Closed Bug 549460 Opened 11 years ago Closed 4 years ago

The <keygen> handler signs PublicKeyAndChallenge with MD5WithRSA


(Core :: Security: PSM, defect)

Not set





(Reporter: wtc, Assigned: rbarnes)



(Whiteboard: [psm-enroll][good next bug])


(1 file)

The <keygen> handler signs PublicKeyAndChallenge with MD5WithRSA:

Is the use of MD5 required or just historical?

The keygen tag documentation on doesn't
specify the signature algorithm:

But the HTML 5 spec specifies MD5WithRSA:
Wan-Teh, what's the change or action you're requesting?
The issue is the use of MD5.  
At a minimum, we should be using SHA1. 
For large key sizes, we should arguably be using larger SHA hashes.
Assignee: kaie → nobody
I'm worried that simply changing our default behaviour (the output that a KEYGEN element in a form produces) may break consuming servers.

It seems neccessary (to me) that any change to use a different signature algorithm would require the introduction of "HTML attributes" for the KEYGEN element. Would the existing AlgorithmIdentifier attribute be sufficient for this purpose?

If we decided to deprecate the use of MD5 for submitting KEYGEN form data, how could that be done? For example, we could decide:

- the use of the AlgorithmIdentifier is mandatory

- if no AlgorithmIdentifier attribute is specified, the default rendering
  of the keygen element could display a warning message
    (user visible inside the document rendering)
  and the implementation could refuse to create a key pair

Who at Mozilla would be interested to work with CAs and HTML standard groups to make this happen?
I'm positive that the hash should be changed to SHA1 - if you have a test build feel free to test at StartSSL.
Giving you a test build is easy.

Download tomorrow from;O=D
(A directory will appear containing "kaie").

But I'm not yet convinced that having a single positive test result with one single CA site would be sufficient to change the old default, in particular since HTML 5 standard documents mention that it uses MD5.
Eddy, did you ever play with the <keygen AlgorithmIdentifier=...> attribute?
Honestly never. My bandwidth is a bit limited at the moment, not sure if I can make somebody available for that.
Attached patch Patch v1Splinter Review
attaching for documentation purposes.

As said before, I'm not sure/convinced this simple strategy is the right approach.
Unfortunately we didn't get feedback yet for the test builds I had proposed.
I understand it's difficult to use test builds with short availability.
I also believe this change has the potential for regressions, and it's therefore important to ask for broad testing, especially by CAs.

In order to allow for early testing of this proposed patch, I've made binaries available at and I hope those binaries will have a better lifetime, so it's more likely that you are able to get and test it.

Thanks in advance for your feedback when testing this potential change.
Comment on attachment 619631 [details] [diff] [review]
Patch v1

>-            algTag = DEFAULT_RSA_KEYGEN_ALG;
>+            algTag = SEC_OID_PKCS1_SHA1_WITH_RSA_ENCRYPTION;

It would be better to simply define DEFAULT_RSA_KEYGEN_ALG as

By the way, I tested such a change with Chromium and it worked
with StartSSL CA.
Now the question is whether we should use SHA2 instead of SHA1, given that we're starting on the path to deprecating SHA2. I say we try to switch to SHA2 and see what breaks.

Note that the HTML 5 spec itself says that MD5 should be used: "Generate an RSA key pair using the settings given by the user, if appropriate, using the md5WithRSAEncryption RSA signature algorithm (the signature algorithm with MD5 and the RSA encryption algorithm) referenced in section 2.2.1 ("RSA Signature Algorithm") of RFC 3279, and defined in RFC 2313. [RFC3279] [RFC2313]."

So, we also need to change the spec.
Whiteboard: [psm-enroll][good first bug]
I'm pulling this out of the [good first bug] pool, because core/security/PSM/seriously-people-wtf. Brian, would you be willing to be a mentor for this bug?
Flags: needinfo?(brian)
Whiteboard: [psm-enroll][good first bug] → [psm-enroll]
(In reply to Mike Hoye [:mhoye] from comment #12)
> I'm pulling this out of the [good first bug] pool, because
> core/security/PSM/seriously-people-wtf. Brian, would you be willing to be a
> mentor for this bug?

I recommend :rbarnes.
Flags: needinfo?(brian)
I thought that <keygen> was dead technology :)

FWIW, the spec still says MD5.  So the idea would be that we would just unilaterally switch over?  And trust that everyone has SPKI processing code that doesn't make assumptions about hashes?

I guess I can add this to the queue.
Assignee: nobody → rlb
Whiteboard: [psm-enroll] → [psm-enroll][good next bug]
spec changes + compatibility concerns + keygen = wontfix.
Closed: 4 years ago
Resolution: --- → WONTFIX
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