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OCSP stapling

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Title: OCSP stapling  
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Subject: BREACH (security exploit), Botan (programming library), Certificate Transparency, Nginx, RSA BSAFE
Collection: Cryptographic Protocols, Internet Protocols, Internet Standards, Transport Layer Security
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OCSP stapling

OCSP stapling, formally known as the TLS Certificate Status Request extension, is an alternative approach to the Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP) for checking the revocation status of X.509 digital certificates. It allows the presenter of a certificate to bear the resource cost involved in providing OCSP responses, instead of the issuing certificate authority (CA).

Contents

  • Motivation 1
  • Solution 2
  • Specification 3
  • Deployment 4
  • Limitations 5
  • References 6

Motivation

OCSP has several advantages over older Certificate Revocation List (CRL)-based certificate revocation-checking approaches. OCSP can introduce a significant penalty for certificate authorities who are now required to provide responses to every client of a given certificate in real time. When the certificate is issued to a legitimate high traffic web site, for instance, this can result in enormous volumes of OCSP request traffic, all of which serves to indicate that the certificate is valid and can be trusted.

OCSP checking also creates a privacy impairment, since it requires the client to contact a third party (the CA) to confirm certificate validity. A way to verify validity without disclosing browsing behavior would be desirable for some groups of users.

Solution

OCSP stapling resolves both problems in a fashion reminiscent of the

  1. ^ P. Hallam-Baker, X.509v3 Extension: OCSP Stapling Required
  2. ^ P. Hallam-Baker X.509v3 TLS Feature Extension draft-hallambaker-tlsfeature-05
  3. ^ A. Langley, No, don't enable revocation checking, April 19, 2014.
  4. ^ Apache HTTP Server mod_ssl documentation - SSLUseStapling directive
  5. ^ nginx-announce mailing list - nginx-1.3.7
  6. ^ Release Log - Litespeed Tech. Retrieved 2014-02-07,
  7. ^ Duncan, Robert. "Microsoft Achieves World Domination (in OCSP Stapling)". Netcraft Ltd. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  8. ^ HAProxy website
  9. ^ Release Note: BIG-IP LTM and TMOS 11.6.0
  10. ^ OCSP Stapling in Firefox, retrieved 2013-07-30
  11. ^ Improving Revocation - MozillaWiki, retrieved 2014-04-28
  12. ^ "How Certificate Revocation Works". TechNet. Microsoft. 16 March 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  13. ^ Mozilla NSS Bug 360420, Comment by Adam Langley
  14. ^ Mozilla NSS Bug 611836 - Implement multiple OCSP stapling extension
  15. ^ Pettersen, Yngve N. (June 2013). "The Transport Layer Security (TLS) Multiple Certificate Status Request Extension".  

References

This limitation has been addressed by Multiple Certificate Status Request Extension, specified in RFC 6961. It adds the support for sending multiple OCSP responses.[15]

OCSP stapling is designed to reduce the cost of an OCSP validation---both for the client and the OCSP responder---especially for large sites serving many simultaneous users. However, OCSP stapling supports only one OCSP response at a time, which is insufficient for certificate chains with intermediate CA certs.[13][14]

Limitations

On the browser side, OCSP stapling was implemented in Firefox 26[10][11] and in Internet Explorer since Windows Vista.[12]

Apache HTTP Server supports OCSP stapling since version 2.3.3,[4] the nginx web server since version 1.3.7,[5] LiteSpeed Web Server since version 4.2.4,[6] Microsoft's IIS since Windows Server 2008,[7] HAProxy since version 1.5.0,[8] and F5 Networks BIG-IP since version 11.6.0. [9]

OCSP stapling has not seen broad deployment to date, however this is changing. The OpenSSL project included support in their 0.9.8g release with the assistance of a grant from the Mozilla Foundation.

Deployment

[3] OpenSSL bug.Heartbleed TLS developer Adam Langley discussed the extension in an April 2014 article following the repair of the [2] Current version of the proposal has been extended to support also other TLS extensions.[1]

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