Re: [hybi] Fwd: Gen-ART last call review of draft-ietf-hybi-thewebsocketprotocol-10

John Tamplin <jat@google.com> Thu, 21 July 2011 03:57 UTC

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From: John Tamplin <jat@google.com>
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2011 23:57:26 -0400
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To: David Endicott <dendicott@gmail.com>
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Cc: rbarnes@bbn.com, "hybi@ietf.org" <hybi@ietf.org>
Subject: Re: [hybi] Fwd: Gen-ART last call review of draft-ietf-hybi-thewebsocketprotocol-10
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On Wed, Jul 20, 2011 at 11:44 PM, David Endicott <dendicott@gmail.com> wrote:
> Giving me qualms of plausibility.  But I would challenge instead that this
> is a fault of the intermediaries and not our problem.

Sure. But the publication of the research led Safari and Firefox to
disable draft versions of WebSocket in their browsers because they
didn't want to be on the news for "Browser <xxx> led to an attack on
<yyy> thousand users ...".

By the nature of transparent intermediaries, it is hard to discern
information about them to do anything sensible with vulnerable ones,
such as disallow WebSocket operation, notify administrators, etc.

You could say users browsing to sites containing hostile code or
phishing is the fault of the user and it is their problem, but browser
vendors still want to help prevent damage to such users.

> I don't believe anyone suggested raw TCP sockets.    In John's example, he
> is referring strictly to browser clients.   As a programmer guy, I can write
> a websocket client in whatever language I want and pretend to be a websocket
> as polite or malicious as I want.

Certainly you can write WebSocket clients other than browsers.
However, most of the security restrictions come about because it is to
be used by a browser executing potentially hostile code.  If you
aren't a browser and are running your code directly on the client
machine, then obviously you can already do whatever you want.

-- 
John A. Tamplin
Software Engineer (GWT), Google