Re: [http-auth] Why is there no SASL support in HTTP?

Ken Murchison <murch@andrew.cmu.edu> Tue, 03 January 2017 22:30 UTC

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From: Ken Murchison <murch@andrew.cmu.edu>
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Subject: Re: [http-auth] Why is there no SASL support in HTTP?
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Already tried once: https://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-nystrom-http-sasl-12

This effort was before my interest in HTTP so I don't know why it died.



On 01/02/2017 06:42 AM, Rick van Rein wrote:
> Hello,
>
> I've been wondering why HTTP Authentication does not support SASL, but
> instead chooses independent mechanisms from SASL?
>
> Having a pluggable framework that is updated independently from HTTP
> appears beneficial to me.  Also, integration with other systems that do
> use SASL would be greatly improved.  With support for SASL is so many
> mail clients already, its introduction to HTTP clients may be relatively
> smooth.
>
> I am aware that mechanisms need to store state on the validating side,
> so the server, which contradicts HTTP design.  That may be easily
> resolved by passing some state back to the client, and making it supply
> when it continues.  For example, digest-based authentication might send
> back random bytes as state, and hash it with an internal key to form a
> challenge.  When presented with the state and response, the computation
> can be validated without a need for state on the server.
>
> Alternatives to state on the server may also exist -- for instance, a
> TLS wrapper may provide consistent entropy using RFC 5705.
>
>
> One thing I've been thinking is that SASL EXTERNAL may be a useful
> addition.  Not to actually authenticate, but it could trigger
> authorisation processes, possibly using another identity and/or
> triggering the generation of Authorization-Info headers that might relay
> information (such as identity) to the client at the HTTP layer.
>
>
> If so desired, I am willing to write an I-D for this.
>
>
> Thanks,
>
> Rick van Rein
> (wishing all a properly secured 2017)
> http://internetwide.org
>
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-- 
Kenneth Murchison
Principal Systems Software Engineer
Carnegie Mellon University