Usable X.509 errors: OpenSSL

Our goal is to simplify the ecosystem by consolidating the errors and their documentation (similarly to web documentation) and better explaining what the validation errors mean.

Correctly validating X.509 certificates turns out to be pretty complicated (e.g., Georgiev2012, Ukrop2019). Yet certificate validation is crucial for secure communication on the Internet (think TLS).

For every error, we aim to provide our redesigned documentation ( ), an example certificate ( ), original documentation provided by the library ( , unused or deprecated errors denoted by ). Furthermore, we provide links to corresponding errors from other libraries ( ). In the future, we plan on adding error frequencies based on IP-wide scans and elaborating on the consequences of individual errors.

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Time validity errors

Errors occuring when a certificate is outside its validity period or when it is revoked by its CA.
Relevant links: Certificate Validity (RFC 5280), Certificate Revocation (RFC 5280)

These errors occur when the trust chain to the root certificate is not built correctly or fails.
Relevant links: Certificate Paths (RFC 5280), Certificate Revocation Lists (RFC 5280), OCSP (RFC 2560)

Basic extension errors

Errors related to extensions in general or to the BasicConstraints standard extension.
Relevant links: Certificate Extensions (RFC 5280), BasicConstraints Extension (RFC 5280)

Errors signalizing problems with either hostname verification, NameConstaints standard extension or IP Address Delegation extension.
Relevant links: NameConstaints extension (RFC 5280), IP Address Delegation extension (RFC 3779), Certificate Common Name (RFC 5280)

Usage and policy errors

Errors related to standard extensions CertificatePolicies, KeyUsage and ExtendedKeyUsage.
Relevant links: KeyUsage extension (RFC5280), ExtendedKeyUsage extension (RFC5280), CertificatePolicies extension (RFC5280)

Various errors signalizing usage of invalid or deprecated algorithms.
Relevant links: Algorithm and Key Size Profile for PKI (RFC 7935), Suite B Profile for TLS (RFC 6460)

Formatting errors

These errors occur when a field of the certificate/CRL contains invalid values or is badly formatted.
Relevant links: Certificate Signature (RFC 5280), Certificate Time formatting (RFC 5280), Certificate Signature Algorithm (RFC 5280)

Uncategorized errors

These errors are not yet categorized, deprecated or not used at all.

About the project

The project is developed at the Centre for Research on Cryptography and Security (CRoCS) at Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic by Martin Ukrop, Pavol Žáčik, Eric Valčík with the help of Michaela Balážová and Matěj Grabovský. For more details, see the ReadMe file in the project repository on GitHub.

The authors are grateful for the financial support by and Red Hat Czech and Kiwi.com.