W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webid@w3.org > May 2014

Re: Aligning WebID with U2F. Was: UI for client cert selection

From: Kingsley Idehen <kidehen@openlinksw.com>
Date: Mon, 05 May 2014 09:23:56 -0400
Message-ID: <536790EC.9090405@openlinksw.com>
To: public-webid@w3.org
On 5/5/14 8:45 AM, Nick Jennings wrote:
> Excuse me if I'm missing something, but isn't this more an issue of 
> what our expectations are from previous cookie usage, rather than an 
> actual problem?

No, there's an actual problem. It boils down to conflating:

1. identity
2. identification
3. authentication.

Identity is an issue missing from many applications and services due to 
their underlying programming environment and frameworks.

> If we use a single browser profile per-cert, then it makes sense that 
> you will always be logged in (and that's better than being logged out 
> after a certain amount of time, IMO). If you want to be anonymous, or 
> log in with a different account, use a different profile.

You should be able to have different identifies across different 
interactions with services. It isn't about one identity vs anonymity. 
It's just about identity, identification, and authentication en route to 
a "trust context" (e.g., a Web of Trust) as a result of identity 
> The use-cases I can think of, would be:
> 1. You've lost your laptop and want to invalidate all your certs.

If you are using the WebID-TLS protocol, that amounts to removing all 
the relations that associate the public keys (that are pairs of the 
private keys in the lost laptop's key store) with WebIDs (HTTP URI that 
denotes an Agent and serves as the value of the SAN 
[SubjectAlternativeName] relation in your local X.509 cert. based 
identity card/doc) in your profile document/identity card. Basically, 
remove the relations in your public profile document and you laptop will 
not be a source of identity related compromises.

> 2. You had to recreate your certs and want to migrate from one cert to 
> another so you don't loose your user account.

You can have you local credentials saved in a pkcs#12 file that's 
accessible from a USB, some cloud storage, your personal backup disk etc..

> Both of these cases I don't think would be addressed with 'logout' anyway.

They have nothing to do with login or logout.

> But again, maybe I'm just missing something. My experience with WebID 
> is very limited so far.

The WebID-TLS protocol (authenticating identity claims gleaned from 
"mirrored claims" across a combination of a local identity card [X.509 
cert] and public identity card/profile document)  and a WebID (which 
addresses identity via denotation relations) are two things that are 
loosely coupled. Understanding starts by accepting these items are 
related (associated or connected), but not the same thing.


