The Update Framework Specification

Version: 1.0.19
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Editors:
Justin Cappos (NYU)
Trishank Karthik Kuppusamy (Datadog)
Joshua Lock (VMware)
Marina Moore (NYU)
Lukas Pühringer (NYU)

Note: We strive to make the specification easy to implement, so if you come across any inconsistencies or experience any difficulty, do let us know by sending an email to our mailing list, or by reporting an issue in the specification repo.

1. Introduction

1.1. Scope

This document describes a framework for securing software update systems.

The keywords "MUST," "MUST NOT," "REQUIRED," "SHALL," "SHALL NOT," "SHOULD," "SHOULD NOT," "RECOMMENDED," "MAY," and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119.

1.2. Motivation

Software is commonly updated through software update systems. These systems can be package managers that are responsible for all of the software that is installed on a system, application updaters that are only responsible for individual installed applications, or software library managers that install software that adds functionality such as plugins or programming language libraries.

Software update systems all have the common behavior of downloading files that identify whether updates exist and, when updates do exist, downloading the files that are required for the update. For the implementations concerned with security, various integrity and authenticity checks are performed on downloaded files.

Software update systems are vulnerable to a variety of known attacks. This is generally true even for implementations that have tried to be secure.

1.3. History and credit

Work on TUF began in late 2009. The core ideas are based off of previous work done by Justin Cappos and Justin Samuel that identified security flaws in all popular Linux package managers. More information and current versions of this document can be found at https://theupdateframework.io/

The Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have provided support for the development of TUF.

TUF’s reference implementation is based on prior work on Thandy, the application updater for Tor. Its design and this spec also came from ideas jointly developed in discussion with Thandy’s authors. The Thandy spec can be found at https://gitweb.torproject.org/thandy.git/tree/specs/thandy-spec.txt

Whereas Thandy is an application updater for an individual software project, TUF aims to provide a way to secure any software update system. We’re very grateful to the Tor Project and the Thandy developers for the early discussion that led to the ideas in Thandy and TUF. Thandy is the hard work of Nick Mathewson, Sebastian Hahn, Roger Dingledine, Martin Peck, and others.

1.4. Non-goals

We are not creating a universal update system, but rather a simple and flexible way that applications can have high levels of security with their software update systems. Creating a universal software update system would not be a reasonable goal due to the diversity of application-specific functionality in software update systems and the limited usefulness that such a system would have for securing legacy software update systems.

We won’t be defining package formats or even performing the actual update of application files. We will provide the simplest mechanism possible that remains easy to use and provides a secure way for applications to obtain and verify files being distributed by trusted parties.

We are not providing a means to bootstrap security so that arbitrary installation of new software is secure. In practice this means that people still need to use other means to verify the integrity and authenticity of files they download manually.

The framework will not have the responsibility of deciding on the correct course of action in all error situations, such as those that can occur when certain attacks are being performed. Instead, the framework will provide the software update system the relevant information about any errors that require security decisions which are situation-specific. How those errors are handled is up to the software update system.

1.5. Goals

We need to provide a framework (a set of libraries, file formats, and utilities) that can be used to secure new and existing software update systems.

The framework should enable applications to be secure from all known attacks on the software update process. It is not concerned with exposing information about what software is being updated (and thus what software the client may be running) or the contents of updates.

The framework should provide means to minimize the impact of key compromise. To do so, it must support roles with multiple keys and threshold/quorum trust (with the exception of minimally trusted roles designed to use a single key). The compromise of roles using highly vulnerable keys should have minimal impact. Therefore, online keys (keys which are used in an automated fashion) must not be used for any role that clients ultimately trust for files they may install.

The framework must be flexible enough to meet the needs of a wide variety of software update systems.

The framework must be easy to integrate with software update systems.

1.5.1. Goals for implementation

1.5.2. Goals to protect against specific attacks

Note: When saying the framework protects against an attack, it means the attack will be unsuccessful. It does not mean that a client will always successfully update during an attack. Fundamentally, an attacker positioned to intercept and modify a client’s communication can always perform a denial of service. Nevertheless, the framework must detect when a client is unable to update.

1.5.3. Goals for PKI

1.5.4. TUF Augmentation Proposal (TAP) support

This major version (1.x.y) of the specification adheres to the following TAPS:

Implementations compliant with this major version (1.x.y) of the specification must also comply with the TAPs mentioned above.

2. System overview

The framework ultimately provides a secure method of obtaining trusted files. To avoid ambiguity, we will refer to the files the framework is used to distribute as "target files". Target files are opaque to the framework. Whether target files are packages containing multiple files, single text files, or executable binaries is irrelevant to the framework.

The metadata describing target files is the information necessary to securely identify the file and indicate which roles are trusted to provide the file. As providing additional information about target files may be important to some software update systems using the framework, additional arbitrary information can be provided with any target file. This information will be included in signed metadata that describes the target files.

The following are the high-level steps of using the framework from the viewpoint of a software update system using the framework. This is an error-free case.

Polling

Periodically, the software update system using the framework instructs the framework to check each repository for updates. If the framework reports to the application code that there are updates, the application code determines whether it wants to download the updated target files. Only target files that are trusted (referenced by properly signed and timely metadata) are made available by the framework.

Fetching

For each file that the application wants, it asks the framework to download the file. The framework downloads the file and performs security checks to ensure that the downloaded file is exactly what is expected according to the signed metadata. The application code is not given access to the file until the security checks have been completed. The application asks the framework to copy the downloaded file to a location specified by the application. At this point, the application has securely obtained the target file and can do with it whatever it wishes.

2.1. Roles and PKI

In the discussion of roles that follows, it is important to remember that the framework has been designed to allow a large amount of flexibility for many different use cases. For example, it is possible to use the framework with a single key that is the only key used in the entire system. This is considered to be insecure but the flexibility is provided in order to meet the needs of diverse use cases.

There are four fundamental top-level roles in the framework:

There is also one optional top-level role:

All roles can use one or more keys and require a threshold of signatures of the role’s keys in order to trust a given metadata file.

2.1.1. Root role

The root role delegates trust to specific keys trusted for all other top-level roles used in the system.

The client-side of the framework MUST ship with trusted root keys for each configured repository.

