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RFC 7638

JSON Web Key (JWK) Thumbprint

Pages: 13
Proposed Standard

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Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                          M. Jones
Request for Comments: 7638                                     Microsoft
Category: Standards Track                                    N. Sakimura
ISSN: 2070-1721                                Nomura Research Institute
                                                          September 2015


                     JSON Web Key (JWK) Thumbprint

Abstract

This specification defines a method for computing a hash value over a JSON Web Key (JWK). It defines which fields in a JWK are used in the hash computation, the method of creating a canonical form for those fields, and how to convert the resulting Unicode string into a byte sequence to be hashed. The resulting hash value can be used for identifying or selecting the key represented by the JWK that is the subject of the thumbprint. 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 http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7638. Copyright Notice Copyright (c) 2015 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 (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) 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.
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 1.1. Notational Conventions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 2. Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 3. JSON Web Key (JWK) Thumbprint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 3.1. Example JWK Thumbprint Computation . . . . . . . . . . . 4 3.2. JWK Members Used in the Thumbprint Computation . . . . . 6 3.2.1. JWK Thumbprint of a Private Key . . . . . . . . . . . 6 3.2.2. Why Not Include Optional Members? . . . . . . . . . . 7 3.3. Order and Representation of Members in Hash Input . . . . 7 3.4. Selection of Hash Function . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 3.5. JWK Thumbprints of Keys Not in JWK Format . . . . . . . . 8 4. Practical JSON and Unicode Considerations . . . . . . . . . . 8 5. Relationship to Digests of X.509 Values . . . . . . . . . . . 9 6. IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 7. Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 8. References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 8.1. Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 8.2. Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Authors' Addresses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

1. Introduction

This specification defines a method for computing a hash value (a.k.a. digest) over a JSON Web Key (JWK) [JWK]. It defines which fields in a JWK are used in the hash computation, the method of creating a canonical form for those fields, and how to convert the resulting Unicode string into a byte sequence to be hashed. The resulting hash value can be used for identifying or selecting the key represented by the JWK that is the subject of the thumbprint, for instance, by using the base64url-encoded JWK Thumbprint value as a "kid" (key ID) value.

1.1. Notational Conventions

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 "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels" [RFC2119]. The interpretation should only be applied when the terms appear in all capital letters.
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2. Terminology

This specification uses the same terminology as the "JSON Web Key (JWK)" [JWK], "JSON Web Signature (JWS)" [JWS], and "JSON Web Algorithms (JWA)" [JWA] specifications. This term is defined by this specification: JWK Thumbprint The digest value for a JWK.

3. JSON Web Key (JWK) Thumbprint

The thumbprint of a JSON Web Key (JWK) is computed as follows: 1. Construct a JSON object [RFC7159] containing only the required members of a JWK representing the key and with no whitespace or line breaks before or after any syntactic elements and with the required members ordered lexicographically by the Unicode [UNICODE] code points of the member names. (This JSON object is itself a legal JWK representation of the key.) 2. Hash the octets of the UTF-8 representation of this JSON object with a cryptographic hash function H. For example, SHA-256 [SHS] might be used as H. See Section 3.4 for a discussion on the choice of hash function. The resulting value is the JWK Thumbprint with H of the JWK. The details of this computation are further described in subsequent sections.
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3.1. Example JWK Thumbprint Computation

