RFC 7071

Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                     N. Borenstein
Request for Comments: 7071                                      Mimecast
Category: Standards Track                                   M. Kucherawy
ISSN: 2070-1721                                            November 2013

                A Media Type for Reputation Interchange


   This document defines the format of reputation response data
   ("reputons"), the media type for packaging it, and definition of a
   registry for the names of reputation applications and response sets.

Status of This Memo

   This is an Internet Standards Track document.

   This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force
   (IETF).  It represents the consensus of the IETF community.  It has
   received public review and has been approved for publication by the
   Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).  Further information on
   Internet Standards is available in Section 2 of RFC 5741.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
   and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2013 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

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Table of Contents

   1. Introduction ....................................................2
   2. Terminology and Definitions .....................................3
      2.1. Reputon ....................................................3
      2.2. Key Words ..................................................3
      2.3. Other Definitions ..........................................3
   3. Description .....................................................3
      3.1. Reputon Attributes .........................................4
   4. Ratings .........................................................5
   5. Caching .........................................................5
   6. Reputons ........................................................6
      6.1. Syntax .....................................................6
      6.2. Formal Definition ..........................................6
           6.2.1. Imported JSON Terms .................................6
           6.2.2. Reputon Structure ...................................7
      6.3. Examples ...................................................9
   7. IANA Considerations ............................................11
      7.1. application/reputon+json Media Type Registration ..........11
      7.2. Reputation Applications Registry ..........................13
   8. Security Considerations ........................................15
   9. References .....................................................15
      9.1. Normative References ......................................15
      9.2. Informative References ....................................15
   Appendix A. Acknowledgments .......................................16

1.  Introduction

   This document defines a data object for use when answering a
   reputation query.  It also defines a media type to carry the response
   set data when using a transport method that follows the media type
   framework, such as the query method based on the HyperText Transfer
   Protocol (HTTP) defined in [RFC7072].  Any future query methods that
   might be developed are expected to use the same data object.

   Also included is the specification for an IANA registry to contain
   definitions and symbolic names for known reputation applications and
   corresponding response sets.

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2.  Terminology and Definitions

   This section defines terms used in the rest of the document.

2.1.  Reputon

   A "reputon" is a single independent object containing reputation
   information.  A particular query about a subject of interest will
   receive one or more reputons in response, depending on the nature of
   the data collected and reported by the server.

2.2.  Key Words

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in [KEYWORDS].

2.3.  Other Definitions

   Other terms of importance in this document are defined in [RFC7070],
   the base document in this document series.

3.  Description

   The meta-format selected for the representation of a reputon is
   JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), defined in [JSON].  Accordingly, a
   new media type, "application/reputon+json", is defined for the JSON
   representation of reputational data, typically in response to a
   client making a request for such data about some subject.  This media
   type takes no parameters.

   The body of the media type consists of a JSON document that contains
   the reputation information requested.  A detailed description of the
   expected structure of the reply is provided below.

   The media type comprises a single member indicating the name of the
   application context (see Section 5.1 of [RFC7070]) in which the
   reputational data are being returned.  The application name refers to
   a registration as described in Section 7.2, which defines the valid
   assertions and any extensions that might also be valid (i.e., the
   response set) for that application.

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3.1.  Reputon Attributes

   The key pieces of data found in a reputon for all reputation
   applications are defined as follows:

   rater:  The identity of the entity aggregating, computing, and
      providing the reputation information, typically expressed as a DNS
      domain name.

   assertion:  A key word indicating the specific assertion or claim
      being rated.

   rated:  The identity of the entity being rated.  The nature of this
      field is application specific; it could be domain names, email
      addresses, driver's license numbers, or anything that uniquely
      identifies the entity being rated.  Documents that define specific
      reputation applications are required to define syntax and
      semantics for this field.

   rating:  The overall rating score for that entity, expressed as a
      floating-point number between 0.0 and 1.0 inclusive.  See
      Section 4 for discussion.

