[ksk-change] FIPS-140 levels

Tomofumi Okubo tomofumi.okubo at gmail.com
Mon Oct 6 19:23:10 UTC 2014

Hi Rick, that would be great.
I can also talk to other vendors too if necessary.

On Mon, Oct 6, 2014 at 12:17 PM, Richard Lamb <richard.lamb at icann.org> wrote:
> FWIW: With enough warning I believe we can get AEP to work with us.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ksk-rollover-bounces at icann.org [mailto:ksk-rollover-bounces at icann.org]
> On Behalf Of Tomofumi Okubo
> Sent: Monday, October 06, 2014 12:15 PM
> To: Bolivar, Al
> Cc: ksk-rollover at icann.org; Paul Hoffman
> Subject: Re: [ksk-change] FIPS-140 levels
> Hello Al,
> Yes, I know that Keyper Pro does not support EC and Keyper Plus does
> however, unfortunately, even if Keyper Plus does support EC, it might
> not actually support the curves we want to use.
> Cheers,
> Tomofumi
> On Mon, Oct 6, 2014 at 12:09 PM, Bolivar, Al <abolivar at verisign.com> wrote:
>> Tomofumi,
>> Paul brought up a really good point. I don't think the current HSMs we use
> support ECC, the newer model, the Keyper plus does support ECCDSA/ECCDH.
> This model is FIPS 140-3 level 4.
>> Thanks,
>> Al
>>> On Oct 6, 2014, at 10:39, Paul Hoffman <paul.hoffman at vpnc.org> wrote:
>>>> On Oct 5, 2014, at 10:37 PM, Tomofumi Okubo <tomofumi.okubo at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>>>> What I'm trying to say is the security controls in the key management
>>>> environment are redundant by design. It's not about choosing the
>>>> better one but actually having both controls in place for additional
>>>> security.
>>> Understood. If IANA wants to make to make the choice between "redundant
> security controls" and "significantly better cryptography with more vendor
> choices" towards the first, that's fine. I personally disagree with it, but
> having that discussion here seems to be in the spirit of why this list was
> started.
>>>> I'm sorry for repeating myself but this is to accomplish defense in
>>>> depth (layered security).
>>> Fully agree. However, there are other ways to have defense in depth other
> than relying on the systems inside the HSM that IANA did not design, and
> which IANA does not control. Joe Abley said the other day: "The root zone
> KSK security design depends upon physical security of the facility". That
> seems like a good, auditable design.
>>>> Below is what the HSM that is currently used by ICANN reacts to and
>>>> renders the cryptographic key useless by destroying the keys that
>>>> protect the KSK (IMK, ISMK, SMK).
>>>> - External (mains) voltage outside of specified fatal range
>>>> - External (mains) voltage outside of specified operational range
>>>> - Storage temperature outside of normal operating range
>>>> - Physical breach of tamper casing (mesh)
>>>> - Operational temperature outside of normal operating range
>>>> - External tamper switch triggered
>>>> - Power fluctuation
>>>> - Total power failure (both internal battery and mains power)
>>>> Below is some example if attacks it mitigates.
>>>> - Probe attacks (physical tampering will blow up the key)
>>>> - Side channel attacks (module attenuates readable signals)
>>>> - Electrical attacks (applying unusual voltage to cause error will
>>>> blow up the key)
>>>> - Fault attacks (whatever unusual input will blow the key)
>>> Yes, and none of those are of concern *in IANA's operating environment*,
> correct? If anyone has unauthorized physical access to the HSM, IANA will
> invalidate the key and use a new one, right? This is the crux of my point:
> if IANA has processes that are more stringent than those provided by Levels
> 2 through 4, then all you get from insisting on higher-than-Level-1 is
> restrictions on cryptography and restriction of choice of models.
>>> (As a side note: listing "side channel attacks" is particularly humorous
> in this setting, given the number of side channel attacks that have been
> listed for RSA signing in the past five years.)
>>>> This might sound weird but I'm not actually advocating for FIPS140
>>>> level 4 HSMs and I do like EC too.
>>> Those two do not make sense together in the current environment where we
> expect the CFRG to decide on new elliptic curve specifications in the coming
> months. No one would expect such cryptography to be available in a Level 4
> HSM for many, many years. Look how little choice you have even for current
> ECDSA HSMs at Level 4.
>>>> I just think we shouldn't go down
>>>> to FIPS140 level 1 if we still decide to use HSMs to store and manage
>>>> the KSK. In addition, if we are to change the security level, we need
>>>> to come up with compensating controls or a good justification.
>>> Fully agree with that last bit. I was going along with what with Joe said
> the other day, which does not require redundant security in the HSM, only
> the standard crypto security that is tested in FIPS-140 Level 1. But if IANA
> wants to stick with a Level 4 requirement for redunancy, the tradeoffs are
> clear.
>>> --Paul Hoffman
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