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Networking The Internet

PHK: HTTP 2.0 Should Be Scrapped 220

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the just-give-up dept.
Via the HTTP working group list comes a post from Poul-Henning Kamp proposing that HTTP 2.0 (as it exists now) never be released after the plan of adopting Google's SPDY protocol with minor changes revealed flaws that SPDY/HTTP 2.0 will not address. Quoting: "The WG took the prototype SPDY was, before even completing its previous assignment, and wasted a lot of time and effort trying to goldplate over the warts and mistakes in it. And rather than 'ohh, we get HTTP/2.0 almost for free', we found out that there are numerous hard problems that SPDY doesn't even get close to solving, and that we will need to make some simplifications in the evolved HTTP concept if we ever want to solve them. ... Wouldn't we get a better result from taking a much deeper look at the current cryptographic and privacy situation, rather than publish a protocol with a cryptographic band-aid which doesn't solve the problems and gets in the way in many applications ? ... Isn't publishing HTTP/2.0 as a 'place-holder' is just a waste of everybody's time, and a needless code churn, leading to increased risk of security exposures and failure for no significant gains ?"
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PHK: HTTP 2.0 Should Be Scrapped

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  • Encryption (Score:5, Insightful)

    by neokushan (932374) on Monday May 26, 2014 @08:31PM (#47096009)

    I hope that whatever HTTP2.0 ends up being enforces encryption by default.

    • Re:Encryption (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2014 @08:36PM (#47096035)

      No, you really don't. Encryption is good for Facebook, but enforcing it for your Internet-of-Everything lightbulb or temperature probe in the basement gains nothing other than more complex bugs and lower battery life.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2014 @08:46PM (#47096097)

        Nice try NSA.

        • Re:Encryption (Score:4, Informative)

          by gweihir (88907) on Monday May 26, 2014 @09:07PM (#47096201)

          Nonsense. Enforcing encryption does not make things more secure, unless that encryption and the authentication going with it is flawless. That is very unlikely to be the case against an attacker like the NSA.

          • Re:Encryption (Score:5, Insightful)

            by AuMatar (183847) on Monday May 26, 2014 @09:43PM (#47096383)

            It doesn't need to be perfect. If cracking it still takes some time, it lowers their resources. And it can still be unbreakable for attackers with fewer resources at their disposal.

            • Re:Encryption (Score:5, Insightful)

              by gweihir (88907) on Monday May 26, 2014 @10:14PM (#47096499)

              Unfortunately, breaking the crypto directly is _not_ what they are going to do. Protocol flaws usually allow very low cost attacks, it just takes some brain-power to figure them out. The NSA has a lot of that available.

              • Re:Encryption (Score:4, Insightful)

                by fractoid (1076465) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @12:06AM (#47097047) Homepage
                Even lower cost is simply subpoenaing one end of the transaction. There's no point bothering with a cryptographic or man-in-the-middle attack when you control the man-at-the-other-end.
                • by mwvdlee (775178)

                  Except that you might not want either end to know you're listening in.

                  • by gweihir (88907)

                    In that case, break in physically and "bug" the end-systems. Or burn a higher-value zero day exploit for a remote compromise.

                • by gweihir (88907)

                  Indeed. Crypto is only ever going to help against mass-surveillance, not against targeted attacks against a small number of people. But that is the idea here.

                • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

                  At least subpoenaing has some judicial oversight and is visible to the target. I know, the USA got rid of all that with National Security Letters and similar bullshit, but in principal forcing judicial oversight at the protocol level is a good thing and gives us something to work with.

            • Sure you need to actively modify network packets, rather than just monitor them. But without some form of authentication, man-in-the-middle attacks are trivial.
          • by msauve (701917)
            "more secure" != "perfectly secure." I don't think the NSA is interested in screwing with your mood lighting, but script kiddies might be.
            • by gweihir (88907)

              On the minus side, your mood lighting may be a lot more expensive if it suddenly needs a significant CPU power upgrade and far more complex software.

