HTML5 Security Cheat Sheet

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Revision as of 10:11, 30 August 2017 by Dominique RIGHETTO (talk | contribs) (Add WebSocket implementation hints section)

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Last revision (mm/dd/yy): 08/30/2017

Introduction

The following cheat sheet serves as a guide for implementing HTML 5 in a secure fashion.

Communication APIs

Web Messaging

Web Messaging (also known as Cross Domain Messaging) provides a means of messaging between documents from different origins in a way that is generally safer than the multiple hacks used in the past to accomplish this task. However, there are still some recommendations to keep in mind:

  • When posting a message, explicitly state the expected origin as the second argument to postMessage rather than * in order to prevent sending the message to an unknown origin after a redirect or some other means of the target window's origin changing.
  • The receiving page should always:
    • Check the origin attribute of the sender to verify the data is originating from the expected location.
    • Perform input validation on the data attribute of the event to ensure that it's in the desired format.
  • Don't assume you have control over the data attribute. A single Cross Site Scripting flaw in the sending page allows an attacker to send messages of any given format.
  • Both pages should only interpret the exchanged messages as data. Never evaluate passed messages as code (e.g. via eval()) or insert it to a page DOM (e.g. via innerHTML), as that would create a DOM-based XSS vulnerability. For more information see DOM based XSS Prevention Cheat Sheet.
  • To assign the data value to an element, instead of using a insecure method like element.innerHTML = data;, use the safer option: element.textContent = data;
  • Check the origin properly exactly to match the FQDN(s) you expect. Note that the following code: if(message.orgin.indexOf(".owasp.org")!=-1) { /* ... */ } is very insecure and will not have the desired behavior as www.owasp.org.attacker.com will match.
  • If you need to embed external content/untrusted gadgets and allow user-controlled scripts (which is highly discouraged), consider using a JavaScript rewriting framework such as Google Caja or check the information on sandboxed frames.

Cross Origin Resource Sharing

  • Validate URLs passed to XMLHttpRequest.open. Current browsers allow these URLs to be cross domain; this behavior can lead to code injection by a remote attacker. Pay extra attention to absolute URLs.
  • Ensure that URLs responding with Access-Control-Allow-Origin: * do not include any sensitive content or information that might aid attacker in further attacks. Use the Access-Control-Allow-Origin header only on chosen URLs that need to be accessed cross-domain. Don't use the header for the whole domain.
  • Allow only selected, trusted domains in the Access-Control-Allow-Origin header. Prefer whitelisting domains over blacklisting or allowing any domain (do not use * wildcard nor blindly return the Origin header content without any checks).
  • Keep in mind that CORS does not prevent the requested data from going to an unauthenticated location. It's still important for the server to perform usual CSRF prevention.
  • While the RFC recommends a pre-flight request with the OPTIONS verb, current implementations might not perform this request, so it's important that "ordinary" (GET and POST) requests perform any access control necessary.
  • Discard requests received over plain HTTP with HTTPS origins to prevent mixed content bugs.
  • Don't rely only on the Origin header for Access Control checks. Browser always sends this header in CORS requests, but may be spoofed outside the browser. Application-level protocols should be used to protect sensitive data.

WebSockets

  • Drop backward compatibility in implemented client/servers and use only protocol versions above hybi-00. Popular Hixie-76 version (hiby-00) and older are outdated and insecure.
  • The recommended version supported in latest versions of all current browsers is RFC 6455 (supported by Firefox 11+, Chrome 16+, Safari 6, Opera 12.50, and IE10).
  • While it's relatively easy to tunnel TCP services through WebSockets (e.g. VNC, FTP), doing so enables access to these tunneled services for the in-browser attacker in case of a Cross Site Scripting attack. These services might also be called directly from a malicious page or program.
  • The protocol doesn't handle authorization and/or authentication. Application-level protocols should handle that separately in case sensitive data is being transferred.
  • Process the messages received by the websocket as data. Don't try to assign it directly to the DOM nor evaluate as code. If the response is JSON, never use the insecure eval() function; use the safe option JSON.parse() instead.
  • Endpoints exposed through the ws:// protocol are easily reversible to plain text. Only wss:// (WebSockets over SSL/TLS) should be used for protection against Man-In-The-Middle attacks.
  • Spoofing the client is possible outside a browser, so the WebSockets server should be able to handle incorrect/malicious input. Always validate input coming from the remote site, as it might have been altered.
  • When implementing servers, check the Origin: header in the Websockets handshake. Though it might be spoofed outside a browser, browsers always add the Origin of the page that initiated the Websockets connection.
  • As a WebSockets client in a browser is accessible through JavaScript calls, all Websockets communication can be spoofed or hijacked through Cross Site Scripting. Always validate data coming through a WebSockets connection.

