XEP-xxxx: Channel Binding Pseudomechanisms

A method for advertising and negotiating types of channel binding supported by SCRAM based SASL mechanisms.
Sam Whited
© 2020 – 2020 XMPP Standards Foundation. SEE LEGAL NOTICES.


WARNING: This document has not yet been accepted for consideration or approved in any official manner by the XMPP Standards Foundation, and this document is not yet an XMPP Extension Protocol (XEP). If this document is accepted as a XEP by the XMPP Council, it will be published at <https://xmpp.org/extensions/> and announced on the <standards@xmpp.org> mailing list.
Standards Track
0.0.1 (2020-05-01)
Document Lifecycle
  1. Experimental
  2. Proposed
  3. Stable
  4. Final

1. Introduction

The SCRAM (RFC 5802 [1]) family of SASL (RFC 4422 [2]) mechanisms is widely used in XMPP. SCRAM supports channel binding to the underlying security layer to prevent replay attacks, but does not provide a means of negotiating the type of channel binding performed. Normally this means that XMPP defaults to the tls-unique channel binding method defined in RFC 5929 [3].

This specification provides servers with a way to advertise what forms of channel binding they support, and for clients to choose a channel binding mechanism to use.

2. Requirements

3. Use Cases

As a server operator I want to support different channel bindings depending on what version of TLS was negotiated.

As a client I want to know if the server supports tls-server-end-point channel binding to verify that the server's certificate has not changed between negotiation attempts.

4. Pseudomechanisms

The SCRAM based mechanisms advertise their channel binding support by listing themselves with an added suffix, "-PLUS". This advertises that channel binding is possible, but not the actual channel binding types supported by the server. The "SCRAM-SHA-1-PLUS" mechanism is the same as the "SCRAM-SHA-1" mechanism, the "-PLUS" suffix does not fundamentally change the mechanisms behavior. This concept of a "pseudomechanism", a mechanism that is implemented in terms of another mechanism with minor changes to the name and behavior, can be extended to allow for the advertising of specific channel binding types in addition to whether channel binding is supported or not.

To create such a pseudomechanism the server MUST concatenate the name of any "-PLUS" suffixed mechanism that it supports from the IANA SASL SCRAM Family Mechanisms Subregistry of the IANA SASL Mechanisms Registry [4] with a colon (":") followed by the name of any channel binding data that it supports with the currently negotiated security layer from the IANA Channel-Binding Types Registry [5]. For example, if a TLS connection has been established and the server wants to advertise that it supports the SCRAM-SHA-1-PLUS and SCRAM-SHA-256-PLUS mechanisms with the tls-unique and tls-server-end-point channel binding types, it would list the following mechanisms:

While the channel binding variants of SCRAM are registered in the IANA SASL Mechanisms Registry [4], the pseudomechanisms described in this document depend on values in the registry themselves and so are explicitly not meant to be listed. A mechanism with a conflicting name cannot be registered because these pseudomechanisms are deliberately in violation of the naming convention of the SCRAM family of mechanisms as defined in RFC 7677 [6] to prevent such conflicts. Because they are not meant to represent full mechanisms for use outside of XMPP, they do not require registration or the issuance of a GSS-API mechanism OID.

Example 1. Host Advertises Mechanisms
  <mechanisms xmlns='urn:ietf:params:xml:ns:xmpp-sasl'>

The original "-PLUS" suffixed mechanisms SHOULD continue to be listed and function as they did before (likely by defaulting to tls-unique) for the purpose of backwards compatibility.

5. Security Considerations

The Security Considerations sections from RFC 4422 [2], RFC 5802 [1], and RFC 7677 [6] apply to this document.

6. IANA Considerations

This document has no actions for IANA.

7. XMPP Registrar Considerations

This document has no actions for the XMPP Registrar [7].


Appendix A: Document Information

XMPP Standards Foundation
Standards Track
Last Updated
Approving Body
XMPP Council
Superseded By
Short Name

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Appendix B: Author Information

Sam Whited


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Disclaimer of Warranty

## NOTE WELL: This Specification is provided on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, express or implied, including, without limitation, any warranties or conditions of TITLE, NON-INFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY, or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. ##

Limitation of Liability

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IPR Conformance

This XMPP Extension Protocol has been contributed in full conformance with the XSF's Intellectual Property Rights Policy (a copy of which can be found at <https://xmpp.org/about/xsf/ipr-policy> or obtained by writing to XMPP Standards Foundation, P.O. Box 787, Parker, CO 80134 USA).

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Appendix D: Relation to XMPP

The Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) is defined in the XMPP Core (RFC 6120) and XMPP IM (RFC 6121) specifications contributed by the XMPP Standards Foundation to the Internet Standards Process, which is managed by the Internet Engineering Task Force in accordance with RFC 2026. Any protocol defined in this document has been developed outside the Internet Standards Process and is to be understood as an extension to XMPP rather than as an evolution, development, or modification of XMPP itself.

Appendix E: Discussion Venue

The primary venue for discussion of XMPP Extension Protocols is the <standards@xmpp.org> discussion list.

Discussion on other xmpp.org discussion lists might also be appropriate; see <https://xmpp.org/community/> for a complete list.

Errata can be sent to <editor@xmpp.org>.

Appendix F: Requirements Conformance

The following requirements keywords as used in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119: "MUST", "SHALL", "REQUIRED"; "MUST NOT", "SHALL NOT"; "SHOULD", "RECOMMENDED"; "SHOULD NOT", "NOT RECOMMENDED"; "MAY", "OPTIONAL".

Appendix G: Notes

1. RFC 5802: Salted Challenge Response Authentication Mechanism (SCRAM) SASL and GSS-API Mechanisms <http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc5802>.

2. RFC 4422: Simple Authentication and Security Layer (SASL) <http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc4422>.

3. RFC 5929: Channel Bindings for TLS <http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc5929>.

4. IANA registry of mechanisms used in the Simple Authentication and Security Layer protocol <http://www.iana.org/assignments/sasl-mechanisms>.

5. IANA registry of channel binding types <https://www.iana.org/assignments/channel-binding-types>.

6. RFC 7677: SCRAM-SHA-256 and SCRAM-SHA-256-PLUS Simple Authentication and Security Layer (SASL) Mechanisms <http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc7677>.

7. The XMPP Registrar maintains a list of reserved protocol namespaces as well as registries of parameters used in the context of XMPP extension protocols approved by the XMPP Standards Foundation. For further information, see <https://xmpp.org/registrar/>.

Appendix H: Revision History

Note: Older versions of this specification might be available at https://xmpp.org/extensions/attic/

  1. Version 0.0.1 (2020-05-01)

    First draft.


Appendix I: Bib(La)TeX Entry

  title = {Channel Binding Pseudomechanisms},
  author = {Whited, Sam},
  type = {XEP},
  number = {xxxx},
  version = {0.0.1},
  institution = {XMPP Standards Foundation},
  url = {https://xmpp.org/extensions/xep-xxxx.html},
  date = {2020-05-01/2020-05-01},