Difference between revisions of "HTTP Strict Transport Security"

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(Change made re: implementation in IIS after seeking approval from the original page author Michael Coates.)
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HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) is an opt-in security enhancement that is specified by a web application through the use of a special response header. Once a supported browser receives this header that browser will prevent any communications from being sent over HTTP to the specified domain and will instead send all communications over HTTPS. It also prevents HTTPS click through prompts on browsers.
 
HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) is an opt-in security enhancement that is specified by a web application through the use of a special response header. Once a supported browser receives this header that browser will prevent any communications from being sent over HTTP to the specified domain and will instead send all communications over HTTPS. It also prevents HTTPS click through prompts on browsers.
  
<br>
+
The specification has been released and published end of 2012 as RFC 6797 (HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS)) by the IETF. (Reference see in the links at the bottom.)
 +
 
 +
== Threats ==
 +
 
 +
HSTS addresses the following threats:
 +
* User bookmarks or manually types http://example.com and is subject to a man-in-the-middle attacker
 +
** HSTS automatically redirects HTTP requests to HTTPS for the target domain
 +
* Web application that is intended to be purely HTTPS inadvertently contains HTTP links or serves content over HTTP
 +
** HSTS automatically redirects HTTP requests to HTTPS for the target domain
 +
* A man-in-the-middle attacker attempts to intercept traffic from a victim user using an invalid certificate and hopes the user will accept the bad certificate
 +
** HSTS does not allow a user to override the invalid certificate message
  
 
== Examples  ==
 
== Examples  ==
  
Example of the HTTP strict transport security header
+
Simple example, using a long (1 year) max-age:
  
   Strict-Transport-Security: max-age=60000
+
   Strict-Transport-Security: max-age=31536000
  
If all subdomains are HTTPS to then the following header is applicable:
+
If all present and future subdomains will be HTTPS:
  
   Strict-Transport-Security: max-age=60000; includeSubDomains
+
   Strict-Transport-Security: max-age=31536000; includeSubDomains
 +
 
 +
'''Recommended:''' If the site owner would like their domain to be included in the [https://hstspreload.appspot.com/ HSTS preload list] maintained by Chrome (and used by Firefox and Safari), then use:
 +
 
 +
  Strict-Transport-Security: max-age=31536000; includeSubDomains; preload
 +
 
 +
The `preload` flag indicates the site owner's consent to have their domain preloaded. The site owner still needs to then go and submit the domain to the list.
 +
 
 +
== Always Use <i>includeSubDomains</i> ==
 +
 
 +
The lack of use of includeSubDomains can lead to a significant privacy leak[http://www.leviathansecurity.com/blog/the-double-edged-sword-of-hsts-persistence-and-privacy]. Be sure to use includeSubDomains on all wildcard certificates, at least.
  
 
== Browser Support ==
 
== Browser Support ==
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|-
 
|-
 
| Internet Explorer <br>
 
| Internet Explorer <br>
| no support as of IE 10 (tested on 2013-01-01)<br>
+
| Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 8.1 and Windows 7[http://blogs.windows.com/msedgedev/2015/06/09/http-strict-transport-security-comes-to-internet-explorer-11-on-windows-8-1-and-windows-7/]<br>
 
|-
 
|-
 
| Firefox<br>
 
| Firefox<br>
Line 33: Line 53:
 
|-
 
|-
 
| Safari<br>
 
| Safari<br>
| ??<br>
+
| Mavericks (Mac OS X 10.9)<br>
 
|-
 
|-
 
| Chrome<br>
 
| Chrome<br>
Line 40: Line 60:
  
 
<br>
 
<br>
 
+
A detailed overview of supporting browsers can be found at [http://caniuse.com/#feat=stricttransportsecurity caniuse.com].
== Server Side ==
+
 
+
The web server side needs to inject the HSTS header.
+
 
+
For HTTP sites on the same domain it is [http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-ietf-websec-strict-transport-sec#section-6.1 not recommended] to add a HSTS header but to do a permanent redirect (301 status code) to the HTTPS site.
+
+
An Apache HTTPd example that will permanently redirect a URL to the identical URL with a HTTPS scheme, is as follows:
+
 
+
<VirtualHost *:80>
+
        ServerAlias *
+
        RewriteEngine On
+
        RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{HTTP_HOST}$1 [redirect=301]
+
</VirtualHost>
+
 
+
On the HTTPS site configuration the following is needed to add the header as [http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-ietf-websec-strict-transport-sec#section-6.1 recommended by the standard]:
+
        Header set Strict-Transport-Security "max-age=16070400; includeSubDomains"
+
 
+
The following links show how to do set response headers in other web servers:
+
* [http://wiki.nginx.org/HttpHeadersModule NGINX]
+
* [http://redmine.lighttpd.net/wiki/lighttpd/Docs:ModSetEnv#Options Lighttpd]
+
* [http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.2/mod/mod_headers.html HTTPd]
+
 