Server-Sent Events

  • Validate URLs passed to the EventSource constructor, even though only same-origin URLs are allowed.
  • As mentioned before, process the messages (event.data) as data and never evaluate the content as HTML or script code.
  • Always check the origin attribute of the message (event.origin) to ensure the message is coming from a trusted domain. Use a whitelist approach.

Storage APIs

Local Storage

  • Also known as Offline Storage, Web Storage. Underlying storage mechanism may vary from one user agent to the next. In other words, any authentication your application requires can be bypassed by a user with local privileges to the machine on which the data is stored. Therefore, it's recommended not to store any sensitive information in local storage.
  • Use the object sessionStorage instead of localStorage if persistent storage is not needed. sessionStorage object is available only to that window/tab until the window is closed.
  • A single Cross Site Scripting can be used to steal all the data in these objects, so again it's recommended not to store sensitive information in local storage.
  • A single Cross Site Scripting can be used to load malicious data into these objects too, so don't consider objects in these to be trusted.
  • Pay extra attention to “localStorage.getItem” and “setItem” calls implemented in HTML5 page. It helps in detecting when developers build solutions that put sensitive information in local storage, which is a bad practice.
  • Do not store session identifiers in local storage as the data is always accesible by JavaScript. Cookies can mitigate this risk using the httpOnly flag.
  • There is no way to restrict the visibility of an object to a specific path like with the attribute path of HTTP Cookies, every object is shared within an origin and protected with the Same Origin Policy. Avoid host multiple applications on the same origin, all of them would share the same localStorage object, use different subdomains instead.

Client-side databases

  • On November 2010, the W3C announced Web SQL Database (relational SQL database) as a deprecated specification. A new standard Indexed Database API or IndexedDB (formerly WebSimpleDB) is actively developed, which provides key/value database storage and methods for performing advanced queries.
  • Underlying storage mechanisms may vary from one user agent to the next. In other words, any authentication your application requires can be bypassed by a user with local privileges to the machine on which the data is stored. Therefore, it's recommended not to store any sensitive information in local storage.
  • If utilized, WebDatabase content on the client side can be vulnerable to SQL injection and needs to have proper validation and parameterization.
  • Like Local Storage, a single Cross Site Scripting can be used to load malicious data into a web database as well. Don't consider data in these to be trusted.

Geolocation

  • The Geolocation RFC recommends that the user agent ask the user's permission before calculating location. Whether or how this decision is remembered varies from browser to browser. Some user agents require the user to visit the page again in order to turn off the ability to get the user's location without asking, so for privacy reasons, it's recommended to require user input before calling getCurrentPosition or watchPosition.

Web Workers

  • Web Workers are allowed to use XMLHttpRequest object to perform in-domain and Cross Origin Resource Sharing requests. See relevant section of this Cheat Sheet to ensure CORS security.
  • While Web Workers don't have access to DOM of the calling page, malicious Web Workers can use excessive CPU for computation, leading to Denial of Service condition or abuse Cross Origin Resource Sharing for further exploitation. Ensure code in all Web Workers scripts is not malevolent. Don't allow creating Web Worker scripts from user supplied input.
  • Validate messages exchanged with a Web Worker. Do not try to exchange snippets of Javascript for evaluation e.g. via eval() as that could introduce a DOM Based XSS vulnerability.

Sandboxed frames

  • Use the sandbox attribute of an iframe for untrusted content.
  • The sandbox attribute of an iframe enables restrictions on content within a iframe. The following restrictions are active when the sandbox attribute is set:
    1. All markup is treated as being from a unique origin.
    2. All forms and scripts are disabled.
    3. All links are prevented from targeting other browsing contexts.
    4. All features that triggers automatically are blocked.
    5. All plugins are disabled.

It is possible to have a fine-grained control over iframe capabilities using the value of the sandbox attribute.

  • In old versions of user agents where this feature is not supported, this attribute will be ignored. Use this feature as an additional layer of protection or check if the browser supports sandboxed frames and only show the untrusted content if supported.
  • Apart from this attribute, to prevent Clickjacking attacks and unsolicited framing it is encouraged to use the header X-Frame-Options which supports the deny and same-origin values. Other solutions like framebusting if(window!== window.top) { window.top.location = location; } are not recommended.

Offline Applications

  • Whether the user agent requests permission to the user to store data for offline browsing and when this cache is deleted varies from one browser to the next. Cache poisoning is an issue if a user connects through insecure networks, so for privacy reasons it is encouraged to require user input before sending any manifest file.
  • Users should only cache trusted websites and clean the cache after browsing through open or insecure networks.

Progressive Enhancements and Graceful Degradation Risks

  • The best practice now is to determine the capabilities that a browser supports and augment with some type of substitute for capabilities that are not directly supported. This may mean an onion-like element, e.g. falling through to a Flash Player if the <video> tag is unsupported, or it may mean additional scripting code from various sources that should be code reviewed.

