[RFC Home] [TEXT|PDF|HTML] [Tracker] [IPR] [Info page]

Obsoleted by: 5280 PROPOSED STANDARD
Network Working Group                                       S. Santesson
Request for Comments: 4325                                     Microsoft
Updates: 3280                                                 R. Housley
Category: Standards Track                                 Vigil Security
                                                           December 2005

     Internet X.509 Public Key Infrastructure Authority Information
           Access Certificate Revocation List (CRL) Extension

Status of This Memo

   This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
   Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
   Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
   and status of this protocol.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2005).


   This document updates RFC 3280 by defining the Authority Information
   Access Certificate Revocation List (CRL) extension.  RFC 3280 defines
   the Authority Information Access certificate extension using the same
   syntax.  The CRL extension provides a means of discovering and
   retrieving CRL issuer certificates.

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction ....................................................2
      1.1. Terminology ................................................3
   2. Authority Information Access CRL Extension ......................3
   3. Security Considerations .........................................5
   4. References ......................................................5
      4.1. Normative References .......................................5
      4.2. Informative References .....................................6

Santesson & Housley         Standards Track                     [Page 1]

RFC 4325       Authority Information Access CRL Extension  December 2005

1.  Introduction

   RFC 3280 [PKIX1] specifies the validation of certification paths.
   One aspect involves the determination that a certificate has not been
   revoked, and one revocation checking mechanism is the Certificate
   Revocation List (CRL).  CRL validation is also specified in RFC 3280,
   which involves the constructions of a valid certification path for
   the CRL issuer.  Building a CRL issuer certification path from the
   signer of the CRL to a trust anchor is straightforward when the
   certificate of the CRL issuer is present in the certification path
   associated with the target certificate, but it can be complex in
   other situations.

   There are several legitimate scenarios where the certificate of the
   CRL issuer is not present, or easily discovered, from the target
   certification path.  This can be the case when indirect CRLs are
   used, when the Certification Authority (CA) that issued the target
   certificate changes its certificate signing key, or when the CA
   employs separate keys for certificate signing and CRL signing.

   Methods of finding the certificate of the CRL issuer are currently
   available, such as through an accessible directory location or
   through use of the Subject Information Access extension in
   intermediary CA certificates.

   Directory lookup requires existence and access to a directory that
   has been populated with all of the necessary certificates.  The
   Subject Information Access extension, which supports building the CRL
   issuer certification path top-down (in the direction from the trust
   anchor to the CRL issuer), requires that some certificates in the CRL
   issuer certification path includes an appropriate Subject Information
   Access extension.

   RFC 3280 [PKIX1] provides for bottom-up discovery of certification
   paths through the Authority Information Access extension, where the
   id-ad-caIssuers access method may specify one or more accessLocation
   fields that reference CA certificates associated with the certificate
   containing this extension.

   This document enables the use of the Authority Information Access
   extension in CRLs, enabling a CRL checking application to use the
   access method (id-ad-caIssuers) to locate certificates that may be
   useful in the construction of a valid CRL issuer certification path
   to an appropriate trust anchor.

Santesson & Housley         Standards Track                     [Page 2]

RFC 4325       Authority Information Access CRL Extension  December 2005

1.1.  Terminology

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [RFC2119].

2.  Authority Information Access CRL Extension

   This section defines the use of the Authority Information Access
   extension in a CRL.  The syntax and semantics defined in RFC 3280
   [PKIX1] for the certificate extensions are also used for the CRL

   This CRL extension MUST NOT be marked critical.

   This extension MUST be identified by the extension object identifier
   (OID) defined in RFC 3280 (, and the
   AuthorityInfoAccessSyntax MUST be used to form the extension value.
   For convenience, the ASN.1 [X.680] definition of the Authority
   Information Access extension is repeated below.

      id-pe-authorityInfoAccess OBJECT IDENTIFIER  ::=  { id-pe 1 }

      AuthorityInfoAccessSyntax  ::=  SEQUENCE SIZE (1..MAX) OF

      AccessDescription  ::=  SEQUENCE {
         accessMethod          OBJECT IDENTIFIER,
         accessLocation        GeneralName  }

      id-ad OBJECT IDENTIFIER  ::=  { id-pkix 48 }

      id-ad-caIssuers OBJECT IDENTIFIER  ::=  { id-ad 2 }

   When present in a CRL, this extension MUST include at least one
   AccessDescription specifying id-ad-caIssuers as the accessMethod.
   Access method types other than id-ad-caIssuers MUST NOT be included.
   At least one instance of AccessDescription SHOULD specify an
   accessLocation that is an HTTP [HTTP/1.1] or Lightweight Directory
   Access Protocol [LDAP] Uniform Resource Identifier [URI].

   Where the information is available via HTTP or FTP, accessLocation
   MUST be a uniformResourceIdentifier and the URI MUST point to a
   certificate containing file.  The certificate file MUST contain
   either a single Distinguished Encoding Rules (DER) [X.690] encoded
   certificate (indicated by the .cer file extension) or a collection of
   certificates (indicated by the .p7c file extension):

Santesson & Housley         Standards Track                     [Page 3]

RFC 4325       Authority Information Access CRL Extension  December 2005

      .cer   A single DER encoded certificate as specified in
             RFC 2585 [PKIX-CERT].

      .p7c   A "certs-only" CMS message as specified in RFC 2797 [CMC].

     Conforming applications that support HTTP or FTP for accessing
     certificates MUST be able to accept .cer files and SHOULD be able
     to accept .p7c files.