   The following are OPTIONAL for all applications, to be used in
   contexts where they are appropriate:

   confidence:  the level of certainty the reputation provider has that
      the value presented is appropriate, expressed as a floating-point
      number between 0.0 and 1.0 inclusive.

   normal-rating:  An indication of what the reputation provider would
      normally expect as a rating for the subject.  This allows the
      client to note that the current rating is or is not in line with

   sample-size:  The number of data points used to compute the rating,
      possibly an approximation.  Expressed as an unsigned 64-bit
      integer.  Consumers can assume that the count refers to distinct
      data points rather than a count of aggregations (for example,
      individual votes rather than aggregated vote counts) unless it is
      specified out-of-band that some other interpretation is more
      appropriate.  The units are deliberately not normatively
      specified, since not all reputation service providers will collect
      data the same way.

   generated:  A timestamp indicating when this value was generated.
      Expressed as the number of seconds since January 1, 1970 00:00

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   expires:  A timestamp indicating a time beyond which the score
      reported is likely not to be valid.  Expressed as the number of
      seconds since January 1, 1970 00:00 UTC.  See Section 5 for

   A particular application that registers itself with IANA (per
   Section 7.2, below) can define additional application-specific
   attribute/value pairs beyond these standard ones.

   An application service provider might operate with an enhanced form
   of common services, which might in turn prompt development and
   reporting of specialized reputation information.  The details of the
   enhancements and specialized information are beyond the scope of this
   document, except that the underlying JSON syntax is extensible for
   encoding such provider-specific information.

4.  Ratings

   The score presented as the value in the rating attribute appears as a
   floating-point value between 0.0 and 1.0 inclusive.  The intent is
   that the definition of an assertion within an application will
   declare what the anchor values 0.0 and 1.0 specifically mean.
   Generally speaking, 1.0 implies full agreement with the assertion,
   while 0.0 indicates no support for the assertion.

   The definition will also specify the type of scale in use when
   generating scores, to which all reputation service providers for that
   application space must adhere.  Further discussion can be found in

5.  Caching

   A reputon can contain an "expires" field indicating a timestamp after
   which the client SHOULD NOT use the rating it contains and SHOULD
   issue a new query.

   This specification does not mandate any caching of ratings on the
   part of the client, but there are obvious operational benefits to
   doing so.  In the context of reputation, a cached (and hence, stale)
   rating can cause desirable traffic to be identified as undesirable,
   or vice versa.

   Reputation data is typically most volatile when the subject of the
   reputation is young.  Accordingly, if a service chooses to include
   expiration timestamps as part a reply, these values SHOULD be lower
   for subjects about which little data has been collected.

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6.  Reputons

6.1.  Syntax

   A reputon expressed in JSON is a set of key-value pairs, where the
   keys are the names of particular attributes that comprise a reputon
   (as listed above, or as provided with specific applications), and
   values are the content associated with those keys.  The set of keys
   that make up a reputon within a given application are known as that
   application's "response set".

   A reputon object typically contains a reply corresponding to the
   assertion for which a client made a specific request.  For example, a
   client asking for assertion "sends-spam" about domain "example.com"
   would expect a reply consisting of a reputon making a "sends-spam"
   assertion about "example.com" and nothing more.  If a client makes a
   request about a subject but does not specify an assertion of
   interest, the server can return reputons about any assertion for
   which it has data; in effect, the client has asked for any available
   information about the subject.  A client that receives an irrelevant
   reputon simply ignores it.

   An empty reputon is an acknowledgment by the server that the request
   has been received, and serves as a positive indication that the
   server does not have the information requested.  This is semantically
   equivalent to returning a reputon with a "sample-size" of zero.

6.2.  Formal Definition

   [JSON] defines the structure of JSON objects and arrays using a set
   of primitive elements.  Those elements will be used to describe the
   JSON structure of a reputation object.

