Filename: 124-tls-certificates.txt
Title: Blocking resistant TLS certificate usage
Author: Steven J. Murdoch
Created: 2007-10-25
Status: Superseded


  To be less distinguishable from HTTPS web browsing, only Tor servers should
  present TLS certificates. This should be done whilst maintaining backwards
  compatibility with Tor nodes which present and expect client certificates, and
  while preserving existing security properties. This specification describes
  the negotiation protocol, what certificates should be presented during the TLS
  negotiation, and how to move the client authentication within the encrypted


  In Tor's current TLS [1] handshake, both client and server present a
  two-certificate chain. Since TLS performs authentication prior to establishing
  the encrypted tunnel, the contents of these certificates are visible to an
  eavesdropper. In contrast, during normal HTTPS web browsing, the server
  presents a single certificate, signed by a root CA and the client presents no
  certificate. Hence it is possible to distinguish Tor from HTTP by identifying
  this pattern.

  To resist blocking based on traffic identification, Tor should behave as close
  to HTTPS as possible, i.e. servers should offer a single certificate and not
  request a client certificate; clients should present no certificate. This
  presents two difficulties: clients are no longer authenticated and servers are
  authenticated by the connection key, rather than identity key. The link
  protocol must thus be modified to preserve the old security semantics.

  Finally, in order to maintain backwards compatibility, servers must correctly
  identify whether the client supports the modified certificate handling. This
  is achieved by modifying the cipher suites that clients advertise support
  for. These cipher suites are selected to be similar to those chosen by web
  browsers, in order to resist blocking based on client hello.


  Initiator: OP or OR which initiates a TLS connection ("client" in TLS
  Responder: OR which receives an incoming TLS connection ("server" in TLS

Version negotiation and cipher suite selection:

  In the modified TLS handshake, the responder does not request a certificate
  from the initiator. This request would normally occur immediately after the
  responder receives the client hello (the first message in a TLS handshake) and
  so the responder must decide whether to request a certificate based only on
  the information in the client hello. This is achieved by examining the cipher
  suites in the client hello.

   List 1: cipher suites lists offered by version 0/1 Tor

   From src/common/tortls.c, revision 12086:

 Client hello sent by initiator:

  Initiators supporting version 2 of the Tor connection protocol MUST
  offer a different cipher suite list from those sent by pre-version 2
  Tors, contained in List 1. To maintain compatibility with older Tor
  versions and common browsers, the cipher suite list MUST include
  support for:


 Client hello received by responder/server hello sent by responder:

  Responders supporting version 2 of the Tor connection protocol should compare
  the cipher suite list in the client hello with those in List 1. If it matches
  any in the list then the responder should assume that the initiatior supports
  version 1, and thus should maintain the version 1 behavior, i.e. send a
  two-certificate chain, request a client certificate and do not send or expect
  a VERSIONS cell [2].

  Otherwise, the responder should assume version 2 behavior and select a cipher
  suite following TLS [1] behavior, i.e. select the first entry from the client
  hello cipher list which is acceptable. Responders MUST NOT select any suite
  that lacks ephemeral keys, or whose symmetric keys are less then KEY_LEN bits,
  or whose digests are less than HASH_LEN bits. Implementations SHOULD NOT
  allow other SSLv3 ciphersuites. 

  Should no mutually acceptable cipher suite be found, the connection MUST be

  If the responder is implementing version 2 of the connection protocol it
  SHOULD send a server certificate with random contents. The organizationName
  field MUST NOT be "Tor", "TOR" or "t o r".

 Server certificate received by initiator:

  If the server certificate has an organizationName of "Tor", "TOR" or "t o r",
  the initiator should assume that the responder does not support version 2 of
  the connection protocol. In which case the initiator should respond following
  version 1, i.e. send a two-certificate client chain and do not send or expect
  a VERSIONS cell.

  [SJM: We could also use the fact that a client certificate request was sent]
  If the server hello contains a ciphersuite which does not comply with the key
  length requirements above, even if it was one offered in the client hello, the
  connection MUST be closed. This will only occur if the responder is not a Tor

 Backward compatibility:

  v1 Initiator, v1 Responder: No change
  v1 Initiator, v2 Responder: Responder detects v1 initiator by client hello
  v2 Initiator, v1 Responder: Responder accepts v2 client hello. Initiator
   detects v1 server certificate and continues with v1 protocol
  v2 Initiator, v2 Responder: Responder accepts v2 client hello. Initiator
   detects v2 server certificate and continues with v2 protocol.

 Additional link authentication process:

  Following VERSION and NETINFO negotiation, both responder and
  initiator MUST send a certification chain in a CERT cell. If one
  party does not have a certificate, the CERT cell MUST still be sent,
  but with a length of zero.

  A CERT cell is a variable length cell, of the format
        CircID                                [2 bytes]
        Command                               [1 byte]
        Length                                [2 bytes]
        Payload                               [<length> bytes]

  CircID MUST set to be 0x0000
  Command is [SJM: TODO]
  Length is the length of the payload
  Payload contains 0 or more certificates, each is of the format:
        Cert_Length  [2 bytes]
        Certificate  [<cert_length> bytes]

  Each certificate MUST sign the one preceding it. The initator MUST
  place its connection certificate first; the responder, having
  already sent its connection certificate as part of the TLS handshake
  MUST place its identity certificate first.

  Initiators who send a CERT cell MUST follow that with an LINK_AUTH
  cell to prove that they posess the corresponding private key.  