          • Re:Encryption (Score:5, Insightful)

            by jmv (93421) on Monday May 26, 2014 @09:47PM (#47096403) Homepage

            Nothing is NSA-proof, therefore we should just scrap TLS and transmit everything in plaintext, right? The whole point here is not to make the system undefeatable, just to increase the cost of breaking it, just like your door lock isn't perfect, but still useful. If HTTP was always encrypted, even with no authentication, it would require the NSA to man-in-the-middle every single connection if it wants to keep its pervasive monitoring. This would not only make the cost skyrocket, but also make it trivial to detect.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by gweihir (88907)

              You are confused. The modern crypto we have _is_ NSA proof (as the NSA made sure of that). The protocols using it are a very different matter. These have the unfortunate property that they are either secure or are cheap to attack (protocols do not have a lot of state and hence cannot put up a lot of resistance to brute-forcing). Hence getting the protocols right, and more importantly, designing them so that they have several effective layers of security and can be fixed if something is wrong is critical. U

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by WaffleMonster (969671)

              Nothing is NSA-proof,

              NSA proof is possible unless NSA includes goons armed with $5 wrenches.

              The whole point here is not to make the system undefeatable, just to increase the cost of breaking it, just like your door lock isn't perfect, but still useful.

              If you can't view traffic then traffic is safe from you therefore it is not necessary to encrypt traffic.

              If you can view traffic then you have everything necessary to own that traffic.. TCP initial sequence number and fast pipe is all you need... nobody is doing any of the filtering necessary to prevent source address spoofing so these attacks are trivial.

              If your data is going through a "great firewall", CGN (everyone using a cellular ne

              • by jmv (93421)

                How do you explain to the user well their data might be encrypted yet their data is not protected since it is not trusted?

                I'm talking about http here, not https. The idea is that even with http -- where you don't pretend that anything is secure -- you still encrypt everything. It's far from perfect, but it beats plaintext because the attacker can't hide anymore -- it has to be an active attack. I don't pretend to know all about the pros and cons of http 2, but plaintext has to die.

            • > Nothing is NSA-proof, therefore we should just scrap TLS and transmit everything in plaintext, right?

              I'm afraid that this is a common approach. I've seen numerous system designers refuse to enable encryption on their internal websites or unternal softwre on the basis that "if they're inside our networks, we'e got much bigger problems". It's one of the mantras of bad engineers, much like "there's no point to documentation, just read the code".

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        I control my home with a phone app. No encryption needed, I'm either wired or going through an encrypted wireless (yeah, not NSA secure, but more than "good enough"). And none of my home stuff talks HTTP. It's all proprietary. If you are worried about bugs and battery life, you wouldn't use HTTP either. HTTPS is not any different.
        • by gbjbaanb (229885)

          Makes no diference. If I stuck wireshark on your network, I'd see all the packets being sent and could read them quite happily.

          If you haven't encrypted them, I'd be able to read them without any problem whatsoever. The difference between HTTP and Custom protocol in this case - no whatsoever.

          All http gives you is a standard set of knowledge, routing, software and devices that know how to handle it. That's pretty useful, given that you're not anymore secure than if you used it. So you might as well use http.

      • No, you really don't. Encryption is good for Facebook, but enforcing it for your Internet-of-Everything lightbulb or temperature probe in the basement gains nothing other than more complex bugs and lower battery life.

        arent these the exact situations where encryption is necessary? i dont want someone sniffing the plain text credentials of my fridge as they fly through the air and then turning the temperature up to 40 ...

      • by Chrisq (894406)

        No, you really don't. Encryption is good for Facebook, but enforcing it for your Internet-of-Everything lightbulb or temperature probe in the basement gains nothing other than more complex bugs and lower battery life.

        By default is not the same as being mandatory. I don't see anything wrong in principle in having the endpoints explicitly agree to use an unencrypted connection. In practice I'd only want if it it did not add a significant overhead or make it more difficult to set up a server without certificates.

      • by geekmux (1040042)

        No, you really don't. Encryption is good for Facebook, but enforcing it for your Internet-of-Everything lightbulb or temperature probe in the basement gains nothing other than more complex bugs and lower battery life.

        While you tried to make a good point here, your example was horrible.

        Being concerned about Facebook encryption is like gift-wrapping an elephant with a piece of string.

        Your password is about the only damn thing not shared or sold on that site, so I'm not sure what the hell anyone is trying to hide or secure.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        There are already low power wifi chips that support WPA2. Crypto is slowly becoming a standard peripheral on low cost microcontrollers and radios (e.g. a â1 Atmel XMEGA supports AES in hardware). I have implemented protocol level encryption with user selectable keys over an 868MHz ultra low power (5+ years life from two AA cells) network for my job, so it definitely is possible.

