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Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2016 17:44:51 +0200
From: Marcus Meissner <>
Subject: Re: CVE Request: ruby openssl hostname verification issue

Hi Mitre,

Sorry for answering late.

I agree with your assessments of "underdocumentation, but not
generally buggy".

I also do not see a need for a CVE of this race condition.

I hereby retract the CVE request.

Sorry for the noise.

Ciao, Marcus
On Thu, Jun 09, 2016 at 01:52:49PM -0400, wrote:
> > This probably warrants a CVE:
> > 
> >
> We are not sure exactly what issue you believe should have a CVE ID,
> There seem to be three issues that are somewhat related. Our short
> answer is "probably there shouldn't be a CVE ID - the main concern was
> that the documentation needed to be improved, and the vendor instead
> decided to change the API semantics and break one (rare) use case."
> Here's some discussion of the three issues.
> > VERIFY_PEER only checks the cert chain is rooted in the local
> > truststore. It does not check if the subject is valid in and of
> > itself.
> One might argue that this behavior should have a CVE ID because it is
> not properly documented. Some users might have guessed that
> VERIFY_PEER did validate the subject, because it is very rare for
> anyone to want to establish only that a certificate is rooted in the
> local truststore, with any arbitrary subject.
> Other products, such as libcurl, have a similarly named option with
> the same behavior, but with explicit documentation, e.g.,
>   "Authenticating the certificate is not enough to be sure about the
>   server. You typically also want to ensure that the server is the
>   server you mean to be talking to. Use CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYHOST for
>   that."
> However, there apparently isn't an analogous OpenSSL::SSL::VERIFY_HOST
> for Ruby.
> Still, our initial thought is that underdocumenting
> OpenSSL::SSL::VERIFY_PEER, by itself, should not have a CVE ID. Users
> may be able to realize, possibly from their knowledge of libcurl, that
> an option called VERIFY_PEER or VERIFYPEER is typically insufficient.
> > My understanding is the ssl_socket.post_connection_check(hostname) method
> > must be called to ensure the subject is correctly verified. However,
> > communication is allowed to remote services without verifying the subject.
> Here, maybe the problem is a race condition. In other words, there is
> inherently a time window in which communication can occur with an
> unexpected host. Possibly, in most common scenarios in which the
> application author did understand the post_connection_check
> documentation, nothing security-relevant happens in this time window,
> e.g., a client would not be sending requests to a server before the
> post_connection_check step. However, there may be uncommon scenarios
> where something security-relevant can happen in this time window.
> Do you believe that these uncommon scenarios actually occur, and
> therefore this race condition should have a CVE ID?
> > I would suggest throwing an exception if VERIFY_PEER is configured and
> > I/O is attempted without first calling post_connection_check
> Here, you seem to be suggesting that VERIFY_PEER is never sufficient
> in any scenario. This seems to be equivalent to suggesting that the
> libcurl choice of using CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYPEER without
> CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYHOST is always wrong, and should not even be
> possible in the libcurl API.
> Do you believe that there should be a CVE ID, in general, for "the
> product needlessly offers a way to skip subject validation"?
> (We don't know all of the use cases for skipping subject validation.
> We think that it is typically useful only within isolated networks.
> For example, consider a scenario where the local truststore recognizes
> exactly one CA, this CA has only ever issued one certificate, and the
> certificate happens to have an arbitrary subject, but is intentionally
> used on multiple intranet HTTPS servers that are trusted by the same
> intranet clients. Here, subject validation doesn't really help anyone,
> and mandating subject validation would break this use case.)
> -- 
> CVE Assignment Team
> M/S M300, 202 Burlington Road, Bedford, MA 01730 USA
> [ A PGP key is available for encrypted communications at
> ]

Marcus Meissner,SUSE LINUX GmbH; Maxfeldstrasse 5; D-90409 Nuernberg; Zi. 3.1-33,+49-911-740 53-432,,serv=loki,mail=wotan,type=real <>

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