This section demonstrates the JWK Thumbprint computation for the JWK below (with the long line broken for display purposes only): { "kty": "RSA", "n": "0vx7agoebGcQSuuPiLJXZptN9nndrQmbXEps2aiAFbWhM78LhWx4cbbfAAt VT86zwu1RK7aPFFxuhDR1L6tSoc_BJECPebWKRXjBZCiFV4n3oknjhMstn6 4tZ_2W-5JsGY4Hc5n9yBXArwl93lqt7_RN5w6Cf0h4QyQ5v-65YGjQR0_FD W2QvzqY368QQMicAtaSqzs8KJZgnYb9c7d0zgdAZHzu6qMQvRL5hajrn1n9 1CbOpbISD08qNLyrdkt-bFTWhAI4vMQFh6WeZu0fM4lFd2NcRwr3XPksINH aQ-G_xBniIqbw0Ls1jF44-csFCur-kEgU8awapJzKnqDKgw", "e": "AQAB", "alg": "RS256", "kid": "2011-04-29" } As defined in "JSON Web Key (JWK)" [JWK] and "JSON Web Algorithms (JWA)" [JWA], the required members for an RSA public key are: o "kty" o "n" o "e" Therefore, these are the members used in the thumbprint computation. Their lexicographic order, per Section 3.3, is: o "e" o "kty" o "n" Therefore, the JSON object constructed as an intermediate step in the computation is as follows (with the line broken for display purposes only): {"e":"AQAB","kty":"RSA","n":"0vx7agoebGcQSuuPiLJXZptN9nndrQmbXEps2 aiAFbWhM78LhWx4cbbfAAtVT86zwu1RK7aPFFxuhDR1L6tSoc_BJECPebWKRXjBZCi FV4n3oknjhMstn64tZ_2W-5JsGY4Hc5n9yBXArwl93lqt7_RN5w6Cf0h4QyQ5v-65Y GjQR0_FDW2QvzqY368QQMicAtaSqzs8KJZgnYb9c7d0zgdAZHzu6qMQvRL5hajrn1n 91CbOpbISD08qNLyrdkt-bFTWhAI4vMQFh6WeZu0fM4lFd2NcRwr3XPksINHaQ-G_x BniIqbw0Ls1jF44-csFCur-kEgU8awapJzKnqDKgw"}
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   The octets of the UTF-8 representation of this JSON object are:

   [123, 34, 101, 34, 58, 34, 65, 81, 65, 66, 34, 44, 34, 107, 116, 121,
   34, 58, 34, 82, 83, 65, 34, 44, 34, 110, 34, 58, 34, 48, 118, 120,
   55, 97, 103, 111, 101, 98, 71, 99, 81, 83, 117, 117, 80, 105, 76, 74,
   88, 90, 112, 116, 78, 57, 110, 110, 100, 114, 81, 109, 98, 88, 69,
   112, 115, 50, 97, 105, 65, 70, 98, 87, 104, 77, 55, 56, 76, 104, 87,
   120, 52, 99, 98, 98, 102, 65, 65, 116, 86, 84, 56, 54, 122, 119, 117,
   49, 82, 75, 55, 97, 80, 70, 70, 120, 117, 104, 68, 82, 49, 76, 54,
   116, 83, 111, 99, 95, 66, 74, 69, 67, 80, 101, 98, 87, 75, 82, 88,
   106, 66, 90, 67, 105, 70, 86, 52, 110, 51, 111, 107, 110, 106, 104,
   77, 115, 116, 110, 54, 52, 116, 90, 95, 50, 87, 45, 53, 74, 115, 71,
   89, 52, 72, 99, 53, 110, 57, 121, 66, 88, 65, 114, 119, 108, 57, 51,
   108, 113, 116, 55, 95, 82, 78, 53, 119, 54, 67, 102, 48, 104, 52, 81,
   121, 81, 53, 118, 45, 54, 53, 89, 71, 106, 81, 82, 48, 95, 70, 68,
   87, 50, 81, 118, 122, 113, 89, 51, 54, 56, 81, 81, 77, 105, 99, 65,
   116, 97, 83, 113, 122, 115, 56, 75, 74, 90, 103, 110, 89, 98, 57, 99,
   55, 100, 48, 122, 103, 100, 65, 90, 72, 122, 117, 54, 113, 77, 81,
   118, 82, 76, 53, 104, 97, 106, 114, 110, 49, 110, 57, 49, 67, 98, 79,
   112, 98, 73, 83, 68, 48, 56, 113, 78, 76, 121, 114, 100, 107, 116,
   45, 98, 70, 84, 87, 104, 65, 73, 52, 118, 77, 81, 70, 104, 54, 87,
   101, 90, 117, 48, 102, 77, 52, 108, 70, 100, 50, 78, 99, 82, 119,
   114, 51, 88, 80, 107, 115, 73, 78, 72, 97, 81, 45, 71, 95, 120, 66,
   110, 105, 73, 113, 98, 119, 48, 76, 115, 49, 106, 70, 52, 52, 45, 99,
   115, 70, 67, 117, 114, 45, 107, 69, 103, 85, 56, 97, 119, 97, 112,
   74, 122, 75, 110, 113, 68, 75, 103, 119, 34, 125]

