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From Kay Schenk <>
Subject Re: Remove NSS from xmlsecurity - alternatives?
Date Fri, 15 Jan 2016 22:16:45 GMT

On 01/15/2016 12:18 AM, Damjan Jovanovic wrote:
> Hi
> I believe we now have enough evidence that a serious issue, #125431, where
> AOO lies that the password for encrypted files is wrong when it isn't, is
> caused by a failure in NSS:
> * deliberately corrupting the Mozilla profile reproduces the issue on all
> operating systems
> * a patch I've written that reimplements xmlsecurity digest functions using
> OpenSSL instead of NSS, allows encrypted documents to open despite a
> corrupted Mozilla profile
> * someone with the issue on FreeBSD reported my patch fixes it
> Always having been category B and now also commonly breaking in the field,
> it's past time for NSS to go. But this brings me to my question: what do we
> replace it with?
> We already use OpenSSL for some things, and my patch which uses it is
> enough to fix the problem with opening encrypted files. Its license suits
> us better. Our libxmlsec library can use it in place of NSS.

Thank you for your work on this. I am certainly in favor of just
using OpenSSL assuming it won't cause backward compatibly issues.

> Java has a rich cryptographic API and is widely used for cryptography. It
> is however an optional dependency to AOO. It also needs the unlimited
> strength JCE policy files to use AES-256, but there are workarounds.
> Are there more?
> The important differences are:
> * NSS has passed FIPS-140 validation (
> OpenSSL hasn't really (
> while Java supposedly has (
> Do we care?
> * We use certificate verification (for what, digitally signed documents?).
> This means we need access to the root certificates of all the CAs. Securely
> updating, expiring and revoking CA certificates across 40 million users is
> a problem we should rather delegate to someone else. Currently, we are
> using MSCrypto on Windows, and Thunderbird's/Firefox's certificates (via
> NSS) on other platforms. OpenSSL doesn't come with a list of CA
> certificates. Java does, but I don't know whether "This file is encrypted,
> please install Java to open it" will fly.
> Maybe we could combine them. Use OpenSSL for most of xmlsecurity, and fall
> back to Java when available for its certificates? Or keep NSS but scale it
> down to only dealing with certificates, and use something else for
> implementing other xmlsecurity features?
> Thank you
> Damjan


"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start,
 anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending."
                            -- Carl Bard

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