[ppml] Policy Proposal: Reinstatement of PGP Authentication Method

Member Services info at arin.net
Wed Oct 25 09:34:37 EDT 2006

ARIN received the following policy proposal. In accordance with the ARIN
Internet Resource Policy Evaluation Process, the proposal is being
posted to the ARIN Public Policy Mailing List (PPML) and being placed on
ARIN's website.

The ARIN Advisory Council (AC) will review this proposal and may decide to:

1. Accept the proposal as a formal policy proposal as it is presented;
2. Work with the author to:
     a) clarify the language or intent of the proposal;
     b) divide the proposal into two (2) or more proposals; or
     c) combine the proposal with other proposals; or, 3. Not accept the
proposal as a formal policy proposal.

This proposal was received within 10 days of the next scheduled meeting
of the ARIN Advisory Council; the review period may be extended to the
regularly scheduled meeting that occurs after the upcoming meeting.

If the AC accepts the proposal or reaches an agreement with the author,
then the proposal will be posted as a formal policy proposal to PPML and
it will be presented at a Public Policy Meeting. If the AC does not
accept the proposal or can not reach an agreement with the author, then
the AC will notify the community of their decision with an explanation;
at that time the author may elect to use the petition process to advance
their proposal. If the author elects not to petition or the petition
fails, then the proposal will be considered closed.

The ARIN Internet Resource Policy Evaluation Process can be found at:

Mailing list subscription information can be found at:


Member Services
American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN)

## * ##

Policy Proposal Name: Reinstatement of PGP Authentication Method

Paul Vixie
Mark Kosters
Chris Morrow
Jared Mauch
Bill Woodcock

Submission Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Proposal type: New

Policy term: Permanent

Policy statement:


         3.5 Authentication Methods
             ARIN supports three authentication methods for
             communication with resource recipients.

             3.5.1 Mail-From
                   This section intentionally left blank.

             3.5.2 PGP
                   ARIN accepts PGP-signed email as authentic
                   communication from authorized Points of Contact. POCs
                   may denote their records "crypt-auth," subsequent to
                   which unsigned communications shall not be deemed
                   authentic with regard to those records.

             3.5.3 X.509
                   This section intentionally left blank.


         ARIN shall include the auth-type field in request templates as
         necessary to distinguish between cryptographic and mail-from
         authentication methods.


         ARIN shall update documentation as appropriate, to explain the
         differences between mail-from, PGP, and X.509 authentication


         ARIN shall accept PGP-signed communications, validate the
         signature, compare it to the identity of the authorized POCs
         for records referenced in the correspondence, and act
         appropriately based upon the validity or invalidity of the

         ARIN shall PGP-sign all outgoing hostmaster email with the
         hostmaster role key, and staff members may optionally also
         sign mail which they originate with their own individual keys.

         ARIN shall accept PGP-encrypted communications
         which are encrypted using ARIN's hostmaster public key.

         ARIN shall not encrypt any outgoing communications, except by
         explicit mutual prior agreement with the recipient.


         It is recommended that ARIN utilize normal POC-verification
         processes as necessary to accommodate users who lose the
         private key or passphrase associated with the POCs for their
         crypt-auth protected resources.

         It is recommended that ARIN exercise reasonable caution in
         preventing the proliferation of copies of the hostmaster
         private key and passphrase.

         It is recommended that ARIN print out a copy of the private key
         and passphrase, and secure them in a safe-deposit box outside
         of ARIN's physical premises, which any two ARIN officers might
         access in the event that the operating copy of the key is lost
         or compromised.

         It is recommended that ARIN publish the hostmaster public key
         on the ARIN web site, in a manner similar to that of the other

         It is recommended that ARIN publish the hostmaster public key
         by submitting it to common PGP keyservers which, among others,
         might include:

         It is recommended that ARIN attempt to cross-sign the
         hostmaster PGP keys of the other four RIRs and ICANN.

         It is recommended that ARIN's hostmaster public key be signed
         by members of the ARIN board of trustees.


         Globally, PGP is the most commonly used cryptographic
         authentication method between RIRs and resource recipients who
         wish to protect their resource registration records against
         unauthorized modification. The PGP-auth authentication method
         is supported by RIPE, APNIC, LACNIC, and AfriNIC, and it was
         historically supported by the InterNIC prior to ARIN's
         formation. By contrast, current ARIN resource recipients have
         only two options: "mail-from," which is trivially spoofed and
         should not be relied upon to protect important database
         objects, and X.509, which involves a rigorous and lengthy
         proof-of-identity process and compels use of a compatible MUA,
         a combination which has dissuaded virtually all of ARIN's

         There isn't a lot of work to do here, and certainly nothing
         tricky. The hostmaster key has existed since InterNIC days, and
         ARIN staff have verified that the key and passphrase are still
         known and working fine. This is simple code, which all the
         other RIRs deployed without a second thought or complaint. If
         RIPE and APNIC have always done this, the InterNIC did it
         before ARIN was formed, and LACNIC and AfriNIC took this for
         granted as a part of their startup process, we see no reason
         why ARIN should be the only RIR to not offer this most basic of
         protections to its members.

         We need to get PGP support reinstated, so that our records can
         be protected against hijacking and vandalism, and so we won't
         look like idiots as the only one of the five regions that can't
         figure this stuff out.

Timetable for implementation: Immediate

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