W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webappsec@w3.org > November 2014

Re: [MIX] Initial feedback on Mixed Content

From: Mike West <mkwst@google.com>
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2014 15:53:58 +0100
Message-ID: <CAKXHy=dMoyS7Kz2dx5Qa0Q=D3WqW8PWFaQhGXE+h1sk2GB9R2Q@mail.gmail.com>
To: Brian Smith <brian@briansmith.org>
Cc: Jake Archibald <jakearchibald@google.com>, "public-webappsec@w3.org" <public-webappsec@w3.org>
Addressed some of these in
https://github.com/w3c/webappsec/commit/48838ed8f9fc124581c497494a4d03baf8aefe52;
I'd comment more but Kid #2 just woke up, so I'll quickly thank you for
your feedback, note that I agree with most of it, and argue with you a bit
about "deprecated TLS-protection" sometime later in the week. :)

Thanks!

-mike

--
Mike West <mkwst@google.com>
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On Fri, Nov 21, 2014 at 11:48 PM, Brian Smith <brian@briansmith.org> wrote:

> On Tue, Nov 18, 2014 at 6:53 AM, Mike West <mkwst@google.com> wrote:
> > I trimmed things up a little bit today:
> >
> https://github.com/w3c/webappsec/compare/96b18716431c7107e6744a7f04f6d1e298a3201f...master
> > WDYT?
> >
> > I doubt it addresses all of your concerns, but it's what I had time for
> > today. :)
>
> Actually, it looks really good.
>
> I have some nits:
>
> > Abstract
> >
> > This specification describes how a user agent should handle
> > rendering and execution of content loaded over unencrypted
> > or unauthenticated connections in the context of an encrypted
> > and authenticated document."
>
> Actually, the specification describes how a user agent *must fetch or
> must not fetch content*, not so much how it is rendered or executed.
> The effects on rendering and execution are side effects of the
> fetching/non-fetching. I think it is good to be precise about this.
> (Also in CSP.)
>
> > Status of this document
>
> Skipped (boilerplate)
>
> > Introduction
>
> Skipped (non-normative)
>
> >  2.1. Terms defined by this specification
>
> In this section, there are some definitions of terms that are
> redefined in a more precise way later in the specification. This is
> confusing. Is it a W3C requirement to have the "Terms defined by this
> specification" section? If not, I suggest removing it. Otherwise, I
> suggest at least providing a link to the normative definition in each
> of the definitions here, like was done in section 2.2 (Terms defined
> elsewhere)
>
> > 2.2 Terms defined elsewhere
>
> Skipped (laziness)
>
> > 3. Content Categories
>
> > For instance, a survey in 2013 notes that blocking mixed
> > content would break around ~43% of secure websites in
> > one way or another [DANGEROUS-MIX].
>
> That survey actually says that 43% of secure websites in their study
> have mixed-content vulnerabilities. It does NOT say that blocking
> mixed content would break the website. The implementation experience
> of Firefox (and other browsers, but I'm most familiar with Firefox's
> experience) showed that many websites were actually *improved* when
> mixed content ads and other things were blocked. Consequently, at a
> minimum, I suggest using a more neutral word than "break," such as
> "affect." More generally, I don't think that statistic is useful for
> making decisions; in fact, I think it is very misleading in
> overstating the problem. Plus, the study is just plain out of date,
> due to the effects of Firefox and Chrome improving their mixed content
> blocking, and due to the Snowden effect. So, I suggest just removing
> the sentence completely.
>
> > Draconian blocking policies applied to some types of mixed
> > content are (for the moment) infeasible.
>
> This is something of a tautology. If they were feasible, you wouldn't
> want to label them "Draconian." I suggestion you just drop the
> sentence, because the surrounding text already makes the same point.
>
> > With that in mind, we here split mixed content into two
> > categories defined in the following two sections [...]
>
> I suggest you cut "defined in the following two sections".
>
> > 3.1 Optionally-blockable Content
>
> > A resource is considered optionally-blockable content [...]
>
> Remove "considered". This is the definition of the term, so it should
> be worded more definitively.
>
> > [...] This could be because mixed usage of the resource type is
> > sufficiently high, or because the resource is very clearly
> > low-risk in and of itself.
>
> I suggest "Mixed usage of the resource type is high and it is low-risk
> in and of itself." In particular, s/or/and/ and avoid "very clearly";
> I think the clarify is much more debatable than the overall judgement
> that they are low-risk.
>
> I think the paragraph following this one can be merged into this one.
>
> > 3.2 Blockable Content
> >
> > Any resource that isn’t optionally-blockable is considered blockable
> content.
>
> Remove "considered". This is the definition of the term, so it should
> be worded more definitively.
>
> > In short, every request context that is not optionally-blockable
> > is a blockable request context
>
> Remove "In short,". It implies that the statement is a not-quite-true
> approximation, but I think it is actually definitive.
>
> > 4. Insecure Content in Secure Contexts
> >
> > When fetching resources, the mixed content checks described
> > in the algorithms below should be inserted at the top of the
> > Fetch algorithm to block network traffic to a priori insecure
> > origins, and at the bottom of the algorithm, to block responses
> > from insecure origins.
>
> This is ambiguous and potentially misleading. In particular, it could
> be interpreted to mean that all the algorithms get inserted at the
> top, and all the algorithms get inserted at the bottom. It seems like
> later text restates the same things in a more
> precise/correct/unambiguous way, so I think you should just remove
> this paragraph.
>
> This section states where algorithm 4.2 and algorithm 4.3 are inserted
> into the HTML specification, but it doesn't specify where algorithm
> 4.1 is to be inserted. I think a similar statement for algorithm 4.1
> would be very useful, if not required.
>
> Note that I'm not sure any browser other than Chrome implements the
> logic for "deprecated TLS-protection." I guess that is why that term
> is defined to be "vendor-specific." But, effectively, all this really
> means is that the implementation may choose to block a fetch for any
> implementation-defined reason. Does this really belong in this
> specification? It seems like it belongs in Fetch. In particular, this
> technically covers things like Firefox's nsIContentPolicy-based
> extensions (ad blockers, no script), which have nothing to do with
> mixed content. This makes me think that the stuff regarding
> "deprecated TLS-protection" can be removed too. Or, rather, perhaps it
> should be deferred until deprecated TLS-protection is defined.
>
> My understanding is you are planning to make changes (just removing
> section 5? or more?) to the rest of the document, so I'll stop here
> until you've done so.
>
> Cheers,
> Brian
>
Received on Sunday, 23 November 2014 14:54:47 UTC

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