Re: [apps-discuss] HTTP MAC Authentication Scheme

Nico Williams <> Fri, 20 May 2011 20:24 UTC

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Date: Fri, 20 May 2011 15:24:42 -0500
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From: Nico Williams <>
To: Eran Hammer-Lahav <>
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Cc: "" <>, Ben Adida <>, "Adam Barth \(\)" <>, "" <>, HTTP Working Group <>, OAuth WG <>
Subject: Re: [apps-discuss] HTTP MAC Authentication Scheme
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Additional comments:

 - Using nonces for replay protection is heavy-duty.  It is difficult
to implement a reliable, secure, high-performance replay cache.  (It
is easy to implement just a high-performance replay cache: use

   I recommend an option to use sequence numbers at the server's
choice, understanding, of course, that requests will not be received
in sequence.  The use of a sliding sequence number window makes it
possible to do at least as well as when using nonce, and probably
faster while still being secure.

 - In an open wifi environment active attacks may not be very
difficult, thus an option to secure more than just a handful of bits
from the request, would be nice (all of the request and all of the
response, say).  The hard part is how to decide when to use one or the
other.  Ideally browsers can request more protection when the network
is reconfigured such that there's one or more clear wifi interfaces.