[keycloak-user] JSESSIONID is not set with the Secure nor HttpOnly flag

Stian Thorgersen sthorger at redhat.com
Wed Mar 9 00:25:35 EST 2016

On 8 March 2016 at 20:59, Jason Axley <jaxley at expedia.com> wrote:

> If sysadmins should be responsible, then why not put the responsibility
> squarely in the lap of the ops/sysadmins then and make the app secure by
> default so they have to overtly and knowingly make it insecure rather than
> happily running an app they won’t know is insecure unless they happen to
> stumble upon some dusty corner of the documentation?
> This is 2016 – we should not be building apps that are not secure and
> punting to sysadmins to fix them – that is a failed model that results in
> insecure defaults in production deployments in practice.

To some extent I agree. However, it's not as simple as improve default
settings and you are somehow magically secure. Security settings are also
very environment specific and some can't even be included by default (for
example SSL).

> Do you agree that if Keycloak was writing the cookies itself then Keycloak
> should ensure secure and HttpOnly cookies for the security session?

Yes, if Keycloak was creating the cookie then we would set http only and
set the secure field based on our ssl-required policy. It's created by the
container so defaults come from there, I don't uderstand http only isn't
set by default though. What container are you using? Maybe you can send a
issue their way?

> -Jason
> From: Bruno Oliveira <bruno at abstractj.org>
> Date: Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 11:43 AM
> To: "stian at redhat.com" <stian at redhat.com>, Jason Axley <jaxley at expedia.com
> >
> Cc: "keycloak-user at lists.jboss.org" <keycloak-user at lists.jboss.org>
> Subject: Re: [keycloak-user] JSESSIONID is not set with the Secure nor
> HttpOnly flag
> +1 on what Stian said.
> Plus, I don't see why the same could not be achieved/configured on WildFly
> for example. Security is a process, not a product. People willing to secure
> their systems, must stick with a set of best practices for Web
> Applications, OS and etc.
> If we start to think that everything should be secure by default, 100% of
> the servers outside, should already come with Firewall enabled, Honeypots
> and SELinux policies enabled. But they won't do that. Why? Because it's up
> to the sysadmin to have the security awareness, to evaluate the network,
> decided whether their users should set strong or weak passwords.
> On Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 4:06 PM Stian Thorgersen <sthorger at redhat.com>
> wrote:
>> Adding my point of view on this. Our JEE adapters are written to help
>> users integrate with Keycloak to authenticate users, that's the scope of
>> the adapters at the moment. We do not pretend to solve any OWASP top 10 or
>> other general web security recommendations in users applications. In fact
>> unless you enable SSL for your applications token security is completely
>> insecure. I'd love it to be the case that we could extend the adapters to
>> cover general web security to make JEE applications secured in a simple
>> way, but we don't have enough resources for that and we'd rather focus our
>> effort on providing adapters/integration for other programming languages
>> and frameworks.
>> Further, the adapters can be configured to be stateless or use the
>> regular JEE HTTP session. It's the container and the users responsibility
>> to secure the HTTP session. You can make exactly the same argument that
>> your are making towards Keycloak towards the JEE containers as well. They
>> provide the HTTP session in the first place and as long as you don't enable
>> SSL and secure the cookie it's not going to be secure. IMO it's better to
>> try to educate than to try to magically fix it. Educating means that users
>> will understand that they still need to review OWASP top 10 and other web
>> security recommendations even if they are using Keycloak.
>> On 8 March 2016 at 17:33, Jason Axley <jaxley at expedia.com> wrote:
>>> Bringing this discussion from an open JIRA to the mailing list to have
>>> an open discussion about the issue.  Stian can join in to make sure his
>>> viewpoint is represented here.  I’ll try to summarize the discussion.
>>> The Keycloak admin and account client applications do not currently use
>>> the Keycloak adapters for authentication/authorization interception.  They
>>> currently write their own set of Keycloak cookies to manage the user’s
>>> security session.  These applications do not have any dependency on the
>>> J2EE session.
>>> However, if applications make use of the Keycloak adapters as
>>> authentication/authorization interceptors, those are currently written to
>>> not write separate Keycloak security session cookies – they just
>>> repurpose the J2EE session (JSESSIONID).  However, the adapters don’t do
>>> any security configuration or checking or warning that the underlying J2EE
>>> session has not been configured to be a Secure and HttpOnly cookie, meaning
>>> that Keycloak adapters are all insecure by default.  A design decision was
>>> made to say that security of that cookie is out of scope for the adapters.
>>> There is a general concern about where the adapters should draw the line
>>> between Keycloak security checking responsibility and the application it is
>>> protecting.
>>> I think there is a line that’s easy to draw – if Keycloak is using
>>> something for its needs that it depends on being secure, then it has a
>>> responsibility to ensure that facility is configured securely.  If Keycloak
>>> was to write its own session ID cookie and not enforce Secure and HttpOnly
>>> cookies, it would be clear that Keycloak would be negligible in not
>>> securing the application to basic web application standards.  I don’t think
>>> that a decision to use the J2EE session absolves Keycloak from its security
>>> responsibilities.  There’s a saying that you can outsource the technology
>>> but you can’t outsource the risk.
>>> I think especially as a security application, Keycloak has a duty to do
>>> the right thing from a web app security perspective and ensure it is
>>> implementing all of the typical OWASP top 10 and beyond security controls in
>>> the code it produces and depends on.  Cookie security is a basic
>>> building block for a secure web application.
>>> There was a proposal to try to rely on the Documentation to warn anyone
>>> using the adapters that they are essentially responsible for doing all of
>>> the web application security configuration of the J2EE session, HTTPS,
>>> etc.  However, time and time again, it has shown that Documentation just
>>> doesn’t make up for the lack of secure defaults when you measure the rate
>>> of compliance in the real world.  Security is one of those orthogonal
>>> things where the system can “work” but be completely insecure and operators
>>> and developers can be completely unaware of this until a pen tester or
>>> attacker shows them they have not changed the insecure default settings.
>>> My proposal is that Keycloak application (including adapters) should
>>> have a secure design philosophy of being secure-by-default and require
>>> explicit overrides to disable the secure defaults.  This will ensure that
>>> the system will be robust unless someone makes conscious choices to degrade
>>> the security.
>>> Thoughts?
>>> -Jason
>>> *Jason Axley*
>>> Sr. Security Engineer, Expedia Worldwide Engineering Team
>>> 425-679-4157 (o) | 206-484-2778 (m) | 206-55-AXLEY (gv)
>>> 333 108th Ave NE, 9S-282, Bellevue, WA 98004
>>> EWE Security Wiki <https://confluence/display/POS/EWE+Security>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> keycloak-user mailing list
>>> keycloak-user at lists.jboss.org
>>> https://lists.jboss.org/mailman/listinfo/keycloak-user
>> _______________________________________________
>> keycloak-user mailing list
>> keycloak-user at lists.jboss.org
>> https://lists.jboss.org/mailman/listinfo/keycloak-user
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.jboss.org/pipermail/keycloak-user/attachments/20160309/82b4fc0e/attachment.html 

More information about the keycloak-user mailing list