Simon Willison’s Weblog

Items tagged security, oauth

Filters: security × oauth ×


Why an OAuth iframe is a Great Idea. Because users should a) learn to be phished and b) not even be given the option to avoid being phished if they know what they’re doing? No, no and thrice no. If you want to improve the experience, use a popup window so the user can still see the site they are signing in to in the background. # 16th July 2009, 8:29 pm

Teaching users to be secure is a shared responsibility

Ryan Janssen: Why an OAuth iframe is a Great Idea.

[... 570 words]

As more details become available, it seems what happened is that a Twitter administrator (i.e., employee) gave their password to a 3rd party site because their API requires it, which was then used to compromise Twitter’s admin interface.

Blaine Cook # 6th January 2009, 9:37 am

The username/password key’s major disadvantage is that it open all the doors to the house. The OAuth key only opens a couple doors; the scope of the credentials is limited. That’s a benefit, to be sure, but in Twitter’s case, a malicious application that registered for OAuth with both read and write privileges can do most evil things a user might be worried about.

Alex Payne # 5th January 2009, 10:47 am

Antipatterns for sale. Twply collected over 800 Twitter usernames and passwords (OAuth can’t arrive soon enough) and was promptly auctioned off on SitePoint to the highest bidder. # 2nd January 2009, 10:48 am

Now You Can Sign Into Friend Connect Sites With Your Twitter ID. Great. Now even Google is asking me for my Twitter password. Slow clap. How’s that Twitter OAuth beta coming along? # 15th December 2008, 5:20 pm

Google wants your Hotmail, Yahoo and AOL contacts. And they’re using the password anti-pattern to get them! Despite both Yahoo! and Hotmail (and Google themselves; not sure about AOL) offering a safe, OAuth-style API for retrieving contacts without asking for a password. This HAS to be a communications failure somewhere within Google. Big internet companies stand to lose the most from widespread abuse of the anti-pattern, because they’re the ones most likely to be targetted by phishers. Shameful. # 15th September 2008, 10:39 am

OAuth on the iPhone. Mike from Pownce explains their superbly implemented OAuth flow for the Pownce iPhone app, and how much push-back they got on it from regular users. One interesting point is that an iPhone application could “fake” a transition to mobile safari using core animation as part of a sophisticated phishing attack. This is a flaw in the iPhone OS itself—it does not offer a phishing-proof chrome as part of the OS. # 12th September 2008, 9:47 pm

OAuth came out of my worry that if the Twitter API became popular, we’d be spreading passwords all around the web. OAuth took longer to finish than it took for the Twitter API to become popular, and as a result many Twitter users’ passwords are scattered pretty carelessly around the web. This is a terrible situation, and one we as responsible web developers should work to prevent.

Blaine Cook # 14th August 2008, 10:01 am

Reviews of the Pownce app on the iPhone app store on Flickr. I had to stitch together a screenshot because you can’t actually link to content in the App Store (unless you don’t care that people without iTunes won’t be able to follow your link). Three out of the four reviews complain about the OAuth browser authentication step, which is frustrating because Pownce have implemented it so well. # 12th August 2008, 11:05 am

Exposure (iPhone app) behaves suspiciously. Exposure on the iPhone does OAuth-style authentication incorrectly—it asks the user to authenticate in an embedded, chromeless browser which provides no way of confirming that the site being interacted with is not a phishing attack. Ben Ward explains how the Pownce iPhone app gets it right in the comments. Exposure author Fraser Spiers also responds. # 12th August 2008, 7:47 am