The root role’s private keys MUST be kept very secure and thus should be kept offline. If less than a threshold of Root keys are compromised, the repository should revoke trust on the compromised keys. This can be accomplished with a normal rotation of root keys, covered in section § 6.1 Key management and migration. If a threshold of root keys is compromised, the Root keys should be updated out-of-band, however, the threshold should be chosen so that this is extremely unlikely. In the unfortunate event that a threshold of keys are compromised, it is safest to assume that attackers have installed malware and taken over affected machines. For this reason, making it difficult for attackers to compromise all of the offline keys is important because safely recovering from it is nearly impossible.

2.1.2. Targets role

The targets role’s signature indicates which target files are trusted by clients. The targets role signs metadata that describes these files, not the actual target files themselves.

In addition, the targets role can delegate full or partial trust to other roles. Delegating trust means that the targets role indicates another role (that is, another set of keys and the threshold required for trust) is trusted to sign target file metadata. Partial trust delegation is when the delegated role is only trusted for some of the target files that the delegating role is trusted for.

Delegated roles can further delegate trust to other delegated roles. This provides for multiple levels of trust delegation where each role can delegate full or partial trust for the target files they are trusted for. The delegating role in these cases is still trusted. That is, a role does not become untrusted when it has delegated trust.

Any delegation can be revoked at any time: the delegating role needs only to sign new metadata that no longer contains that delegation.

2.1.3. Snapshot role

The snapshot role signs a metadata file that provides information about the latest version of all targets metadata on the repository (the top-level targets role and all delegated roles). This information allows clients to know which metadata files have been updated and also prevents mix-and-match attacks.

2.1.4. Timestamp role

To prevent an adversary from replaying an out-of-date signed metadata file whose signature has not yet expired, an automated process periodically signs a timestamped statement containing the hash of the snapshot file. Even though this timestamp key must be kept online, the risk posed to clients by the compromise of this key is minimal.

2.1.5. Mirrors role

Every repository has one or more mirrors from which files can be downloaded by clients. A software update system using the framework may choose to hard-code the mirror information in their software or they may choose to use mirror metadata files that can optionally be signed by a mirrors role.

The importance of using signed mirror lists depends on the application and the users of that application. There is minimal risk to the application’s security from being tricked into contacting the wrong mirrors. This is because the framework has very little trust in repositories.

2.2. Threat model and analysis

We assume an adversary who can respond to client requests, whether by acting as a man-in-the-middle or through compromising repository mirrors. At worst, such an adversary can deny updates to users if no good mirrors are accessible. An inability to obtain updates is noticed by the framework.

If an adversary compromises enough keys to sign metadata, the best that can be done is to limit the number of users who are affected. The level to which this threat is mitigated is dependent on how the application is using the framework. This includes whether different keys have been used for different signing roles.

A detailed threat analysis is outside the scope of this document. This is partly because the specific threat posted to clients in many situations is largely determined by how the framework is being used.

2.3. Protocol, Operations, Usage, and Format (POUF) documents

This specification purposefully leaves many implementation details, including the metadata file formats, to the discretion of individual implementations. These details do not affect the security of an implementation, and so leaving them out of the specification allows this document to support a greater variety of users. TUF implementers are encouraged to document the wireline format and design decisions used in their implementation as a POUF document. POUFs, as described in TAP 11, allow different adopters to create interoperable implementations of TUF. POUFs should follow the layout described in TAP 11 and may be made publicly available in the TAP directory.

3. The repository

An application uses the framework to interact with one or more repositories. A repository is a conceptual source of target files of interest to the application. Each repository has one or more mirrors which are the actual providers of files to be downloaded. For example, each mirror may specify a different host where files can be downloaded from over HTTP.

The mirrors can be full or partial mirrors as long as the application-side of the framework can ultimately obtain all of the files it needs. A mirror is a partial mirror if it is missing files that a full mirror should have. If a mirror is intended to only act as a partial mirror, the metadata and target paths available from that mirror can be specified.

Roles, trusted keys, and target files are completely separate between repositories. A multi-repository setup is a multi-root system. When an application uses the framework with multiple repositories, the framework does not perform any "mixing" of the trusted content from each repository. It is up to the application to determine the significance of the same or different target files provided from separate repositories.

3.1. Repository layout

The filesystem layout in the repository is used for two purposes:

3.1.1. Target files

The filenames and the directory structure of target files available from a repository are not specified by the framework. The names of these files and directories are completely at the discretion of the application using the framework.

3.1.2. Metadata files

The filenames and directory structure of repository metadata are strictly defined. All metadata filenames will have an extension (EXT) based on the metaformat, for example JSON metadata files would have an EXT of json. The following are the metadata files of top-level roles relative to the base URL of metadata available from a given repository mirror.

/root.EXT

Signed by the root keys; specifies trusted keys for the other top-level roles.

/snapshot.EXT

Signed by the snapshot role’s keys. Lists the version numbers of all target metadata files: the top-level targets.EXT and all delegated roles.

/targets.EXT

Signed by the target role’s keys. Lists hashes and sizes of target files. Specifies delegation information and trusted keys for delegated target roles.

/timestamp.EXT

Signed by the timestamp role’s keys. Lists hash(es), size, and version number of the snapshot file. This is the first and potentially only file that needs to be downloaded when clients poll for the existence of updates.

/mirrors.EXT (optional)

Signed by the mirrors role’s keys. Lists information about available mirrors and the content available from each mirror.

3.1.2.1. Metadata files for targets delegation

When the targets role delegates trust to other roles, each delegated role provides one signed metadata file. As is the case with the directory structure of top-level metadata, the delegated files are relative to the base URL of metadata available from a given repository mirror.

A delegated role file is located at:

/DELEGATED_ROLE.EXT

Where DELEGATED_ROLE is the name of the delegated role that has been specified in targets.EXT. If this role further delegates trust to a role named ANOTHER_ROLE, that role’s signed metadata file is made available at:

/ANOTHER_ROLE.EXT

Delegated target roles are authorized by the keys listed in the directly delegating target role.

4. Document formats

All of the formats described below include the ability to add more attribute-value fields for backwards-compatible format changes. If a backwards incompatible format change is needed, a new filename can be used.

4.1. Metaformat

Implementers of TUF may use any data format for metadata files as long as all fields in this specification are included and TUF clients are able to interpret them without ambiguity. Implementers should choose a data format that allows for canonicalization, or one that will decode data deterministically by default so that signatures can be accurately verified. The chosen data format should be documented in the POUF of the implementation. The examples in this document use a subset of the JSON object format, with floating-point numbers omitted. When calculating the digest of an object, we use the "canonical JSON" subdialect as described at Canonical JSON.

