W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webappsec@w3.org > February 2013

RE: CSP script hashes

From: Hill, Brad <bhill@paypal-inc.com>
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2013 07:32:38 +0000
To: Mountie Lee <mountie.lee@mw2.or.kr>, Bryan McQuade <bmcquade@google.com>
CC: Yoav Weiss <yoav@yoav.ws>, Eric Chen <eric.chen@sv.cmu.edu>, "Nicholas Green" <ngreen@twitter.com>, "public-webappsec@w3.org" <public-webappsec@w3.org>
Message-ID: <370C9BEB4DD6154FA963E2F79ADC6F2E27915DB6@DEN-EXDDA-S12.corp.ebay.com>
If we proceed down this path, I'm in favor of as little complexity here as we can possibly manage.  A few thoughts along those lines:   

Canonicalization and digesting is the real hard issue here, which is, by virtue of being inline, closely linked to parsing and construction of the DOM.  

This was a _world of pain_ for XML Signatures.   Before we decide to inline this into CSP, we should carefully consider if this is a reusable algorithm that ought to be defined in its own spec, or as part of HTML, and merely referenced by CSP.  

There are perhaps dozens of little things to consider depending on the approach taken:

1) Since HTML5 is the first version to define any kind of rigorous parsing, tokenizing and document construction rules,  I'd suggest restricting this directive to being only available for HTML5 resources.  


Even with this, the error handling and section on scripts that modify the page as it is being parsed are non-normative.

2) I might go so far as to suggest (unless a user-agent implementer wants to talk me off the ledge) that it be restricted to UTF-8 encoded documents, to avoid the pain and suffering of trying to construct a stable digest value while dealing with encoding sniffing and multi-pass parsing and any attacks that might result from forcing the browser to adopt a different encoding with a content injection in the absence of an explicitly declared content-encoding.

3) Would exempting new script elements or inline event handlers created by hash-whitelisted scripts, as suggested by Bryan, require changes to the existing unsafe-inline behavior?  Is this question relevant for script-nonce as well?  Would doing this safely require additional parser state being added to the HTML parsing algorithm?

4) Should dynamic creation of script elements that match the hash, e.g. with document.write(), be allowed or is the policy only evaluated on the first pass of the input stream preprocessor and new inline script nodes prohibited thereafter?   

5) Do we attempt to operate on the bytes "received over the network" as they go through the tokenization process, or on a standard serialization after construction of the DOM is complete?

6) In either case, do we have reasonable expectations that the relevant parts of the HTML parsing algorithm will remain stable enough to make this a useful feature going forward?  If not, is it reasonable to expect that user agent maintainers will retain a forked, stable, copy of the parser to handle this use case as the main parser evolves?

7) What about attributes of the <script> tag itself?  (e.g. language, type, can change the semantics of the included text rather drastically)

I'm quite sure there is more...


From: mountie@paygate.net [mailto:mountie@paygate.net] On Behalf Of Mountie Lee
Sent: Monday, February 11, 2013 9:51 PM
To: Bryan McQuade
Cc: Yoav Weiss; Eric Chen; Nicholas Green; public-webappsec@w3.org
Subject: Re: CSP script hashes

+1 for refocusing on hashes.
nonce is just focusing to network level protection.

I have added my comment line by line.
On Tue, Feb 12, 2013 at 10:51 AM, Bryan McQuade <bmcquade@google.com> wrote:
I'd like to see us move forward with the hash proposal for allowing inline scripts and styles.

I do notice that script nonce is in the 1.1 spec as an experimental feature: https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/content-security-policy/raw-file/tip/csp-specification.dev.html#script-nonce--experimental but in looking at this thread, there has been some concern about deploying nonces, especially on CDNs (some sites do use CDNs to serve their HTML with short-ish TTLs) and hashes are a better way to accommodate that use case.

So, I'd like to propose that we refocus on hashes, and that support be added for both inline script and inline styles. The open questions seem to be:

How should the hashes be expressed in the CSP header?

