Re: Secdir review of draft-ietf-httpbis-p6-cache-20

Hi Tero,

CC:ing the HTTP mailing list.

These all seem reasonable. I'll work to update the Security Considerations and publish in -21, will ping you once that happens.


On 04/09/2012, at 11:51 PM, Tero Kivinen <> wrote:

> I have reviewed this document as part of the security directorate's 
> ongoing effort to review all IETF documents being processed by the 
> IESG.  These comments were written primarily for the benefit of the 
> security area directors.  Document editors and WG chairs should treat 
> these comments just like any other last call comments.
> This document is part 6 of the HTTP/1.1 and covers the caching in
> http.
> The security considerations section is quite short covering the case
> that caches are attractive targets for attackers and that the fact
> that cache can reveal information long after the information has been
> removed from the network.
> I think the security considerations section should list other attacks
> too. Things that comes to my mind:
> - Cache poisoning attacks, i.e. attacker who can control the
>  www-server for a moment could pre-load cache with stuff that will
>  stay there for long time (as long as the cache control attributes
>  say). This includes negative result (404) caching.
> - Cache caching stuff that was not supposed to be cached, like
>  authentication credentials in forms of cookies (the RFC6265 - "HTTP
>  State Management Mechanism" says that the presense of the cookies
>  does not preclude HTTP caches from storing and reusing a response).
>  This can be problem unless all applications using cookies actually
>  make sure that they set all pages as non-cacheable.
> - Cache might leak out information to other users of the cache who
>  fetched the page in the first time. This leaking can happen in
>  multiple ways (for example cookies, etc). Actually just timing can
>  tell that someone has already fetched the page to the cache, which
>  in some cases might be enough to leak information out.
> There most likely are still other attacks which I did not list above.
> Also as cookies are quite often used in various things like
> authentication, session identifiers, language selection etc, I think
> the section 3 should mention something about them, especially mention
> that RFC6265 says they can be cached (this was suprise for me, I would
> have expected cookies to be counted in the same category as
> authorization fields i.e. fields thta disable caching).
> I was also suprised not to find warning about the caching of the
> cookies in the RFC6265, but perhaps we should add note here in
> security considerations section saying that by default cookies are
> cachable, so applications using them must make sure they are not
> cached unless wanted so. It might not be able to reach its intended
> users (the ones writing web applications), but at least it might
> spread the information to some relevant parties.
> In summary I think this document needs bit more work in security
> considerations section.
> -- 

Mark Nottingham

Received on Wednesday, 5 September 2012 02:12:07 UTC