HTTP Headers to enhance security

X-Frame-Options

  • This header can be used to prevent ClickJacking in modern browsers.
  • Use the same-origin attribute to allow being framed from urls of the same origin or deny to block all. Example: X-Frame-Options: DENY
  • For more information on Clickjacking Defense please see the Clickjacking Defense Cheat Sheet.

X-XSS-Protection

  • Enable XSS filter (only works for Reflected XSS).
  • Example: X-XSS-Protection: 1; mode=block

Strict Transport Security

  • Force every browser request to be sent over TLS/SSL (this can prevent SSL strip attacks).
  • Use includeSubDomains.
  • Example: Strict-Transport-Security: max-age=8640000; includeSubDomains

Content Security Policy

  • Policy to define a set of content restrictions for web resources which aims to mitigate web application vulnerabilities such as Cross Site Scripting.
  • Example: Content-Security-Policy: allow 'self'; img-src *; object-src media.example.com; script-src js.example.com

Origin

  • Sent by CORS/WebSockets requests.
  • There is a proposal to use this header to mitigate CSRF attacks, but is not yet implemented by vendors for this purpose.

WebSocket implementation hints

In addition to the elements mentioned above, this is the list of area for which caution must be taken during the implementation.

  • Access filtering through the "Origin" HTTP request header
  • Input / output validation
  • Authentication
  • Authorization
  • Access token explicit invalidation
  • Confidentiality and Integrity

The section below will propose some implementation hints on every area and will be along with an application example showing all the points described.

The complete source code of the example application is available here.

Access filtering

During a websocket channel initiation, the browser send the Origin HTTP request header that contain th source domain initiation the request to handshake. Event if this header can be spoofed in a forged HTTP request (not browser based), it cannot be overrided or forced in a browser context. It then represent a good candidate to apply filtering according to an expected value.

An example of attack using this vector and named Cross-Site WebSocket Hijacking (CSWSH) is described here.

The code below define a configuration that apply filtering based on a "whitelist" of origins. This ensure that only allowed origins can establish a full handshake:

import org.owasp.encoder.Encode;
import org.slf4j.Logger;
import org.slf4j.LoggerFactory;

import javax.websocket.server.ServerEndpointConfig;
import java.util.Arrays;
import java.util.List;

/**
 * Setup handshake rules applied to all WebSocket endpoints of the application.
 * Use to setup the Access Filtering using "Origin" HTTP header as input information.
 *
 * @see "http://docs.oracle.com/javaee/7/api/index.html?javax/websocket/server/ServerEndpointConfig.Configurator.html"
 * @see "https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/HTTP/Headers/Origin"
 */
public class EndpointConfigurator extends ServerEndpointConfig.Configurator {

    /**
     * Logger
     */
    private static final Logger LOG = LoggerFactory.getLogger(EndpointConfigurator.class);

    /**
     * Get the expected source origins from a JVM property in order to allow external configuration
     */
    private static final List<String> EXPECTED_ORIGINS =  Arrays.asList(System.getProperty("source.origins").split(";"));

    /**
     * {@inheritDoc}
     */
    @Override
    public boolean checkOrigin(String originHeaderValue) {
        boolean isAllowed = EXPECTED_ORIGINS.contains(originHeaderValue);
        String safeOriginValue = Encode.forHtmlContent(originHeaderValue);
        if (isAllowed) {
            LOG.info("[EndpointConfigurator] New handshake request received from {} and was accepted.", safeOriginValue);
        } else {
            LOG.warn("[EndpointConfigurator] New handshake request received from {} and was rejected !", safeOriginValue);
        }
        return isAllowed;
    }

}

Authentication and Input/Output validation

When using websocket as communication channel, it's important to use an authentication method allowing the user to receive an access Token that is not automatically sent by the browser and then must be expliclty sent by the client code during each exchange.

JSON Web Token is a good candidate because it allow to transport access ticket information in a stateless and not alterable way. Moreover, it define a validity timeframe. You can find additional information about JWT token hardening on this article.

JSON Validation Schema are used to define and validate the expected content in input and ouput messages.

The code below define the complete authentication messages flow handling:

Authentication Web Socket endpoint - Provide a WS endpoint the enable authentication exchange

import org.owasp.pocwebsocket.configurator.EndpointConfigurator;
import org.owasp.pocwebsocket.decoder.AuthenticationRequestDecoder;
import org.owasp.pocwebsocket.encoder.AuthenticationResponseEncoder;
import org.owasp.pocwebsocket.handler.AuthenticationMessageHandler;
import org.slf4j.Logger;
import org.slf4j.LoggerFactory;

import javax.websocket.CloseReason;
import javax.websocket.OnClose;
import javax.websocket.OnError;
import javax.websocket.OnOpen;
import javax.websocket.Session;
import javax.websocket.server.ServerEndpoint;

