On Sun, Oct 05, 2003 at 03:04:00PM +0100, Ben Laurie wrote:
> Thor Lancelot Simon wrote:
> > On Sat, Oct 04, 2003 at 02:09:10PM +0100, Ben Laurie wrote:
> > 
> >>Thor Lancelot Simon wrote:
> >>
> >>>these operations.  For example, there is no simple way to do the most
> >>>common certificate validation operation: take a certificate and an optional
> >>>chain, and check that the certificate is signed by an accepted root CA, or
> >>>that each certificate in the chain has the signing property and that the
> >>>chain reaches that CA -- which would be okay if OpenSSL did the validation
> >>>for you automatically, but it doesn't, really.
> >>
> >>Err, yes it does, but its not very well documented.
> > 
> > 
> > No.  You can't do it in one step, and you have to use functions that are
> > marked in OpenSSL's header files as not being part of the official API.
> > mod_ssl has a convenience function that's confusingly named just like the
> > OpenSSL library functions that deals with this -- of course, it should be
> > part of OpenSSL itself, but at least as of 0.9.6 it was not.
> Would you care to be more explicit?

I have to apologize -- I was not entirely correct in my initial statement,
but without access to the source tree I did most of my OpenSSL work in
(it belongs to a former employer) it took me a while to retrace my steps
and realize I was not quite right.

On the client side, though the documentation's poor, you're correct: there
_is_ a way to validate a certificate and chain you've received from the peer
in one step.  (I note that there is now reference in the header files to
some AUTOCHAIN stuff that I don't recall from earlier versions of OpenSSL,
but that ssl_verify_cert_chain is *still* not part of the public API; it's 
in ssl_locl.h).

On the server side (or, indeed, on the client side, if the client side 
needs to follow a chain to reach a trusted CA, and thus needs to load chain 
certificates) there's no API for loading a cert and its entire chain in one 
shot, and indeed to do so AFAICT you must use functions that are not part of 
the public API.  

See SSL_CTX_use_certificate_chain() in the mod_ssl sources (which appears 
much simpler in mod_ssl 2.8 than what I remember working with -- perhaps the 
OpenSSL API *has* improved!) and SSL_use_certificate_file, 
SSL_CTX_use_certificate_file, and SSL_CTX_use_certificate_chain_file in the 
OpenSSL sources.  And then note that *all* of the example code gets this
stuff wrong -- if it even bothers to do server certificate validation at

I can't lose my impression that some of the chain-handling functions moved
from ssl_locl.h to ssl.h between 0.9.6 and 0.9.7 but I don't have a 0.9.6
tree handy nor the time to sift through it.  Sigh.  I wish I had some of
my code from the last time I tackled this issue with OpenSSL at hand, but
unfortunately I don't own it, so I do not.

The complexity and instability of the API for this stuff, and the fact that
we're both rooting around *in the OpenSSL source code* to figure out which
bits of it are public and which are internal, and in which version of
OpenSSL, when the operations at hand (loading and validating chains of
certificates, from the cert for the peer's identity up to the cert from
which trust derives) is a pretty good example, itself, of why I don't care
for OpenSSL.  I spent a long time working on the X.509 support in Pluto,
too, and though I don't really care for it either it does have the decided
advantage that it appears to be designed in the right direction: from "what
are the end-user's needs?" instead of "what is the structure of the
underlying protocol or software abstraction?"


The Cryptography Mailing List
Unsubscribe by sending "unsubscribe cryptography" to [EMAIL PROTECTED]

Reply via email to