|Title||Internet X.509 Public Key Infrastructure Repository Locator Service
|Author||S. Boeyen, P. Hallam-Baker
Network Working Group S. Boeyen
Request for Comments: 4386 Entrust Inc.
Category: Experimental P. Hallam-Baker
Internet X.509 Public Key Infrastructure
Repository Locator Service
Status of This Memo
This memo defines an Experimental Protocol for the Internet
community. It does not specify an Internet standard of any kind.
Discussion and suggestions for improvement are requested.
Distribution of this memo is unlimited.
Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2006).
This document defines a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) repository
locator service. The service makes use of DNS SRV records defined in
accordance with RFC 2782. The service enables certificate-using
systems to locate PKI repositories.
Table of Contents
1. Overview ........................................................2
1.1. Conventions Used in This Document ..........................2
2. SRV RR Definition ...............................................2
2.1. Assignment of New Protocol Prefixes ........................3
2.2. Use of Multiple Repositories ...............................3
2.3. SRV RR Example .............................................3
3. Security Considerations .........................................4
4. IANA Considerations .............................................4
5. Informative References ..........................................4
A number of RFCs (including [RFC2559], [RFC2560], and [RFC2585]) have
specified operational protocols for retrieval of PKI data, including
public-key certificates and revocation information, from PKI
repositories. These RFCs assume that a certificate-using system has
the information necessary to identify, locate, and connect to the PKI
repository with a specific protocol. Although some tools are
available in protocol-specific environments for this purpose, such as
knowledge references in directory systems, these are restricted for
use with a single protocol and do not share a common means of
publication. This document provides a solution to this problem
through the use of Service Record (SRV) Resource Records (RRs) in
DNS. This solution is expected to be particularly useful in
environments where only a domain name is available. In other
situations (e.g., where a certificate is available that contains the
required information), such a DNS lookup is not needed.
[RFC2782] defines a DNS RR for specifying the location of services
(SRV). This document defines SRV records for a PKI repository
locator service to enable PKI clients to obtain the necessary
information to connect to a domain's PKI repository, including
information about each protocol that is supported by that domain for
access to its repository. This document includes the definition of
an SRV RR format for this service and an example of its potential use
in an email environment.
1.1. Conventions Used in This Document
The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT",
"RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document (in uppercase,
as shown) are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].
In examples, "C:" and "S:" indicate lines sent by the client and
2. SRV RR Definition
The format of the SRV RR, whose DNS type code is 33, is:
_Service._Proto.Name TTL Class SRV Priority Weight Port Target
For the PKI repository locator service, this document uses the
symbolic name "PKIXREP". Note that when used in an SRV RR, this name
MUST be prepended with an "_" character.
The protocols that can be included in PKIXREP SRV RRs are:
Protocol SRV Prefix
2.1. Assignment of New Protocol Prefixes
Protocol prefix assignments for new PKIX repository protocols SHOULD
be defined in the document that specifies the protocol.
2.2. Use of Multiple Repositories
The existence of multiple repositories MAY be determined by making
separate DNS queries for each of the protocols supported by the
If this approach is found to be unacceptably inefficient due to a
proliferation of repository protocols at a future date, the service
discovery protocol could be extended to allow the repository to
advertise the protocols supported.
2.3. SRV RR Example
This example uses the fictional domain "example.com" as an aid in
understanding the use of SRV records by a certificate-using system.
Assume that Alice is an email client that needs a certificate for a
recipient. Alice's client system supports LDAP for certificate
retrieval. Assume the message recipient is Bob and that Bob's email
address is email@example.com. Assume that example.test maintains a
"border directory" PKI repository and that Bob's certificate is
available from that directory, "border.example.com", via LDAP.
Alice's client system retrieves, via DNS, the SRV record for
- The QNAME of the DNS query is _PKIXREP._LDAP.example.com.
- The QCLASS of the DNS query is IN.
- The QTYPE of the DNS query is SRV.
The result SHOULD include the host address for example.com's border
Note that if example.com operated its service on a number of hosts,
more than one SRV RR would be returned. In this case, RFC 2782
defines the procedure to be followed in determining which of these
should be accessed first.
3. Security Considerations
Security issues regarding PKI repositories themselves are outside the
scope of this document. For LDAP repositories, for example, specific
security considerations are addressed in RFC 2559.
Security issues with respect to the use of SRV records in general are
addressed in RFC 2782, and these issues apply to the use of SRV
records in the context of the PKIXREP service defined here.
4. IANA Considerations
This document reserves the use of "_PKIXREP" service label. Since
this relates to a service that may pass messages over a number of
different message transports, each message must be associated with a
In order to ensure that the association between "_PKIXREP" and their
respective underlying services is deterministic, the IANA has created
a new registry: PKIX SRV Protocol Labels.
For this registry, an entry shall consist of a label name and a
pointer to a specification describing how the protocol named in the
label uses SRV. Specifications should conform to the requirements
listed in [RFC2434] for "specification required".
5. Informative References
[RFC2119] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.
[RFC2434] Narten, T. and H. Alvestrand, "Guidelines for Writing an
IANA Considerations Section in RFCs", BCP 26, RFC 2434,
[RFC2559] Boeyen, S., Howes, T., and P. Richard, "Internet X.509
Public Key Infrastructure Operational Protocols - LDAPv2",
RFC 2559, April 1999.
[RFC2560] Myers, M., Ankney, R., Malpani, A., Galperin, S., and C.
Adams, "X.509 Internet Public Key Infrastructure Online
Certificate Status Protocol - OCSP", RFC 2560, June 1999.
[RFC2585] Housley, R. and P. Hoffman, "Internet X.509 Public Key
Infrastructure Operational Protocols: FTP and HTTP", RFC
2585, May 1999.
[RFC2782] Gulbrandsen, A., Vixie, P., and L. Esibov, "A DNS RR for
specifying the location of services (DNS SRV)", RFC 2782,
1000 Innovation Drive
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Phillip M. Hallam-Baker
401 Edgewater Place, Suite 280
Wakefield MA 01880
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