4.2. File formats: general principles

All signed metadata objects have the format:

{
  "signed" : ROLE,
  "signatures" : [
    { "keyid" : KEYID,
      "sig" : SIGNATURE }
      , ... ]
}
ROLE

A dictionary whose "_type" field describes the role type.

KEYID

The identifier of the key signing the ROLE object, which is a hexdigest of the SHA-256 hash of the canonical form of the key.

SIGNATURE

A hex-encoded signature of the canonical form of the metadata for ROLE.

All KEYs have the format:

{
  "keytype" : KEYTYPE,
  "scheme" : SCHEME,
  "keyval" : KEYVAL
}
KEYTYPE

A string denoting a public key signature system, such as "rsa", "ed25519", and "ecdsa-sha2-nistp256".

SCHEME

A string denoting a corresponding signature scheme. For example: "rsassa-pss-sha256", "ed25519", and "ecdsa-sha2-nistp256".

KEYVAL

A dictionary containing the public portion of the key.

The reference implementation defines three signature schemes, although TUF is not restricted to any particular signature scheme, key type, or cryptographic library:

"rsassa-pss-sha256"

RSA Probabilistic signature scheme with appendix. The underlying hash function is SHA256. https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc3447#page-29

"ed25519"

Elliptic curve digital signature algorithm based on Twisted Edwards curves. https://ed25519.cr.yp.to/

"ecdsa-sha2-nistp256"

Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm with NIST P-256 curve signing and SHA-256 hashing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elliptic_Curve_Digital_Signature_Algorithm

We define three keytypes below: "rsa", "ed25519", and "ecdsa-sha2-nistp256", but adopters can define and use any particular keytype, signing scheme, and cryptographic library.

The "rsa" format is:

{
  "keytype" : "rsa",
  "scheme" : "rsassa-pss-sha256",
  "keyval" : {
    "public" : PUBLIC
  }
}
PUBLIC

PEM format and a string. All RSA keys MUST be at least 2048 bits.

The "ed25519" format is:

{
  "keytype" : "ed25519",
  "scheme" : "ed25519",
  "keyval" : {
    "public" : PUBLIC
  }
}
PUBLIC

64-byte hex encoded string.

The "ecdsa-sha2-nistp256" format is:

{
  "keytype" : "ecdsa-sha2-nistp256",
  "scheme" : "ecdsa-sha2-nistp256",
  "keyval" : {
    "public" : PUBLIC
  }
}
PUBLIC

PEM format and a string.

Metadata date-time follows the ISO 8601 standard. The expected format of the combined date and time string is "YYYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SSZ". Time is always in UTC, and the "Z" time zone designator is attached to indicate a zero UTC offset. An example date-time string is "1985-10-21T01:21:00Z".

4.3. File formats: root.json

The root.json file is signed by the root role’s keys. It indicates which keys are authorized for all top-level roles, including the root role itself. Revocation and replacement of top-level role keys, including for the root role, is done by changing the keys listed for the roles in this file.

The "signed" portion of root.json is as follows:

{
  "_type" : "root",
  "spec_version" : SPEC_VERSION,
  "consistent_snapshot": CONSISTENT_SNAPSHOT,
  "version" : VERSION,
  "expires" : EXPIRES,
  "keys" : {
    KEYID : KEY,
    ...
  },
  "roles" : {
    ROLE : {
      "keyids" : [
        KEYID,
        ...
      ] ,
      "threshold" : THRESHOLD
    },
    ...
  }
}
SPEC_VERSION

A string that contains the version number of the TUF specification. Its format follows the Semantic Versioning 2.0.0 (semver) specification. Metadata is written according to version "spec_version" of the specification, and clients MUST verify that "spec_version" matches the expected version number. Adopters are free to determine what is considered a match (e.g., the version number exactly, or perhaps only the major version number (major.minor.fix).

CONSISTENT_SNAPSHOT

A boolean indicating whether the repository supports consistent snapshots. Section § 6.2 Consistent snapshots goes into more detail on the consequences of enabling this setting on a repository.

VERSION

An integer that is greater than 0. Clients MUST NOT replace a metadata file with a version number less than the one currently trusted.

EXPIRES

A date-time string indicating when metadata should be considered expired and no longer trusted by clients. Clients MUST NOT trust an expired file.

ROLE

One of "root", "snapshot", "targets", "timestamp", or "mirrors". A role for each of "root", "snapshot", "timestamp", and "targets" MUST be specified in the key list. The role of "mirror" is OPTIONAL. If not specified, the mirror list will not need to be signed if mirror lists are being used.

KEYID

A KEYID, which MUST be correct for the specified KEY. Clients MUST calculate each KEYID to verify this is correct for the associated key. Clients MUST ensure that for any KEYID represented in this key list and in other files, only one unique key has that KEYID.

THRESHOLD

An integer number of keys of that role whose signatures are required in order to consider a file as being properly signed by that role.

A root.json example file:
{
  "signatures": [
    {
      "keyid": "cb3fbd83df4ba2471a736b065650878280964a98843ec13b457a99b2a21cc3b4",
      "sig": "a312b9c3cb4a1b693e8ebac5ee1ca9cc01f2661c14391917dcb111517f72370809
              f32c890c6b801e30158ac4efe0d4d87317223077784c7a378834249d048306"
    }
  ],
  "signed": {
    "_type": "root",
    "spec_version": "1.0.0",
    "consistent_snapshot": false,
    "expires": "2030-01-01T00:00:00Z",
    "keys": {
      "1bf1c6e3cdd3d3a8420b19199e27511999850f4b376c4547b2f32fba7e80fca3": {
        "keytype": "ed25519",
        "scheme": "ed25519",
        "keyval": {
          "public": "72378e5bc588793e58f81c8533da64a2e8f1565c1fcc7f253496394ffc52542c"
        }
      },
      "135c2f50e57ff11e744d234a62cebad8c38daf399604a7655661cc9199c69164": {
        "keytype": "ed25519",
        "scheme": "ed25519",
        "keyval": {
          "public": "68ead6e54a43f8f36f9717b10669d1ef0ebb38cee6b05317669341309f1069cb"
        }
      },
      "cb3fbd83df4ba2471a736b065650878280964a98843ec13b457a99b2a21cc3b4": {
        "keytype": "ed25519",
        "scheme": "ed25519",
        "keyval": {
          "public": "66dd78c5c2a78abc6fc6b267ff1a8017ba0e8bfc853dd97af351949bba021275"
        }
      },
      "66676daa73bdfb4804b56070c8927ae491e2a6c2314f05b854dea94de8ff6bfc": {
        "keytype": "ed25519",
        "scheme": "ed25519",
        "keyval": {
          "public": "01c61f8dc7d77fcef973f4267927541e355e8ceda757e2c402818dad850f856e"
        }
      }
    },
    "roles": {
      "root": {
        "keyids": [
          "cb3fbd83df4ba2471a736b065650878280964a98843ec13b457a99b2a21cc3b4"
        ],
        "threshold": 1
      },
      "snapshot": {
        "keyids": [
          "66676daa73bdfb4804b56070c8927ae491e2a6c2314f05b854dea94de8ff6bfc"
        ],
        "threshold": 1
      },
      "targets": {
        "keyids": [
          "135c2f50e57ff11e744d234a62cebad8c38daf399604a7655661cc9199c69164"
        ],
        "threshold": 1
      },
      "timestamp": {
        "keyids": [
          "1bf1c6e3cdd3d3a8420b19199e27511999850f4b376c4547b2f32fba7e80fca3"
        ],
        "threshold": 1
      }
    },
    "version": 1
  }
}

