W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webapps@w3.org > April to June 2013

Re: Re: [XHR] anonymous flag

From: (wrong string) ๏̯͡๏ Jasvir Nagra <jasvir@google.com>
Date: Wed, 22 May 2013 07:27:55 -0700
Message-ID: <CAOEXz0tbMmgESTimdoWtQP4Xd6yAd0ivDCj-QxELCns12C41Qg@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Mark S. Miller" <erights@google.com>, Charles McCathie Nevile <chaals@yandex-team.ru>, public-webapps <public-webapps@w3.org>, Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>, tyler.close@gmail.com, mjs@apple.com, Dirk Pranke <dpranke@chromium.org>, ojan@chromium.org, w3c@adambarth.com, jackalmage@gmail.com, ian@hixie.ch, dev.akhawe@gmail.com, Art.Barstow@nokia.com, nathan@webr3.org, john@jkemp.net, Jungkee Song <jungkees@gmail.com>, Julian Aubourg <j@ubourg.net>, annevk@annevk.nl
* If we had a better way of controlling the option to deny sending
credentials in a way that kept compatibility with legacy webpages (eg. a
tristate flag like you suggest in [6]), I agree it would be better than to
have two different flags which may be confusing to developers and which may
disagree with each other.

* In Google AppScript and on Google Sites, we execute a code on the same
domain sandboxed using Caja.  In this case, Caja  relies on withCredentials
defaulting to true and prevents sandboxed guest code from setting it to
true.  In this way, we're able to work around the difficulties posed by the
API that you point out.  We are nevertheless forced to either proxy or deny
requests to the same origin since the CORS anon flag appears not be
reliably supported on all browsers (and withCredentials does not apply to
same-origin).  The test for same origin is an error prone blacklisting
test. We look forward to all browsers providing the anon feature reliably
to avoid expensive proxying.

* Irrespective of the difficulty of using the API correctly, we do need to
have the option to deny credentials to the same-origin.


On Tue, May 21, 2013 at 6:30 PM, Mark S. Miller <erights@google.com> wrote:

