Archive for the 'Specifications' Category

September 12, 2017
Initial Working Group Draft of Proof-of-Possession Key Semantics for CBOR Web Tokens (CWTs)

IETF logoThe initial working group draft of the Proof-of-Possession Key Semantics for CBOR Web Tokens (CWTs) specification has been posted. It contains the same normative content as draft-jones-ace-cwt-proof-of-possession-01. The abstract of the specification is:

This specification describes how to declare in a CBOR Web Token (CWT) that the presenter of the CWT possesses a particular proof-of-possession key. Being able to prove possession of a key is also sometimes described as the presenter being a holder-of-key. This specification provides equivalent functionality to “Proof-of-Possession Key Semantics for JSON Web Tokens (JWTs)” (RFC 7800), but using CBOR and CWTs rather than JSON and JWTs.

I look forward to working with my co-authors and the working group to hopefully complete this quickly!

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

September 11, 2017
“Using RSA Algorithms with CBOR Object Signing and Encryption (COSE) Messages” is now RFC 8230

IETF logoThe “Using RSA Algorithms with CBOR Object Signing and Encryption (COSE) Messages” specification is now RFC 8230 – an IETF standard. The abstract for the specification is:

The CBOR Object Signing and Encryption (COSE) specification defines cryptographic message encodings using Concise Binary Object Representation (CBOR). This specification defines algorithm encodings and representations enabling RSA algorithms to be used for COSE messages. Encodings are specified for the use of RSA Probabilistic Signature Scheme (RSASSA-PSS) signatures, RSA Encryption Scheme – Optimal Asymmetric Encryption Padding (RSAES-OAEP) encryption, and RSA keys.

Some of these values are already being used by the sixth working draft of the W3C Web Authentication specification. In addition, the WebAuthn specification defines algorithm values for RSASSA-PKCS1-v1_5 signatures, which are used by TPMs, among other applications. The RSASSA-PKCS1-v1_5 signature algorithm values should also be registered shortly.

Thanks to Kathleen Moriarty for her Area Director sponsorship of the specification!

September 7, 2017
OAuth Authorization Server Metadata spec incorporating Area Director feedback

OAuth logoThe OAuth Authorization Server Metadata specification has been updated to incorporate feedback from Security Area Director Eric Rescorla. Thanks to EKR for his useful review. A number of defaults and restrictions are now better specified.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

August 16, 2017
CBOR Web Token (CWT) specification addressing all known issues

IETF logoA new CBOR Web Token (CWT) draft has been published that updates the diagnostic notation for embedded objects in the examples. Thanks to Samuel Erdtman for making these updates. Thanks to Carsten Bormann for reviewing the examples!

This addresses all known issues with the specification. I believe that it is now time to request publication.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

August 11, 2017
Sixth working draft of W3C Web Authentication specification

W3C logoThe W3C Web Authentication working group has published the sixth working draft of the W3C Web Authentication specification. It now can request that the authenticator support user verification – meaning that it can be used as the sole or first authentication factor. It now also uses the standard CBOR COSE_Key key representation [RFC8152]. Like WD-05, implementation and interop testing for WD-06 is planned.

July 27, 2017
Initial working group draft of JSON Web Token Best Current Practices

OAuth logoI’m happy to announce that the OAuth working group adopted the JSON Web Token Best Current Practices (JWT BCP) draft that Yaron Sheffer, Dick Hardt, and I had worked on, following discussions at IETF 99 in Prague and on the working group mailing list.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

July 4, 2017
JSON Web Token Best Current Practices draft describing Explicit Typing

OAuth logoThe JWT BCP draft has been updated to describe the use of explicit typing of JWTs as one of the ways to prevent confusion among different kinds of JWTs. This is accomplished by including an explicit type for the JWT in the “typ” header parameter. For instance, the Security Event Token (SET) specification now uses the “application/secevent+jwt” content type to explicitly type SETs.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

June 30, 2017
Proof-of-Possession Key Semantics for CBOR Web Tokens (CWTs) spec addressing review comments

IETF logoThe Proof-of-Possession Key Semantics for CBOR Web Tokens (CWTs) specification has been updated to address comments received since its initial publication. Changes were:

  • Tracked CBOR Web Token (CWT) Claims Registry updates.
  • Addressed review comments by Michael Richardson and Jim Schaad.
  • Added co-authors Ludwig Seitz, Göran Selander, Erik Wahlström, Samuel Erdtman, and Hannes Tschofenig.