        Personally I wouldn't buy an internet connected device that didn't support encryption. Luckily even the cheapest, crappiest AR

      • by DrXym (126579)
        Your Internet-of-everything lightbulb runs off batteries?
    • Re:Encryption (Score:5, Informative)

      by jmv (93421) on Monday May 26, 2014 @08:50PM (#47096119) Homepage

      Last I heard, it still supports unencrypted, but only if both the client and server ask for it. If either one asks for encryption, then the connection is encrypted, even if there's no authentication (i.e. certificate). With no certificate, it's still possible to pull an active(MitM) attack, which is much harder to pull off at a large scale without anyone noticing (i.e. you can just collect all data you see).

      • Re:Encryption (Score:5, Informative)

        by abhi_beckert (785219) on Monday May 26, 2014 @09:17PM (#47096275)

        Last I heard, it still supports unencrypted, but only if both the client and server ask for it. If either one asks for encryption, then the connection is encrypted, even if there's no authentication (i.e. certificate). With no certificate, it's still possible to pull an active(MitM) attack, which is much harder to pull off at a large scale without anyone noticing (i.e. you can just collect all data you see).

        A server cannot ask for encryption.

        Unless the client establishes a secure connection in the first place, the server has no way of knowing if the client is actually who they claim to be. If the client attempts to establish a secure connection and the server responds with "I can't give you a secure connection" then the client needs to assume there is a man in the middle attack going on and refuse to communicate with the server.

        There is no way around it, security needs to be initiated on the client and the server cannot be allowed to refuse a secure connection.

        HSTS is a partial solution for this problem (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_Strict_Transport_Security)

        • Re:Encryption (Score:5, Informative)

          by jmv (93421) on Monday May 26, 2014 @09:30PM (#47096331) Homepage

          A server cannot ask for encryption.

          AFAIK, HTTP2 allows the server to encrypt even if the client didn't want to.

          Unless the client establishes a secure connection in the first place, the server has no way of knowing if the client is actually who they claim to be. If the client attempts to establish a secure connection and the server responds with "I can't give you a secure connection" then the client needs to assume there is a man in the middle attack going on and refuse to communicate with the server.

          If you're able to modify packets in transit (i.e. Man in the Middle), then you can also just decrypt with your key and re-encrypt with the client key. Without authentication, there's just nothing that's going to prevent a MitM attack. Despite that, being vulnerable to MitM is much better than being vulnerable to any sort of passive listening.

          • by rioki (1328185)

            Despite that, being vulnerable to MitM is much better than being vulnerable to any sort of passive listening.

            Although this was sort of my sentiment too, but it basically is false. Passive listening on WiFi connection may be foiled, to a certain degree. But the moment someone has access the the wires the game is over no matter how you play it. Passive listening that requires penetrating a device or inserting hardware, is basically MitM and as a result going from passive listening to active MitM attack is basally just upgrading the software.

        • You're confusing encryption with authentication.

        • by AK Marc (707885)

          A server cannot ask for encryption.

          So a request to HTTP://www.example.com can't be redirected to HTTPS://www.example.com? Because I would consider that the server asking for encryption.

          There is no way around it, security needs to be initiated on the client and the server cannot be allowed to refuse a secure connection.

          Great, so when we go to all secure, we don't need any more 500 series error messages, as the servers aren't "allowed" to refuse connections.

          • by rioki (1328185)

            Except that HTTP 500 is a proper and valid response when it comes to the HTTP. Following your oddball logic a 404 would also be "refused", what nonsense. The server accepted the connection, the request handler for that resource crapped it's pants and the server is dutifully informing you of that fact. What is "not accepting the connection", where? The fact that you got a 500 means the server accepted your connection. Even a 401 Unauthorized is technically an accepted connection, since the authorization is f

        • by printman (54032)

          RFC 2817 defines how a server (or a client) can require TLS. It is widely deployed for printers but less so on the Internet due to proxies not supporting it.

    • I fear that would train users to mass click through certificate warnings, or even to install shady "helpful" software that will "manage" the problem for them.

      • They do. Unfortunately, the 'shady software' is "basically all client software that does SSL/TLS and is designed with end users in mind". Because nobody really wants to bite the bullet and scare the users, all major OSes and browsers 'trust' a horrifying number of dubious CAs unless manually configured otherwise.

        Given the (lack of) alternatives, it's hard to blame them for doing that rather than being abandoned by users; but it's pretty much the state of play right now.
    • Re:Encryption (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gweihir (88907) on Monday May 26, 2014 @09:05PM (#47096193)

      That is stupid. First, encryption essentially belongs on a different layer, which means combining it with HTTP is always going to be a compromise that will not work out well in quite a number of situations. Hence at the very least you should be able to leave it out, and either do without or use a different mechanism on a different layer. SSL (well, actually TLS) would have worked if it had solved the trust-in-certificates problem, which it spectacularly failed at due to naive trust models, that I now suspect were actively encouraged by various Three Letter Agencies at that time. In fact, if you control the certificates on both ends, TLS works pretty well and does not actually need a replacement.

