt-then-MAC for TLS and DTLS September 2014

6. Acknowledgements

 The author would like to thank Martin Rex, Dan Shumow, and the
 members of the TLS mailing list for their feedback on this document.

7. References

7.1. Normative References

 [1]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement
      Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.
 [2]  Dierks, T. and E. Rescorla, "The Transport Layer Security (TLS)
      Protocol Version 1.2", RFC 5246, August 2008.
 [3]  Eastlake, D., "Transport Layer Security (TLS) Extensions:
      Extension Definitions", RFC 6066, January 2011.
 [4]  Rescorla, E. and N. Modadugu, "Datagram Transport Layer Security
      Version 1.2", RFC 6347, January 2012.

7.2. Informative References

 [5]  Bellare, M. and C. Namprempre, "Authenticated Encryption:
      Relations among notions and analysis of the generic composition
      paradigm", Proceedings of AsiaCrypt '00, Springer-Verlag LNCS
      No. 1976, p. 531, December 2000.
 [6]  Krawczyk, H., "The Order of Encryption and Authentication for
      Protecting Communications (or: How Secure Is SSL?)", Proceedings
      of Crypto '01, Springer-Verlag LNCS No. 2139, p. 310, August
 [7]  Moeller, B. and A. Langley, "TLS Fallback Signaling Cipher Suite
      Value (SCSV) for Preventing Protocol Downgrade Attacks", Work in
      Progress, July 2014.

Author's Address

 Peter Gutmann
 University of Auckland
 Department of Computer Science
 New Zealand

Gutmann Standards Track [Page 7]

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