+
==== IIS ====
+
Whilst [http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc753133(WS.10).aspx custom headers] can be configured in IIS without any extensions, it is not possible to restrict these headers to secure transport channels [http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc6797#section-7.2 as per the HSTS specification]. HSTS has been implemented as per the specification as an [http://hstsiis.codeplex.com/ open source IIS module].
+
 
+
== Threats ==
+
 
+
HSTS addresses the following threats:
+
* User bookmarks or manually types http://example.com and is subject to a man-in-the-middle attacker
+
** HSTS automatically upgrades HTTP requests to HTTPS for the target domain
+
* Web application that is intended to be purely HTTPS inadvertently contains HTTP links or serves content over HTTP
+
** HSTS automatically upgrades HTTP requests to HTTPS for the target domain
+
* A man-in-the-middle attacker attempts to intercept traffic from a victim user using an invalid certificate and hopes the user will accept the bad certificate
+
** HSTS does not allow a user to override the invalid certificate message
+
 
+
  
 
== Links ==
 
== Links ==
 
+
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEV3HOuM_Vw&feature=youtube_gdata AppSecTutorial Series - Episode 4]
[http://dev.chromium.org/sts Chromium Projects/HSTS]
+
* [http://dev.chromium.org/sts Chromium Projects/HSTS]
 
+
* [http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc6797 HSTS Spec]
[http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-ietf-websec-strict-transport-sec HSTS Spec]
+
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_Strict_Transport_Security Wikipedia]
 
+
* [https://developer.mozilla.org/en/Security/HTTP_Strict_Transport_Security Mozilla Developer Network]
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_Strict_Transport_Security Wikipedia]
+
* [https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Transport_Layer_Protection_Cheat_Sheet OWASP TLS Protection Cheat Sheet]
 
+
* [https://developer.mozilla.org/en/Security/HTTP_Strict_Transport_Security Firefox STS Support]
[https://developer.mozilla.org/en/Security/HTTP_Strict_Transport_Security Mozilla Developer Network]
+
* [http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-webapps/2009JulSep/1148.html Google Chrome STS Support]
 
+
* [http://www.thoughtcrime.org/software/sslstrip/ Moxie Marlinspike's Black Hat 2009 talk on sslstrip, that demonstrates why you need HSTS]
[https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Transport_Layer_Protection_Cheat_Sheet OWASP TLS Protection Cheat Sheet]
+
 
+
[https://developer.mozilla.org/en/Security/HTTP_Strict_Transport_Security Firefox STS Support]
+
 
+
[http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-webapps/2009JulSep/1148.html Google Chrome STS Support]
+
 
+
 
+
  
 
[[Category:Control|Control]]
 
[[Category:Control|Control]]

Latest revision as of 14:40, 8 July 2015


Description

HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) is an opt-in security enhancement that is specified by a web application through the use of a special response header. Once a supported browser receives this header that browser will prevent any communications from being sent over HTTP to the specified domain and will instead send all communications over HTTPS. It also prevents HTTPS click through prompts on browsers.

The specification has been released and published end of 2012 as RFC 6797 (HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS)) by the IETF. (Reference see in the links at the bottom.)

Threats

HSTS addresses the following threats:

  • User bookmarks or manually types http://example.com and is subject to a man-in-the-middle attacker
    • HSTS automatically redirects HTTP requests to HTTPS for the target domain
  • Web application that is intended to be purely HTTPS inadvertently contains HTTP links or serves content over HTTP
    • HSTS automatically redirects HTTP requests to HTTPS for the target domain
  • A man-in-the-middle attacker attempts to intercept traffic from a victim user using an invalid certificate and hopes the user will accept the bad certificate
    • HSTS does not allow a user to override the invalid certificate message

Examples

Simple example, using a long (1 year) max-age:

 Strict-Transport-Security: max-age=31536000

If all present and future subdomains will be HTTPS:

 Strict-Transport-Security: max-age=31536000; includeSubDomains

Recommended: If the site owner would like their domain to be included in the HSTS preload list maintained by Chrome (and used by Firefox and Safari), then use:

 Strict-Transport-Security: max-age=31536000; includeSubDomains; preload

The `preload` flag indicates the site owner's consent to have their domain preloaded. The site owner still needs to then go and submit the domain to the list.

Always Use includeSubDomains

The lack of use of includeSubDomains can lead to a significant privacy leak[1]. Be sure to use includeSubDomains on all wildcard certificates, at least.

Browser Support

Browser
Support Introduced
Internet Explorer
Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 8.1 and Windows 7[2]
Firefox
4
Opera
12
Safari
Mavericks (Mac OS X 10.9)
Chrome
4.0.211.0


A detailed overview of supporting browsers can be found at caniuse.com.

Links