4.4. File formats: snapshot.json

The snapshot.json file is signed by the snapshot role. It MUST list the version numbers of the top-level targets metadata and all delegated targets metadata. It MAY also list their lengths and file hashes.

The "signed" portion of snapshot.json is as follows:

{
  "_type" : "snapshot",
  "spec_version" : SPEC_VERSION,
  "version" : VERSION,
  "expires" : EXPIRES,
  "meta" : METAFILES
}

SPEC_VERSION, VERSION and EXPIRES are the same as is described for the root.json file.

METAFILES is an object whose format is the following:

{
  METAPATH : {
    "version" : VERSION,
    ("length" : LENGTH,)
    ("hashes" : HASHES)
  },
  ...
}
METAPATH

A string giving the file path of the metadata on the repository relative to the metadata base URL. For snapshot.json, these are top-level targets metadata and delegated targets metadata.

VERSION

An integer version number as shown in the metadata file at METAPATH.

LENGTH

An integer length in bytes of the metadata file at METAPATH. It is OPTIONAL and can be omitted to reduce the snapshot metadata file size. In that case the client MUST use a custom download limit for the listed metadata.

HASHES

A dictionary that specifies one or more hashes of the metadata file at METAPATH, with the cryptographic hash function as key and the value as HASH, the hexdigest of the cryptographic function computed on the metadata file at METAPATH. For example: { "sha256": HASH, ... }. HASHES is OPTIONAL and can be omitted to reduce the snapshot metadata file size. In that case the repository MUST guarantee that VERSION alone unambiguously identifies the metadata at METAPATH.

A snapshot.json example file:
{
  "signatures": [
    {
      "keyid": "66676daa73bdfb4804b56070c8927ae491e2a6c2314f05b854dea94de8ff6bfc",
      "sig": "f7f03b13e3f4a78a23561419fc0dd741a637e49ee671251be9f8f3fceedfc112e4
              4ee3aaff2278fad9164ab039118d4dc53f22f94900dae9a147aa4d35dcfc0f"
    }
  ],
  "signed": {
    "_type": "snapshot",
    "spec_version": "1.0.0",
    "expires": "2030-01-01T00:00:00Z",
    "meta": {
      "targets.json": {
        "version": 1
      },
      "project1.json": {
        "version": 1,
        "hashes": {
          "sha256": "f592d072e1193688a686267e8e10d7257b4ebfcf28133350dae88362d82a0c8a"
        }
      },
      "project2.json": {
        "version": 1,
        "length": 604,
        "hashes": {
          "sha256": "1f812e378264c3085bb69ec5f6663ed21e5882bbece3c3f8a0e8479f205ffb91"
        }
      }
    },
    "version": 1
  }
}

4.5. File formats: targets.json and delegated target roles

The "signed" portion of targets.json is as follows:

{
  "_type" : "targets",
  "spec_version" : SPEC_VERSION,
  "version" : VERSION,
  "expires" : EXPIRES,
  "targets" : TARGETS,
  ("keys": {
    KEYID : KEY,
    ... },
  "delegations" : [ DELEGATION, ... ])
}

SPEC_VERSION, VERSION, EXPIRES, KEYID, and KEY are the same as is described for the root.json file.

TARGETS is an object whose format is the following:

{
  TARGETPATH : {
      "length" : LENGTH,
      "hashes" : HASHES,
      ("custom" : CUSTOM) }
  , ...
}
TARGETS

Each key of the TARGETS object is a TARGETPATH.

TARGETPATH

A string giving the path to a file that is relative to a mirror’s base URL of targets. To avoid surprising behavior when resolving paths, it is RECOMMENDED that a TARGETPATH uses the forward slash (/) as directory separator and does not start with a directory separator. The recommendation for TARGETPATH aligns with the "path-relative-URL string" definition in the WHATWG URL specification.

It is allowed to have a TARGETS object with no TARGETPATH elements. This can be used to indicate that no target files are available.

LENGTH

An integer length in bytes of the target file at TARGETPATH.

HASHES

A dictionary that specifies one or more hashes of the target file at TARGETPATH, with a string describing the cryptographic hash function as key and HASH as defined for METAFILES. For example: { "sha256": HASH, ... }.

CUSTOM

An object. If defined, the elements and values of the CUSTOM object will be made available to the client application. The format of the CUSTOM object is opaque to the framework, which only needs to know that the "custom" attribute maps to an object. The CUSTOM object may include version numbers, dependencies, requirements, or any other data that the application wants to include to describe the file at TARGETPATH. The application may use this information to guide download decisions.

"keys"

A list of the public keys to verify signatures of delegated targets roles. Revocation and replacement of delegated targets roles keys is done by changing the keys in this field in the delegating role’s metadata.

"delegations"

A list of DELEGATION objects whose format is the following:

{
  "name": DELEGATION_NAME,
  ("path_hash_prefixes" : [ HEX_DIGEST, ... ] |
  "paths" : [ PATHPATTERN, ... ]),
  "terminating": TERMINATING,
  "min_roles_in_agreement": NUM_ROLES,
  "roles" : [{
      "rolename": ROLENAME,
      "keyids" : [ KEYID, ... ] ,
      "threshold" : THRESHOLD
    }, ... ]
}

KEYID and THRESHOLD are the same as is described for the root.json file.