I think hash data and object ID combination is best choice.
* what hashing algorithm(s) do we want to support and do we want to allow servers to choose from a set of algorithms (specifying the chosen algorithm in the response header)?

we need to consider the list of algorithms in WebCrypto API (http://www.w3.org/TR/WebCryptoAPI/#sha)
SHA-1, SHA-224, SHA-256, SHA-384 and SHA-512 are listed.
let server choose one of them.

* do we want to require base64-encoding of the digest or should it be up to the server to choose the encoding? I can't think of any good reason to make the encoding scheme configurable so I'd propose always using base64.

the hash value will be different by the page encodings even with the same scripts.
I prefer letting server choose the encodings.
* Should the server be allowed to choose how much of the digest to use depending on the security requirements of the response? The SDCH protocol, for example, uses a partial SHA256 as its identifier: "In communications between user agent and server, a dictionary is identified by the first 96 bits of the SHA-256 digest [SHA256] of a dictionary's metadata and payload" (http://www.blogs.zeenor.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Shared_Dictionary_Compression_over_HTTP.pdf).

My proposal for the format is: "style-hash sha1:<hash>[ sha256:<hash>]; script-hash sha256:<hash>[ additional hashes]" where the hash function used on the server is followed by a colon, and the hash can be variable length up to the full length of the base64-encoded digest. If the hash is not as long as the digest, then the transmitted hash should be compared against the first N bytes of the computed digest on the client side. This allows servers to transmit smaller hashes when they feel that reducing bytes on network is more important than transmitting full hashes for maximum security. We could provide recommendations for minimum transmitted hash length, etc.

What is the process for computing the hash on the client when validating the inline scripts and styles? Specifically, how do we identify the string of characters to compute the hash from in a non-ambiguous way? Is it sufficient to describe this as all content from the end of the opening <script>/<style> tag to the beginning of the closing tag? Is there something in the HTML5 or other spec that we can point at that clearly defines the algorithm for determining how to identify the string of characters that the hash should be computed from?

Presumably, any side effects of the whitelisted scripts should be whitelisted as well. For instance, if a script that is whitelisted via a hash being included in response headers performs a document.write, the contents of that document.write should not have to also match a hash in the CSP headers.

I'm interested to get your thoughts on these issues and to move forward with adding support for inline scripts/style hashes in CSP.


On Fri, Feb 1, 2013 at 3:31 PM, Yoav Weiss <yoav@yoav.ws> wrote:
If I understand you correctly, the scenario that scares you about hashes is that WebApp would white list small & potentially harmful snippets such as `<script>WebApp.delete_account();</script>`.
Assuming that such a snippet has been white listed, an XSS attack can add such a script, resulting in an account deletion.

While it is theoretically possible that some Web application may add potentially harmful snippets, I'm not sure that adding such snippets makes any sense, regardless of the potential security vulnerability with hashes.

On Fri, Feb 1, 2013 at 9:02 PM, Eric Chen <eric.chen@sv.cmu.edu> wrote:
Consider that there is an injection vector on the page and the attacker can inject some content. For the case of script-nonce, the attacker cannot inject any inline scripts, but for the case of script hash the attacker can inject <script>a()</script> given this is is a legitimately hashed script. Usually this is not be a problem but depends on what you are hashing, the attacker now has the ability to execute any hashed scripts in the page. 

Other than that I actually like the idea of using hashes, this could solve a lot of deployment issues. 

On Fri, Feb 1, 2013 at 11:45 AM, Nicholas Green <ngreen@twitter.com> wrote:
Can you clarify "call a script," since scripts are tags, not methods
they are not invokable.  Do you mean inject a script tag into the
page?  To simply execute the script the script's contents must match a
whitelist, so the browser will only run the script's we specify,
unless there is some very tricky hash-collision or header injection.
The contents of the script tag are invokable regardless of CSP
strategy (nonces or hashes), unless the script is blocked entirely.