      That said, putting security for specific, limited (but widely used) scenarios in can be beneficial, but always remember that it makes the protocol less flexible as it needs to do more things right. And there has to be a supporting infrastructure that actually works in establishing identity and trust. In order for the security to have any benefit at all, it must be done right, must be free from fundamental flaws and must give the assurances it was designed to give. That is exceedingly hard to do and very unlikely to be done right on the first attempt.

      • Re:Encryption (Score:5, Insightful)

        by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Monday May 26, 2014 @10:25PM (#47096551) Homepage Journal

        In order for the security to have any benefit at all, it must be done right, must be free from fundamental flaws and must give the assurances it was designed to give. That is exceedingly hard to do and very unlikely to be done right on the first attempt.

        SPDY's security component is TLS. SPDY is essentially just some minor restrictions (not changes) in the TLS negotiation protocol, plus a sophisticated HTTP acceleration protocol tunneled inside. So this really isn't a "first attempt", by any means. Not to mention the fact that Google has been using SPDY extensively for years now and has a great deal of real-world experience with it. Your argument might hold water when applied to QUIC, but not so much to SPDY.

        It really helps to read the thread and get a sense of what the actual dispute is about. In a nutshell, Kamp is bothered less that HTTP/2 is complex than that it doesn't achieve enough. In particular, it doesn't address problems that HTTP/1.1 has with being used as a large file (multi-GB) transfer protocol, and it doesn't eliminate cookies. Not many committee members seem to agree that these are important problems for HTTP/2, though most do agree that it would be nice some day to address those issues, in some standard.

        What many do agree on is that there is some dangerous complexity in one part of the proposal, a header compression algorithm called HPACK. The reason for using HPACK is the CRIME attack, which exploits Gzip compression of headers to deduce cookies and other sensitive header values. It does this even though the compressed data is encrypted. HPACK is designed to be resistant to this sort of attack, but it's complex. Several committee members are arguing that it would be reasonable to proceed without header compression at all, thus greatly simplifying the proposal. Others are arguing that they can specify HPACK, but make header compression negotiable and allow clients and servers to choose to use nothing rather than HPACK, if they prefer (or something better when it comes along).

        Bottom line: What we have here is one committee member who has been annoyed that his wishes to deeply rethink HTTP have been ignored. He is therefore latching onto a real issue that the rest of the committee is grappling with and using it to argue that they should just throw the whole thing out and get to work on what he wanted to do. And he made his arguments with enough flair and eloquence to get attention beyond the committee. All in all, just normal standards committee politics which has (abnormally) escaped the committee mailing list and made it to the front page of /.

        • There's a simpler solution. Keep using GZip compression, but expose the sensitivity of strings to the compression layer. You could ensure that sensitive strings are transmitted as separate deflate blocks without any compression at all, and ignored for duplicate string elimination. All HTTP/2 would need to specify is the ordering of these values so that the compression can still be reasonably efficient for everything else.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2014 @08:32PM (#47096015)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2014 @08:40PM (#47096061)

    ...the entire idea is to cripple security and the ability to provide for privacy. In the end, National Security agencies take the view that digital networks are a primary source of intelligence. Thus, being able to bug and break into systems is a national security priority. The group are dominated by companies that rely on government contracts, so they do their bidding and weaken the specs.

    Ultimately, you live in an Oligarchy, not a democracy, so no one cares about your opinion or that of anyone else, unless you happen to have lots of cash. If you did have lots of cash, then you too would be trying to undermine security and privacy to ensure no one takes it from you.

    Deal with it.

    • by jackspenn (682188)
      From reading the HTTP/2.0 thread, it seems like some of us "normal" users should respond to the working group last comment call and point out that encryption alone is not enough. That privacy and anonymity are at least equal to encryption, if not more important.

      Was tempted to post as an Anonymous Coward for effect.
      • by MassacrE (763) on Monday May 26, 2014 @09:51PM (#47096419)

        It is a technical discussion. Unless you are prepared to provide feedback on how to make a more private/anonymous protocol which can serve as a drop-in replacement for HTTP 1.1, "normal users" will just serve as background noise.