6.2.1.  Imported JSON Terms

   OBJECT:  a JSON object, defined in Section 2.2 of [JSON]

   MEMBER:  a member of a JSON object, defined in Section 2.2 of [JSON]

   MEMBER-NAME:  the name of a MEMBER, defined as a "string" in
      Section 2.2 of [JSON]

   MEMBER-VALUE:  the value of a MEMBER, defined as a "value" in
      Section 2.2 of [JSON]

   ARRAY:  an array, defined in Section 2.3 of [JSON]

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   ARRAY-VALUE:  an element of an ARRAY, defined in Section 2.3 of

   NUMBER:  a "number" as defined in Section 2.4 of [JSON]

   INTEGER:  an "integer" as defined in Section 2.4 of [JSON]

   STRING:  a "string" as defined in Section 2.5 of [JSON]

6.2.2.  Reputon Structure

   Using the above terms for the JSON structures, the syntax of a
   reputation object is defined as follows:

   reputation-object:  an OBJECT containing a MEMBER reputation-context
      and a MEMBER reputon-list

   reputation-context:  a MEMBER with MEMBER-NAME "application" and
      MEMBER-VALUE a STRING (see Section 3)

   reputon-list:  a MEMBER with MEMBER-NAME "reputons" and MEMBER-VALUE
      a reputon-array

   reputon-array:  an ARRAY, where each ARRAY-VALUE is a reputon

   reputon:  an OBJECT, where each MEMBER is a reputon-element

   reputon-element:  one of the following, defined below: rater-value,
      assertion-value, rated-value, rating-value, conf-value, normal-
      value, sample-value, gen-value, expire-value, ext-value; note the

      *  The order of reputon-element members is not significant.

      *  A specific reputon-element MUST NOT appear more than once.

      *  rater-value, assertion-value, rated-value, and rating-value are

   rater-value:  a MEMBER with MEMBER-NAME "rater" and MEMBER-VALUE a
      STRING (see "rater" in Section 3.1)

   assertion-value:  a MEMBER with MEMBER-NAME "assertion" and MEMBER-
      VALUE a STRING (see "assertion" in Section 3.1)

   rated-value:  a MEMBER with MEMBER-NAME "rated" and MEMBER-VALUE a
      STRING (see "rated" in Section 3.1)

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   rating-value:  a MEMBER with MEMBER-NAME "rating" and MEMBER-VALUE a
      NUMBER between 0.0 and 1.0 inclusive (see "rating" in
      Section 3.1); the number SHOULD NOT not have more than three
      decimal places of precision

   conf-value:  a MEMBER with MEMBER-NAME "confidence" and MEMBER-VALUE
      a NUMBER between 0.0 and 1.0 inclusive (see "confidence" in
      Section 3.1); the number SHOULD NOT not have more than three
      decimal places of precision

   normal-value:  a MEMBER with MEMBER-NAME "normal-rating" and MEMBER-
      VALUE a NUMBER between 0.0 and 1.0 inclusive (see "normal" in
      Section 3.1); the number SHOULD NOT not have more than three
      decimal places of precision

   sample-value:  a MEMBER with MEMBER-NAME "sample-size" and MEMBER-
      VALUE a non-negative INTEGER (see "sample-size" in "normal" in
      Section 3.1)

   gen-value:  a MEMBER with MEMBER-NAME "generated" and MEMBER-VALUE a
      non-negative INTEGER (see "generated" in Section 3.1)

   expire-value:  a MEMBER with MEMBER-NAME "expires" and MEMBER-VALUE a
      non-negative INTEGER (see "expires" in Section 3.1)

   ext-value:  a MEMBER, for extension purposes; MEMBER-NAME and MEMBER-
      VALUE will be defined in separate application registrations

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6.3.  Examples

   The following simple example:

     Content-Type: application/reputon+json

       "application": "baseball",
       "reputons": [
           "rater": "RatingsRUs.example.com",
           "assertion": "is-good",
           "rated": "Alex Rodriguez",
           "rating": 0.99,
           "sample-size": 50000

   ...indicates to the client that "RatingsRUs.example.com" consolidated
   50000 data points (perhaps from everyone in Yankee Stadium) and
   concluded that Alex Rodriguez is very, very good (0.99) at something.
   It doesn't tell us what he's good at, and while it might be playing
   baseball, it could just as well be paying his taxes on time.

