Re: [secdir] SecDir review of draft-loreto-http-bidirectional-05

Peter Saint-Andre <> Mon, 03 January 2011 19:15 UTC

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Date: Mon, 03 Jan 2011 12:17:56 -0700
From: Peter Saint-Andre <>
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Subject: Re: [secdir] SecDir review of draft-loreto-http-bidirectional-05
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Super. We'll push out a revised I-D in the next day or two.

On 1/3/11 12:05 PM, Laganier, Julien wrote:
> Thanks Pete, what you propose below seems appropriate.
> --julien
> Peter Saint-Andre wrote:
>> Thanks for your review, and our apologies for the delayed reply.
>> On 12/16/10 9:38 AM, Laganier, Julien wrote:
>>> I have reviewed this document as part of the security directorate's
>>> ongoing effort to review all IETF documents being processed by the
>>> IESG.  These comments were written primarily for the benefit of the
>>> security area directors.  Document editors and WG chairs should treat
>>> these comments just like any other last call comments.
>>> The document describes "Known issues and best practices for the Use
>>> of Long Polling and                    Streaming in Bidirectional
>>> HTTP", and it has the following abstract:
>>> There is widespread interest in using the Hypertext Transfer
>>> Protocol (HTTP) to enable asynchronous or server-initiated
>>> communication from a server to a client as well as from a client to a
>>> server.  This document describes the known issues and the best
>>> practices related to the use of HTTP, as it exists today, to enable
>>> such "bidirectional HTTP".  The two existing mechanisms, called "HTTP
>>> long polling" and "HTTP streaming" are described.
>>> The document is very clear and articulate and I have not found any
>>> security issues that were not covered appropriately in the Security
>>> Considerations sections.
>>> I have two concerns regarding the use of "should", "must" etc.:
>>> 1. I have found at least one occurrence where a recommendation is
>>> made using lower cases "recommended" and "should". Should upper cases
>>> be used instead?
>> Currently this document does not reference RFC 2119 or use capitalized
>> keywords. Instead of adding such a reference, I suggest changing that
>> text to:
>>    Several experiments have shown success with timeouts as high as 120
>>    seconds, but generally 30 seconds is a safer value.  Therefore
>>    vendors of network equipment wishing to be compatible with the HTTP
>>    long polling mechanism are advised to implement a timeout
>>    substantially greater than 30 seconds (where "substantially" means
>>    several times more than the medium network transit time).
>>> 2. Similarly, parts of the text describes node behavior using lower
>>> cases "should" and "must". This makes it hard for the reader to
>>> differentiate between behavior specified in another standard document
>>> from behavior that can be reasonably expected from a deployed
>>> implementation. I would suggest that upper case requirements key
>>> words ("SHOULD", "MUST") be used if the behavior thereby enounced is
>>> specified within another RFC documents, and that document be cited
>>> next to the statement.
>> The sentences you mention indeed simply cite other RFCs. Because the
>> actual normative text is contained in the referenced RFCs, I suggest
>> that we remove the lowercase "should" and "must" words from this I-D.
>>> Nits:
>>> s/DOS attacks\.[RFC4732]/Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks [RFC4732]/
>> Fixed.
>> Peter