Thanks for the feedback received to date!

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

June 30, 2017
Security Event Token (SET) specification preventing token confusion

IETF logoA new version of the Security Event Token (SET) specification has been published containing measures that prevent any possibility of confusion between ID Tokens and SETs. Preventing confusion between SETs, access tokens, and other kinds of JWTs is also covered. Changes were:

  • Added the Requirements for SET Profiles section.
  • Expanded the Security Considerations section to describe how to prevent confusion of SETs with ID Tokens, access tokens, and other kinds of JWTs.
  • Registered the application/secevent+jwt media type and defined how to use it for explicit typing of SETs.
  • Clarified the misleading statement that used to say that a SET conveys a single security event.
  • Added a note explicitly acknowledging that some SET profiles may choose to convey event subject information in the event payload.
  • Corrected an encoded claims set example.
  • Applied grammar corrections.

This draft is intended to provide solutions to the issues that had been discussed in IETF 98 in Chicago and subsequently on the working group mailing list. Thanks for all the great discussions that informed this draft!

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

June 29, 2017
CBOR Web Token (CWT) specification addressing editorial comments

IETF logoA new CBOR Web Token (CWT) draft has been published that addresses editorial comments made by Carsten Bormann and Jim Schaad. All changes were editorial in nature.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

June 22, 2017
“Using RSA Algorithms with COSE Messages” specification approved for publication

IETF logoThe IESG approved the “Using RSA Algorithms with COSE Messages” specification for publication as an RFC today. A new version was published incorporating the IESG feedback. Thanks to Ben Campbell, Eric Rescorla, and Adam Roach for their review comments. No normative changes were made.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

June 16, 2017
Authentication Method Reference Values is now RFC 8176

IETF logoThe Authentication Method Reference Values specification is now RFC 8176. The abstract describes the specification as:

The amr (Authentication Methods References) claim is defined and registered in the IANA “JSON Web Token Claims” registry, but no standard Authentication Method Reference values are currently defined. This specification establishes a registry for Authentication Method Reference values and defines an initial set of Authentication Method Reference values.

The specification defines and registers some Authentication Method Reference values such as the following, which are already in use by some Google and Microsoft products and OpenID specifications:

  • face” – Facial recognition
  • fpt” – Fingerprint
  • hwk” – Proof-of-possession of a hardware-secured key
  • otp” – One-time password
  • pin” – Personal Identification Number
  • pwd” – Password
  • swk” – Proof-of-possession of a software-secured key
  • sms” – Confirmation using SMS
  • user” – User presence test
  • wia” – Windows Integrated Authentication

See https://www.iana.org/assignments/authentication-method-reference-values/ for the full list of registered values.

Thanks to Caleb Baker, Phil Hunt, Tony Nadalin, and William Denniss, all of whom substantially contributed to the specification. Thanks also to the OAuth working group members, chairs, area directors, and other IETF members who helped refine the specification.

June 15, 2017
“Using RSA Algorithms with COSE Messages” specification addressing IETF last call feedback

IETF logoA new version of the “Using RSA Algorithms with COSE Messages” specification has been published that addresses the IETF last call feedback received. Additional security considerations were added and the IANA Considerations instructions were made more precise. Thanks to Roni Even and Steve Kent for their useful reviews!

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

June 5, 2017
CBOR Web Token (CWT) specification addressing WGLC feedback

IETF logoA new CBOR Web Token (CWT) draft has been published that addresses the Working Group Last Call (WGLC) feedback received. Changes were:

  • Say that CWT is derived from JWT, rather than CWT is a profile of JWT.
  • Used CBOR type names in descriptions, rather than major/minor type numbers.
  • Clarified the NumericDate and StringOrURI descriptions.
  • Changed to allow CWT claim names to use values of any legal CBOR map key type.
  • Changed to use the CWT tag to identify nested CWTs instead of the CWT content type.
  • Added an example using a floating-point date value.
  • Acknowledged reviewers.

Thanks to Samuel Erdtman for doing the majority of the editing for this draft. As always, people are highly encouraged to validate the examples.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

June 4, 2017
Initial JSON Web Token Best Current Practices Draft

OAuth logoJSON Web Tokens (JWTs) and the JSON Object Signing and Encryption (JOSE) functions underlying them are now being widely used in diverse sets of applications. During IETF 98 in Chicago, we discussed reports of people implementing and using JOSE and JWTs insecurely, the causes of these problems, and ways to address them. Part of this discussion was an invited JOSE/JWT Security Update presentation that I gave to two working groups, which included links to problem reports and described mitigations. Citing the widespread use of JWTs in new IETF applications, Security Area Director Kathleen Moriarty suggested during these discussions that a Best Current Practices (BCP) document be written for JSON Web Tokens (JWTs).