   Using SHA-256 [SHS] as the hash function H, the JWK SHA-256
   Thumbprint value is the SHA-256 hash of these octets, specifically:

   [55, 54, 203, 177, 120, 124, 184, 48, 156, 119, 238, 140, 55, 5, 197,
   225, 111, 251, 158, 133, 151, 21, 144, 31, 30, 76, 89, 177, 17, 130,
   245, 123]

   The base64url encoding [JWS] of this JWK SHA-256 Thumbprint value
   (which might, for instance, be used as a "kid" (key ID) value) is:

     NzbLsXh8uDCcd-6MNwXF4W_7noWXFZAfHkxZsRGC9Xs
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3.2. JWK Members Used in the Thumbprint Computation

Only the required members of a key's representation are used when computing its JWK Thumbprint value. As defined in "JSON Web Key (JWK)" [JWK] and "JSON Web Algorithms (JWA)" [JWA], the required members for an elliptic curve public key for the curves specified in Section 6.2.1.1 of RFC 7518 [JWA], in lexicographic order, are: o "crv" o "kty" o "x" o "y" The required members for an RSA public key, in lexicographic order, are: o "e" o "kty" o "n" The required members for a symmetric key, in lexicographic order, are: o "k" o "kty" As other "kty" (key type) values are defined, the specifications defining them should be similarly consulted to determine which members, in addition to "kty", are required.

3.2.1. JWK Thumbprint of a Private Key

The JWK Thumbprint of a JWK representing a private key is computed as the JWK Thumbprint of a JWK representing the corresponding public key. This has the intentional benefit that the same JWK Thumbprint value can be computed both by parties using either the public or private key. The JWK Thumbprint can then be used to refer to both keys of the key pair. Application context can be used to determine if the public or private key is the one being referred to by the JWK Thumbprint. This specification defines the method of computing JWK Thumbprints of JWKs representing private keys for interoperability reasons -- so that different implementations computing JWK Thumbprints of private keys will produce the same result.
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3.2.2. Why Not Include Optional Members?

Optional members of JWKs are intentionally not included in the JWK Thumbprint computation so that their absence or presence in the JWK does not alter the resulting value. The JWK Thumbprint value is a digest of the members required to represent the key as a JWK -- not of additional data that may also accompany the key. Optional members are not included so that the JWK Thumbprint refers to a key -- not a key with an associated set of key attributes. Different application contexts might or might not include different subsets of optional attributes about the key in the JWK. If these were included in the calculation of the JWK thumbprint, the values would be different for those JWKs, even though the keys are the same. The benefit of including only the JWK required members is that the JWK Thumbprint of any JWK representing the key remains the same, regardless of any other attributes that are present. Different kinds of thumbprints could be defined by other specifications that might include some or all additional JWK members, if use cases arise where such different kinds of thumbprints would be useful. See Section 9.1 of RFC 7517 [JWK] for notes on some ways to cryptographically bind attributes to a key.

3.3. Order and Representation of Members in Hash Input

The required members in the input to the hash function are ordered lexicographically by the Unicode code points of the member names. Characters in member names and member values MUST be represented without being escaped. This means that thumbprints of JWKs that require such characters are not defined by this specification. (This is not expected to limit the applicability of this specification, in practice, as the members of JWK representations are not expected to use any of these characters.) The characters specified as requiring escaping by Section 7 of [RFC7159] are quotation mark, reverse solidus (a.k.a. backslash), and the control characters U+0000 through U+001F. If the JWK key type uses members whose values are themselves JSON objects, then the members of those objects MUST likewise be lexicographically ordered. (As of the time of this writing, none are defined that do.) If the JWK key type uses members whose values are JSON numbers, and if those numbers are integers, then they MUST be represented as a JSON number as defined in Section 6 of [RFC7159] without including a fraction part or exponent part. For instance, the value "1.024e3"
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   MUST be represented as "1024".  This means that thumbprints of JWKs
   using numbers that are not integers are not defined by this
   specification.  Also, as noted in "The I-JSON Message Format"
   [RFC7493], implementations cannot expect an integer whose absolute
   value is greater than 9007199254740991 (i.e., that is outside the
   range [-(2**53)+1, (2**53)-1]) to be treated as an exact value.  (As
   of the time of this writing, none are defined that use JSON numbers.)

