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RFC 9336

X.509 Certificate General-Purpose Extended Key Usage (EKU) for Document Signing

Pages: ~8
IETF/sec/lamps/draft-ietf-lamps-documentsigning-eku-06
Proposed Standard

Top   ToC   RFCv3-9336
T. Ito
SECOM CO., LTD.
T. Okubo
DigiCert, Inc.
S. Turner
sn3rd
December 2022

X.509 Certificate General-Purpose Extended Key Usage (EKU) for Document Signing

Abstract

RFC 5280 specifies several extended key purpose identifiers (KeyPurposeIds) for X.509 certificates. This document defines a general-purpose Document-Signing KeyPurposeId for inclusion in the Extended Key Usage (EKU) extension of X.509 public key certificates. Document-Signing applications may require that the EKU extension be present and that a Document-Signing KeyPurposeId be indicated in order for the certificate to be acceptable to that Document-Signing application.

Status of This Memo

This is an Internet Standards Track document.
This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). It represents the consensus of the IETF community. It has received public review and has been approved for publication by the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG). Further information on Internet Standards is available in Section 2 of RFC 7841.
Information about the current status of this document, any errata, and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc9336.

Copyright Notice

Copyright (c) 2022 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 (https://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 Revised BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as described in the Revised BSD License.
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1.  Introduction

[RFC 5280] specifies several extended key purpose identifiers (KeyPurposeIds) for X.509 certificates. In addition, the IANA repository "SMI Security for PKIX Extended Key Purpose" [RFC 7299] includes a number of KeyPurposeIds. While usage of the anyExtendedKeyUsage KeyPurposeId is bad practice for publicly trusted certificates, there is no public and general KeyPurposeId explicitly assigned for Document Signing. The current practice is to use id-kp-emailProtection, id-kp-codeSigning, or a vendor-defined KeyPurposeId for general Document-Signing purposes.
In circumstances where code signing and S/MIME certificates are also used for Document Signing, technical or policy changes made to the code signing and S/MIME ecosystem may cause unexpected behaviors or have an adverse impact such as decreased cryptographic agility on the Document-Signing ecosystem and vice versa.
Vendor-defined KeyPurposeIds that are used in a PKI governed by the vendor or a group of vendors pose no interoperability concern. Appropriating, or misappropriating as the case may be, KeyPurposeIDs for use outside of their originally intended vendor or group of vendors controlled environment can introduce problems, the impact of which is difficult to determine.
Therefore, it is not favorable to use a vendor-defined KeyPurposeId for signing a document that is not governed by the vendor.
This document defines an extended key purpose identifier for Document Signing.
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2.  Conventions and Definitions

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "NOT RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in BCP 14 [RFC 2119] [RFC 8174] when, and only when, they appear in all capitals, as shown here.
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3.  Extended Key Purpose for Document Signing

This specification defines the KeyPurposeId id-kp-documentSigning.
As described in [RFC 5280], "[i]f the [Extended Key Usage] extension is present, then the certificate MUST only be used for one of the purposes indicated." [RFC 5280] also notes that "[i]f multiple [key] purposes are indicated the application need not recognize all purposes indicated, as long as the intended purpose is present."
Document-Signing applications MAY require that the EKU extension be present and that the id-kp-documentSigning be indicated in order for the certificate to be acceptable to that Document-Signing application.
The term "Document Signing" in this document refers to digitally signing contents that are consumed by people. To be more precise, contents are intended to be shown to a person in a printable or displayable form by means of services or software, rather than processed by machines.

3.1.  Including the Extended Key Purpose for Document Signing in Certificates

[RFC 5280] specifies the EKU X.509 certificate extension for use on the Internet. The extension indicates one or more purposes for which the certified public key is valid. The EKU extension can be used in conjunction with the key usage extension, which indicates the set of basic cryptographic operations for which the certified key may be used.
The EKU extension syntax is repeated here for convenience:
  ExtKeyUsageSyntax  ::=  SEQUENCE SIZE (1..MAX) OF KeyPurposeId

  KeyPurposeId  ::=  OBJECT IDENTIFIER
As described in [RFC 5280], the EKU extension may, at the option of the certificate issuer, be either critical or non-critical.
This specification defines the KeyPurposeId id-kp-documentSigning. Inclusion of this KeyPurposeId in a certificate indicates that the public key encoded in the certificate has been certified to be used for cryptographic operations on contents that are consumed by people.
  id-kp  OBJECT IDENTIFIER  ::=
      { iso(1) identified-organization(3) dod(6) internet(1)
        security(5) mechanisms(5) pkix(7) 3 }

  id-kp-documentSigning  OBJECT IDENTIFIER  ::=  { id-kp 36 }
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4.  Using the Extended Key Purpose for Document Signing in a Certificate