DELEGATION_NAME

A string giving the name of the delegation.

In order to discuss target paths, a role MUST specify only one of the "path_hash_prefixes" or "paths" attributes, each of which we discuss next.

"path_hash_prefixes"

A list of HEX_DIGESTs used to succinctly describe a set of target paths. Specifically, each HEX_DIGEST in "path_hash_prefixes" describes a set of target paths; therefore, "path_hash_prefixes" is the union over each prefix of its set of target paths. The target paths must meet this condition: each target path, when hashed with the SHA-256 hash function to produce a 64-byte hexadecimal digest (HEX_DIGEST), must share the same prefix as one of the prefixes in "path_hash_prefixes". This is useful to split a large number of targets into separate bins identified by consistent hashing.

"paths"

A list of strings, where each string describes a path that the role is trusted to provide. Clients MUST check that a target is in one of the trusted paths of all roles in a delegation chain, not just in a trusted path of the role that describes the target file. PATHPATTERN can include shell-style wildcards and supports the Unix filename pattern matching convention. Its format may either indicate a path to a single file, or to multiple paths with the use of shell-style wildcards. For example, the path pattern "targets/*.tgz" would match file paths "targets/foo.tgz" and "targets/bar.tgz", but not "targets/foo.txt". Likewise, path pattern "foo-version-?.tgz" matches "foo-version-2.tgz" and "foo-version-a.tgz", but not "foo-version-alpha.tgz". To avoid surprising behavior when matching targets with PATHPATTERN, it is RECOMMENDED that PATHPATTERN uses the forward slash (/) as directory separator and does not start with a directory separator, akin to TARGETPATH.

TERMINATING

A boolean indicating whether subsequent delegations should be considered.

As explained in the Diplomat paper , terminating delegations instruct the client not to consider future trust statements that match the delegation’s pattern, which stops the delegation processing once this delegation (and its descendants) have been processed. A terminating delegation for a package causes any further statements about a package that are not made by the delegated party or its descendants to be ignored.

NUM_ROLES

An integer describing the minimum number of delegated targets roles that must be in agreement about targets hashes and lengths entrusted by the delegation. The delegated targets roles for a given delegation are listed in its "roles" field.

ROLENAME

A string giving the name of the delegated role. For example, "projects".

Prioritization exists both for delegations and delegated targets roles. That is, if delegations handle overlapping targets paths, clients MUST consider them in the order of their appearance in the "delegations" field. The first delegation is trusted over the second one, the second delegation is trusted over the third one, and so on. Likewise, in a multi-role delegation, if NUM_ROLES is less than or equal to half the number of roles in "roles" field, different groups of roles may have different agreements on targets hashes or lengths. Such conflicts must be resolved by prioritizing the first role in the list, that specifies target metadata agreed to by at least NUM_ROLES.

The metadata files for delegated targets roles have the same format as the top-level targets.json metadata file.

A targets.json example file:
{
  "signatures": [
    {
      "keyid": "135c2f50e57ff11e744d234a62cebad8c38daf399604a7655661cc9199c69164",
      "sig": "e9fd40008fba263758a3ff1dc59f93e42a4910a282749af915fbbea1401178e5a0
              12090c228f06db1deb75ad8ddd7e40635ac51d4b04301fce0fd720074e0209"
    }
  ],
  "signed": {
    "_type": "targets",
    "spec_version": "1.0.0",
    "keys": {
      "f761033eb880143c52358d941d987ca5577675090e2215e856ba0099bc0ce4f6": {
        "keytype": "ed25519",
        "scheme": "ed25519",
        "keyval": {
          "public": "b6e40fb71a6041212a3d84331336ecaa1f48a0c523f80ccc762a034c727606fa"
        }
      }
    },
    "delegations": [
      {
        "name": "project-delegation",
        "paths": [
          "project/file3.txt"
        ],
        "terminating": true,
        "min_roles_in_agreement": 1,
        "roles": [
          {
            "name": "project",
            "keyids": [
              "f761033eb880143c52358d941d987ca5577675090e2215e856ba0099bc0ce4f6"
            ],
            "threshold": 1
          }
        ]
      }
    ],
    "expires": "2030-01-01T00:00:00Z",
    "targets": {
      "file1.txt": {
        "hashes": {
          "sha256": "65b8c67f51c993d898250f40aa57a317d854900b3a04895464313e48785440da"
        },
        "length": 31
      },
      "dir/file2.txt": {
        "hashes": {
          "sha256": "452ce8308500d83ef44248d8e6062359211992fd837ea9e370e561efb1a4ca99"
        },
        "length": 39
      }
    },
    "version": 1
  }
}

4.6. File formats: timestamp.json

The timestamp.json file is signed by the timestamp role. It indicates the latest version of the snapshot metadata and is frequently re-signed to limit the amount of time a client can be kept unaware of interference with obtaining updates.

Timestamp files will potentially be downloaded very frequently. Unnecessary information in them will be avoided.

The "signed" portion of timestamp.json is as follows:

{
  "_type" : "timestamp",
  "spec_version" : SPEC_VERSION,
  "version" : VERSION,
  "expires" : EXPIRES,
  "meta" : METAFILES
}

SPEC_VERSION, VERSION and EXPIRES are the same as is described for the root.json file.

METAFILES is the same as described for the snapshot.json file. In the case of the timestamp.json file, this MUST only include a description of the snapshot.json file.

A signed timestamp.json example file:
{
  "signatures": [
    {
      "keyid": "1bf1c6e3cdd3d3a8420b19199e27511999850f4b376c4547b2f32fba7e80fca3",
      "sig": "90d2a06c7a6c2a6a93a9f5771eb2e5ce0c93dd580bebc2080d10894623cfd6eaed
              f4df84891d5aa37ace3ae3736a698e082e12c300dfe5aee92ea33a8f461f02"
    }
  ],
  "signed": {
    "_type": "timestamp",
    "spec_version": "1.0.0",
    "expires": "2030-01-01T00:00:00Z",
    "meta": {
      "snapshot.json": {
        "hashes": {
          "sha256": "c14aeb4ac9f4a8fc0d83d12482b9197452f6adf3eb710e3b1e2b79e8d14cb681"
        },
        "length": 1007,
        "version": 1
      }
    },
    "version": 1
  }
}

4.7. File formats: mirrors.json

The mirrors.json file is signed by the mirrors role. It indicates which mirrors are active and believed to be mirroring specific parts of the repository.