   See Section 4 for a discussion of further practical considerations
   pertaining to the representation of the hash input.

3.4. Selection of Hash Function

A specific hash function must be chosen by an application to compute the hash value of the hash input. For example, SHA-256 [SHS] might be used as the hash function by the application. While SHA-256 is a good default choice at the time of this writing, the hash function of choice can be expected to change over time as the cryptographic landscape evolves. Note that in many cases, only the party that creates a key will need to know the hash function used. A typical usage is for the producer of the key to use the base64url-encoded JWK Thumbprint value as a "kid" (key ID) value. In this case, the consumer of the "kid" treats it as an opaque value that it uses to select the key. However, in some cases, multiple parties will be reproducing the JWK Thumbprint calculation and comparing the results. In these cases, the parties will need to know which hash function was used and use the same one.

3.5. JWK Thumbprints of Keys Not in JWK Format

Note that a key need not be in JWK format to create a JWK Thumbprint of it. The only prerequisites are that the JWK representation of the key be defined and the party creating the JWK Thumbprint be in possession of the necessary key material. These are sufficient to create the hash input from the JWK representation of the key, as described in Section 3.3.

4. Practical JSON and Unicode Considerations

Implementations will almost certainly use functionality provided by the platform's JSON support when parsing the JWK and emitting the JSON object used as the hash input. As a practical consideration, future JWK member names and values should be avoided for which different platforms or libraries might emit different representations. As of the time of this writing, all defined JWK
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   member names and values use only printable ASCII characters, which
   should not exhibit this problem.  Note however, that JSON.stringify()
   cannot be counted on to lexicographically sort the members of JSON
   objects, so while it could be used to emit some kinds of member
   values, different code is likely to be needed to perform the sorting.

   In particular, while the operation of lexicographically ordering
   member names by their Unicode code points is well defined, different
   platform sort functions may produce different results for non-ASCII
   characters, in ways that may not be obvious to developers.  If
   writers of future specifications defining new JWK key type values
   choose to restrict themselves to printable ASCII member names and
   values (which are for machine and not human consumption anyway), some
   future interoperability problems might be avoided.

   However, if new JWK members are defined that use non-ASCII member
   names or values, their definitions should specify the exact Unicode
   code point sequences used to represent them.  This is particularly
   important in cases in which Unicode normalization could result in the
   transformation of one set of code points into another under any
   circumstances.

   Use of escaped characters in JWKs for which JWK Thumbprints will be
   computed should be avoided.  Use of escaped characters in the hash
   input JWKs derived from these original JWKs is prohibited.

   There is a natural representation to use for numeric values that are
   integers.  However, this specification does not attempt to define a
   standard representation for numbers that are not integers or that
   contain an exponent component.  This is not expected to be a problem
   in practice, as the required members of JWK representations are
   expected to use only numbers that are integers.

   Use of number representations containing fraction or exponent parts
   in JWKs for which JWK Thumbprints will be computed should be avoided.

   All of these practical considerations are really an instance of Jon
   Postel's principle: "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative
   in what you send."

5. Relationship to Digests of X.509 Values

JWK Thumbprint values are computed on the JWK members required to represent a key, rather than all members of a JWK that the key is represented in. Thus, they are more analogous to applications that use digests of X.509 Subject Public Key Info (SPKI) values, which are defined in Section 4.1.2.7 of [RFC5280], than to applications that use digests of complete certificate values, as the "x5t" (X.509
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   certificate SHA-1 thumbprint) [JWS] value defined for X.509
   certificate objects does.  While logically equivalent to a digest of
   the SPKI representation of the key, a JWK Thumbprint is computed over
   a JSON representation of that key, rather than over an ASN.1
   representation of it.

6. IANA Considerations

This specification adds to the instructions for the Designated Experts of the following IANA registries, all of which are in the "JSON Object Signing and Encryption (JOSE)" registry [IANA.JOSE]: o JSON Web Key Types o JSON Web Key Elliptic Curve o JSON Web Key Parameters IANA has added a link to this specification in the Reference sections of these registries. For these registries, because of the practical JSON and Unicode considerations described in Section 4, the Designated Experts must either: (a) require that JWK member names and values being registered use only printable ASCII characters excluding double quote ('"') and backslash ('\') (the Unicode characters with code points U+0021, U+0023 through U+005B, and U+005D through U+007E), or (b) if new JWK members or values are defined that use other code points, require that their definitions specify the exact Unicode code point sequences used to represent them. Furthermore, proposed registrations that use Unicode code points that can only be represented in JSON strings as escaped characters must not be accepted.

