The Mozilla Foundation has unveiled an early version of its Firefox browser that it says could virtually eliminate one of the most common attack forms now menacing the web. It implements an inchoate technology the foundation calls CSP, short for the Content Security Policy specification. It allows web developers to embed a …
Does anyone actually think most web developers will ever bother with this? I mean, half of them can't be arsed to validate their code, let alone make use of an opt-in security feature like this.
At least some responsibility is being laid at the feet of others and being picked.
Perhaps at last others (read MS or Google) won't be held responsible for all the malicious actions of others, the web is used by all, the ills of the web need to be solved by all.
Virtually eliminate XSS?
Though superficially appealing, its hard to see how this would be something web sites could depend upon as a substitute for adequate security measures.
It looks more like something that might protect users from a web site that has *already* been compromised by an XSS attack.
In a sense a message from the web site admin saying "Hi! I couldn't be bothered to write code to protect you from XSS, assume the user generated content of my web site has probably been hacked. Hope your browser covers your arse, because I didn't cover mine. Good luck, you're on your own".
But its not a solution for web sites.
The big problem is that the web's inherent security policy is ALLOW by default. This isn't so much a problem of the web developers (who are only human and can't be expected to find every last nuance malware authors create) as it is a flaw in the overall nature of the Web. CSP, which essentially forces web policy into a whitelist rather than a blacklist, could mark an important step towards moving towards a DENY by default (otherwise known as DTA--Don't Trust Anyone) policy. Deny By Default is much more likely to prevent novel (ie. zero-day) exploits from causing havoc.
Good idea! Let's deny good developers a useful, sane, whitelist-based security framework because some developers will be too lazy to use it!
Chrome's slightly different tack
The folks behind Chrome are taking a slightly different tack with their XSS filter. Details are at http://bit.ly/Q4OA1
Let's invent even more non-standard tags and fragment the browser design space further! This is exactly what the world needs now!
I was under the impression this was to be implemented as a plugin. In fact I have the CSP plugin 0.2.0 installed under FF at the moment and have had it for several months. Interestingly, the plugin only passes about half of the tests on the CSP homepage.
The big problem isn't allow by default. The big problem is lazy coders and malicious coders.
Re: Lazy coders
Lazy coders in and of themselves aren't the problem. The problem is that learning resources don't teach all the concepts of security required to mitigate the vast majority of possible attacks. College classes on web design, coding tutorials, etc, just don't take the time to explain how every single attack against the application could work. Allow by Default only exacerbates this issue, because now you have developers who aren't entirely aware of what their application can be made to do, and the application is going to do it by default now.
Didn't read the post?
By Adam Azarchs Posted Saturday 3rd October 2009 19:32 GMT
"Let's invent even more non-standard tags and fragment the browser design space further! This is exactly what the world needs now!"
It seems you missed something:
"Mozilla hopes it will become an open standard and is already shepherding it through the World Wide Web Consortium."
That doesn't look like an attempt to fragment or use non-standard tags. Just the opposite.
Is it just me... or is tagging your website
'Please protect me from XSS' not taramount to saying 'I've not really bothered protecting against XSS myself'. Sounds like a good target to google for, really.
Not to mention, it sounds like you're going to be trusting the client for XSS protection.
@ Vin King
You are correct to the part that you say that Allow By Default exacerbates the problem, no, it doesn't the first part of your comment is correct, poor education, lack of awareness and lazy/malicious coding are the problem.
Ok, now I don't expect perfection, and to be realistic Allow By Default would be the optimum setting for an ideal world, unfortunately that doesn't exist. So maybe a compromise should be made, perhaps the removal of Allow By Default, to be replaced with At Your Own Risk.
But that doesn't detract from the fact that the fault lies elsewhere than with the browsers.
Well, assuming the thing does indeed work well (to be seen?), I can see a big advantage to it in situations such as:
- bank site developers are lazy and/or uninformed and don't use this technology;
- bank site users become victims of XSS;
- bank is then easily shown to be negligent in their security practices, and will be held responsible for losses.
If this indeed occurs as I naively see, then I guess banks (and other sites with sensitive content) would definitely have quite an amount of incentive to keep their devs' practices good at work under penalty of sacking and all that.
IE blog already comes out in favour
A post on Microsoft's official IE blog back in June discusses Mozilla's CSP in rather positive terms:
You are doing it WRONG
Protecting against these types of attacks on the client side is all well and good, but you are taking the wrong approach.
If the developer is going to add "protect me" into the page headers, then why are they not using proper input filtering? Put the effort into fixing the problem instead. Not relying on the user having a hand-holding browser. Any user with a browser that does not support this feature is still going to be susceptible.
Nice try, but your doing it wrong.
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