Our intended use case is people consuming the contents of signed documents. To be more precise, contents are intended to be shown to a person in a printable or displayable form by means of services or software, rather than processed by machines. The digital signature on the contents is to indicate to the recipient of the contents that the content has not changed since it was signed by the identity indicated as the subject of the certificate. To validate the digital signature that is signed on contents intended to be consumed by people, implementations MAY perform the steps below during certificate validation.
The following procedure is used to examine the KeyPurposeId(s) included in the EKU extension. Restrictions on EKU is derived and implemented from (or configured with) the policy to which the implementation conforms.
  • If there are no restrictions set for the relying party and the relying party software, the certificate is acceptable.
  • If there are restrictions set for the relying party and relying party software, then process the KeyPurposeId(s) as described below. This procedure is intended to permit or prohibit the presence of a certain KeyPurposeId or the complete absence of KeyPurposeIds. It is outside the scope of this document, but the relying party can permit or prohibit combinations of KeyPurposeIds, instead of a single KeyPurposeId. A consideration on prohibiting combinations of KeyPurposeIds is described in the Security Considerations section of this document. If both Excluded KeyPurposeId and Permitted KeyPurposeId exist, the relying party or the relying party software processes each restriction on Excluded KeyPurposeId first and then processes each restriction on Permitted KeyPurposeId.
    Excluded KeyPurposeId procedure:
    Excluded KeyPurposeId is a KeyPurposeId that the relying party or the relying party software prohibits. Examples of Excluded KeyPurposeId include the presence of the anyExtendedKeyUsage KeyPurposeId or the complete absence of the EKU extension in a certificate. If a KeyPurposeId of the certificate meets the conditions set by the Excluded KeyPurposeId restriction, the relying party or the relying party software rejects the certificate.
    Permitted KeyPurposeId procedure:
    Permitted KeyPurposeId is a KeyPurposeId that the relying party or the relying party software accepts. Examples of Permitted KeyPurposeId include the presence of this general-purpose Document-Signing KeyPurposeId and/or the protocol-specific KeyPurposeIds that are relevant to Document Signing. If a KeyPurposeId of the certificate meets the condition set by a Permitted KeyPurposeId restriction, the certificate is acceptable. Otherwise, the relying party or the relying party software rejects the certificate.
When a single application has the capability to process various data formats, the software may choose to make the excluded and permitted decisions separately in accordance with the format it is handling (e.g., TEXT and PDF).
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5.  Implications for a Certification Authority

The procedures and practices employed by a certification authority MUST ensure that the correct values for the EKU extension are inserted in each certificate that is issued. Unless certificates are governed by a vendor-specific PKI, certificates that indicate usage for Document Signing MAY include the id-kp-documentSigning KeyPurposeId. The inclusion of the id-kp-documentSigning KeyPurposeId does not preclude the inclusion of other KeyPurposeIds.
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6.  Security Considerations

The usage of the id-kp-documentSigning KeyPurposeId is to provide an alternative to id-kp-emailProtection being used for non-email purposes and id-kp-codeSigning being used to sign objects other than binary code. This extended key purpose does not introduce new security risks but instead reduces existing security risks by providing means to separate other extended key purposes used for communication protocols, which include TLS (id-kp-clientAuth) and S/IME (id-kp-emailProtection), in order to minimize the risk of cross-protocol attacks.
To reduce the risk of specific cross-protocol attacks, the relying party or the relying party software may additionally prohibit use of specific combinations of KeyPurposeIds.
While a specific protocol or signing scheme may choose to come up with their own KeyPurposeIds, some may not have significant motive or resources to set up and manage their own KeyPurposeIds. This general-purpose Document-Signing KeyPurposeId may be used as a stop-gap for those that intend to define their own Document-Signing KeyPurposeId or those who do not intend to set up a KeyPurposeId but still would like to distinguish Document Signing from other usages.
Introduction of this id-kp-documentSigning KeyPurposeId does not introduce any new security or privacy concerns.
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7.  IANA Considerations

IANA has registered the following OID in the "SMI Security for PKIX Extended Key Purpose" registry (1.3.6.1.5.5.7.3). This OID is defined in Section 3.1.
Decimal Description References
36 id-kp-documentSigning RFC 9336
Table 1
IANA has also registered the following ASN.1 [X.680] module OID in the "SMI Security for PKIX Module Identifier" registry (1.3.6.1.5.5.7.0). This OID is defined in Appendix A.
Decimal Description References
104 id-mod-docsign-eku RFC 9336
Table 2
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8.  References

8.1.  Normative References

[RFC2119]
S. Bradner, "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997,
<https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc2119>.
[RFC5280]
D. Cooper, S. Santesson, S. Farrell, S. Boeyen, R. Housley, and W. Polk, "Internet X.509 Public Key Infrastructure Certificate and Certificate Revocation List (CRL) Profile", RFC 5280, DOI 10.17487/RFC5280, May 2008,
<https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc5280>.
[RFC8174]
B. Leiba, "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC 2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174, May 2017,
<https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8174>.
[X.680]
ITU-T, "Information technology - Abstract Syntax Notation One (ASN.1): Specification of basic notation", ITU-T Recommendation X.680, February 2021.

8.2.  Informative References

[RFC7299]
R. Housley, "Object Identifier Registry for the PKIX Working Group", RFC 7299, DOI 10.17487/RFC7299, July 2014,
<https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc7299>.
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Appendix A.  ASN.1 Module

The following ASN.1 [X.680] module provides the complete definition of the Document-Signing KeyPurposeId.
  DocSignEKU { iso(1) identified-organization(3) dod(6) internet(1)
    security(5) mechanisms(5) pkix(7) id-mod(0)
    id-mod-docsign-eku(104) }

  DEFINITIONS EXPLICIT TAGS ::=

  BEGIN

  -- EXPORTS ALL --

  -- IMPORTS NOTHING --

  -- OID Arc --

  id-kp  OBJECT IDENTIFIER  ::= {
    iso(1) identified-organization(3) dod(6) internet(1)
    security(5) mechanisms(5) pkix(7) kp(3) }

  -- Document-Signing Extended Key Usage --

  id-kp-documentSigning OBJECT IDENTIFIER ::= { id-kp 36 }

  END
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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Russ Housley for verifying the ASN.1 module. Additionally, we would like to thank Corey Bonnell, Wendy Brown, Russ Housley, Prachi Jain, and Stefan Santesson for their comments.
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