W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webapps@w3.org > January to March 2009

Re: [access-control] Access-Control-Allow-Origin: * and ascii-origin in IE8

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2009 20:40:42 -0800
Cc: Bil Corry <bil@corry.biz>, Adrian Bateman <adrianba@microsoft.com>, Anne van Kesteren <annevk@opera.com>, Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>, "public-webapps@w3.org" <public-webapps@w3.org>
Message-id: <EC363F28-5655-4609-840E-23537BAA2629@apple.com>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>

Hixie said the position I expressed was a little unclear, so I'd like  
to clarify briefly:

1) FACT: The HTML5 version of the CSRF-defense header (currently  
called 'XXX-Origin' as a temporary measure) is specified not to be  
sent for GET requests.
     1.a) FACT: As a result, it does not provide any protection  
against CSRF attacks on GET-based forms.
     1.b) OPINION: I think this is an OK choice and I do not propose  
changing it. It strikes a decent balance between security and privacy.

2) FACT: Hyperlinks or GET-based forms (which are commonly submitted  
cross-site) cannot redirect to POST-based forms.
     2.a) OPINION: Specially marking Origin in the case of redirects  
is not necessary to secure a site's off-site links and GET-based forms  
against CSRF attacks on POST-based forms.

3) FACT: Cross-site form POSTs to untrusted sites are quite rare; and  
furthermore a man-in-the middle attacker redirecting such a request  
cannot change the body of the submission.
     3.a) OPINION: Defending against CSRF in this rare case is not  
worth the cost of a second different Origin header, and can be done in  
any case by the site making such bodies readily distinguishable from  
its own form post bodies.

4) FACT: Sites vulnerable to XSS could be vulnerable to a man-in-the- 
middle CSRF as in point 3, but they are owned anyway.
     4.a) OPINION: It's not worthwhile to defend XSS-vulnerable sites  
against CSRF, as no meaningful protection is provided.

CONCLUSION: We should use a single Origin header with the name and  
semantics of the Access-Control Origin header for both its Access- 
Control purpose and for redirect defense. The differences in the HTML5  
version are not worth the cost of a very similar but subtly different  
header. And if we ever find the attack in case 3 is more than  
theoretical, we could add a 'Redirected-Via' header to provide full  

Received on Friday, 16 January 2009 04:41:24 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Friday, 27 October 2017 07:26:13 UTC