/**
 * Class in charge of managing the client authentication.
 *
 * @see "http://docs.oracle.com/javaee/7/api/javax/websocket/server/ServerEndpointConfig.Configurator.html"
 * @see "http://svn.apache.org/viewvc/tomcat/trunk/webapps/examples/WEB-INF/classes/websocket/"
 */
@ServerEndpoint(value = "/auth", configurator = EndpointConfigurator.class, subprotocols = {"authentication"}, encoders = {AuthenticationResponseEncoder.class}, decoders = {AuthenticationRequestDecoder.class})
public class AuthenticationEndpoint {

    /**
     * Logger
     */
    private static final Logger LOG = LoggerFactory.getLogger(AuthenticationEndpoint.class);

    /**
     * Handle the beginning of an exchange
     *
     * @param session Exchange session information
     */
    @OnOpen
    public void start(Session session) {
        //Define connection idle timeout and message limits in order to mitigate as much as possible DOS attacks using massive connection opening or massive big messages sending
        int msgMaxSize = 1024 * 1024;//1 MB
        session.setMaxIdleTimeout(60000);//1 minute
        session.setMaxTextMessageBufferSize(msgMaxSize);
        session.setMaxBinaryMessageBufferSize(msgMaxSize);
        //Log exchange start
        LOG.info("[AuthenticationEndpoint] Session {} started", session.getId());
        //Affect a new message handler instance in order to process the exchange
        session.addMessageHandler(new AuthenticationMessageHandler(session.getBasicRemote()));
        LOG.info("[AuthenticationEndpoint] Session {} message handler affected for processing", session.getId());
    }

    /**
     * Handle error case
     *
     * @param session Exchange session information
     * @param thr     Error details
     */
    @OnError
    public void onError(Session session, Throwable thr) {
        LOG.error("[AuthenticationEndpoint] Error occur in session {}", session.getId(), thr);
    }

    /**
     * Handle close event
     *
     * @param session     Exchange session information
     * @param closeReason Exchange closing reason
     */
    @OnClose
    public void onClose(Session session, CloseReason closeReason) {
        LOG.info("[AuthenticationEndpoint] Session {} closed: {}", session.getId(), closeReason.getReasonPhrase());
    }

}


Authentication message handler - Handle all authentication requests

import org.owasp.pocwebsocket.enumeration.AccessLevel;
import org.owasp.pocwebsocket.util.AuthenticationUtils;
import org.owasp.pocwebsocket.vo.AuthenticationRequest;
import org.owasp.pocwebsocket.vo.AuthenticationResponse;
import org.owasp.encoder.Encode;
import org.slf4j.Logger;
import org.slf4j.LoggerFactory;

import javax.websocket.EncodeException;
import javax.websocket.MessageHandler;
import javax.websocket.RemoteEndpoint;
import java.io.IOException;

/**
 * Handle authentication message flow
 */
public class AuthenticationMessageHandler implements MessageHandler.Whole<AuthenticationRequest> {

    private static final Logger LOG = LoggerFactory.getLogger(AuthenticationMessageHandler.class);

    /**
     * Reference to the communication channel with the client
     */
    private RemoteEndpoint.Basic clientConnection;

    /**
     * Constructor
     *
     * @param clientConnection Reference to the communication channel with the client
     */
    public AuthenticationMessageHandler(RemoteEndpoint.Basic clientConnection) {
        this.clientConnection = clientConnection;
    }


    /**
     * {@inheritDoc}
     */
    @Override
    public void onMessage(AuthenticationRequest message) {
        AuthenticationResponse response = null;
        try {
            //Authenticate
            String authenticationToken = "";
            String accessLevel = this.authenticate(message.getLogin(), message.getPassword());
            if (accessLevel != null) {
                //Create a simple JSON token representing the authentication profile
                authenticationToken = AuthenticationUtils.issueToken(message.getLogin(), accessLevel);
            }
            //Build the response object
            String safeLoginValue = Encode.forHtmlContent(message.getLogin());
            if (!authenticationToken.isEmpty()) {
                response = new AuthenticationResponse(true, authenticationToken, "Authentication succeed !");
                LOG.info("[AuthenticationMessageHandler] User {} authentication succeed.", safeLoginValue);
            } else {
                response = new AuthenticationResponse(false, authenticationToken, "Authentication failed !");
                LOG.warn("[AuthenticationMessageHandler] User {} authentication failed.", safeLoginValue);
            }
        } catch (Exception e) {
            LOG.error("[AuthenticationMessageHandler] Error occur in authentication process.", e);
            //Build the response object indicating that authentication fail
            response = new AuthenticationResponse(false, "", "Authentication failed !");
        } finally {
            //Send response
            try {
                this.clientConnection.sendObject(response);
            } catch (IOException | EncodeException e) {
                LOG.error("[AuthenticationMessageHandler] Error occur in response object sending.", e);
            }
        }
    }

    /**
     * Authenticate the user
     *
     * @param login    User login
     * @param password User password
     * @return The access level if the authentication succeed or NULL if the authentication failed
     */
    private String authenticate(String login, String password) {
      ....
    }
}


