W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-web-perf@w3.org > April 2013

Re: Web Request Status Codes

From: James Simonsen <simonjam@google.com>
Date: Fri, 12 Apr 2013 11:23:19 -0700
Message-ID: <CAPVJQik+MS4VykGHaOzFyv_rgp8P8VrVwG=AQ_=g-_wg8qq2uw@mail.gmail.com>
To: "public-web-perf@w3.org" <public-web-perf@w3.org>
Doesn't that make it a target for cache poisoning attacks? We should run
this idea past the security teams too.

James


On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 9:23 AM, Aaron Heady (BING) <aheady@microsoft.com>wrote:

> > Third party errors are absolutely off limits unless we receive explicit
> permission to report them. Without succeeding with the HTTP request, we
> don't have that permission. Otherwise, sites can figure out which bank a
> user uses by requesting third party resources from all of the banks and
> seeing which report errors.
>
> >>Agreed 100%.
>
> Given that we cannot get an allow header on a completely failed request,
> and that seeing the cross origin resource failures is of immense value to
> legitimate service operators, can the concept of the CORS allow headers be
> extended to include something like a cache TTL. We really expect this
> feature to work because we have active users that will see an error and
> then visit us again in a short time period which will allow us to retrieve
> the errors. If the cross origin allow header were honored for more than
> just an individual response then the user agent could already know that
> it's okay to see the error codes for contoso.com resources rendered on
> example.com. Then when an actual error occurs rendering contoso.com/ad1.jsthe existing cached allow header can be checked and allow
> example.com to see the details of the contoso.com resource error.
>
> Basically keep all of the semantics of cross origin checks, just add an
> optional expires header to the tag. Or to allow complete backwards
> compatibility, a separate max-age header like:
>
> Access-Control-Allow-Origin: http://hello-world.example
> Access-Control-Max-Age: 3628800
>
> From: http://www.w3.org/TR/cors/#introduction
>
> Aaron
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mark Nottingham [mailto:mnot@mnot.net]
> Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2013 4:47 PM
> To: James Simonsen
> Cc: public-web-perf@w3.org
> Subject: Re: Web Request Status Codes
>
>
> On 12/04/2013, at 7:00 AM, James Simonsen <simonjam@google.com> wrote:
>
> > Third party errors are absolutely off limits unless we receive explicit
> permission to report them. Without succeeding with the HTTP request, we
> don't have that permission. Otherwise, sites can figure out which bank a
> user uses by requesting third party resources from all of the banks and
> seeing which report errors.
>
> Agreed 100%.
>
>
>
> > Additionally, we are concerned that our users will be fingerprinted by
> malicious sites. Exposing additional information makes those attacks much
> easier.
>
> That's very reasonable as a position statement. However, it doesn't help
> decide whether to add new features, because taken at face value, we
> wouldn't add *any* features to the Web platform ("information" is
> unavoidably broad, after all).
>
> In this instance, can you explain how adding response status codes adds
> potential bits to a fingerprint (assuming same-origin constraints)? I agree
> there could be some convoluted scheme whereby a cached, non-standard status
> code could add a bit or two, but that doesn't seem relevant, when you
> consider that a cached ETag is a much simpler, already available and more
> capable way to do so.
>
>
> > I've requested review from the Chrome privacy and security teams. I
> don't think we should bother discussing Error Logging any further until
> everyone else does the same.
>
> Great. When will their review be complete? Will the results be shared with
> the WG?  (just trying to understand the process you're proposing)
>
> WRT the specifics of the proposal - why are we enumerating the status
> codes? Why not just refer to the registry <
> http://www.iana.org/assignments/http-status-codes/http-status-codes.xml>
> and report the three-digit code?
>
> Cheers,
>
>
> >
> > James
> >
> >
> > On Thu, Apr 11, 2013 at 11:44 AM, Austin,Daniel <daaustin@paypal-inc.com>
> wrote:
> > Hi James,
> >
> >
> >
> >                 Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate your taking the
> time to look at this.  However, I'm not yet convinced that there is any
> privacy/security concern here. My reasoning goes like this:
> >
> >
> >
> > a)      There are a large number of companies doing this already,
> including Google (Analytics), Yahoo! (Roundtrip and Y! Analytics), Omniture
> (SiteCatalyst), Mediaplex (Analytics), Compuware/Gomez (RUM), and many
> others. These services regularly provide collection and transport for this
> same data and send it upstream, often to a 3rd party (which is worse IMHO).
> We're not exposing anything that others are not already doing, we're just
> institutionalizing it and giving the user some control. I can certainly see
> 304's, 200 (cache) responses, and proxies in that data. Presumably these
> companies privacy policies already alert the user about all of this, and
> the user has provided consent by viewing the page. (This isn't an argument
> about right or wrong, but about current industry practice.)