> Let's please find some time to discuss this *today* if at all possible.
> I'm sure there will be several agenda items I don't need to be at, and
> there's always lunch. I would like us to be able to say that Caja, Sites,
> and Google AppScript use and need to use the UMP-enabling features of CORS.
> Is that true? If not, I'd like to see how close to that we can come.
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Hallvord Reiar Michaelsen Steen <hallvord@opera.com>
> Date: Tue, May 21, 2013 at 1:41 PM
> Subject: Re: Re: [XHR] anonymous flag
> To: Charles McCathie Nevile <chaals@yandex-team.ru>, public-webapps <
> public-webapps@w3.org>, Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>,
> tyler.close@gmail.com, mjs@apple.com, dpranke@chromium.org,
> ojan@chromium.org, erights@google.com, w3c@adambarth.com,
> jackalmage@gmail.com, ian@hixie.ch, dev.akhawe@gmail.com,
> Art.Barstow@nokia.com, nathan@webr3.org, john@jkemp.net
> Cc: Anne van Kesteren <annevk@annevk.nl>, Jungkee Song <jungkees@gmail.com>,
> Julian Aubourg <j@ubourg.net>
> Anne wrote:
> > I don't really feel it's responsible to remove this feature at this
> > point without anyone involved in the original discussion speaking up.
> Hi all,
> you were involved in a discussion [1] regarding UMP and CORS back in 2010.
> I know, it's a while ago, and apparently you had already been discussing
> this for *quite* a while. However, as the saying goes: no good deed goes
> unpunished, and I'd like wider feedback on an issue I've been discussing
> with Anne - so here's another chance to exercise those arguments. My
> apologies :-o..
> I've been working on the XHR test suite, and thus been looking at the spec
> from a JS developer's perspective. From this perspective, I found that the
> withCredentials / anonymous flag features were somewhat confusing, to be
> more specific it was hard to figure out what the point of the anonymous
> flag really was. Some very close reading of the spec helped me figure out
> that the anonymous flag would:
> * Disable Origin: and Referer: headers
> * Send same-origin requests as if they were cross-origin: require
> preflights where CORS requests require preflights, and the same-origin
> server must opt-in with Access-Control-Allow-Origin and such.
> Now, I read through the old thread [1] - all of it, the UMP spec and some
> other related stuff, but still couldn't quite figure out what use cases
> this was meant to solve - so I questioned why we should have the anonymous
> flag at all in [2], [3] and [4]. (Sorry for referencing only my arguments,
> the interleaved E-mails are easy to find from there).
> So far in the discussion, I still think we should drop the "anonymous
> flag" feature from the spec. Some more thoughts beyond the arguments in the
> referenced E-mails:
> * On the web, the most widely used authorization models are cookies and
> SSL sessions. Authority is rarely if ever defined by Origin and/or Referer
> - and rightly so, since they can easily be faked in server-to-server
> requests. Some sites have traditionally whitelisted certain sites based on
> Referer to avoid "hotlinking" of images, but hacking around such measures
> is hardly a use case we should try to cater for.
> Hence, I don't even see much of a theoretical benefit to suppressing
> Origin.
> * On the web, we usually value security-in-depth, i.e. several layers of
> security checks. The UMP model seemed to argue strongly in favour of a
> single point of failure - a token in the URL or in the body of a POST
> request. It seems to me that most services that need securing would want to
> also check Origin, check cookies and/or SSL data. On the surface this is an
> argument *for* the anonymous flag: given the assumption that valuable
> services do layered security, having credentials dropped in requests that
> may be risky is a Good Thing (TM). However, the problem is we put the
> burden on developers to *set* the anonymous flag, to foresee what requests
> might be risky and take precautions, to opt-in to a mode where even
> same-origin requests become much more cumbersome to complete and where
> their *own* layered security measures will fail. This feature is IMHO very
> hard to use correctly, and can
> easily cause unexpected and hard to understand failure modes if used
> incorrectly.
> * If we can't easily explain to authors what a feature is for, it won't
> get used.
> * Having both withCredentials and anonymous flag is confusing and can give
> a false sense of security as explained in [6].
> My preferred solution (which may be a little too "magic") is to turn
> withCredentials into a sort of tri-state flag, where setting
> withCredentials=false disables using cookies/HTTP Auth/existing SSL
> sessions on both same-origin and cross-origin requests, setting
> withCredentials=true enables it for both, and not setting it will leave the
> default behaviour to use authentication on same-origin and omit it for
> cross-origin requests. (Then drop the "anonymous" flag and ignore any
> requests for being able to suppress Referer: and Origin: (unless documented
> by use cases we want to support).)
> Another option might be to drop anonymous flag, "deprecate"
> withCredentials and define a new property called sendCredentials, taking
> values "sameorigin", "always" and "never", with "sameorigin" being the
> default value. Too bad I'm 2-3 years late with that suggestion, I think it
> would have been clearer.
> (Obviously, if we think existing content using withCredentials is written
> in a way that would let us get away with redefining it to being a string,
> use values "sameorigin", "always" and "never" and throw in a small hack
> translating true when set to "always", that would be totally sweet :-D.)
> Further, I think that as an extra security precaution, the spec should
> make it absolutely clear that if a CORS-request where withCredentials is
> *not* set to true/always gets redirected to a same-origin URL, credentials
> must *not* be sent while requesting the redirect target. This should close
> one of the existing potential holes and make XHR and CORS a tad more safe
> by default.
> Now, from my practical-JS-author perspective there may be things I'm
> missing. Maybe to do with server implementation details or typical
> intranet/internet boundary behaviours. I fully agree with Anne that it
> would be good to have further input from you all while considering removing
> the anonymous flag. If you can convince me that we need the anonymous flag,
> we don't have to edit the spec to remove it - yay, less work for us editors
> ;-) - so please discuss..
> [1]
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-webapps/2010AprJun/thread.html#msg171
> [2]
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-webapps/2013AprJun/0628.html
> [3]
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-webapps/2013AprJun/0638.html
> [4]
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-webapps/2013AprJun/0714.html
> [5]
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-webapps/2013AprJun/0721.html
> [6]
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-webapps/2013AprJun/0729.html
> --
> Hallvord R. M. Steen
> Core tester, Opera Software
> --
>     Cheers,
>     --MarkM
Received on Wednesday, 22 May 2013 14:50:20 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 18:14:10 UTC