Utility class to manage JWT token - Handle the issuing and the validation of the access token. Simple JWT token has been used for the example (focus was made here on the global WS endpoint implementation) here without extra hardening (see this article to apply extra hardening on the JWT token)

import com.auth0.jwt.JWT;
import com.auth0.jwt.JWTVerifier;
import com.auth0.jwt.algorithms.Algorithm;
import com.auth0.jwt.interfaces.DecodedJWT;

import java.io.IOException;
import java.nio.file.Files;
import java.nio.file.Paths;
import java.util.Calendar;
import java.util.Locale;

/**
 * Utility class to manage the authentication JWT token
 */
public class AuthenticationUtils {

    /**
     * Build a JWT token for a user
     *
     * @param login       User login
     * @param accessLevel Access level of the user
     * @return The Base64 encoded JWT token
     * @throws Exception If any error occur during the issuing
     */
    public static String issueToken(String login, String accessLevel) throws Exception {
        //Issue a JWT token with validity of 30 minutes
        Algorithm algorithm = Algorithm.HMAC256(loadSecret());
        Calendar c = Calendar.getInstance();
        c.add(Calendar.MINUTE, 30);
        return JWT.create().withIssuer("WEBSOCKET-SERVER").withSubject(login).withExpiresAt(c.getTime()).withClaim("access_level", accessLevel.trim().toUpperCase(Locale.US)).sign(algorithm);
    }

    /**
     * Verify the validity of the provided JWT token
     *
     * @param token JWT token encoded to verify
     * @return The verified and decoded token with user authentication and authorization (access level) information
     * @throws Exception If any error occur during the token validation
     */
    public static DecodedJWT validateToken(String token) throws Exception {
        Algorithm algorithm = Algorithm.HMAC256(loadSecret());
        JWTVerifier verifier = JWT.require(algorithm).withIssuer("WEBSOCKET-SERVER").build();
        return verifier.verify(token);
    }

    /**
     * Load the JWT secret used to sign token using a byte array for secret storage in order to avoid persistent string in memory
     *
     * @return The secret as byte array
     * @throws IOException If any error occur during the secret loading
     */
    private static byte[] loadSecret() throws IOException {
        return Files.readAllBytes(Paths.get("src", "main", "resources", "jwt-secret.txt"));
    }
}


JSON schema of the input and output authentication message - Define the expected structure of the input and output messages from the authentication endpoint point of view

{
  "$schema": "http://json-schema.org/schema#",
  "title": "AuthenticationRequest",
  "type": "object",
  "properties": {
    "login": {
      "type": "string",
      "pattern": "^[a-zA-Z]{1,10}$"
    },
    "password": {
      "type": "string"
    }
  },
  "required": [
    "login",
    "password"
  ]
}
{
"$schema": "http://json-schema.org/schema#",
"title": "AuthenticationResponse",
"type": "object",
"properties": {
  "isSuccess;": {
    "type": "boolean"
  },
  "token": {
    "type": "string",
    "pattern": "^[a-zA-Z0-9+/=\\._-]{0,500}$"
  },
  "message": {
    "type": "string",
    "pattern": "^[a-zA-Z0-9!\\s]{0,100}$"
  }
},
"required": [
  "isSuccess",
  "token",
  "message"
]
}


Authentication message decoder and encoder - Perform the JSON serialization/deserialization and the input/output validation using dedicated JSON Schema. It allow to systematically ensure that all messages received and sent by the endpoint strictly respect the expected structure and content.

import com.fasterxml.jackson.databind.JsonNode;
import com.github.fge.jackson.JsonLoader;
import com.github.fge.jsonschema.core.exceptions.ProcessingException;
import com.github.fge.jsonschema.core.report.ProcessingReport;
import com.github.fge.jsonschema.main.JsonSchema;
import com.github.fge.jsonschema.main.JsonSchemaFactory;
import com.google.gson.Gson;
import org.owasp.pocwebsocket.vo.AuthenticationRequest;

import javax.websocket.DecodeException;
import javax.websocket.Decoder;
import javax.websocket.EndpointConfig;
import java.io.File;
import java.io.IOException;

/**
 * Decode JSON text representation to an AuthenticationRequest object
 * <p>
 * As there one instance of the decoder class by endpoint session so we can use the JsonSchema as decoder instance variable.
 */
public class AuthenticationRequestDecoder implements Decoder.Text<AuthenticationRequest> {

    /**
     * JSON validation schema associated to this type of message
     */
    private JsonSchema validationSchema = null;

    /**
     * Initialize decoder and associated JSON validation schema
     *
     * @throws IOException If any error occur during the object creation
     * @throws ProcessingException If any error occur during the schema loading
     */
    public AuthenticationRequestDecoder() throws IOException, ProcessingException {
        JsonNode node = JsonLoader.fromFile(new File("src/main/resources/authentication-request-schema.json"));
        this.validationSchema = JsonSchemaFactory.byDefault().getJsonSchema(node);
    }