        PHK's biggest issue IMHO is that HTTP/2 will break his software (Varnish), by requiring things his internal architecture can't really deal with (TLS).

        • by philip.paradis (2580427) on Monday May 26, 2014 @10:53PM (#47096701)

          PHK's biggest issue IMHO is that HTTP/2 will break his software (Varnish), by requiring things his internal architecture can't really deal with (TLS).

          Varnish was never intended to support TLS, nor do the majority of Varnish users (myself included) want it to. The core issues being discussed have little to do with Varnish, aside from the fact that PHK has an excellent understanding of HTTP and high performance content delivery. Having written an HTTP proxy of my own to perform certain other tasks, I understand and largely agree with his sentiments.

          That said, it should be noted that many people who need to support TLS connections already use separate software in front of Varnish for cases where high performance intermediate HTTP caching is desirable. This is really a separate topic from discussion of HTTP/2 and/or SPDY, but implementation of a SPDY to HTTP proxy could handle cases where an administrator wishes to run software that only speaks HTTP, albeit with the drawback that SPDY-specific features would be unavailable.

          For many use cases, the ability to support 30,000 concurrent HTTP connections with a single VM outweighs the value proposition of encrypting the content in transit, especially for cases where the content in transit isn't remotely sensitive in nature. While "encryption doesn't add much overhead, Google said so" is a commonly parroted idea these days, if you take the opportunity to test various deployment scenarios you'll quickly find that assertion is false for many of those use cases.

          • For many use cases, the ability to support 30,000 concurrent HTTP connections with a single VM outweighs the value proposition of encrypting the content in transit, especially for cases where the content in transit isn't remotely sensitive in nature.

            It isn't necessarily that the work that you're trying to serve is "remotely sensitive in nature". It's that other parts of the same page may be "sensitive in nature", and browsers throw up pop-up windows about "mixed content" when a secure document transcludes an insecure resource. For example, the logged-in user's session cookie is "sensitive in nature" because an attacker can view it and replay it to impersonate the user. But because ad networks have a history of not supporting HTTPS, many sites have had

            • I'm keenly aware of the many issues surrounding mixed content. I'm not referencing any use cases where that would be an issue; far from it, I'm referencing cases where a single entity controls the serving of non-sensitive content, and I'm certainly not suggesting serving session cookies over plaintext under any circumstances. You might be interested to learn that I spend a considerable amount of time every week educating people on issues far more complex than the limited fundamentals you've referenced here,

              • by tepples (727027)
                I'm referring to Slashdot itself, which sends session IDs in plaintext unless you're a subscriber.
                • I'm explicitly not referring to Slashdot. As much as I may disagree with said practices (and Slashdot has a seemingly ever-increasing pile of bad practices following the last buyout), poor practices on the part of a particular site operator bear no relation to responsible use cases.

                • To add to the heap of bad practices in relation to the current conversation, I'll repeat my earlier comment that Slashdot has still not renewed their certificate [cubeupload.com], and thus even subscribers are in a bit of a pickle with regard to TLS unless they happen to have previously noted the key fingerprint of the now-expired certificate and place rather high trust in the internal integrity of Slashdot operations. Given the circumstances, I could not in good professional conscience recommend such trust.

                • I'll add one more bit of fuel to the fire of Slashdot irresponsibility. It appears slashdot.org uses Apache 2.2.3 on CentOS to serve its content, and while this could be due to an obfuscated host response header, the issuance date for their wildcard SSL certificate (which really shouldn't be used in this case anyhow) was April 20, 2013. Unless Slashdot went to the trouble of avoiding OpenSSL all this time, this means the private key for their wildcard certificate was vulnerable to the Heartbleed vulnerabili

        • On an entirely separate note, it seems Slashdot still has not renewed their own certificate [cubeupload.com].

      • That privacy and anonymity are at least equal to encryption, if not more important.

        I'm really interested on your plan to enforce privacy and anonymity in the HTTP protocol. Because I don't see how you can do that......

  • Convincing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gweihir (88907) on Monday May 26, 2014 @08:54PM (#47096137)

    There is also the other thing that there is no urgent need to replace HTTP/1.1, despite of what people claim. Sure, it has problems, but the applications it does not support so well are things that there is not urgent need for, hence there is no urgent need for a protocol replacement. It would be far better to carefully consider what to put into the successor and what not. And KISS should the the overriding concern, anything else causes a lot more problems and wastes a lot more resources than having the successor a few years later.