The attacker has to already have javascript execution to invoke
anything, at which point we've failed already, regardless of whether
or not they choose to invoke javascript that we have written, or they
choose to write it themselves.

The goal of hash-whitelist is: Only execute the static scripts we have
inlined and whitelisted.  I do not see the attack you are suggesting.
FWIW I believe a hashed whitelist of scripts accomplishes the same
thing you suggest accomplishing with <meta> tags here, but with higher
assurance that there was no injection on the initial page load:

Lastly I'm not suggesting we replace nonces, but rather add hashing as well.

On Fri, Feb 1, 2013 at 10:40 AM, Eric Chen <eric.chen@sv.cmu.edu> wrote:
>> What we would protect agains is the invocation of dangerous methods.
>> So is the vector you are suggesting a DOM XSS calling code provided by
>> a hashed inline script?  That seems feasible, but that is possible
>> with nonced scripts as well I think.  Could you elaborate? I think I'm
>> missing something important here.
> So in the script-nonce case, each inline script must have a valid nonce
> attribute in order to execute. But in this case, the inline script doesn't
> have to have a secret attached, it just has to be on the "whitelist". This
> means that the attacker can freely call any hashed script and depends on
> what you are hashing it can be quite dangerous.
>> On Fri, Feb 1, 2013 at 10:19 AM, Eric Chen <eric.chen@sv.cmu.edu> wrote:
>> > One key difference between nonces and hashes is that hashes can't stop
>> > return-to-libc-like attacks (e.g.,, attacker calling
>> > twitter.delete_my_account() which could be hashed).
>> >
>> >
>> > On Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 5:32 PM, Nicholas Green <ngreen@twitter.com>
>> > wrote:
>> >>
>> >> Hi folks,
>> >>
>> >>   There has been some discussion around hashes rather than nonces for
>> >> <script>/<style>s recently, and I wanted to support that suggestion.
>> >> My proposal would be we send down a header of script-hashes <hash>
>> >> <hash> ..., that specifies which scripts can run on a page.  This is,
>> >> I think, what ISSUE-36 proposes.
>> >>
>> >>   The reason this is appealing to us is that the only real blockers
>> >> that we have encountered while implementing CSP headers that restrict
>> >> inline scripts and styles are:
>> >>
>> >> 1) Scripts that must be run at a certain time during page load.
>> >> 2) Styles that should be applied from initial page load.
>> >> 3) Scripts and styles that are inlined for performance reasons (i.e.
>> >> to avoid an extra round trip on high latency connections).
>> >>
>> >>   None of these require any dynamic content to be present in the
>> >> scripts or styles, thus script hashes, which could either complement
>> >> or work independently of script nonces, that allowed us to specify the
>> >> hashes of scripts that we will allow to run inline would be
>> >> sufficient.  Since the content is static these hashes can be
>> >> calculated at the deploy time (light on the server), and don't need to
>> >> be salted with any server side secrets, this should be relatively
>> >> straightforward.  Of course some details (i.e. ignore whitespace?)
>> >> would have to be specified to ensure interoperability.  I realize this
>> >> will be non-trivial to implement for some applications, but think the
>> >> benefit is worth it.  It certainly would be from our perspective.
>> >>
>> >>   One last point: Since assets are often served from CDNs generating
>> >> random nonces per request may be tricky, but if we just need to change
>> >> headers each time we change assets, I think we dodge the CDN
>> >> difficulties as well as potential caching issues.
>> >>
>> >>   Thoughts?  Implementation hurdles?  Other places this is already
>> >> covered that I should've read?
>> >>
>> >> Thanks,
>> >> Nick
>> >>
>> >>
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > --
>> > -Eric
> --
> -Eric


Mountie Lee

Tel : +82 2 2140 2700
E-Mail : mountie@paygate.net
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Received on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 07:33:07 UTC

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