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Re: Microsoft to Strike IE URL Passwords

From: <wizard@newsreports.org>
Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2004 20:27:29 -0500
Message-ID: <401B0481.327DE909@newsreports.org>
To: mikehow@microsoft.com, ietf-http-wg-request@w3.org, HTTP Working Group <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>, mikehow@microsoft.com
Cc: Dave Kristol <dmk@acm.org>

Michael,

Off the top of my head, so I may be totally off base :)

But, username:password@example.com is a valid uri in
the http protocol.  It follows, therefore, that it is
a valid HREF value in an <A> tag. If the browser then
does something other than is intended when the <A> tag
is invoked, then it is arguably non-compliant.

That is my argument in a nutshell.  Now, I could get
all scholarly and dig out all the references, but 
this would make the argument much more obtuse and
hard to follow. I would not advance anything that
I did not feel was supported in the relevant RFC's.

Now, as a matter of practicality, IE is a Microsoft
product and Microsoft can do as it wishes.  Further,
it can be argued that this is not a common usage
of a uri.  But, it *is* used and useful.  To break
it would be a shame.  Especially if the shortcomings
can be solved another way.

To reiterate, the two problems that are referenced
fall into the category of program bug, and rendering
that is suitable for the majority of users.  This is
not a failing in the usage of the particular uri
format at all.

By kicking up a fuss as early as possible, I am hoping
that more consideration will be given to a non-intrusive
fix that will leave the intended functionality intact.

Best Regards,

Bob


Michael Howard wrote:
> 
> The plan, and it may change, is to nix username:pwd@ in a url. Correct
> me if I'm wrong, but this format is only valid for ftp, not http.
> 
> Cheers, Michael
> 
> [Writing Secure Code 2nd Edition]
> http://www.microsoft.com/mspress/books/5957.asp
> [Protect Your PC] http://www.microsoft.com/protect
> [Blog] http://blogs.msdn.com/michael_howard
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: wizard@newsreports.org [mailto:wizard@newsreports.org]
> Sent: Friday, January 30, 2004 1:35 PM
> To: ietf-http-wg-request@w3.org; HTTP Working Group; Michael Howard
> Cc: Dave Kristol
> Subject: Re: Microsoft to Strike IE URL Passwords
> 
> Michael,
> 
> Is this not really a rendering problem?
> 
> This remark includes the "%01" problem,
> and user perception that the leading
> part before the "@" is the web site.
> 
> The first is a problem internal to the
> browser, and should be fixed.
> 
> The second is a rendering problem, in
> that many users do not know the difference.
> Therefore, it is more useful to present
> the url to the user without the credentials portion.
> 
> If the embedded credentials are permitted in a valid url, and that url
> is embedded as, for example, the href of an <a> tag, and the browser
> does not retrieve the referenced resource, then the browser is broken.
> 
> Removing this valid behaviour will, in some cases, break many months of
> work. I am involved in one such case.
> 
> Bob
> 
> Michael Howard wrote:
> >
> > Only the form: "http(s)://username:password@server/resource.ext"  is
> > being removed; basic auth is untouched.
> >
> > Cheers, Michael
> >
> > [Writing Secure Code 2nd Edition]
> > http://www.microsoft.com/mspress/books/5957.asp
> > [Protect Your PC] http://www.microsoft.com/protect [Blog]
> > http://blogs.msdn.com/michael_howard
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: ietf-http-wg-request@w3.org [mailto:ietf-http-wg-request@w3.org]
> > On Behalf Of Dave Kristol
> > Sent: Thursday, January 29, 2004 11:38 AM
> > To: HTTP Working Group
> > Subject: Microsoft to Strike IE URL Passwords
> >
> > <http://www.internetnews.com/dev-news/article.php/3305741>
> >
> > If I understand this article correctly, it sounds like MS IE will
> > remove support for Basic Authentication.  While we all agree that
> > cleartext passwords are evil, this sounds to me like it will create a
> > major compatibility problem at sites that use Basic.  And note that it
> 
> > covers Basic over SSL, too, where the passwords would *not* be
> cleartext.
> >
> > Dave Kristol
> 
> --
> 
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Received on Friday, 30 January 2004 20:23:24 GMT

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