  • Moving goal posts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by abhi_beckert (785219) on Monday May 26, 2014 @09:13PM (#47096243)

    I don't think HTTP has any problems with security. All the real world problems with HTTP security are caused by:

      * dismally slow roll out of dnssec. It should have been finished years ago, but it has barely even started.
      * the high price of acquiring an SSL certificate (it's just bits!).
      * slow rollout of IPv6 (SSL certificates generally require a unique IP and we don't have enough to give every domain name a unique IP).
      * arguments in the industry about how to revoke a compromised SSL certificate, which has lead to revocation being almost useless.
      * SSL doesn't really work when there are thousands of certificate authorities, so some changes are needed to cope with the current situation (eg: dsnssec could be used to prevent two certificate authorities from signing the same domain name)

    • The trouble is that SSL is really playing two roles that aren't trivial to separate, because of the 'well-just-MiTM-with-a-self-signed-cert' problem; but which are substantially at odds with one another in other respects.

      You've got identification, which you only really want in a subset of cases (your bank, say); but which is actually slightly expensive to do properly and then you've got encryption, which you want in basically all cases (would you ever not at least want it?) which is cheap; but requires t
      • However, much of the time your main concern is that the certificate isn't an MiTM, and that you are talking to the same person or entity you were talking to previously.

        That's called the "key continuity management" paradigm. But KCM breaks down if the first time you talk to someone happens to be through a man in the middle. If your Internet connection is through a MITM proxy, as seen in bug 460374 [mozilla.org] and in many corporate networks, then "the same person or entity you were talking to previously" would be the MITM. For this reason, even though SSH is most often used in KCM mode, the "Please answer yes or no" prompt urges the user to confirm the server's key fingerprint out of b

        • Those certainly are plausible (and unfortunately common) issues. That's why I was thinking of the "you want to make sure that you aren't suddenly being fed a different certificate than people in other parts of the world, or on different ISPs" consideration. Annoyingly, that's the one that would require some sort of distributed observation system that you could talk to, rather than being comparatively trivial to do in software on your own system (as of right now, browsers don't usually provide a handy 'remem
      • by Kjella (173770)

        Well you can always do it the TOR way, basically the onion address is a fingerprint of the public key. You'd still need DNS to tell you that "435143a1b5fc8bb70a3aa9b10f6673a8.pubkey" can be found at ip 1.2.3.4 or ipv6 abcd:abcd:abcd:abcd:abcd:abcd:abcd:abcd) so you could always suffer denial of service, though the "pubkey" DNS server should refuse requests to redirect that aren't signed by that public key but nobody else would have the correct key for a MITM. The obvious downsides:

        1. The domain would never be
      • DNSSEC should give you confidence that the person who currently "owns" the domain name is the same person who "owns" the server you're talking to. That should be enough for most casual connections. But it also puts all of your security in one basket. Take over the domain entry and you control everything.

        So the next obvious step is to get multiple independent authorities to verify your identity, sign your key and provide that information via DNS and / or at connection establishment time. Then we should rais

    • The cost of SSL certificates is not in the bits. It's in the security of the private key, some validation in extended verification certs, and the administration work involved in signing your key with the CA's key. "It's just bits" is like looking at a computer chip and saying "it's just sand."
      • The cost of SSL certificates is not in the bits.

        Back in the day you actually had to pick up the phone, speak with someone and provide corporate documentation. Now you purchase certs from a computer in an 100% automated process. Completely "just bits" worthless.

        It's in the security of the private key, some validation in extended verification certs

        Extended verification is a foolish scam to enrich CAs. Users hardly understand what the padlock icon means in URL bar after being intentionally inundated with fake padlock gifs and "we're secure" believe what we say assertions littering every online commerce and banking site on the planet.

    • by ras (84108)

      I don't think HTTP has any problems with security.

      I disagree. We live in a world where phishing attacks are common, and the PKI system is fragile. Fragile as in when Iran compromised DigiNotar and people most likely died as a result.

      The root cause of both problems is the current implementation of the web insists we use the PKI infrastructure every time we visit the bank, store or whatever. Its a fundamental flaw. You should never rely on Trent (the trusted third party, the CA's in this case) when you don't have to. Any security implementation does the

  • Death by Committee (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Monday May 26, 2014 @09:19PM (#47096283) Homepage Journal

    HTTP/1.1 is roughly seventeen years old now - technically HTTP/1.0 came out seven years before that, but in terms of mass adoption, NSFNet fizzled in '94 and then people really started to pay attention to the web - I had my first webpage about six months before that (at College) and there were maybe a dozen in the whole school who had heard of it previously. Argue for seven years if you'd like, but I'll say that HTTP/1.0 got seriously revised after three years of significant broad usage. SSLv3, still considered almost usable today, was released the year before. TLSv1.2, considered good, has been a standard for over five years and still it's poorly supported though now critically necessary for some security surfaces.

