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Ambiguity with MD5-sess and nextnonce

From: Adam Roach <adam@dynamicsoft.com>
Date: Mon, 8 Sep 2003 14:46:12 -0500
Message-ID: <9BF66EBF6BEFD942915B4D4D45C051F3E86418@dyn-tx-exch-001.dynamicsoft.com>
To: "'ietf-http-wg@w3.org'" <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>

In implementing MD5-sess, we've encountered some
ambiguities with the interaction between MD5 sessions
and nextnonce.

The only description of signaling the end of an
authentication session is in section 3.3. In particular,
it says that an authentication session lasts until the
client receives another WWW-Authenticate header.

Presumably, the session ends at this point because
the nonce has changed. Using this logic, the authentication
session should also terminate if the client receives a
response with an Authentication-Info header containing a
nextnonce parameter.

Termination of a session with nextnonce isn't mentioned
anywhere, though -- so it's not clear whether this was
the intention when the RFC was written. In particular, it's
not clear to me what value changing a nonce within the
same session would provide.

To be specific, when using MD5-sess, the proper client
behavior upon receiving nextnonce is not particularly clear.
To illustrate the ambiguity, I'll demonstrate the exact
issue with a use case.

1) Client sends a request.

2) Server challenges request, with an algorithm of "MD5-Sess".
   We will call the nonce sent in this challenge "nonce-value-1".

3) Client re-sends request, with response to challenge. This response
   includes a cnonce, which we will call "cnonce-value-1". The
   response is calculated as follows:

   KD(H(unq(username-value) ":" unq(realm-value) ":" passwd)
      ":" unq(nonce-value-1) ":" unq(cnonce-value-1),
      unq(nonce-value-1) ":" nc-value ":" unq(cnonce-value-1) ":"
      unq(qop-value) ":" Method ":" digest-uri-value)

4) Server responds to request with a 200 response. This response
   contains a new nonce in a nextnonce parameter. We will call
   this value "nonce-value-2".

5) Later, the client sends a second request. It preemptively includes
   an "Authentication" header with a cnonce that we will call

Here's where the confusion lies. For the highest chance of success,
should the client calculate the response-digest as:

A) KD(H(unq(username-value) ":" unq(realm-value) ":" passwd)
      ":" unq(nonce-value-1) ":" unq(cnonce-value-1),
      unq(nonce-value-2) ":" nc-value ":" unq(cnonce-value-2) ":"
      unq(qop-value) ":" Method ":" digest-uri-value)

or as:

B) KD(H(unq(username-value) ":" unq(realm-value) ":" passwd)
      ":" unq(nonce-value-2) ":" unq(cnonce-value-2),
      unq(nonce-value-2) ":" nc-value ":" unq(cnonce-value-2) ":"
      unq(qop-value) ":" Method ":" digest-uri-value)

The text in the document would support A (since only WWW-Authenticate
ends an authentication session and H(A1) "is calculated only once" per
authentication session), while B seems far more intuitive.

So, what have people here actually implemented?

Received on Monday, 8 September 2003 15:46:13 UTC

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