The "signed" portion of mirrors.json is as follows:

{
  "_type" : "mirrors",
  "spec_version" : SPEC_VERSION,
  "version" : VERSION,
  "expires" : EXPIRES,
  "mirrors" : [
    { "urlbase" : URLBASE,
      "metapath" : METAPATH,
      "targetspath" : TARGETSPATH,
      "metacontent" : [ PATHPATTERN ... ] ,
      "targetscontent" : [ PATHPATTERN ... ] ,
      ("custom" : { ... }) }
    , ... ]
}

SPEC_VERSION, VERSION and EXPIRES are the same as is described for the root.json file.

URLBASE

A string giving the URL of the mirror.

METAPATH

A string giving the location from which to retrieve metadata files. METAPATH will be a relative path to URLBASE.

TARGETSPATH

A string giving the location from which to retrieve target files. TARGETSPATH will be a relative path to URLBASE.

The lists of PATHPATTERN for "metacontent" and "targetscontent" describe the metadata files and target files available from the mirror.

The order of the list of mirrors is important. For any file to be downloaded, whether it is a metadata file or a target file, the framework on the client will give priority to the mirrors that are listed first. That is, the first mirror in the list whose "metacontent" or "targetscontent" include a path that indicate the desired file can be found there will the first mirror that will be used to download that file. Successive mirrors with matching paths will only be tried if downloading from earlier mirrors fails. This behavior can be modified by the client code that uses the framework to, for example, randomly select from the listed mirrors.

5. Detailed client workflow

Note: If a step in the following workflow does not succeed (e.g., the update is aborted because a new metadata file was not signed), the client should still be able to update again in the future. Errors raised during the update process should not leave clients in an unrecoverable state.

5.1. Record fixed update start time

Record the time at which the update began as the fixed update start time. Time is fixed at the beginning of the update workflow to allow an application using TUF to effectively pause time, in order to ensure that metadata which has a valid expiration time at the beginning of an update does not fail an expiration check later in the update workflow.

5.2. Load trusted root metadata

Load the trusted root metadata file. We assume that a good, trusted copy of this file was shipped with the package manager or software updater using an out-of-band process. Note that the expiration of the trusted root metadata file does not matter, because we will attempt to update it in the next step.

5.3. Update the root role

  1. Since it may now be signed using entirely different keys, the client MUST somehow be able to establish a trusted line of continuity to the latest set of keys (see § 6.1 Key management and migration). To do so, the client MUST download intermediate root metadata files, until the latest available one is reached. Therefore, it MUST temporarily turn on consistent snapshots in order to download versioned root metadata files as described next.

  2. Let N denote the version number of the trusted root metadata file.

  3. Try downloading version N+1 of the root metadata file, up to some W number of bytes (because the size is unknown). The value for W is set by the authors of the application using TUF. For example, W may be tens of kilobytes. The filename used to download the root metadata file is of the fixed form VERSION_NUMBER.FILENAME.EXT (e.g., 42.root.json). If this file is not available, or we have downloaded more than Y number of root metadata files (because the exact number is as yet unknown), then go to step 5.3.10. The value for Y is set by the authors of the application using TUF. For example, Y may be 2^10.

  4. Check for an arbitrary software attack. Version N+1 of the root metadata file MUST have been signed by: (1) a threshold of keys specified in the trusted root metadata file (version N), and (2) a threshold of keys specified in the new root metadata file being validated (version N+1). If version N+1 is not signed as required, discard it, abort the update cycle, and report the signature failure. On the next update cycle, begin at step § 5.3 Update the root role and version N of the root metadata file.

  5. Check for a rollback attack. The version number of the trusted root metadata file (version N) MUST be less than or equal to the version number of the new root metadata file (version N+1). Effectively, this means checking that the version number signed in the new root metadata file is indeed N+1. If the version of the new root metadata file is less than the trusted metadata file, discard it, abort the update cycle, and report the rollback attack. On the next update cycle, begin at step § 5.3 Update the root role and version N of the root metadata file.

  6. Note that the expiration of the new (intermediate) root metadata file does not matter yet, because we will check for it in step 5.3.10.

  7. Set the trusted root metadata file to the new root metadata file.

  8. Persist root metadata. The client MUST write the file to non-volatile storage as FILENAME.EXT (e.g. root.json).

  9. Repeat steps 5.3.2 to 5.3.9

  10. Check for a freeze attack. The expiration timestamp in the trusted root metadata file MUST be higher than the fixed update start time. If the trusted root metadata file has expired, abort the update cycle, report the potential freeze attack. On the next update cycle, begin at step § 5.3 Update the root role and version N of the root metadata file.

  11. If the timestamp and / or snapshot keys have been rotated, then delete the trusted timestamp and snapshot metadata files. This is done in order to recover from fast-forward attacks after the repository has been compromised and recovered. A fast-forward attack happens when attackers arbitrarily increase the version numbers of: (1) the timestamp metadata, (2) the snapshot metadata, and / or (3) the targets, or a delegated targets, metadata file in the snapshot metadata. Please see the Mercury paper for more details.

  12. Set whether consistent snapshots are used as per the trusted root metadata file (see § 4.3 File formats: root.json).

5.4. Update the timestamp role

  1. Download the timestamp metadata file, up to X number of bytes (because the size is unknown). The value for X is set by the authors of the application using TUF. For example, X may be tens of kilobytes. The filename used to download the timestamp metadata file is of the fixed form FILENAME.EXT (e.g., timestamp.json).

  2. Check for an arbitrary software attack. The new timestamp metadata file MUST have been signed by a threshold of keys specified in the trusted root metadata file. If the new timestamp metadata file is not properly signed, discard it, abort the update cycle, and report the signature failure.

  3. Check for a rollback attack.

    1. The version number of the trusted timestamp metadata file, if any, MUST be less than or equal to the version number of the new timestamp metadata file. If the new timestamp metadata file is older than the trusted timestamp metadata file, discard it, abort the update cycle, and report the potential rollback attack.

    2. The version number of the snapshot metadata file in the trusted timestamp metadata file, if any, MUST be less than or equal to its version number in the new timestamp metadata file. If not, discard the new timestamp metadata file, abort the update cycle, and report the failure.