I’m happy to report that Yaron Sheffer, Dick Hardt, and myself have produced an initial draft of a JWT BCP. Its abstract is:

JSON Web Tokens, also known as JWTs [RFC7519], are URL-safe JSON-based security tokens that contain a set of claims that can be signed and/or encrypted. JWTs are being widely used and deployed as a simple security token format in numerous protocols and applications, both in the area of digital identity, and in other application areas. The goal of this Best Current Practices document is to provide actionable guidance leading to secure implementation and deployment of JWTs.

In Section 2, we describe threats and vulnerabilities. In Section 3, we describe best practices addressing those threats and vulnerabilities. We believe that the best practices in Sections 3.1 through 3.8 are ready to apply today. Section 3.9 (Use Mutually Exclusive Validation Rules for Different Kinds of JWTs) describes several possible best practices on that topic to serve as a starting point for a discussion on which of them we want to recommend under what circumstances.

We invite input from the OAuth Working Group and other interested parties on what best practices for JSON Web Tokens and the JOSE functions underlying them should be. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and working on this specification together.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

May 18, 2017
Clarified Security Considerations in Using RSA Algorithms with COSE Messages

IETF logoA slightly updated version of the “Using RSA Algorithms with COSE Messages” specification has been published in preparation for IETF last call. Changes were:

  • Clarified the Security Considerations in ways suggested by Kathleen Moriarty.
  • Acknowledged reviewers.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

May 5, 2017
Fifth working draft of W3C Web Authentication Specification

W3C logoThe W3C Web Authentication working group has published the fifth working draft of the W3C Web Authentication specification. It has a new title that’s more reflective of what it enables: “Web Authentication: An API for accessing Public Key Credentials”. Among other changes, the draft is now aligned with the W3C Credential Management API. Numerous issues were resolved and many improvements in the process of creating this release.

While not a candidate recommendation, this version is informally intended by the working group to be an Implementer’s Draft, which will be used for experimenting with implementations of the API.

April 20, 2017
Proof-of-Possession Key Semantics for CBOR Web Tokens (CWTs)

IETF logoWith the CBOR Web Token (CWT) specification nearing completion, which provides the CBOR equivalent of JWTs, I thought that it was also time to introduce the CBOR equivalent of RFC 7800, “Proof-of-Possession Key Semantics for JSON Web Tokens (JWTs)”, so that applications using CWTs will have a standard representation for proof-of-possession keys. I know that PoP keys are important to ACE applications, for instance. I therefore took RFC 7800 and produced the CBOR/CWT equivalent of it.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

April 13, 2017
CBOR Web Token (CWT) specification correcting inconsistencies in examples

IETF logoA revised CBOR Web Token (CWT) draft has been published that corrects inconsistencies in the examples. Thanks to Jim Schaad for validating the examples and pointing out the inconsistencies and to Samuel Erdtman for fixing them. As before, people are highly encouraged to validate the updated examples.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

March 28, 2017
OpenID Connect Logout Implementer’s Drafts Approved

As announced by the OpenID Foundation, the OpenID membership has approved Implementer’s Drafts of the three OpenID Connect logout specifications. That means that developers and deployers can now count on the intellectual property protections that come with being Implementer’s Drafts.

These are the first Implementer’s Drafts of these specifications:

  • Front-Channel Logout – Defines a front-channel logout mechanism that does not use an OP iframe on RP pages
  • Back-Channel Logout – Defines a logout mechanism that uses back-channel communication between the OP and RPs being logged out

Whereas, this is the fourth Implementer’s Draft of this specification:

  • Session Management – Defines how to manage OpenID Connect sessions, including postMessage-based logout functionality

Each of these protocols communicate logout requests from OpenID Providers to Relying Parties, but using different mechanisms that are appropriate for different use cases. See the Introduction sections of each of the specifications for descriptions of the mechanisms used and comparisons between them. All the specifications share a common mechanism for communicating logout requests from Relying Parties to OpenID Providers.

As expected, the reviews generated some great feedback on ways to make the specs clearer. I expect the working group to incorporate that feedback in future revisions.

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