Simon Willison’s Weblog

Items tagged security, http

Filters: security × http ×

The Inside Story of How Facebook Responded to Tunisian Hacks (via) “By January 5, it was clear that an entire country’s worth of passwords were in the process of being stolen right in the midst of the greatest political upheaval in two decades.”—which is why you shouldn’t serve your login form over HTTP even though it POSTs over HTTPS. # 24th January 2011, 6:06 pm

Side-Channel Leaks in Web Applications. Interesting new security research. SSL web connections encrypt the content but an attacker can still see the size of the HTTP requests going back and forward—which can be enough to extract significant pieces of information, especially in applications that make a lot of Ajax requests. # 23rd March 2010, 4:24 pm

Ehy IE8, I Can Has Some Clickjacking Protection? (via) IE8 has built-in protection against clickjacking, but it’s opt-in (with a custom HTTP header) and IE only. It turns out the usual defence against clickjacking (using framebusting JavaScript) doesn’t work in IE as it can be worked around with a security=“restricted” attribute on an iframe. # 29th January 2009, 1:39 pm

Response Splitting Risk. Important reminder that you should always ensure strings used in HTTP headers don’t contain newlines. # 19th October 2008, 11:58 pm

Robust Defenses for Cross-Site Request Forgery [PDF]. Fascinating report which introduces the “login CSRF” attack, where an attacker uses CSRF to log a user in to a site (e.g. PayPal) using the attacker’s credentials, then waits for them to submit sensitive information or bind the account to their credit card. The paper also includes an in-depth study of potential protection measures, including research that shows that 3-11% of HTTP requests to a popular ad network have had their referer header stripped. Around 0.05%-0.10% of requests have custom HTTP headers such as X-Requested-By stripped. # 24th September 2008, 9:40 am

IE8 Security Part IV: The XSS Filter (via) IE8 will include an XSS filter to identify and neutralise “reflected” XSS attacks (where malicious code in a query string is rendered to the page), turned on by default. Sounds like a good idea to me, and site authors can disable it using Yet Another Custom HTTP header (X-XSS-Protection: 0). # 3rd July 2008, 9:37 am

mod_rpaf for Apache. A more secure alternative to Django’s equivalent middleware: sets the REMOTE_ADDR of incoming requests from whitelisted load balancers to the X-Forwarded-For header, without any risk that if the load balancers are missing attackers could abuse it to spoof their IP addresses. # 24th June 2008, 5:02 pm

The backdooring of SquirrelMail. A SquirrelMail developer’s account was compromised and used to insert a backdoor: the other developers initially missed the hole because it used $_SERVER[’HTTP_BASE_PATH’], which can be set with a Base-Path: HTTP header. # 28th December 2007, 11:40 pm

Don’t serve JSON as text/html. Another sneaky XSS trick. # 5th July 2006, 11:46 pm

Fighting RFCs with RFCs

Google’s recently released Web Accelerator apparently has some scary side-effects. It’s been spotted pre-loading links in password-protected applications, which can amount to clicking on every “delete this” link — bypassing even the JavaScript prompt you carefully added to give people the chance to think twice.

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