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Re: TLS renotiation


Our security expert at Sun consider that the attack could be applied to LDAP, although it will be more complex to achieve for all the good reasons you've outline (session-oriented, with explicit authentication attached to a session, and is a record-oriented ASN.1 encoded protocol with precisely defined message structure).
The renegotiation in the attack is as far as I understand, driven by the man in the middle, and so even though OpenLDAP slapd never request the renegociation, it is still subject to the attack.

My 2 cents.


On Nov 8, 2009, at 11:04 AM, Howard Chu wrote:

Dieter Kluenter wrote:
I just wonder weather LDAP and in particular OpenLDAP is affected by
TLS client auth renegotiation, as described
and the fix

No. These attacks are specific to HTTP; they are effective because HTTP is
inherently stateless, lacks an explicit Authentication operation in its
protocol spec, and is a line-oriented plaintext protocol with mostly ad hoc
structure. Since LDAP is inherently session-oriented, with explicit
authentication attached to a session, and is a record-oriented ASN.1 encoded
protocol with precisely defined message structure, this stuff doesn't apply.

There may be other plaintext protocols that are similarly affected, though I
tend to doubt it. The majority of other useful, widely deployed plaintext
protocols are session-oriented...

The PDF document outlines 3 vulnerability scenarios.

In the first case, the problem is that an HTTP server might be serving
documents from multiple security domains, and some may require certificate
authentication while others don't, and the server won't know what is required
until it has parsed the HTTP request. Because HTTP is stateless and the client
has simply issued a GET request, the certificate authentication has to occur
implicitly via a renegotiation of TLS session and be applied retroactively to
the request.

LDAP never applies authentication retroactively to a session. In LDAP, while
you are allowed to renegotiate TLS in the middle of an LDAP session, there is
no actual reason to do so, and OpenLDAP slapd certainly never requests it. If
a client were to do a renegotiate to provide a new client cert, it still
wouldn't affect the LDAP session until a new LDAP Bind with SASL/EXTERNAL was
performed, and LDAP Bind is a hard delimiter - nothing sent before the Bind
request can cause a response after the request. No session state can straddle
a Bind. Therefore you can't perform privilege escalation attacks like this in

In the second case, differing crypto requirements - in OpenLDAP this can't
arise because cipher suite selection is global to the server, not dependent on
request context. ACLs may require a particular strength before allowing access
to a resource, but slapd simply denies the request in that case, it doesn't
try to automagically renegotiate stronger crypto with the client. (Note that
the PDF recommends making cipher suite configuration global in the HTTP server
as well, to mitigate this attack. Duh.)

As for the Man in the Middle aspect, this vulnerability exists because HTTP is
a simple text line-oriented protocol, without real record boundaries. LDAP is
based on ASN.1, where each message has an explicit length encoded in the
protocol. You can't just pre-inject a bunch of data and splice a valid LDAP
request onto the end of it, the result will not be a valid LDAP request. slapd
will get a parsing error when decoding such an attempt, and will simply drop
the connection as it does for any improperly encoded messages it receives.

 -- Howard Chu
 CTO, Symas Corp.           http://www.symas.com
 Director, Highland Sun     http://highlandsun.com/hyc/
 Chief Architect, OpenLDAP  http://www.openldap.org/project/

Ludovic Poitou                                    Sun Microsystems Inc.
OpenDS Community Manager            Directory Services          
http://blogs.sun.com/Ludo/         Grenoble Engineering Center - France

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