bugWeeChat - Bugs: bug #37602, Reassigned to another tracker...


bug #37602: Reassigned to another tracker [was: [enhancement] pin TLS certificates using TOFU model]

Submitted by:  Abel Luck <abelxluck>
Submitted on:  Fri 19 Oct 2012 01:05:08 PM UTC  
Category:  irc plugin Severity:  3 - Normal
Item Group:  security Status:  None
Privacy:  Public Assigned to:  None
Originator Name:  Open/Closed:  Closed
Release:  2.2-dev IRC nick:  abeluck

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Fri 19 Oct 2012 01:20:49 PM UTC, comment #1:


Please, do not post any new comments to this item.

Sebastien Helleu <flashcode>
Project Administrator
Fri 19 Oct 2012 01:05:08 PM UTC, original submission:



In these days where we can no longer trust Certificate Authorities (CAs) yet can't quite ditch th CA model entirely, we need to take additional precautions to ensure the integrity of our TLS sessions.

Currently weechat supports verifying a certificate and all the certs in the chain up to the CA. If any CA is compromised, then the game is up and we could be silently MITMed.

If we pin (i.e., store) a certificate after we see it and expect to see it again in the future, we effectively reduce the scope of authorities who can authenticate to us during the lifetime of the pin.


I propose augmenting this system with an optional additional verification step that pins the certificate on first use, and every connection thereafter expects the same certificate.

This is often called TOFU, for Trust On First Use . If you've ever used SSH you've used TOFU before. The familiar prompt when you connect to a server for the first time is TOFU+cert pinning in action.

This behavior will be optional and disabled by default. The reasoning for it being off by default is that irc servers often use pools of servers which could use different SSL certificates.

For example, if you connect to chat.freenode.net you could be directed to any number of servers, each with their own certificate.

Pinning is particularly useful in these circumstances:

  • self-signed certificates
  • single IRC servers (non-pooled)


Add the irc plugin option irc.server.ssl_pin as a boolean option.

If this option is enabled:

  • On first connection to a server, after performing the current CA chain verification, weechat will optionally store the cert in a local cache.
  • On subsequent connections, weechat will expect the same certificate to be in use (unless it has been expired or revoked) and will prompt the user if this is not the case.

Thankfully, this is quite simple to implement using gnutls-3.0.13. It requires the use of just two gnutls functions. The documentation explains this in more detail.

You can view the sample client and compare it to irc_server_gnutls_callback() in irc-server.c

Of course this requires gnutls-3.0.13, which was released in Feburary 2012. This fact alone means we cannot push this feature until most distros have upgraded. That said, that gives us more time to implement and test it as a devel version.

Please discuss this proposal, I am more than willing to submit patches, but only if this is agreeable.

Abel Luck <abelxluck>


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    Follows 1 latest change.

    Date Changed by Updated Field Previous Value => Replaced by
    Fri 19 Oct 2012 01:20:49 PM UTC flashcode Reassign ItemWeeChat, bug #37602 => WeeChat, task #12293

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