  A LINK_AUTH cell is fixed-lenth, of the format:
         CircID                                [2 bytes]
         Command                               [1 byte]
         Length                                [2 bytes]
         Payload (padded with 0 bytes)         [PAYLOAD_LEN - 2 bytes]

  CircID MUST set to be 0x0000
  Command is [SJM: TODO]
  Length is the valid portion of the payload
  Payload is of the format:
         Signature version                     [1 byte]
         Signature                             [<length> - 1 bytes]
         Padding                               [PAYLOAD_LEN - <length> - 2 bytes]

  Signature version: Identifies the type of signature, currently 0x00
  Signature: Digital signature under the initiator's connection key of the
   following item, in PKCS #1 block type 1 [3] format:

    HMAC-SHA1, using the TLS master secret as key, of the
    following elements concatenated:
     - The signature version (0x00)
     - The NUL terminated ASCII string: "Tor initiator certificate verification"
     - client_random, as sent in the Client Hello
     - server_random, as sent in the Server Hello
     - SHA-1 hash of the initiator connection certificate
     - SHA-1 hash of the responder connection certificate

  Security checks:

    - Before sending a LINK_AUTH cell, a node MUST ensure that the TLS
      connection is authenticated by the responder key.
    - For the handshake to have succeeded, the initiator MUST confirm:
       - That the TLS handshake was authenticated by the 
         responder connection key
       - That the responder connection key was signed by the first
         certificate in the CERT cell
       - That each certificate in the CERT cell was signed by the
         following certificate, with the exception of the last
       - That the last certificate in the CERT cell is the expected
         identity certificate for the node being connected to
    - For the handshake to have succeeded, the responder MUST confirm
       A) - A zero length CERT cell was sent and no LINK_AUTH cell was
          In which case the responder shall treat the identity of the
          initiator as unknown
       B) - That the LINK_AUTH MAC contains a signature by the first
            certificate in the CERT cell
          - That the MAC signed matches the expected value
          - That each certificate in the CERT cell was signed by the
            following certificate, with the exception of the last
          In which case the responder shall treat the identity of the
          initiator as that of the last certificate in the CERT cell

  Protocol summary:

  1. I(nitiator) <-> R(esponder): TLS handshake, including responder
                               authentication under connection certificate R_c
  2. I <->: VERSION and NETINFO negotiation
  3. R -> I: CERT (Responder identity certificate R_i (which signs R_c))
  4. I -> R: CERT (Initiator connection certificate I_c, 
                   Initiator identity certificate I_i (which signs I_c)
  5. I -> R: LINK_AUTH (Signature, under I_c of HMAC-SHA1(master_secret,
                    "Tor initiator certificate verification" ||
                    client_random || server_random ||
                    I_c hash || R_c hash)

  Notes: I -> R doesn't need to wait for R_i before sending its own
   messages (reduces round-trips).
   Certificate hash is calculated like identity hash in CREATE cells.
   Initiator signature is calculated in a similar way to Certificate
   Verify messages in TLS 1.1 (RFC4346, Sections 7.4.8 and 4.7).
   If I is an OP, a zero length certificate chain may be sent in step 4;
   In which case, step 5 is not performed


  - Version and netinfo negotiation before authentication: The version cell needs
   to come before before the rest of the protocol, since we may choose to alter
   the rest at some later point, e.g switch to a different MAC/signature scheme.
   It is useful to keep the NETINFO and VERSION cells close to each other, since
   the time between them is used to check if there is a delay-attack. Still, a
   server might want to not act on NETINFO data from an initiator until the
   authentication is complete.

Appendix A: Cipher suite choices

  This specification intentionally does not put any constraints on the
  TLS ciphersuite lists presented by clients, other than a minimum
  required for compatibility. However, to maximize blocking
  resistance, ciphersuite lists should be carefully selected.

   Recommended client ciphersuite list


     0xc014: TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA 
     0x0039: TLS_DHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA 
     0x0038: TLS_DHE_DSS_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA
     0xc00f: TLS_ECDH_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA 
     0x0035: TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA
     0xc007: TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_RC4_128_SHA 
     0xc011: TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_RC4_128_SHA
     0xc013: TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA 
     0x0033: TLS_DHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA 
     0x0032: TLS_DHE_DSS_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA 
     0xc00c: TLS_ECDH_RSA_WITH_RC4_128_SHA
     0xc00e: TLS_ECDH_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA
     0xc002: TLS_ECDH_ECDSA_WITH_RC4_128_SHA  
     0x0004: SSL_RSA_WITH_RC4_128_MD5 
     0x0005: SSL_RSA_WITH_RC4_128_SHA 
     0x002f: TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA 
     0xfeff: SSL_RSA_FIPS_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA (168-bit Triple DES with RSA and a SHA1 MAC)

     Order specified in:

   Recommended options:
      0x0000: Server Name Indication [4]
      0x000a: Supported Elliptic Curves [5]
      0x000b: Supported Point Formats [5]

   Recommended compression:

   Recommended server ciphersuite selection:

     The responder should select the first entry in this list which is
     listed in the client hello:

     0x0039: TLS_DHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA  [ Common Firefox choice ]
     0x0033: TLS_DHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA  [ Tor v1 default ] 
     0x0016: SSL_DHE_RSA_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA [ Tor v1 fallback ]
     0x0013: SSL_DHE_DSS_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA [ Valid IE option ]


[1] The Transport Layer Security (TLS) Protocol, Version 1.1, RFC4346, IETF

[2] Version negotiation for the Tor protocol, Tor proposal 105

[3] B. Kaliski, "Public-Key Cryptography Standards (PKCS) #1:
    RSA Cryptography Specifications Version 1.5", RFC 2313,
    March 1998.

[4] TLS Extensions, RFC 3546

[5] Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) Cipher Suites for Transport Layer Security (TLS)

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