7. Security Considerations

The JSON Security Considerations and Unicode Comparison Security Considerations described in Sections 10.12 and 10.13 of "JSON Web Signature (JWS)" [JWS] also apply to this specification. Also, as described in Section 4, some implementations may produce incorrect results if esoteric or escaped characters are used in the member names. The security implications of this appear to be limited for JWK Thumbprints of public keys, because while it may result in implementations failing to identify the intended key, it should not leak information. The information in a public key is already public in nature, by definition.
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   A hash of a symmetric key has the potential to leak information about
   the key value.  Thus, the JWK Thumbprint of a symmetric key should
   typically be concealed from parties not in possession of the
   symmetric key, unless in the application context, the cryptographic
   hash used, such as SHA-256, is known to provide sufficient protection
   against disclosure of the key value.

   A JWK Thumbprint will only uniquely identify a particular key if a
   single unambiguous JWK representation for that key is defined and
   used when computing the JWK Thumbprint.  (Such representations are
   defined for all the key types defined in "JSON Web Algorithms (JWA)"
   [JWA].)  For example, if an RSA key were to use "e":"AAEAAQ"
   (representing [0, 1, 0, 1]) rather than the specified correct
   representation of "e":"AQAB" (representing [1, 0, 1]), then a
   different thumbprint value would be produced for what could be
   effectively the same key, at least for implementations that are lax
   in validating the JWK values that they accept.  Thus, JWK Thumbprint
   values can only be relied upon to be unique for a given key if the
   implementation also validates that the correct representation of the
   key is used.

   Even more insidious is that an attacker may supply a key that is a
   transformation of a legal key in order to have it appear to be a
   different key.  For instance, if a legitimate RSA key uses a modulus
   value N and an attacker supplies a key with modulus 3*N, the modified
   key would still work about 1/3 of the time, but would appear to be a
   different key.  Thus, while thumbprint values are valuable for
   identifying legitimate keys, comparing thumbprint values is not a
   reliable means of excluding (blacklisting) the use of particular keys
   (or transformations thereof).

8. References

8.1. Normative References

[IANA.JOSE] IANA, "JSON Object Signing and Encryption (JOSE)", <http://www.iana.org/assignments/jose>. [JWA] Jones, M., "JSON Web Algorithms (JWA)", RFC 7518, DOI 10.17487/RFC7518, May 2015, <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7518>. [JWK] Jones, M., "JSON Web Key (JWK)", RFC 7517, DOI 10.17487/RFC7517, May 2015, <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7517>.
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   [JWS]       Jones, M., Bradley, J., and N. Sakimura, "JSON Web
               Signature (JWS)", RFC 7515, DOI 10.17487/RFC7515, May
               2015, <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7515>.

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

   [RFC7159]   Bray, T., Ed., "The JavaScript Object Notation (JSON)
               Data Interchange Format", RFC 7159, DOI 10.17487/RFC7159,
               March 2014, <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7159>.

   [SHS]       National Institute of Standards and Technology, "Secure
               Hash Standard (SHS)", FIPS PUB 180-4, March 2012,
               <http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/fips/fips180-4/
               fips-180-4.pdf>.

   [UNICODE]   The Unicode Consortium, "The Unicode Standard",
               <http://www.unicode.org/versions/latest/>.

8.2. Informative References

[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, <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc5280>. [RFC7493] Bray, T., Ed., "The I-JSON Message Format", RFC 7493, DOI 10.17487/RFC7493, March 2015, <http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7493>.
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Acknowledgements

James Manger and John Bradley participated in discussions that led to the creation of this specification. Thanks also to Joel Halpern, Barry Leiba, Adam Montville, Kathleen Moriarty, and Jim Schaad for their reviews of this specification.

Authors' Addresses

Michael B. Jones Microsoft Email: mbj@microsoft.com URI: http://self-issued.info/ Nat Sakimura Nomura Research Institute Email: n-sakimura@nri.co.jp URI: http://nat.sakimura.org/