    After this burst of innovation, somebody dreamt up the W3C and we got various levels of baroque standards, all while everybody else solved the same problems over and over again. IETF used to be pretty efficient, but it seems like they're at the same point now.

    I won't argue for SPDY becoming HTTP/2.0 but I will admire it as an effort to freaking do something. Some guys at Google said, "look, screw you guys, we're going to try to fix this mess," and they did something. While imperfect, they still did enough that the HTTP/2.0 committee looked at it and said (paraphrasing), "hrm, since we haven't done anything useful for 15 years, let's take SPDY and tweak it and call it a day's work well done."

    The part Google got most right was the "screw you guys" part - central-planning the web is not working.. I'm not positive what the right organization structure looks like, but it's not W3C and IETF. We need to figure out what went right back in the mid 90's and do that again, but now with more experience under our belts. This talk of "one protocol to rule them all for 20 years" is undeniably a toxic approach. HTTP/1. 1 should have been deprecated by 2005 and we should be on to the third iteration beyond it by now. Yeah, more core stuff for the devs to do - used to be we had people who could start a company and write a whole new web browser in a year - half the time it takes to change the color of tabs these days.

    And don't start with this "but this old browser on ... " crap either - we rapidly iterated before and can do it again. Are there people who fear change? Sure - and nobody is going to stop HTTP/1.1 from working 50 years from now, but by golly nobody should want to use it by then either.

    • It's better they chuck some of it and stick with a few good bits. The encryption can be trashed as far as I care; that can be another group's problem. We need proxy caching and you can't do it with encryption and be secure.

      The reason we can't move like before isn't the committee, it's that we now have a global system built around it and a great deal of investment in it. In the 90s it was all new; low risk, low impact. Today, there is a vast territory claimed and set; when you make new things you can't des

    • I'd be inclined to suspect that the stagnation of the W3C and IETF is more a symptom than a cause: they might be 'central planners' in the sense that they get a bunch of technocrats together and try to hammer out the Glorious 3rd Five Year Plan; but they lack essentially all power that a real central planner would have(either to expropriate anyone who sneaks a patent into an IETF standard, or to crush somebody who just wanders off and does his own thing).

      Trouble is, if you just wander off and do your own
    • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Monday May 26, 2014 @11:29PM (#47096877) Homepage Journal
      My impression is that the IETF was doing a pretty good job until the businesses started taking the internet seriously and instead of being a group of engineers trying to make the best protocols it became a bunch of business interests trying to push their preferred solution because it gives them an advantage in the market. Get a few of those in the same room and deadlock is the result.
    • by MatthiasF (1853064) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @12:34AM (#47097151)
      Bullshit. BULLSHIT!

      Google has derailed so much of the web's evolution in an attempt to control it that they do not have the right for them or any Google lover to suggest they get to the web's standards from committees. From the "development" trees in Chrome, to WebRT and WebM, they have splintered the internet numerous times with no advantage to the greater good.

      The committee was strong armed into considering SPDY simply because they knew Google could force it down everyone's throats with their monopoly powers across numerous industries (search, advertising, email, hosting, android, etc.). HTTP/1.1 has worked well for the web. The internet has not had any issues in the last 22 years except when assholes like Google and Microsoft decided to deviate from a centralized standard.

      There is no way we should let Google set ANY standard after the numerous abuses they have done over the last 8 years, nor should any shills like you be allowed to suggest they should be the one calling the shots.

      So, kindly go to hell.
      • From the "development" trees in Chrome, to WebRT and WebM, they have splintered the internet numerous times with no advantage to the greater good.

        VP8 is a royalty-free video codec whose rate/distortion performance is in the same league as the royalty-bearing MPEG-4 AVC. WebM is VP8 video and Vorbis audio in a Matroska container. Did Xiph likewise "splinter[] the Internet" by introducing Vorbis as a royalty-free competitor to the royalty-bearing MP3 and AAC audio codecs? If so, how? If not, then how did Google's On2 division "splinter[] the Internet" by introducing WebM as a competitor to MPEG-4?

    • by thsths (31372)

      I completely agree. W3C seems to be always behind reality, trying to describe it, but not define it. IETF did a lot of very useful work, but they have been branching out into rather obscure protocols recently. Where is HTTP/1.2? Surely HTTP/1.1 is not perfect?