  4. Check for a freeze attack. The expiration timestamp in the new timestamp metadata file MUST be higher than the fixed update start time. If so, the new timestamp metadata file becomes the trusted timestamp metadata file. If the new timestamp metadata file has expired, discard it, abort the update cycle, and report the potential freeze attack.

  5. Persist timestamp metadata. The client MUST write the file to non-volatile storage as FILENAME.EXT (e.g. timestamp.json).

5.5. Update the snapshot role

  1. Download snapshot metadata file, up to either the number of bytes specified in the timestamp metadata file, or some Y number of bytes. The value for Y is set by the authors of the application using TUF. For example, Y may be tens of kilobytes. If consistent snapshots are not used (see Section § 6.2 Consistent snapshots), then the filename used to download the snapshot metadata file is of the fixed form FILENAME.EXT (e.g., snapshot.json). Otherwise, the filename is of the form VERSION_NUMBER.FILENAME.EXT (e.g., 42.snapshot.json), where VERSION_NUMBER is the version number of the snapshot metadata file listed in the timestamp metadata file.

  2. Check against timestamp role’s snapshot hash. The hashes of the new snapshot metadata file MUST match the hashes, if any, listed in the trusted timestamp metadata. This is done, in part, to prevent a mix-and-match attack by man-in-the-middle attackers. If the hashes do not match, discard the new snapshot metadata, abort the update cycle, and report the failure.

  3. Check for an arbitrary software attack. The new snapshot metadata file MUST have been signed by a threshold of keys specified in the trusted root metadata file. If the new snapshot metadata file is not signed as required, discard it, abort the update cycle, and report the signature failure.

  4. Check against timestamp role’s snapshot version. The version number of the new snapshot metadata file MUST match the version number listed in the trusted timestamp metadata. If the versions do not match, discard the new snapshot metadata, abort the update cycle, and report the failure.

  5. Check for a rollback attack. The version number of the targets metadata file, and all delegated targets metadata files, if any, in the trusted snapshot metadata file, if any, MUST be less than or equal to its version number in the new snapshot metadata file. Furthermore, any targets metadata filename that was listed in the trusted snapshot metadata file, if any, MUST continue to be listed in the new snapshot metadata file. If any of these conditions are not met, discard the new snapshot metadata file, abort the update cycle, and report the failure.

  6. Check for a freeze attack. The expiration timestamp in the new snapshot metadata file MUST be higher than the fixed update start time. If so, the new snapshot metadata file becomes the trusted snapshot metadata file. If the new snapshot metadata file is expired, discard it, abort the update cycle, and report the potential freeze attack.

  7. Persist snapshot metadata. The client MUST write the file to non-volatile storage as FILENAME.EXT (e.g. snapshot.json).

5.6. Update the targets role

  1. Download the top-level targets metadata file, up to either the number of bytes specified in the snapshot metadata file, or some Z number of bytes. The value for Z is set by the authors of the application using TUF. For example, Z may be tens of kilobytes. If consistent snapshots are not used (see § 6.2 Consistent snapshots), then the filename used to download the targets metadata file is of the fixed form FILENAME.EXT (e.g., targets.json). Otherwise, the filename is of the form VERSION_NUMBER.FILENAME.EXT (e.g., 42.targets.json), where VERSION_NUMBER is the version number of the targets metadata file listed in the snapshot metadata file.

  2. Check against snapshot role’s targets hash. The hashes of the new targets metadata file MUST match the hashes, if any, listed in the trusted snapshot metadata. This is done, in part, to prevent a mix-and-match attack by man-in-the-middle attackers. If the new targets metadata file does not match, discard the new target metadata, abort the update cycle, and report the failure.

  3. Check for an arbitrary software attack. The new targets metadata file MUST have been signed by a threshold of keys specified in the trusted root metadata file. If the new targets metadata file is not signed as required, discard it, abort the update cycle, and report the failure.

  4. Check against snapshot role’s targets version. The version number of the new targets metadata file MUST match the version number listed in the trusted snapshot metadata. If the versions do not match, discard it, abort the update cycle, and report the failure.

  5. Check for a freeze attack. The expiration timestamp in the new targets metadata file MUST be higher than the fixed update start time. If so, the new targets metadata file becomes the trusted targets metadata file. If the new targets metadata file is expired, discard it, abort the update cycle, and report the potential freeze attack.

  6. Persist targets metadata. The client MUST write the file to non-volatile storage as FILENAME.EXT (e.g. targets.json).

  7. Perform a pre-order depth-first search for metadata about the desired target, beginning with the top-level targets role. Note: If any metadata requested in steps 5.6.7.1 - 5.6.7.2 cannot be downloaded nor validated, end the search and report that the target cannot be found.

    1. If this role has been visited before, then skip this role (so that cycles in the delegation graph are avoided). Otherwise, if an application-specific maximum number of roles have been visited, then go to step § 5.7 Fetch target (so that attackers cannot cause the client to waste excessive bandwidth or time). Otherwise, if this role contains metadata about the desired target, then go to step § 5.7 Fetch target.

    2. Otherwise, recursively search the list of delegations in order of appearance.

      1. If the current delegation is a multi-role delegation, recursively visit each role, and check that a defined minimum number of roles agrees about non-custom metadata, i.e. length and hashes of the target (or the lack of any such metadata).

      2. If the current delegation is a terminating delegation, then jump to step § 5.7 Fetch target.

      3. Otherwise, if the current delegation is a non-terminating delegation, continue processing the next delegation, if any. Stop the search, and jump to step § 5.7 Fetch target as soon as a delegation returns a result.

5.7. Fetch target

  1. Verify the desired target against its targets metadata.

  2. If there is no targets metadata about this target, abort the update cycle and report that there is no such target.

  3. Otherwise, download the target (up to the number of bytes specified in the targets metadata), and verify that its hashes match the targets metadata. (We download up to this number of bytes, because in some cases, the exact number is unknown. This may happen, for example, if an external program is used to compute the root hash of a tree of targets files, and this program does not provide the total size of all of these files.) If consistent snapshots are not used (see § 6.2 Consistent snapshots), then the filename used to download the target file is of the fixed form FILENAME.EXT (e.g., foobar.tar.gz). Otherwise, the filename is of the form HASH.FILENAME.EXT (e.g., c14aeb4ac9f4a8fc0d83d12482b9197452f6adf3eb710e3b1e2b79e8d14cb681.foobar.tar.gz), where HASH is one of the hashes of the targets file listed in the targets metadata file found earlier in step § 5.6 Update the targets role. In either case, the client MUST write the file to non-volatile storage as FILENAME.EXT.