   A more sophisticated usage would define a baseball application with a
   response set of specific assertions, so that this example:

     Content-Type: application/reputon+json

       "application": "baseball",
       "reputons:" [
           "rater": "baseball-reference.example.com",
           "assertion": "hits-for-power",
           "rated": "Alex Rodriguez",
           "rating": 0.99,
           "sample-size": 50000

   ...would indicate that 50000 fans polled by the entity baseball-
   reference.example.com rate Alex Rodriguez very highly in hitting for
   power, whereas this example:

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     Content-Type: application/reputon+json

       "application": "baseball",
       "reputons": [
           "rater": "baseball-reference.example.com",
           "assertion": "strong-hitter",
           "rated": "Alex Rodriguez",
           "rating": 0.4,
           "confidence": 0.2,
           "sample-size": 50000

   ...would indicate that a similar poll indicated a somewhat weak
   consensus that Alex Rodriguez tends to fail in critical batting
   situations during baseball games.

   The following is an example reputon generated using this schema,
   including the media type definition line that identifies a specific
   reputation application context.  Here, reputation agent
   "rep.example.net" is asserting within the context of the "email-id"
   application (see [RFC7073]) that "example.com" appears to be
   associated with spam 1.2% of the time, based on just short of 17
   million messages analyzed or reported to date.  The "email-id"
   application has declared the extension key "email-id-identity" to
   indicate how the subject identifier was used in the observed data,
   establishing some more-specific semantics for the "rating" value.  In
   this case, the extension is used to show the identity "example.com",
   the subject of the query, is extracted from the analyzed messages
   using the DomainKeys Identified Mail [DKIM] "d=" parameter for
   messages where signatures validate.  The reputation agent is 95%
   confident of this result.  A second reputon is also present
   indicating similar information for the same domain as it is used in
   the context of Sender Policy Framework [SPF] evaluations.  (See
   [RFC7073] for details about the registered email identifiers

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     Content-Type: application/reputon+json

       "application": "email-id",
       "reputons": [
           "rater": "rep.example.net",
           "assertion": "spam",
           "identity": "dkim",
           "rated": "example.com",
           "confidence": 0.95,
           "rating": 0.012,
           "sample-size": 16938213,
           "updated": 1317795852
           "rater": "rep.example.net",
           "assertion": "spam",
           "identity": "spf",
           "rated": "example.com",
           "confidence": 0.98,
           "rating": 0.023,
           "sample-size": 16938213,
           "updated": 1317795852

7.  IANA Considerations

   This document presents two actions for IANA -- namely, the creation
   of the new media type "application/reputon+json" and the creation of
   a registry for reputation application types.  Another document in
   this series creates an initial registry entry for the latter.

7.1.  application/reputon+json Media Type Registration

   This section provides the media type registration application from
   [MIME-REG] for processing by IANA.

   To:  media-types@iana.org

   Subject:  Registration of media type application/reputon+json

   Type name:  application

   Subtype name:  reputon+json

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   Required parameters:  none

   Optional parameters:  none

   Encoding considerations:  "7bit" encoding is sufficient and is used
      to maintain readability when viewed by non-MIME mail readers.

   Security considerations:  See Section 8 of [RFC7071].

   Interoperability considerations:  Implementers may encounter "app"
      values, attribute/value pairs, or response set items that they do
      not support, which are to be ignored.

   Published specification:  [RFC7071]

   Applications that use this media type:  Any application that wishes
      to query a service that provides reputation data using the form
      defined in [RFC7072].  The example application is one that
      provides reputation data about DNS domain names and other
      identifiers found in email messages.

   Fragment identifier considerations:  N/A

   Additional information:  The value of the "app" parameter is
      registered with IANA.

      Deprecated alias names for this type:  N/A

      Magic number(s):  N/A

      File extension(s):  N/A

      Macintosh file type code(s):  N/A

   Person and email address to contact for further information:

      Murray S. Kucherawy <superuser@gmail.com>

   Intended usage:  COMMON

   Restrictions on usage:  N/A

      Nathaniel Borenstein
      Murray S. Kucherawy

   Change controller:  IESG

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   Provisional registration?:  no

7.2.  Reputation Applications Registry

   IANA has created the "Reputation Applications" registry.  This
   registry contains names of applications used with the
   application/reputon+json media type (and other media types that carry
   reputons), as defined by this document.