      And Google did what Google does: they threw together a prototype and checked how it would work. And it seems it is working very well for them, but maybe not so much for others.

      I would also advocate to separate some of the concerns. Transmitting huge am

    • We rapidly iterated before when the web was niche. When we had, comparatively speaking, very few users. Before there was a mass adoption in business.

      Back then the disruption of rapid iteration and accompanying obsolescence was not a big problem. Now it's a massive problem.

      Sure, one can argue that institutions stuck using IE6 (or even IE8) should get with the times and update, but the reality is that is a very costly exercise. One can't simply blindly update a few thousand machines in a company when the

  • by WaffleMonster (969671) on Monday May 26, 2014 @10:55PM (#47096711)

    I think following demonstrates reality participants in standards organizations are constrained by the market and while they do yield some power it must be exercised with extreme care and creativity to have any effect past L7.

    As much as many people would like to get rid of Cookies -- something
    you've proposed many times -- doing it in this effort would be counter-productive.

    Counter-productive for *who* Mark ?

    Counter-productive for FaceBook, Google, Microsoft, NSA and the other mastodons who use cookies and other mistakes in HTTP
    (ie: user-agent) to deconstruct our personal identities, across the entire web ?

    Even with "SSL/TLS everywhere", all those small blue 'f' icons will still tell FaceBook all about what websites you have visited.

    The "don't track" fiasco has shown conclusively, that there is never going to be a good-faith attempt by these mastodons to improve personal privacy: It's against their business model.

    And because this WG is 100% beholden to the privacy abusers and gives not a single shit for the privacy abused, fixing the problems would be "counter-productive".

    If we cared about human rights, and privacy, being "counter-productive" for the privacy-abusing mastodons would be one of our primary goals.

    It is impossible for me to disagree with this. Have several dozen tracking/market intelligence/stat gathering firms blackholed in DNS where creative use of DNS to implement tracking cookies do not work. I count on the fact they are all much too lazy to care about a few people screwing with DNS or operating browser privacy plugins.

    I'm personally creeped out by hoards of stalkers following me everywhere I go...yet I see the same mistakes play out again and again... people looking to solve problems without consideration of second order effects of their solutions.

    You could technically do something about those army of stalker creeps ... yet this may just force them underground, pulling same data thru backchannels established directly with site - rather than a cut and paste javascript job it would likely turn into module loaded into backend stack with no visibility to the end user or ability to control.

    While this would certainly work wonders for site performance and bandwidth usage... those limited feedback channels we did have for the stalked to watch the stalker are denied. On flipside of the ledger not collecting direct proof of access could disrupt some stalker creeps business models.

    I think emotional half-assed reaction to NSA with established ability to "QUANTUM INSERT" ultimately encourages locally optimal solution having effect of affording no actual safety or privacy to anyone.

    Not only does opportunistic encryption provide a false sense of security to the vast majority of people who simply do not understand relationship between encryption and trust such deceptions effectively work to relieve pressure on need for a real solution.. which I assume looks more like DANE and associated implosion of SSL CA market.

    My own opinion HTTP 2.0 is only a marginal improvement with no particular pressing need... I think they should think hard and add something cool to it.. make me want to care...as is I'm not impressed.

  • by Aethedor (973725) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @02:33AM (#47097495)

    The biggest problem with SPDY is that it's a protocol by Google, for Google. Unless you are doing the same as Google, you won't benefit from it. In my free time, I'm writing an open source webserver [hiawatha-webserver.org] and by doing so, I've encountered several bad things in the HTTP and CGI standard. Things can be made really more easy and thus faster if we, for example, agree to let go of this rediculous pathinfo, agree that requests within the same connection are always for the same host and make the CGI headers work better with HTTP.

    You want things to be faster? Start by making things more simple. Just take a look at all the modules for Apache. The amount of crap many web developers want to put into their website can't be fixed by a new HTTP protocol.

    We don't need HTTP/2.0. HTTP/1.3 with some things removed, fixed or at least have some vague things be specified more clearly, would be more than enough for 95% of all the websites.

  • Tunnelling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msobkow (48369) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @02:55AM (#47097547) Homepage Journal

    Maybe if we weren't trying to tunnel every god damned protocol and transport known to mankind through HTTP it wouldn't be such a massive problem to re-engineer and fix.

    Seriously: The idea of TCP was to have multiple protocol ports, not to tunnel everything over :80.

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