     HTTP server implementations accessed via the URI SHOULD use the
     appropriate MIME content-type for the certificate containing file.
     Specifically, the HTTP server SHOULD use the content-type
     application/pkix-cert [PKIX-CERT] for a single DER encoded
     certificate and application/pkcs7-mime [CMC] for CMS certs-only
     (PKCS#7).  Consuming clients may use the MIME type and file
     extension as a hint to the file content, but should not depend
     solely on the presence of the correct MIME type or file extension
     in the server response.

     When the accessLocation is a directoryName, the information is to
     be obtained by the application from whatever directory server is
     locally configured.  When one CA public key is used to validate
     signatures on certificates and CRLs, the desired CA certificate is
     stored in the crossCertificatePair and/or cACertificate attributes
     as specified in [RFC2587].  When different public keys are used to
     validate signatures on certificates and CRLs, the desired
     certificate is stored in the userCertificate attribute as specified
     in [RFC2587].  Thus, implementations that support the directoryName
     form of accessLocation MUST be prepared to find the needed
     certificate in any of these three attributes.  The protocol that an
     application uses to access the directory (e.g., DAP or LDAP) is a
     local matter.

     Where the information is available via LDAP, the accessLocation
     SHOULD be a uniformResourceIdentifier.  The URI MUST specify a
     distingishedName and attribute(s) and MAY specify a host name
     (e.g., ldap://ldap.example.com/cn=example%20CA,dc=example,dc=com?
     cACertificate;binary,crossCertificatePair;binary).  Omitting the
     host name (e.g.,
     ldap:///cn=example%20CA,dc=example,dc=com?cACertificate;binary) has
     the effect of specifying the use of whatever LDAP server is locally
     configured.  The URI MUST list appropriate attribute descriptions
     for one or more attributes holding certificates or cross-
     certificate pairs.

Santesson & Housley         Standards Track                     [Page 4]

RFC 4325       Authority Information Access CRL Extension  December 2005

3.  Security Considerations

     Implementers should take into account the possible existence of
     multiple unrelated CAs and CRL issuers with the same name.

     Implementers should be aware of risks involved if the Authority
     Information Access extensions of corrupted CRLs contain links to
     malicious code.  Implementers should always take the steps of
     validating the retrieved data to ensure that the data is properly

4.  References

4.1.  Normative References

   [RFC2119]   Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
               Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [RFC2587]   Boeyen, S., Howes, T., and P. Richard, "Internet X.509
               Public Key Infrastructure: LDAPv2 Schema", RFC 2587, June

   [PKIX1]     Housley, R., Polk, W., Ford, W., and D. Solo, "Internet
               X.509 Public Key Infrastructure Certificate and
               Certificate Revocation List (CRL) Profile", RFC 3280,
               April 2002.

   [HTTP/1.1]  Fielding,  R., Gettys, J., Mogul, J., Frystyk, H.,
               Masinter, L., Leach, P., and T. Berners-Lee, "Hypertext
               Transfer Protocol -- HTTP/1.1", RFC 2616, June 1999.

   [URI]       Berners-Lee, T., Fielding, R., and L. Masinter, "Uniform
               Resource Identifier (URI): Generic Syntax", STD 66, RFC
               3986, January 2005.

   [LDAP]      Wahl, M., Howes, T., and S. Kille, "Lightweight Directory
               Access Protocol (v3)", RFC 2251, December 1997.

   [PKIX-CERT] Housley, R. and P. Hoffman, "Internet X.509 Public Key
               Infrastructure Operational Protocols: FTP and HTTP", RFC
               2585, May 1999.

   [CMC]       Myers, M., Liu, X., Schaad, J., and J. Weinstein,
               "Certificate Management Messages over CMS", RFC 2797,
               April 2000.

Santesson & Housley         Standards Track                     [Page 5]

RFC 4325       Authority Information Access CRL Extension  December 2005

4.2.  Informative References

   [X.680]     ITU-T Recommendation X.680 (2002) | ISO/IEC 8824-1:2002),
               Information Technology - Abstract Syntax Notation One,

   [X.690]     ITU-T Recommendation X.690 Information Technology - ASN.1
               encoding rules: Specification of Basic Encoding Rules
               (BER), Canonical Encoding Rules (CER) and Distinguished
               Encoding Rules (DER), 1997.

Authors' Addresses

   Stefan Santesson
   Tuborg Boulevard 12
   2900 Hellerup

   EMail: stefans@microsoft.com

   Russell Housley
   Vigil Security, LLC
   918 Spring Knoll Drive
   Herndon, VA 20170

   EMail: housley@vigilsec.com

Santesson & Housley         Standards Track                     [Page 6]

RFC 4325       Authority Information Access CRL Extension  December 2005

Full Copyright Statement

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2005).

   This document is subject to the rights, licenses and restrictions
   contained in BCP 78, and except as set forth therein, the authors
   retain all their rights.

   This document and the information contained herein are provided on an

Intellectual Property

   The IETF takes no position regarding the validity or scope of any
   Intellectual Property Rights or other rights that might be claimed to
   pertain to the implementation or use of the technology described in
   this document or the extent to which any license under such rights
   might or might not be available; nor does it represent that it has
   made any independent effort to identify any such rights.  Information
   on the procedures with respect to rights in RFC documents can be
   found in BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Copies of IPR disclosures made to the IETF Secretariat and any
   assurances of licenses to be made available, or the result of an
   attempt made to obtain a general license or permission for the use of
   such proprietary rights by implementers or users of this
   specification can be obtained from the IETF on-line IPR repository at

   The IETF invites any interested party to bring to its attention any
   copyrights, patents or patent applications, or other proprietary
   rights that may cover technology that may be required to implement
   this standard.  Please address the information to the IETF at ietf-


   Funding for the RFC Editor function is currently provided by the
   Internet Society.

Santesson & Housley         Standards Track                     [Page 7]