|DKIM||D. Crocker, Editor|
|Internet Draft||Brandenburg InternetWorking|
|<draft-ietf-dkim-rfc4871-errata-07>||June 26, 2009|
|Updates: RFC4871 (if approved)|
|Intended status: Standards Track|
|Expires: December 2009|
RFC 4871 DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) Signatures -- Update
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This updates RFC 4871, DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) Signatures. Specifically the document clarifies the nature, roles and relationship of the two DKIM identifier tag values that are candidates for payload delivery to a receiving processing module. The Update is in the style of an Errata entry, albeit a rather long one.
About the purpose for DKIM, [RFC4871] states:
Hence, DKIM has a signer that produces a signed message, a verifier that confirms the signature and an assessor that consumes the validated signing domain. So the simple purpose of DKIM is to communicate an identifier to a receive-side assessor module. The identifier is in the form of a domain name that refers to a responsible identity. For DKIM to be interoperable and useful, signer and assessor must share the same understanding of the details about the identifier.
However the RFC4871 specification defines two, potentially different identifiers that are carried in the DKIM-Signature: header field, d= and i=. Either might be delivered to a receiving processing module that consumes validated payload. The DKIM specification fails to clearly define which is the "payload" to be delivered to a consuming module, versus what is internal and merely in support of achieving payload delivery.
This currently leaves signers and assessors with the potential for making different interpretations between the two identifiers and may lead to interoperability problems. A signer could intend one to be used for assessment, and have a different intent in setting the value in the other. However the verifier might choose the wrong value to deliver to the assessor, thereby producing an unintended (and inaccurate) assessment.
This update resolves that confusion. It defines additional, semantic labels for the two values, clarifies their nature and specifies their relationship. More specifically, it clarifies that the identifier intended for delivery to the assessor -- such as one that consults a white list -- is the value of the "d=" tag. However, this does not prohibit message filtering engines from using the "i=" tag, or any other information in the message's header, for filtering decisions.
For signers and verifiers that have been using the i= tag as the primary value that is delivered to the assessor, a software change to using the d= tag is intended.
So, this Update clarifies the formal interface to DKIM, after signature verification has been performed. It distinguishes DKIM's internal signing and verification activity, from its standardized delivery of data to that interface.
The focus of the Update is on the portion of DKIM that is much like an API definition. If DKIM is implemented as a software library for use by others, it needs to define what outputs are provided, that is, what data that an application developer who uses the library can expect to obtain as a result of invoking DKIM on a message.
This Update draft defines the output of that library to include the yes/no result of the verification and the "d=" value. In other words, it says what (one) identifier was formally specified for use by the signer and whether the use of that identifier has been validated. For a particular library, other information can be provided at the discretion of the library developer, since developers of assessors -- these are the consumers of the DKIM library -- well might want more information than the standardized two pieces of information. However that standardized set is the minimum that is required to be provided to a consuming module, in order to be able to claim that the library is DKIM compliant.
This does not state what the implicit value of "i=" is, relative to "d=". In this context, that fact is irrelevant.
Another example is the difference between the socket interface to TCP versus the TCP protocol itself. There is the activity within the protocol stack, and then there is the activity within in the software libraries that are actually used.
