[datacatalogs] SSL and DCIP v2

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Thu Nov 22 16:24:34 UTC 2012

On 21 November 2012 07:01, Will Pugh <will.pugh at socrata.com> wrote:
> Hey folks,
> I was looking at the DCIP spec, and had a couple of issues with the HTTP vs.
> HTTPS section in here.  My primary concern is that the approach eluded to in
> the spec does NOT seem to address many of the things SSL addresses (such as
> Man in the Middle attacks).
> If an attacker were able to poison a DNS cache, or intercept traffic in any
> other way, there is nothing that prevents them from creating a SHA-256 of my
> bogus response and adding that in the header.  The spec mentions the
> Facebook API, but I believe that API requires a secret key and uses an HMAC
> to sign the response.  However, even if you wanted to put something like
> that in, you still need to make sure to not have any potential Man In The
> Middle attacks when getting the secret key.  Normally, this is done through
> communication over HTTPS.

Good point Will. The issue here I think arose in preparing version 2.0
in which some proposed material  re signing got dropped but the
reference did not get removed - this is definitely something to
explore but it was felt to add significant complexity.

Be interested to hear what you or others think regarding enhancing the
security aspects of the DCIP as it stands.

> HTTPS provides a much better trust chain than you are going to get with any
> other "homespun" mechanisms.
> I don't think we should mandate HTTPS, but I think that catalogs that don't
> support HTTPS are going to be open to spoofing and MITM attacks.  I'd rather
> not give folks a false sense of security and discourage vendors from
> providing real protection against MITM and tampering.


> HTTP is a well layered protocol.  It is made that way so that standards like
> this can focus on interoperability and leave the security and trust up to
> the experts.

So your preference here would be to stick with HTTP and remove the
possibly confusing discussion around HTTP / HTTPS?


>     --Will Pugh
>        CTO Socrata
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