    /**
     * {@inheritDoc}
     */
    @Override
    public AuthenticationRequest decode(String s) throws DecodeException {
        try {
            //Validate the provided representation against the dedicated schema
            //Use validation mode with report in order to enable further inspection/tracing of the error details
            //Moreover the validation method "validInstance()" generate a NullPointerException if the representation do not respect the expected schema
            //so it's more proper to use the validation method with report
            ProcessingReport validationReport = this.validationSchema.validate(JsonLoader.fromString(s), true);
            //Ensure there no error
            if (!validationReport.isSuccess()) {
                //Simply reject the message here: Don't care about error details...
                throw new DecodeException(s, "Validation of the provided representation failed !");
            }
        } catch (IOException | ProcessingException e) {
            throw new DecodeException(s, "Cannot validate the provided representation to a JSON valid representation !", e);
        }

        return new Gson().fromJson(s, AuthenticationRequest.class);
    }

    /**
     * {@inheritDoc}
     */
    @Override
    public boolean willDecode(String s) {
        boolean canDecode = false;

        //If the provided JSON representation is empty/null then we indicate that representation cannot be decoded to our expected object
        if (s == null || s.trim().isEmpty()) {
            return canDecode;
        }

        //Try to cast the provided JSON representation to our object to validate at least the structure (content validation is done during decoding)
        try {
            AuthenticationRequest test = new Gson().fromJson(s, AuthenticationRequest.class);
            canDecode = (test != null);
        } catch (Exception e) {
            //Ignore explicitly any casting error...
        }

        return canDecode;
    }

    /**
     * {@inheritDoc}
     */
    @Override
    public void init(EndpointConfig config) {
        //Not used
    }

    /**
     * {@inheritDoc}
     */
    @Override
    public void destroy() {
        //Not used
    }
}
import com.fasterxml.jackson.databind.JsonNode;
import com.github.fge.jackson.JsonLoader;
import com.github.fge.jsonschema.core.exceptions.ProcessingException;
import com.github.fge.jsonschema.core.report.ProcessingReport;
import com.github.fge.jsonschema.main.JsonSchema;
import com.github.fge.jsonschema.main.JsonSchemaFactory;
import com.google.gson.Gson;
import org.owasp.pocwebsocket.vo.AuthenticationResponse;

import javax.websocket.EncodeException;
import javax.websocket.Encoder;
import javax.websocket.EndpointConfig;
import java.io.File;
import java.io.IOException;

/**
 * Encode AuthenticationResponse object to JSON text representation.
 * <p>
 * As there one instance of the encoder class by endpoint session so we can use the JsonSchema as encoder instance variable.
 */
public class AuthenticationResponseEncoder implements Encoder.Text<AuthenticationResponse> {

    /**
     * JSON validation schema associated to this type of message
     */
    private JsonSchema validationSchema = null;

    /**
     * Initialize encoder and associated JSON validation schema
     *
     * @throws IOException If any error occur during the object creation
     * @throws ProcessingException If any error occur during the schema loading
     */
    public AuthenticationResponseEncoder() throws IOException, ProcessingException {
        JsonNode node = JsonLoader.fromFile(new File("src/main/resources/authentication-response-schema.json"));
        this.validationSchema = JsonSchemaFactory.byDefault().getJsonSchema(node);
    }

    /**
     * {@inheritDoc}
     */
    @Override
    public String encode(AuthenticationResponse object) throws EncodeException {
        //Generate the JSON representation
        String json = new Gson().toJson(object);
        try {
            //Validate the generated representation against the dedicated schema
            //Use validation mode with report in order to enable further inspection/tracing of the error details
            //Moreover the validation method "validInstance()" generate a NullPointerException if the representation do not respect the expected schema
            //so it's more proper to use the validation method with report
            ProcessingReport validationReport = this.validationSchema.validate(JsonLoader.fromString(json), true);
            //Ensure there no error
            if (!validationReport.isSuccess()) {
                //Simply reject the message here: Don't care about error details...
                throw new EncodeException(object, "Validation of the generated representation failed !");
            }
        } catch (IOException | ProcessingException e) {
            throw new EncodeException(object, "Cannot validate the generated representation to a JSON valid representation !", e);
        }

        return json;
    }

    /**
     * {@inheritDoc}
     */
    @Override
    public void init(EndpointConfig config) {
        //Not used
    }

    /**
     * {@inheritDoc}
     */
    @Override
    public void destroy() {
        //Not used
    }

}

Note that the same approach is used in the messages handling part of the POC. All messages exchanged between the client and the server are systematically validated using the same way, using dedicated JSON schemas linked to messages dedicated Encoder/Decoder (serialization/deserialization).

Authorization and access token explicit invalidation

Authorization information is stored in the access token using the JWT Claim feature (in the POC the name of the claim is access_level). Authorization is validated when a request is received and before any other action using the user input information.