   New registrations or updates are published in accordance with either
   the "IETF Review" or "Specification Required" guidelines as described

   New registrations and updates are to contain the following

   1.  Symbolic name of the application being registered or updated.
       Valid names conform to the ABNF construction "token" as defined
       in Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) Part One [MIME]

   2.  Short description of the application (i.e., the class of entity
       about which it reports reputation data)

   3.  The document in which the application is defined

   4.  New or updated status, which is to be one of:

       current:  The application is in current use

       deprecated:  The application is in current use but its use is

       historic:  The application is no longer in current use

   A specification for an application space needs to be specific and
   clear enough to allow interoperability, and include at least the
   following details:

   o  The application's symbolic name, as it appears in the registration
      (see above)

   o  A description of the subject of a query within this reputation,
      and a legal syntax for the same

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   o  An optional table of query parameters that are specific to this
      application; each table entry must include:

      Name: Name of the query parameter

      Status:  (as above)

      Description:  A short description of the purpose of this parameter

      Syntax:  A reference to a description of valid syntax for the
            parameter's value

      Required:  "yes" if the parameter is mandatory; "no" otherwise

   o  A list of one or more assertions registered within this
      application; each table entry is to include:

      Name: Name of the assertion

      Description:  A short description of the assertion, with specific
            meanings for values of 0.0 and 1.0

      Scale:  A short description of the scale used in computing the
            value (see Section 4 of this document)

   o  An optional list of one or more response set extension keys for
      use within this application; each table entry is to include:

      Name: Name of the extension key

      Description:  A short description of the key's intended meaning

      Syntax:  A description of valid values that can appear associated
            with the key

   The names of attributes registered should be prefixed by the name of
   the application itself (e.g., the "foo" application registering a
   "bar" attribute should call it "foo-bar") to avoid namespace

   For registrations qualifying under "Specification Required" rules,
   the Designated Expert [IANA-CONSIDERATIONS] should confirm the
   document meets the minima described above and otherwise looks
   generally acceptable, and then approve the registration.

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8.  Security Considerations

   This document is primarily an IANA action registering a media type.
   It does not describe a new protocol that might introduce security

   Discussion of the security and operational impacts of using
   reputation services in general can be found throughout

9.  References

9.1.  Normative References

   [JSON]     Crockford, D., "The application/json Media Type for
              JavaScript Object Notation (JSON)", RFC 4627, July 2006.

   [KEYWORDS] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [RFC7070]  Borenstein, N., Kucherawy, M., and A. Sullivan, "An
              Architecture for Reputation Reporting", RFC 7070, November

   [RFC7072]  Borenstein, N. and M. Kucherawy, "A Reputation Query
              Protocol", RFC 7072, November 2013.

9.2.  Informative References

              Kucherawy, M., "Operational Considerations Regarding
              Reputation Services", Work in Progress, May 2013.

   [DKIM]     Crocker, D., Ed., Hansen, T., Ed., and M. Kucherawy, Ed.,
              "DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) Signatures", STD 76,
              RFC 6376, September 2011.

              Narten, T. and H. Alvestrand, "Guidelines for Writing an
              IANA Considerations Section in RFCs", BCP 26, RFC 5226,
              May 2008.

   [MIME-REG] Freed, N., Klensin, J., and T. Hansen, "Media Type
              Specifications and Registration Procedures", BCP 13, RFC
              6838, January 2013.

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   [MIME]     Freed, N. and N. Borenstein, "Multipurpose Internet Mail
              Extensions (MIME) Part One: Format of Internet Message
              Bodies", RFC 2045, November 1996.

   [RFC7073]  Borenstein, N. and M. Kucherawy, "A Reputation Response
              Set for Email Identifiers", RFC 7073, November 2013.

   [SPF]      Wong, M. and W. Schlitt, "Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
              for Authorizing Use of Domains in E-Mail, Version 1", RFC
              4408, April 2006.

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Appendix A.  Acknowledgments

   The authors wish to acknowledge the contributions of the following to
   this specification: Frank Ellermann, Tony Hansen, Jeff Hodges, Simon
   Hunt, John Levine, David F. Skoll, and Mykyta Yevstifeyev.

Authors' Addresses

   Nathaniel Borenstein
   203 Crescent St., Suite 303
   Waltham, MA 02453

   Phone: +1 781 996 5340
   EMail: nsb@guppylake.com

   Murray S. Kucherawy
   270 Upland Drive
   San Francisco, CA 94127

   EMail: superuser@gmail.com

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