Dear m.d.s.p., I would like to bring into discussion the use of certificate/public key pinning and the impacts on the 5-days period for certificate revocation according to BR §220.127.116.11.
Recently, we (Multicert) had to rollout a general certificate replacement due to the serial number entropy issue. Some of the most troubled cases to replace the certificates were customers doing certificate pinning on mobile apps. Changing the certificate in these cases required configuration changes in the code base, rebuild app, QA testing, submission to App stores, call for expedited review of each App store, wait for review to be completed and only then the new app version is made available for installation by end users (which is turn are required to update the app the soonest). Meeting the 5-days deadline with this sort of process is “challenging”, at best. A first approach is to move from certificate pinning to public key pinning (PKP). This prevents the need to update the app in many of the certificate replacement operations, where the public key is reused and the certificate can be replaced transparently to the app (generically, an “User Agent” doing PKP). However, in the event of a serious security incident that requires re-key (such as key compromise), the certificate must be revoked in less than 24 hours (for the benefit of everyone – subscriber, relying parties, issuing CA, etc). It’s virtually impossible to release a new app version within this timeframe. And this, I think, make a very strong point against the use of PKI. On the other side, PKP is a simple yet powerful and effective technique to protect against MITM and other attacks. It seems to be widely used in apps with advanced threat models (mobile banking, sensitive personal information, etc) and there are many frameworks available (including native support in Android via Network Security Configuration ). There are several possible mitigation actions, such as pinning more than one public key to have more than one certificate to quickly rollover in case of a revocation. Even then, it is very likely that all the redundant key pairs were generated and maintained by the same systems and procedures, and thus all of them will become effectively compromised. Ultimately, it may become common practice that 1) PKP frameworks are set to bypass revocation checks or 2) PKP is done with private certificates (homemade, self-signed, managed ad-hoc with no CRL/OCSP services). Does any of this leads to a safer Internet? I don’t expect this thread to end up into an absolute conclusion advocating for or against, but opening it to discussion and contributions may help to document possible strategies, mitigations, alternatives, pros & cons, and hopefully provide guidance for an educated decision. Best regards, Nuno Ponte Multicert SA  https://developer.android.com/training/articles/security-config _______________________________________________ dev-security-policy mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org https://lists.mozilla.org/listinfo/dev-security-policy