> >
> >
> >
> > b)      Users can see all of this data already, by pressing F12 or
> similar, so it's not concealed from the user and then exposed to others.
> The data isn't terribly useful to end users (unless they're performance
> geeks) but it's not secret.
> >
> >
> >
> > On the cross-origin issue, I think there's something I'm not
> understanding. Why would cross-origin requests not be logged by the client?
> For this data to be useful we need to know what happened when the page
> loaded, regardless of the source. If I put an analytics tag in my page, for
> example,  and it fails for some reason, I need to know about it, and
> omitting the error codes is the opposite of helping.
> >
> >
> >
> > 3rd party calls are very often the source of performance problems on the
> page, and the client, IMHO, should provide full information about
> everything that happens in all the HTTP request/response cycles that went
> into that page's composition. In today's world, nearly every page published
> by any commercial organization is likely to have some 3rd party content.
> >
> >
> >
> > The more I think about this the more I think the right path is to
> provide detailed information for everything and be transparent about it all.
> >
> >
> >
> > Regards,
> >
> >
> >
> > D-
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > From: James Simonsen [mailto:simonjam@google.com]
> > Sent: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 2:58 PM
> > To: public-web-perf@w3.org
> > Subject: Re: Web Request Status Codes
> >
> >
> >
> > Exposing HTTP status codes exposes a lot of information that hasn't been
> exposed before. For instance, there are codes that explicitly reveal the
> existence of a proxy and whether or not a resource is cached. We haven't
> exposed this sort of information before.
> >
> >
> >
> > Before getting too far ahead of ourselves, I think we need to have a
> thorough security and privacy review about whether it's safe to expose this
> level of information. Otherwise, we're just wasting time discussing this.
> >
> >
> >
> > Separately, note that the DNS and TCP (and possibly many HTTP) errors
> are useless for cross-origin requests, because there's no way to determine
> if logging is allowed.
> >
> >
> >
> > James
> >
> >
> >
> > On Mon, Apr 8, 2013 at 3:48 PM, Austin,Daniel <daaustin@paypal-inc.com>
> wrote:
> >
> > Hi Team,
> >
> >                 I've attached to this email an HTML file with the
> current list of Web Request Status Codes. This list includes all of the
> status codes that I've been able to track down, with some exceptions. There
> are a great many of them. Here's a breakdown of the process and the
> decisions I made to produce the current list:
> >
> > *         Some status codes were omitted for being ridiculous (418, 420)
> >
> > *         Some status codes returned by existing servers but not part of
> any RFC are still listed in red - I don't think they belong here (possibly
> with the exception of 509) but I've left them in for discussion purposes.
> >
> > *         Non-HTTP status codes have been added. There are a lot of them
> (around 40). Since RFC 2616 clearly specifies that HTTP status codes have 3
> digits, I've begun the numbering for non-HTTP status codes at 1000. These
> status codes are broken down by their level in the OSI stack and namespaced
> accordingly e.g. 1207 SSL: Cipher Error as opposed to 1109 TCP: No route to
> host. There are four groups of these, namespaced as DNS:, TCP:, SSL:,
> HTTP:, and Client: . The HTTP: status codes are not currently included in
> RFC 2616 or any of the other specs, but are common errors seen by clients
> e.g. 1302 HTTP: Header malformed. Perhaps 'HTTP server:' is better?
> >
> > *         I've included a key to the different RFCs that contain HTTP
> status codes. There are 13 (!) of them, and 2 status codes are in draft
> proposals, linked in the document.
> >
> > *         For any status code not included in RFC 2616, I've tried to
> provide a rationale for its existence.
> >
> > *         Color codes: black = RFC 2616, blue = new for this spec or
> repurposed from some proprietary list, red = proprietary and doesn't belong
> here IMHO
> >
> > *         Sources: RFC 2616, other RFCs and drafts as listed, Wikipedia,
> Stack Overflow, MSFT sites, Compuware/Gomez, KeyNote, Catchpoint, Nginx,
> Apache
> >
> > *         For completeness, I've included all status codes received by
> the client, not just the error codes. There are several that are not in RFC
> 2616.
> >
> > *         I took the liberty of repurposing some
> existing-but-nonstandard codes and renumbering them for our purposes. I've
> tried to indicate the source e.g. (Nginx)
> >
> > Here's the next steps as I see them:
> >
> > *         Agree on a more-or-less final list of status codes, correct
> any omissions or duplicates
> >
> > *         Move this table into Jatinder's spec (or maybe a separate
> Note?)
> >
> > This task took considerably more time and effort than I had expected.
> Who knew there were so many status codes ?
> >
> > Regards,
> >
> > D-
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
>
> --
> Mark Nottingham   http://www.mnot.net/
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
Received on Friday, 12 April 2013 18:23:50 UTC

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