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Network Working Group J.J. Brucker
Request for Comments: Open-UDC Team
== HTTP Authentication: OpenPGP Data and Access Authentication ==
=== Abstract ===
=== Status of This Memo ===
(Today 1st November 2012, it is still a draft).
=== Copyright Notice ===
=== Table of Contents ===
1. Introduction ....................................................
2. Conventions Used in This Document ...............................
3. Data authentication through "Content-Type: multipart/msigned" ...
4. Request Authentication through "Authorization: OpenPGP" .........
1.== Introduction ==
section 5.1 of [RFC2046] (
[RFC2617] (Basic and Digest HTTP Authentication)
section 15 in [RFC2543] (deprecated/removed by [RFC3261]).
[RFC3156] :
OpenPGP standard [RFC4880].
HKP protocol (widely used but still specified by a draft).
Example of some approach to avoid:
2.== Conventions Used in This Document ==
The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].
3.== HTTP (multi-)signed data ==
HTTP (multi-)signed messages are denoted by the "multipart/msigned"
content type, with two optional "nsigs" and "realm" parameters.
This content type is inspired by the "multipart/signed" defined in
the [RFC3156] and dedicated for sending signed email.
The multipart/msigned body MUST consist of at least two parts. One
part contains the signed data in MIME canonical format, including a
set of appropriate content headers describing the data.
Other parts MUST contain each one a digital signature. For OpenPGP
signatures, it MUST be labeled with a content type of
If present, the "nsigs" parameter MUST contain a signed integer.
The "nsigs" parameter indicated the number of detached
signatures, as well as there position inside the "multipart/msigned"
- integer value indicate the number of signatures. The absolute
value MUST be equal to the effective number of signatures in the
- a positive value indicate that the signatures will be placed
after the data.
- a negative value indicate that the signatures will be placed
before the data. Thus permit to verify the data in one-pass as the
digest (also know as MIC: Message Integrity Check) used to sign are
indicated in each signature (or in their content header for others
signature than OpenPGP).
- The absence of the "nsigs" parameter MUST be treated as it have
had a value of "1".
- The "nsigs" parameter should not have a value of "0".
Reading implementations may return an error in this case.
- OpenPGP signatures SHOULD be ASCII armored.
If present, the "realm" parameter MUST contain a string give
indication to found the public key used to sign.
Example of an HTTP request with signed response:
> GET /in/example HTTP/1.1
> Host:
> Accept: multipart/msigned
< HTTP/1.0 200 OK
< Content-Type: multipart/msigned; boundary=HRuNvorp; nsigs=1
< --HRuNvorp
< Content-Type: application/octet-stream
&< The use "<CR><LF>" (on some system...) instead of just
&< "<LF>" was really a bad idea.
&< It is then incrusted inside the HTTP protocol :-(.
&< Take care than the signed message so:
&< - starts after the "<CR><LF><CR><LF>" characters which
&< should terminating the header.
&< - ends before the "<CR><LF>" characters preceding the
&< dash-boundary (eg: "--boudary").
&< And so does the signature.
&< As such tricks may easily produce implementation errors,
&< it is recommend to use ASCII armored signatures, which
&< are more ... armored ! ;-)
< --HRuNvorp
< Content-Type: application/pgp-signature
< Content-Length: 490
< Version: GnuPG v1.4.12 (GNU/Linux)
< g7/Nubwd++Oea0RKyRrmUi6FEjpdYn2cqbGlKKtvLc3rd4Fz9nz7B16SYuU8dubv
< QVLju/Czf+1VRhhB86sCvWbjQO6Z2SUGBcPUqtEkDZWdkxoeTdLq7aMxj0YbP2zR
< fJoeFgC+4vywOp90NKXcDi22cS7y4zSyrrYkZEyDAmcrIbRzHPqpqpCmFBkTSMI2
< D2BBC/jDS1ZpzCISjJ0Q4dYMo5HB2d0xiTTcF9BB0sYwnC5RElOOXTPY0y3gwcc/
< NWNFJBkGXHI23fKjGth2sBmSvTsz5aPIkonwkSk/QRk6j5hXLTG+1VkTEikpfZk=
< =paY0
< --HRuNvorp--
The "&"s in the previous example indicate the portion of the data
over which the signature was calculated.
4.== OpenPGP acces Authorization ==
This method is inspired from what already exist for Digest or basic
Authentication. The server MAY have something like .htacces file to
list the fingerprints of authorized keys.
Example :
> GET /dir/index.html HTTP/1.1
> Host:
< HTTP/1.1 401 Unauthorized
< Server: thttpgpd/2.25b 29dec2003
< Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8
< Date: Sat, 03 Nov 2012 07:55:07 GMT
< WWW-Authenticate: OpenPGP realm="dir", nonce="1351929617"
A string to be displayed to client so they know which key(s) to
use. (If they hold many ones).
nonce: managed by the server to avoid replay vulnerabilty. MAY be
set to an empty string, but that is not recomended.
Note: a basic implementation is to use the number of second since epoch
as a default nounce. Then the client MAY try first request with such
nounce, if both server and client have a synchronized time (by using ntp
for example), it make them avoid 401 responses.
> GET /dir/index.html HTTP/1.1
> Host:
> Authorization: OpenPGP version="GnuPG v1.4.12 (GNU/Linux)",
version: The software and version used by the client.
realm: the realm were the key used for the signature is recognized.
SHOULD be equal to the realm given by the server.
nonce: As given by the server.
uri: The URI from Request-URI of the Request-Line; duplicated here
because proxies are allowed to change the Request-Line in transit.
It have to correspond excatly to the requested uri for the server
doing authentication.
signature: The OpenPGP ASCII-armored detached signature [], as it
appears between the "BEGIN PGP MESSAGE" and "END PGP MESSAGE"
delimiters, without the version indication. The signature is
included without any linebreaks.
The signature is computed across the request method, the requested
Host (if present), the requested uri and the nonce as follow:
signature=sig( "" )
As with Digest Authentication, server MAY return such Header in a
succesfull (2XX) response:
< Authentication-Info: nextnonce="47364c23432d2e131a5fb210812c"
And the client SHOULD use it for next request, to maybe avoid
a 401 response.
[1] Callas, J., Donnerhacke, L., Finney, H. and R. Thayer, "OpenPGP
Message Format", RFC 2440, November 1998.
[2] Galvin, J., Murphy, G., Crocker, S. and N. Freed, "Security
Multiparts for MIME: Multipart/Signed and Multipart/Encrypted",
RFC 1847, October 1995.
[3] Freed, N. and N. Borenstein, "Multipurpose Internet Mail
Extensions (MIME) Part Two: Media Types", RFC 2046, November
[4] Galvin, J., Murphy, G., Crocker, S. and N. Freed, "MIME Object
Security Services", RFC 1848, October 1995.
[5] Atkins, D., Stallings, W. and P. Zimmermann, "PGP Message
Exchange Formats", RFC 1991, August 1996.
[6] Elkins, M., "MIME Security with Pretty Good Privacy (PGP)", RFC
2015, October 1996.
[7] Freed, N., "Gateways and MIME Security Multiparts", RFC 2480,
January 1999.