The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119]
d= The domain of the signing entity (plain-text; REQUIRED). This is the domain that will be queried for the public key. This domain MUST be the same as or a parent domain of the "i=" tag (the signing identity, as described below), or it MUST meet the requirements for parent domain signing described in Section 3.8. When presented with a signature that does not meet these requirement, verifiers MUST consider the signature invalid. Internationalized domain names MUST be encoded as described in [RFC3490]. ABNF: sig-d-tag = %x64 [FWS] "=" [FWS] domain-name domain-name = sub-domain 1*("." sub-domain) ; from RFC 2821 Domain, but excluding address-literal
sig-d-tag = %x64 [FWS] "=" [FWS] domain-name domain-name = sub-domain 1*("." sub-domain) ; from RFC 5321 Domain, but excluding address-literal
i= Identity of the user or agent (e.g., a mailing list manager) on behalf of which this message is signed (dkim-quoted-printable; OPTIONAL, default is an empty Local-part followed by an "@" followed by the domain from the "d=" tag). The syntax is a standard email address where the Local-part MAY be omitted. The domain part of the address MUST be the same as or a subdomain of the value of the "d=" tag. Internationalized domain names MUST be converted using the steps listed in Section 4 of [RFC3490] using the "ToASCII" function. ABNF: sig-i-tag = %x69 [FWS] "=" [FWS] [ Local-part ] "@" domain-name INFORMATIVE NOTE: The Local-part of the "i=" tag is optional because in some cases a signer may not be able to establish a verified individual identity. In such cases, the signer may wish to assert that although it is willing to go as far as signing for the domain, it is unable or unwilling to commit to an individual user name within their domain. It can do so by including the domain part but not the Local-part of the identity. INFORMATIVE DISCUSSION: This document does not require the value of the "i=" tag to match the identity in any message header fields. This is considered to be a verifier policy issue. Constraints between the value of the "i=" tag and other identities in other header fields seek to apply basic authentication into the semantics of trust associated with a role such as content author. Trust is a broad and complex topic and trust mechanisms are subject to highly creative attacks. The real-world efficacy of bindings between the "i=" value and other identities is not well established, nor is its vulnerability to subversion by an attacker. Hence reliance on the use of these options should be strictly limited. In particular, it is not at all clear to what extent a typical end-user recipient can rely on any assurances that might be made by successful use of the "i=" options.
sig-i-tag = %x69 [FWS] "=" [FWS] [ Local-part ] "@" domain-name
e.g., a key record for the domain example.com can be used to verify messages where the signing identity ("i=" tag of the signature) is sub.example.com, or even sub1.sub2.example.com. In order to limit the capability of such keys when this is not intended, the "s" flag may be set in the "t=" tag of the key record to constrain the validity of the record to exactly the domain of the signing identity. If the referenced key record contains the "s" flag as part of the "t=" tag, the domain of the signing identity ("i=" flag) MUST be the same as that of the d= domain. If this flag is absent, the domain of the signing identity MUST be the same as, or a subdomain of, the d= domain.
It is beyond the scope of this specification to describe what actions a verifier system should make, but an authenticated email presents an opportunity to a receiving system that unauthenticated email cannot. Specifically, an authenticated email creates a predictable identifier by which other decisions can reliably be managed, such as trust and reputation. Conversely, unauthenticated email lacks a reliable identifier that can be used to assign trust and reputation.
Once the signature has been verified, that information MUST be conveyed to higher-level systems (such as explicit allow/whitelists and reputation systems) and/or to the end user. If the message is signed on behalf of any address other than that in the From: header field, the mail system SHOULD take pains to ensure that the actual signing identity is clear to the reader.
This Update clarifies core details about DKIM's payload. As such it affects interoperability, semantic characterization, and the expectations for the identifiers carried with a DKIM signature. Clarification of these details is likely to limit misinterpretation of DKIM's semantics. Since DKIM is fundamentally a security protocol, this should improve its security characteristics.
This document has no actions for IANA.
|[RFC2119]||Bradner, S., “Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels”, BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.|
|[RFC3490]||Faltstrom, P., Hoffman, P., and A. Costello, “Internationalizing Domain Names in Applications (IDNA)”, RFC 3490, March 2003.|
|[RFC4871]||Allman, E., Callas, J., Delany, M., Libbey, M., Fenton, J., and M. Thomas, “DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) Signatures”, RFC 4871, May 2007.|
This document was initially formulated by an ad hoc design team, comprising: Jon Callas, D. Crocker, J. D. Falk, Michael Hammer, Tony Hansen, Murray Kucherawy, John Levine, Jeff Macdonald, Ellen Siegel and Wietse Venema. The final version of the document was developed through vigorous discussion in the IETF DKIM working group.