6. Repository operations

See https://theupdateframework.io/ for discussion of recommended usage in various situations.

6.1. Key management and migration

All keys, except those for the timestamp and mirrors roles, should be stored securely offline (e.g. encrypted and on a separate machine, in special-purpose hardware, etc.). This document does not prescribe how keys should be encrypted and stored, and so it is left to implementers of this document to decide how best to secure them.

To replace a compromised root key or any other top-level role key, the root role signs a new root.json file that lists the updated trusted keys for the role. When replacing root keys, an application will sign the new root.json file with both the new and old root keys. Any time such a change is required, the root.json file is versioned and accessible by version number, e.g., 3.root.json.

Clients that have outdated root keys can update to the latest set of trusted root keys, by incrementally downloading all intermediate root metadata files, and verifying that each current version of the root metadata is signed by a threshold of keys specified by its immediate predecessor as well as a threshold of keys specified by itself. For example, if there is a 1.root.json that has threshold 2 and a 2.root.json that has threshold 3, 2.root.json MUST be signed by at least 2 keys defined in 1.root.json and at least 3 keys defined in 2.root.json. The client starts the root key update process with the latest version of root metadata available on the client, and stops when no version N+1 (where N is the latest trusted version) of the root metadata is available from the repository. This ensures that an outdated client can always correctly re-trace the chain of trust across multiple root key updates, even if the latest set of root keys on the client dates back multiple root metadata versions. See step § 5.3 Update the root role of the client application workflow for more details.

Note that an attacker, who controls the repository, can launch freeze attacks by withholding new root metadata. The attacker does not need to compromise root keys to do so. However, these freeze attacks are limited by the expiration time of the latest root metadata available to the client.

To replace a delegated developer key, the role that delegated to that key just replaces that key with another in the signed metadata where the delegation is done.

6.2. Consistent snapshots

So far, we have considered a TUF repository that is relatively static (in terms of how often metadata and target files are updated). The problem is that if the repository (which may be a community repository such as PyPI, RubyGems, CPAN, or SourceForge) is volatile, in the sense that the repository is continually producing new TUF metadata as well as its targets, then should clients read metadata while the same metadata is being written to, they would effectively see denial-of-service attacks. Therefore, the repository needs to be careful about how it writes metadata and targets. The high-level idea of the solution is that each snapshot will be contained in a so-called consistent snapshot. If a client is reading from one consistent snapshot, then the repository is free to write another consistent snapshot without interrupting that client.

6.2.1. Writing consistent snapshots

We now explain how a repository should write metadata and targets to produce self-contained consistent snapshots.

Simply put, TUF should write every metadata file as such: if the file had the original name of filename.ext, then it should be written to non-volatile storage as version_number.filename.ext, where version_number is an integer.

On the other hand, consistent target files should be written to non-volatile storage as digest.filename.ext. This means that if the referrer metadata lists N cryptographic hashes of the referred file, then there must be N identical copies of the referred file, where each file will be distinguished only by the value of the digest in its filename. The modified filename need not include the name of the cryptographic hash function used to produce the digest because, on a read, the choice of function follows from the selection of a digest (which includes the name of the cryptographic function) from all digests in the referred file.

Additionally, the timestamp metadata (timestamp.json) should also be written to non-volatile storage whenever it is updated. It is OPTIONAL for an implementation to write identical copies at version_number.timestamp.json for record-keeping purposes, because a cryptographic hash of the timestamp metadata is usually not known in advance. The same step applies to the root metadata (root.json), although an implementation must write both root.json and version_number.root.json because it is possible to download root metadata both with and without known version numbers. These steps are required because these are the only metadata files that may be requested without known version numbers.

Most importantly, no metadata file format must be updated to refer to the names of metadata or target files with their version numbers included. In other words, if a metadata file A refers to another metadata file B as filename.ext, then the filename must remain as filename.ext and not version_number.filename.ext. This rule is in place so that metadata signed by roles with offline keys will not be forced to sign for the metadata file whenever it is updated. In the next subsection, we will see how clients will reproduce the name of the intended file.

Finally, the root metadata should write the Boolean "consistent_snapshot" attribute at the root level of its keys of attributes. If consistent snapshots are not written by the repository, then the attribute may either be left unspecified or be set to the False value. Otherwise, it must be set to the True value.

Regardless of whether consistent snapshots are ever used or not, all released versions of root metadata files should always be provided so that outdated clients can update to the latest available root.

6.2.2. Reading consistent snapshots

See § 5 Detailed client workflow for more details.

6.3. Adding and updating targets

The following subsections describe how to update metadata on the repository when adding targets to the repository, or updating existing targets.

6.3.1. Update targets metadata

  1. Add the new (or update an existing) TARGETS object in the relevant targets metadata (either the top-level targets metadata, or a delegated targets metadata).

  2. Increment the VERSION number in the updated targets metadata.

  3. Sign the updated targets metadata with at least a THRESHOLD of keys for the associated targets role (either the top-level targets role, or a delegated targets role).

  4. Write the updated targets metadata, ensuring the targets metadata filename is prefixed with the VERSION number if consistent snapshots are enabled for the repository.

6.3.2. Update snapshot metadata

  1. Update the VERSION number and, when in use, LENGTH and HASHES for any targets metadata modified during § 6.3.1 Update targets metadata within the METAFILES object of the snapshot metadata.

  2. Increment the VERSION number of the snapshot metadata.

  3. Sign the snapshot metadata with at least a THRESHOLD of keys for the snapshot role.

  4. Write the updated snapshot metadata, ensuring the snapshot metadata filename is prefixed with the VERSION number if consistent snapshots are enabled for the repository.

6.3.3. Update timestamp metadata

  1. Update the VERSION and, when in use, the LENGTH and HASHES for the snapshot metadata within the METAFILES object of the timestamp metadata.

  2. Increment the VERSION number of the timestamp metadata.

  3. Sign the timestamp metadata with at least a THRESHOLD of keys for the timestamp role.

  4. Write the updated timestamp metadata, ensuring the timestamp metadata filename is prefixed with the VERSION number if consistent snapshots are enabled for the repository.

7. Future directions and open questions

7.1. Support for bogus clocks

The framework may need to offer an application-enablable "no, my clock is supposed to be wrong" mode, since others have noticed that many users seem to have incorrect clocks.

Index

Terms defined by this specification