> -Nick
> On Mon, May 5, 2014 at 2:32 PM, Kingsley Idehen 
> <kidehen@openlinksw.com <mailto:kidehen@openlinksw.com>> wrote:
>     On 5/5/14 7:46 AM, Kingsley Idehen wrote:
>>     On 5/5/14 2:05 AM, Anders Rundgren wrote:
>>>     On 2014-05-04 23:36, Kingsley Idehen wrote:
>>>>     >On 5/3/14 11:13 PM, Anders Rundgren wrote:
>>>>>     >>On 2014-05-03 20:51, Tim Berners-Lee wrote:
>>>>>>>     >>> >On 2014-05 -03, at 10:45, Anders Rundgren<anders.rundgren.net@gmail.com>  <mailto:anders.rundgren.net@gmail.com>  wrote:
>>>>>>>>>     >>>> >>We can call it whatever we like, the user-experience offered by WebID as featured
>>>>>>>>>     >>>> >>onhttp://cimba.co  web doesn't meet reasonable user expectations [..]
>>>>>>>     >>> >So imagine the browser was going to be changed to make that better.
>>>>>>>     >>> >
>>>>>>>     >>> >People seem to widely agree that the client-side cert UI is bad on browsers
>>>>>>>     >>> >Can we at least do a thought experiment to be in a world where it is fixed -- what would that look like?
>>>>>>>     >>> >Maybe things like:-
>>>>>>>     >>> >
>>>>>>>     >>> >- Allowing the user to click a check box on "Always use this persona (client-side cert) with this web site (domain)"
>>>>>>>     >>> >- Allowing a preferences access to manage the persona/website allocation matrix
>>>>>>>     >>> >- Allow more screen space for selecting those certs
>>>>>>>     >>> >- Allow a user to label, color, and suppress certs in the list
>>>>>>>     >>> >- By default, not including expired certs in the list
>>>>>>>     >>> >- Tracking which persona is in use on this website (only when a user has more than one) in the URL bar
>>>>>>>     >>> >
>>>>>>>     >>> >and so on.  Maybe is someone sketched the UI then a browser code could be persuaded to do it.
>>>>>>>     >>> >It is necessary for existing client side cert sites anyway, and would maybe make thecimba.co  <http://cimba.co>  experience
>>>>>>>     >>> >quite reasonable.
>>>>>     >>Hi Tim,
>>>>>     >>
>>>>>     >>The hurdles aren't limited to the UI.  The following bug-report for Android
>>>>>     >>http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=38393
>>>>>     >>shows that the server-initiated filtering feature that WebID-TLS presumes is set to "WorkingAsIntended" although it is not even implemented.
>>>>>     >>
>>>>>     >>In the several EU states X.509 client authentication is used quite extensively for on-line banking and e-government services.
>>>>>     >>These systems typically rely on proprietary browser plugins rather than using HTTPS Client Cert Auth.
>>>>>     >>Since plugins are to be "outlawed" by the browser vendors, they are now forced rewriting their systems to invoke local (native) applications to handle the certificate authentication.
>>>>>     >>I.e. they are effectively**giving up on the web**  for the authentication part!
>>>>>     >>
>>>>>     >>Due to this and a bunch of other issues related to HTTPS Client Cert Auth, I believe that we need a somewhat bigger "patch" to actually get anywhere.
>>>>>     >>
>>>>>     >>FWIW, I hereby submit a concept and sample implementation which I believe could be a suitable replacement both for the TLS-solution in WebID-TLS as well as for the proprietary systems used in the EU:
>>>>>     >>http://webpki.org/papers/PKI/webauth.pdf
>>>>>     >>
>>>>>     >>I encourage other developers in this space to do the same.
>>>>>     >>The W3C may then run a "beauty contest" and select a concept for standardization:-)
>>>>>     >>
>>>>>     >>Cheers
>>>>>     >>AndersR
>>>>>     >>
>>>>>     >>
>>>>     >Anders,
>>>>     >
>>>>     >Have you looked at how Safari works? The fact that it now uses a timeout to end TLS sessions, that are lingering or deemed "potentially inactive" ? Have you looked at this UX experience on iOS?
>>>>     >
>>>>     >Just asking as I've looked an the Android and your sketch, but don't sense evaluation of iOS.
>>>>     >
>>>>     >Apple is pretty good at UX. Sometimes they do enough just to be better than the competition, so I do tend to look at them first in regards to UX matters, ditto as the place to trigger changes that ultimately percolate to competitors etc..
>>>>     >
>>>     Kingsley,
>>>     I have not looked into Apple's dealing with TLS sessions or the certificate selection UI, because I don't have to.
>>>     The logic behind this somewhat quirky position is that I in similarity to Google, Microsoft, Paypal, ARM, RSA, and most of the EU banks have**rejected**  the idea of using HTTPS Client Certificate Authentication as the foundation for strong consumer authentication.  The motives probably vary, but I think my write-up contains the primary considerations.
>>     I looked up your write up prior to replying. Here are your
>>     fundamental issues:
>>     • TLS lacks a logout mechanism -- not so on iOS or when using
>>     Safari (which uses a timeout)
>     To verify my point, you can try our WebID verifier [1] using
>     Safari and/or iOS. Note, I've tried yours which basically mandates
>     G+ identity.
>     Initially, simply opt to "Cancel" when the TLS CCA UI is
>     presented. Under normal circumstances, you will not be able to
>     re-use this page without starting a new TLS session, which is
>     achieved by quitting and restarting your browser. In the case of
>     Safari, you simply wait a little, and repeat en route to a TLS CCA
>     challenge.
>     Not being able to configure the timeout (on Mac OS X or iOS) is
>     the only problem I have with the current implementation by Apple.
>     Links:
>     [1] http://id.myopenlink.net/ods/webid_demo.html -- my example
>     which have varying behavior across browsers (e.g., Chrome on Mac
>     OS X or Android will require a restart, but no so when using
>     Safari on Mac OS X or iOS)
>     [2] https://mobilepki.org/webauth/ -- your example
>     -- 
>     Regards,
>     Kingsley Idehen	
>     Founder & CEO
>     OpenLink Software
>     Company Web:http://www.openlinksw.com
>     Personal Weblog:http://www.openlinksw.com/blog/~kidehen  <http://www.openlinksw.com/blog/%7Ekidehen>
>     Twitter Profile:https://twitter.com/kidehen
>     Google+ Profile:https://plus.google.com/+KingsleyIdehen/about
>     LinkedIn Profile:http://www.linkedin.com/in/kidehen



Kingsley Idehen	
Founder & CEO
OpenLink Software
Company Web: http://www.openlinksw.com
Personal Weblog: http://www.openlinksw.com/blog/~kidehen
Twitter Profile: https://twitter.com/kidehen
Google+ Profile: https://plus.google.com/+KingsleyIdehen/about
LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kidehen

Received on Monday, 5 May 2014 13:24:29 UTC

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