The access token is passed with every message sent to the message endpoint and a blacklist is used in order to allow the user to request an explicit token invalidation. Explicit token invalidation is interesting from a user point of view because, often when token are used, the validity timeframe of the token is relatively long (it's common to see a valid timeframe superior to 1 hour) so it's important to allow a user to have a way to indicate to the system "OK, i have finished my exchange with you so you can close our exchange session and cleanup associated links". It's help also a user to revoke itself is current access if a malicious concurrent access is detected using the same token (case of token stealing).

Token blacklist - Maintain a temporary list using memory and time limited Caching of hashes of token that are not allowed to be used anymore

import org.apache.commons.jcs.JCS;
import org.apache.commons.jcs.access.CacheAccess;
import org.apache.commons.jcs.access.exception.CacheException;

import javax.xml.bind.DatatypeConverter;
import java.security.MessageDigest;
import java.security.NoSuchAlgorithmException;

/**
 * Utility class to manage the access token that have been declared as no more usable (explicit user logout)
 */
public class AccessTokenBlacklistUtils {
    /**
     * Message content send by user that indicate that the access token that come along the message must be blacklisted for further usage
     */
    public static final String MESSAGE_ACCESS_TOKEN_INVALIDATION_FLAG = "INVALIDATE_TOKEN";

    /**
     * Use cache to store blacklisted token hash in order to avoid memory exhaustion and be consistent because token are valid 30 minutes so the item live in cache 60 minutes
     */
    private static final CacheAccess<String, String> TOKEN_CACHE;

    static {
        try {
            TOKEN_CACHE = JCS.getInstance("default");
        } catch (CacheException e) {
            throw new RuntimeException("Cannot init token cache !", e);
        }
    }

    /**
     * Add token into the blacklist
     *
     * @param token Token for which the hash must be added
     * @throws NoSuchAlgorithmException If SHA256 is not available
     */
    public static void addToken(String token) throws NoSuchAlgorithmException {
        if (token != null && !token.trim().isEmpty()) {
            String hashHex = computeHash(token);
            if (TOKEN_CACHE.get(hashHex) == null) {
                TOKEN_CACHE.putSafe(hashHex, hashHex);
            }
        }
    }

    /**
     * Check if a token is present in the blacklist
     *
     * @param token Token for which the presence of the hash must be verified
     * @return TRUE if token is blacklisted
     * @throws NoSuchAlgorithmException If SHA256 is not available
     */
    public static boolean isBlacklisted(String token) throws NoSuchAlgorithmException {
        boolean exists = false;
        if (token != null && !token.trim().isEmpty()) {
            String hashHex = computeHash(token);
            exists = (TOKEN_CACHE.get(hashHex) != null);
        }
        return exists;
    }

    /**
     * Compute the SHA256 hash of a token
     *
     * @param token Token for which the hash must be computed
     * @return The hash encoded in HEX
     * @throws NoSuchAlgorithmException If SHA256 is not available
     */
    private static String computeHash(String token) throws NoSuchAlgorithmException {
        String hashHex = null;
        if (token != null && !token.trim().isEmpty()) {
            MessageDigest md = MessageDigest.getInstance("SHA-256");
            byte[] hash = md.digest(token.getBytes());
            hashHex = DatatypeConverter.printHexBinary(hash);
        }
        return hashHex;
    }

}

Message handling - Process a request from a user to add a message in the list. Show a authorization validation approach example

import com.auth0.jwt.interfaces.Claim;
import com.auth0.jwt.interfaces.DecodedJWT;
import org.owasp.pocwebsocket.enumeration.AccessLevel;
import org.owasp.pocwebsocket.util.AccessTokenBlacklistUtils;
import org.owasp.pocwebsocket.util.AuthenticationUtils;
import org.owasp.pocwebsocket.util.MessageUtils;
import org.owasp.pocwebsocket.vo.MessageRequest;
import org.owasp.pocwebsocket.vo.MessageResponse;
import org.slf4j.Logger;
import org.slf4j.LoggerFactory;

import javax.websocket.EncodeException;
import javax.websocket.RemoteEndpoint;
import java.io.IOException;
import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.List;

/**
 * Handle message flow
 */
public class MessageHandler implements javax.websocket.MessageHandler.Whole<MessageRequest> {

    private static final Logger LOG = LoggerFactory.getLogger(MessageHandler.class);

    /**
     * Reference to the communication channel with the client
     */
    private RemoteEndpoint.Basic clientConnection;

    /**
     * Constructor
     *
     * @param clientConnection Reference to the communication channel with the client
     */
    public MessageHandler(RemoteEndpoint.Basic clientConnection) {
        this.clientConnection = clientConnection;
    }


    /**
     * {@inheritDoc}
     */
    @Override
    public void onMessage(MessageRequest message) {
        MessageResponse response = null;
        try {
            /*Step 1: Verify the token*/
            String token = message.getToken();
            //Verify if is it in the blacklist
            if (AccessTokenBlacklistUtils.isBlacklisted(token)) {
                throw new IllegalAccessException("Token is in the blacklist !");
            }

