[dane] Fwd: Comments about draft-ietf-httpbis-http2-16 : Connection reuse

Stephen Farrell <stephen.farrell@cs.tcd.ie> Thu, 01 January 2015 12:08 UTC

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Date: Thu, 01 Jan 2015 12:08:39 +0000
From: Stephen Farrell <stephen.farrell@cs.tcd.ie>
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Subject: [dane] Fwd: Comments about draft-ietf-httpbis-http2-16 : Connection reuse
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FYI. If you're interested in this, the discussion needs to be
on the httpbis WG list and/or on ietf@ietf.org as HTTP/2.0 is
in IETF LC now, until Jan 14th.


- -------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Comments about draft-ietf-httpbis-http2-16 : Connection reuse
Resent-Date: Thu, 01 Jan 2015 00:04:36 +0000
Resent-From: ietf-http-wg@w3.org
Date: Thu, 01 Jan 2015 01:04 +0100
From: Aeris <aeris@imirhil.fr>
To: ietf-http-wg@w3.org

Sorry to speak about this only now, but I notice the following problem
few days ago when I activate SPDY on a TLSA protected domain.

§9.1.1 about connection reusage on HTTP/2 say

	Connections that are made to an origin servers MAY
	be reused for requests with multiple different URI authority
	components.  A connection can be reused as long as the origin server
	is authoritative (Section 10.1).
	For "https" resources, connection reuse additionally depends on
	having a certificate that is valid for the host in the URI.

In my opinion, this behaviour leads to 2 huge problems in term of
security and
1 in term of usability/maintenability of HTTP/2.

1- X.509 certificate is not trustable by itself and need real content for

There are some extensions completing the certificate validation, as
(RFC6698) or websec-key-pinning (currently IETF draft).
For both, guessing A certificate validity for B domain can’t be done
just with
the A certificate fetched from the A domain.
In case of TLSA, you need the real B certificate to check if this is
the one
declared in the DNS. For PKP, you need the real B content to check the
HTTP header.

So current specification of HTTP/2 can break TLSA and PKP, by badly
that A certificate can be reuse on B domain, instead of using the real B

This is actually the case with current SPDY implementation (Firefox or
Chrome). Having a A content including B content on the same IP with a A
certificate valid for B domain but not for B TLSA, SPDY reuse the A
channel for
B content, and Firefox/Chrome display warning or block the content
TLSA error.

2- TLS is not only X.509 certificate. It’s also a lot of other things.

The current HTTP/2 specification restrict TLS to only the certificate
it use.
If A domain use RSA 1024 bits key but B domain use ECC 571 bits key,
the A channel for B content reduce a lot the security compared to the
with 2 differents channels. Same problem if you enable different
ciphers (saying
NULL cipher for static content and AES256-GCM for critical content), or
perfect forward secrecy ciphers for one and not for the other.
Can be the case if you use weak but fast config for your static
content and
strong but slow one for the critical content.
Same trouble in case of some downgrade attack on static content.
If HTTP/2 use the weakest channel for both, there is a big security

421 error code is not usable in this case to reject a channel reusage,
the required checks can’t be done application-side (TLS client context
server config not available) and even server-side, is extremly
complicated (if
even doable)…

3- Channel reuse leads to « systemd-for-the-web » if done cleanly.

Given the 2 points above, doing channel reuse cleanly require for
HTTP/2 to
become a systemd-like monster.
« cleanly » means « no difference compare to 2 channels usage », so
take into
account real B TLS context : certificat, key type and size, TLSA entry
corresponding DNSSec validation, TLS version, selected cipher, PKP HTTP
header, key pinning (hardcoded in browser, pinned by user, pinned by
(HTTPS Everywhere / Certificate Patrol)) and virtually any others
things a
overall TLS ecosystem can have to manage, including not built-in or
TLSA is a good example for this point because not browser built-in but
available through plugin, PKP because not currently a standard, and
HTTPSEverywhere/CertificatePatrol because interfering with browser

To choose if you can reuse or not a A channel for a B domain, HTTP/2
must be
aware of many things, perhaps neither built-in nor even standardized.
Changing or adding a new step of verification on TLS will require
rebuild of
HTTP/2 client, hooks on plugins for not-built-in features, plugins
need to be
notified if HTTP/2 is in use or not…
Everything will be aware of HTTP/2 and HTTP/2 will be aware of
everything. New
SystemD on the road…

And even if done cleanly, channel reusing choice will be more
expensive than
just open a new channel (and worse, require a new channel in all cases
protocol/cipher/key/certificate/PKP/TLSA verification…).

So, HTTP/2 must reject connection reusage, and respect real wills of
administrator if they declare 2 differents TLS contexts for 2 domains,
behind the same IP. This kind of config decision must no be done or worse
changed client-side.
On a post-Snowden era, don’t sacrifice security for speed… :'(

Regards (and happy new year :)),
- -- 

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