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ZNG  June 2002

ZNG June 2002

Subject:

Re: Betr.: Re: result set model for srw

From:

"LeVan,Ralph" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Z39.50 Next-Generation Initiative

Date:

Mon, 17 Jun 2002 13:56:14 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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text/plain (184 lines)

I agree completely.  But...

I'd like to hear from someone with expertise in SSL or HTTPS.  Does the same
process happen while establishing the security certificates and can we find
the solution for this problem in these mechanisms?

Ralph

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Theo van Veen [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Friday, June 14, 2002 9:17 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Betr.: Re: result set model for srw
>
>
> When we want the ability for identification/authentication
> this "user identification value" (lets say ticket) should be
> a specific SRU/SRW parameter and we should call and treat it
> that way and not confuse it with a session-id.
>
> Obtaining this ticket should in fact be a separate webservice
> and could be used by the organisation for different purposes
> and this function does not have to be the responsibility of
> of the same department that provide the SR-service.
>
> I would be happy with such a field that is optionally  sent
> along with each request to those servers requiering it. When
> a user is not authorised the server returns a diagnostic and
> the URL of the authentication server. The authentication
> server request user name and password and returns the ticket
> (presumably with an encryption for which the SR-service has
> the key). Transfer of this ticket from the webpage requesting
> it to the SR webpage is still open.
>
> Theo
>
>
> >>> [log in to unmask] 14-06-02 14:36 >>>
> I support Rob in his argument for a session id.  In July last year, I
> submitted the following to the list:
>
> > We would also like the Search response to include a "server user id
> substitute".  This can be returned in the ZNG:user
> > field for subsequent requests and avoid the user id and
> password having to
> be sent in multiple requests.  It can also
> > serve to guarantee the "actual user" (there may be more
> than 1 user able
> to use the same user ID/password) a time slot
> > on the server, because the system has a finite number of
> concurrent users.
> Pica also uses this for being able to
> > return search history, i.e. a notion of session, but this
> is out of ZNG
> scope.
>
> At the time "session id" was a politically incorrect phrase.  In our
> implementation of ZING/SRU we are adding session id into the
> actual request,
> within the URL.  We need it in the request so that we can
> control channels;
> it doesn't work if it is in a different layer.
>
> It's not complicated; it's just an optional element.  Our
> server will send
> it with the result set id and it expects it to be returned.
>
> In July last year we also had a lot of discussion about
> deleting result
> sets.  Ray's prose accurately reflects this discussion and I
> think it is
> correct and reflects reality.  Our server (along with lots of others)
> decides when it's time to do its own housekeeping with result
> sets unless
> told otherwise, i.e. with the TTL.  It will even override the
> TTL if it has
> to.
>
> Janifer Gatenby
> Consultant OCLC PICA ITC
> Schipholweg 99, 2300 AW Leiden, The Netherlands
> + 31 71 524 65 00
> + 31 71 522 31 19 (fax)
> [log in to unmask]
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Robert Sanderson [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Friday, 14 June 2002 12:37
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: result set model for srw
>
>
> Theo, paraphrased:
> > You just need the request parameters.
>
> No.  This would work if resultsets only last for one response/request.
> However if I were to do a search, do a second search and then try to
> combine the resultsets from those two searches, the first would have
> already disappeared. You need a session id (or to return ALL of the
> parameters from ALL of the requests to date made by the client, which
> would quickly overflow most URL implementations in SRU.
>
> > > I could send continuous (SOAP is HTTP/1.1 so includes
> > > pipelining and gzipping, making this even more effective)
> > > requests to trash random resultset names.
>
> > Yes, but I could send continuous requests to trash random
> session ids or
> > client ids too! Or even better sniff the wire for the
> session ids/client
> > ids and use those. So introducing a session id in addition
> to a result
> > set name just adds complexity without actually solving the problem.
>
> Packet sniffing is much harder these days than it was, due to
> switching
> networks.  It's still possible using ARP poisoning, but I digress.
>
> Yes, introducing a session id doesn't make it impossible to do, but it
> does make it exponentially more difficult.  Difficult enough that an
> attack is unlikely to succeed, whereas without it it is very possible.
>
> Compare basic authentication of username and password.  Guessing a
> username and password combination is much harder than
> guessing one of the
> two.  And for large robust servers (the reason we're using
> SOAP right?)
> there will be a lot of users.  Unless the server is designed with this
> sort of security in mind, the resultsets will probably just identified
> with an incrementing scheme rather than a random set of characters, so
> once a pattern has been found, the server is completely compromised.
>
> User/password authentication has served for many years, and
> will likely
> continue to do so for all but financially important traffic.
>
> > A solution would be for the server to keep tracking of the source IP
> > Addresses - using that to identify clients and using result
> set names as
> > at present for maintaining state. Even that is foolproof
> since you can
> > spoof ip addresses.
> > If you really want more resilience against this attack than
> you should
> > use SSL (HTTPS) with client certificates to identify the client.
>
> Yes.  But then you drastically limit the number of potential
> clients to
> those that support encrypted SOAP.  It also makes it more difficult to
> just throw together a server, I wouldn't bother... Z39.50 is
> less complex
> and more functional.
>
> > In any case client identification (if required) is an Out
> of Band issue
> > which can be resolved at other layers in the syste and needn't be
> > included in the SRW spec.
>
> Unless you have a web proxy, or specialised SRW proxy that multiple
> clients send their requests through, not an uncommon event I
> would have
> thought.
>
> For example, if I were to set up a cgi script that interogated SRW
> servers, I would want to map my local users to session ids.
> Except they're
> all coming from the same IP address so the server will map
> them all to the
> same client.  At this point you once again need some sort of
> session id.
>
> Rob
>
> --
>       ,'/:.          Rob Sanderson ([log in to unmask])
>     ,'-/::::.        http://www.o-r-g.org/~azaroth/
>   ,'--/::(@)::.      Special Collections and Archives, extension 3142
> ,'---/::::::::::.    Twin Cathedrals:  telnet:
> liverpool.o-r-g.org 7777
> ____/:::::::::::::.              WWW:
> http://liverpool.o-r-g.org:8000/
> I L L U M I N A T I
>

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