            //Verify the signature of the token
            DecodedJWT decodedToken = AuthenticationUtils.validateToken(token);

            /*Step 2: Verify the authorization (access level)*/
            Claim accessLevel = decodedToken.getClaim("access_level");
            if (accessLevel == null || AccessLevel.valueOf(accessLevel.asString()) == null) {
                throw new IllegalAccessException("Token have an invalid access level claim !");
            }

            /*Step 3: Do the expected processing*/
            //Init the list of the messages for the current user
            if (!MessageUtils.MESSAGES_DB.containsKey(decodedToken.getSubject())) {
                MessageUtils.MESSAGES_DB.put(decodedToken.getSubject(), new ArrayList<>());
            }

            //Add message to the list of message of the user if the message is a not a token invalidation order otherwise add the token to the blacklist
            if (AccessTokenBlacklistUtils.MESSAGE_ACCESS_TOKEN_INVALIDATION_FLAG.equalsIgnoreCase(message.getContent().trim())) {
                AccessTokenBlacklistUtils.addToken(message.getToken());
            } else {
                MessageUtils.MESSAGES_DB.get(decodedToken.getSubject()).add(message.getContent());
            }

            //According to the access level of user either return only is message or return all message
            List<String> messages = new ArrayList<>();
            if (accessLevel.asString().equals(AccessLevel.USER.name())) {
                MessageUtils.MESSAGES_DB.get(decodedToken.getSubject()).forEach(s -> messages.add(String.format("(%s): %s", decodedToken.getSubject(), s)));
            } else if (accessLevel.asString().equals(AccessLevel.ADMIN.name())) {
                MessageUtils.MESSAGES_DB.forEach((k, v) -> v.forEach(s -> messages.add(String.format("(%s): %s", k, s))));
            }

            //Build the response object indicating that exchange succeed
            if (AccessTokenBlacklistUtils.MESSAGE_ACCESS_TOKEN_INVALIDATION_FLAG.equalsIgnoreCase(message.getContent().trim())) {
                response = new MessageResponse(true, messages, "Token added to the blacklist");
            }else{
                response = new MessageResponse(true, messages, "");
            }

        } catch (Exception e) {
            LOG.error("[MessageHandler] Error occur in exchange process.", e);
            //Build the response object indicating that exchange fail
            //We send the error detail on client because ware are in POC (it will not the case in a real app)
            response = new MessageResponse(false, new ArrayList<>(), "Error occur during exchange: " + e.getMessage());
        } finally {
            //Send response
            try {
                this.clientConnection.sendObject(response);
            } catch (IOException | EncodeException e) {
                LOG.error("[MessageHandler] Error occur in response object sending.", e);
            }
        }
    }
}

Confidentiality and Integrity

If the raw version of the protocol is used (protocol WS://) then the transfered data are exposed to eavesdropping and potential on-the-fly alteration.

Example of capture using Wireshark and searching for password exchanges in the stored PCAP file, not printable characters has been explicitly removed from the command result:

$ grep -aE '(password)' capture.pcap
{"login":"bob","password":"bob123"}

There is a way to check, at WebSocket endpoint level, if the channel is secure by calling the method isSecure() on the session object instance.

Example of implementation in the method of the endpoint in charge of setup the session and affect the message handler:

/**
 * Handle the beginning of an exchange
 *
 * @param session Exchange session information
 */
@OnOpen
public void start(Session session) {
    ...
    //Affect a new message handler instance in order to process the exchange only if the channel is secured
    if(session.isSecure()) {
        session.addMessageHandler(new AuthenticationMessageHandler(session.getBasicRemote()));
    }else{
        LOG.info("[AuthenticationEndpoint] Session {} do not use a secure channel so no message handler was affected for processing and session was explicitly closed !", session.getId());
        try{
            session.close(new CloseReason(CloseReason.CloseCodes.CANNOT_ACCEPT,"Insecure channel used !"));
        }catch(IOException e){
            LOG.error("[AuthenticationEndpoint] Session {} cannot be explicitly closed !", session.getId(), e);
        }

    }
    LOG.info("[AuthenticationEndpoint] Session {} message handler affected for processing", session.getId());
}

Expose WebSocket endpoints only on WSS:// protocol (WebSockets over SSL/TLS) in order to ensure Confidentiality and Integrity of the traffic like using HTTP over SSL/TLS to secure HTTP exchanges.

Authors and Primary Editors

First Last Email
Mark Roxberry mark.roxberry [at] owasp.org
Krzysztof Kotowicz krzysztof [at] kotowicz.net
Will Stranathan will [at] cltnc.us
Shreeraj Shah shreeraj.shah [at] blueinfy.net
Juan Galiana Lara jgaliana [at] owasp.org
Dominique Righetto dominique.righetto [at] owasp.org

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