[whatwg] Security: emphasize that subdomain is not enough for user provided scriptable content

Jonathan Zuckerman j.zuckerman at gmail.com
Tue Aug 28 06:09:01 PDT 2018

These domains are used specifically because they are reserved for that use
- https://www.iana.org/domains/reserved

If a non-reserved domain is used, it could be bought up by anyone and have
its content changed to something not appropriate for linking from official
spec documents.

The note is technically correct, but perhaps it could be written
differently to more clearly point out the necessity of a different TLD?

On Tue, Aug 28, 2018 at 8:33 AM Mikko Rantalainen <
mikko.rantalainen at peda.net> wrote:

> The page
>    https://html.spec.whatwg.org/dev/iframe-embed-object.html
> contains an example that has "usercontent.example.net" instead of e.g.
> "video.example.com" used in the same chapter. It does have a warning
> saying
> > It is important to use a separate domain so that if the attacker
> > convinces the user to visit that page directly, the page doesn't run
> > in the context of the site's origin, which would make the user
> > vulnerable to any attack found in the page.
> but I think this should specifically mention that using a subdomain is
> not enough because JavaScript can lift any domain restrictions if only
> the subdomain is different. This difference may not be immediately
> obvious to casual reader especially because both examples also have
> different subdomains which is easier to notice.
> I'm not sure how wording should be put because technically
> "example.com." is subdomain of "com." top level domain. And we have
> stuff such as "co.uk.", which makes things even hairier.
> I guess that the spec would like to use .example.* domains in all the
> examples but perhaps one could use something more explicit such as
>     https://example-usercontent.com/...
> for this example in addition to being more explicit about subdomains in
> the warning. That would prevent even casual reader from mixing
> a.example.com and b.example-usercontent.com.
> --
> Mikko

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